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what is the purpose of configuring a network card with DNS information?

Posted on 2014-04-27
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Last Modified: 2014-05-03
Hello and Good Morning Everyone,

               As an independent followup from a previously closed post, I have a question regarding the manual configuration of a network card.  For example, as a possible troubleshooting option, there was a suggestion given to go into Properties of the Network Adapter and set both of those to Google's public DNS servers: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 which brings me to a question.  What would be the purpose of manually setting the Primary and Secondary DNS servers?  Should this information normally be autodetected?  

              While my issue has already been resolved by reconfiguring the Internet Explorer browser by disabling the proxy server within the settings, there still remains that academic curiousity about myself to learn more from the suggestions given.  As such, any insightful feedback given to this post will be greatly appreciated.  

               Thank you

               George
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Question by:GMartin
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by:Tony Giangreco
Tony Giangreco earned 50 total points
ID: 40025786
If you are in a domain and want all DNS services to be received from one secure location, normally you setup DNS Server on one or more of the domain controllers in your network. this provides the same dns info to all domain Pc's that list those DC's and the dns servers.

If you select a non domain dns controller, that Pc might not be able to communicate or join the domain.

If you in a home setup or small office without a Windows server, then just use your ISP's dns settings or use the Google dns as you mentioned.

Hope this helps!
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Schuyler Dorsey earned 200 total points
ID: 40025789
Good question.

So IP address information including subnet mask, gateway and DNS servers are typically ASSIGNED via the local DHCP server. In a Windows environment, this is typically Windows Servers. At a home environment, the router is typically the DHCP server.

In an Active Directory environment, your DNS settings will point to your Active Directory servers. (NOT 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4; actually, setting an domain-joined pc to these settings could potentially break a lot of stuff internally).

So in some situations where you think DNS is your connection problem, you can manually change your DNS settings to point to different DNS servers to see if it corrects the issue. Though if you are in an Active Directory environment, you are only addressing a symptom of the problem and not the problem itself.

Also note that in many corporate environments, outbound DNS requests will be restricted at the perimeter firewall so only internal DNS servers can make these requests.

Hope that is enough food for thought!
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by:rindi
rindi earned 150 total points
ID: 40025823
If you aren't using DHCP to assign addresses your NIC, you are using static IP's, and then you have to add all the required info manually, like subnet mask, gateway, and the DNS servers. Only DHCP assigns those values automatically.

Normally you would use the router as your DNS server and gateway, the router itself then forwards DNS requests to your ISP's name servers. If there is a problem with the router, you can try other known public name servers, like those of google etc. But usually you would only use those to troubleshoot issues, not as a permanent solution.
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 40025862
Hello Everyone,

               Thanks so much for the feedback provided.  Everything which has been brought up certainly makes sense.  I do have a couple of followup questions which I am confident will be resolved in order to give a clearer picture of the points presented.  Back around the year of 2000, I remember a friend setting up one computer with a program called WinProxy and set that main computer up as a WinProxy server.  The other 4 computers were set up with WinProxy software as well and configured as clients with manually configured information such as IP address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway, Primary and Secondary DNS numbers, and so forth.  Each set of information was the same and not changed for the WinProxy server and WinProxy clients.  So, the settings which would normally be provided by a DHCP server like a router was static and given by the WinProxy server main computer.  At any rate, would this sort of setup be an example of a "domain" since the WinProxy clients had to make a request to the WinProxy server first in order to get onto the internet?  I remember if the WinProxy server computer was shut off for any reason, then, the WinProxy client computers would not have access to the internet.  And, secondly, is there an online site which provides DNS addresses for different domain names such as Google, Yahoo, etc. that can be used as temporary troubleshooting resources?  I guess what I am getting at is simply this.  Is there a DNS server lookup which resolves domain name addresses into DNS addresses?

               Thank you

               George
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by:Schuyler Dorsey
Schuyler Dorsey earned 200 total points
ID: 40025895
WinProxy is NOT a domain. It is a standard internet proxy application.

For the second, I think your question should be "is there a site which provides IP addresses for domain names". With this being the case, http://network-tools.com/ is a website where you can enter a DNS name and it returns the given IP address.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 150 total points
ID: 40025911
Proxy servers in companies are used to filter, cache and keep logs of internet activity. So for example it is easy by viewing it's logs to see who visited what site when. If it is setup to cache visted sites, it will improve the speed of future visits to that same site. Filters can prevent certain sites being visited.

