Every time you connect to a network at your home, your workplace, or to a public WiFi, a DHCP (Dynamic Host Control Protocol) lease time is mapped to the IP address provided to your device by the router to let you access the Internet.
Now, in the event, you are setting up your own WiFi router for home or you want to create a public WiFi for others to join and leave as they please, DHCP lease time is a setting you must not miss.
What is DHCP Lease Time?
Whenever a device connects to a network, the router assigns the device an IP address to it. By default, the router treats every connection as temporary, and hence the DHCP assigns it an IP address along with a lease time for the address. Different router manufacturers have various lengths of default lease time.
When a device once connected to the network does not connect again in the lease time period, the DHCP reallocates that particular IP address to another device requesting connection to the network. This basically helps the router to optimize the use of addresses when many devices connect and disconnect from the network.
Thus, for your home network with a fixed number of devices, a longer lease time makes more sense. However, for public WiFis a shorter amount of lease time makes much more sense as many short-term devices connect to it.
Since a router can allocate a finite number of IP addresses, if you keep a longer lease time on a network majorly consisting of devices connecting for a short term period; your router might run out of IP addresses to allocate which will not let any new device connect to your network.
Know your DHCP Lease Time on Windows 11 PC
Before you change your DHCP lease time, you should check your current settings using the Command Prompt command-line tool accessible through the Terminal app on your PC.
First, launch the Terminal app from the Start Menu on your Windows PC.
Then, click on the carat icon (downward arrow) present on the tab bar of the Terminal window and click on the ‘Command Prompt’ option from the overlay menu. Alternatively, you can also press the Ctrl+Shift+2 shortcut on your keyboard to open the Command Prompt tab.
After that, type ipconfig/all command in the Command Prompt and hit Enter on your keyboard.
Note: The Command Prompt screen on your PC might have white fonts on a black background if you have not customized the appearance.
Now, scroll and locate the ‘Lease Obtained’ and ‘Lease expires’ fields on the screen and you will be able to see the lease obtain and lease expiration time for your Windows PC following the respective options.
Also, take note of your ‘Default Gateway’ address as it will be crucial if you want to change your DHCP lease time.
Since now you know your current DHCP Lease time settings, let’s move on to changing them.
Re-configure DHCP Lease Time on your Router
If you did not know this before; you will have to access your router settings to reconfigure DHCP lease time. That being said, it is fairly easy and will not take much of your time.
Note: Before you start, make sure you have the Default Gateway address, the Username and the Password required to log in to your Router Control Panel.
First, go to your ‘Default Gateway’ address as seen on the Command Prompt screen (you can also find the ‘Default Gateway’ address on the back panel of your router), using your preferred browser. Then, enter your credentials to log in.
Note: The steps mentioned below are for a TP-Link router. The user interface might vary depending on your router manufacturer.
After that, click on the ‘DHCP’ tab present on the right sidebar from your router control panel screen.
Now, locate the ‘Address Lease Time’ option from the right section of the screen and then enter your desired lease time (in minutes) in the text box present adjacent to it. Next, click on the ‘Save’ button present on the screen to confirm the changes.