TCP/IP is able to link the world together into a global Internet because it does not depend on any one physical network technology. It can run over the modem attached to a PC or over the fiber-optic network attached to a super computer. It does this by creating a logical network on top of the physical networks that is independent of the specific characteristic of any one network.

However, this flexibility comes at the price of complexity. It is more difficult to configure a computer to run TCP/IP than it is to configure it for some other networks.

You're a technical person—that's why you run the network. Configuring TCP/IP may seem very simple to you, but it can be a daunting task for the average user setting up a PC. If your network is small, you can manually configure all of the desktop systems yourself. On a large network, manual configuration becomes an impossible task. Even on a small network, fixing the configuration every time a user upgrades is a thankless and boring job. The solution is to create a server that does this job for you, which is the topic of this chapter.

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