The Domain mentioned earlier, was meant as an "Active Directory" Domain. That's an m$ thing that comes with their servers, and it really has nothing to do with internet domains. It keeps user and similar info centrally on the Domain Controllers, which makes management easier, as opposed to "Workgroup" mode, when there is no directory service used and all the user accounts etc have to be setup on every PC that really wants to share files among with others. Windows Server Domain Controllers require a local DNS server installed, and so in such an environment all the PC's need to be pointed to those internal DNS servers in order for active directory connections to work. The local DNS server forwards any requests from PC that go to external sites to the router, which in turn forwards the requests to the ISP's DNS servers.

Internic/Whois has a record of many registered Domains, and there you can lookup the name servers for those Domains:

http://www.internic.net/whois.html
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 40026366
Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

           Thank you for the followups and correcting me on a few points or misconceptions.  At this time, I want to wrap up things by gaining some insights into the troubleshooting usefulness of manually configuring the network adapter.  For instance, let me begin with a hypothetical situation involving a desktop which is unable to get onto the internet.  If the IP information is known for that particular computer from a previous ipconfig overview and that information is plugged into the Properties section of the Network Adapter which results in a successful internet connection, then, would it be accurate to conclude the router is the culprit of the problem since it is suppose to transmit IP information automatically to its client computers?  Of course, I realize the success of any manual configuration of the network adapter under such a hypothetical scenario would be temporary and not permanent.  The reason I bring this up is because I remember getting a wireless client computer working online by manually plugging in the IP address of it like 192.168.1.0, the Subnet Mask which was 255.255.255.0 and the wireless router's IP address of of 192.168.3.0 into the Primary and Secondary DNS Suffixes.  Since it has been a while, I might be in error with regards to the reporting of these numbers.  At any rate, this worked just temporarily and only worked again when the numbers were re-inputted.  The entire problem was permanently solved by replacing the wireless router.  

             At any rate, I just wanted to share this information with everyone to get your thoughts on it.  In other words, could what I had done be carried out with temporary success in other situations in which a client computer on a wireless can not automatically receive the IP information necessary to reach the internet?

             Thank you

             George
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by:vivigatt
vivigatt earned 100 total points
ID: 40028268
You can perfecltly (and always) statically set an IP configuration (IPv4, not mentioning IPv6 here, it is irrelevant). As long as you have the correct settings (IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, DNS servers), it will work. These settings should be the same (or similar) to what a correctly configured DHCP server would assign to your computer.
For instance, you can usually statically  configure a network card with the settings that it had been assigned with DHCP.
Regarding your "temporary issue" above, the default gateway could NOT have been 192.168.3.0, since it is not is the same subnet as your host. By definition, a default gateway must be in the same subnet as the hosts it serves, otherwise said hosts cannot figure out how to send packets to it.
All packets that are not to be sent to hosts in the same subnet are sent to a a gateway (usually the default gateway). Which means that there must be a gateway that the host can reach. Which leans that it has to be in the same subnet.

regarding DNS settings for individual hosts, the configuration depends on your architecture:
If the host is a member of some Active Directory domain, its first (primary) DNS must be a Domain Controller. It will then resolve internal names and forward requests to resolve  external names to some "parent" DNS (usually your ISP DNS, but 8.8.8.8 or 4.4.4.4 could do it too).
If your host is NOT a member of a domain, it can use any DNS server that will answer or forward its requests. Usually, use your ISP's DNS servers, that's the best.
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 40039723
Hello and Good Afternoon Everyone,

            After reading and re-reading everyone's replies several times, I now have a complete picture of the behind the scenes things which take place between the DHCP server or router and the host computers which make request to it within a home environment.  I also was able to correct some misconceptions which I had as well with respect to proxy servers.  Since I do not have any background with respect to setting up  Windows based servers, I know I will need to get some experience in order to better understand and appreciate setting up a domain directory for a corporate environment.  While I understand it to some extent conceptually, I am not sure I understand it tangibly.  Perhaps I will save that part for a later question if the need arises.

              At the moment though, I am very happy and pleased with the information provided to my question.  It certainly did help with respect to broadening my insights and understanding of home and small business connection setups.

              Many thanks once again everyone.

             George
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