CNS home page

Laptop IP Service



LIPS: The Laptop IP Service

LIPS: A laptop docking service for public network ports

LIPS is a drop-in service that uses Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to provide dynamic assignment of IP addresses for laptops connected to LIPS-managed public network ports. In April 1999, the pilot service was introduced in the Main Library stacks. The Main Library no longer offers LIPS, but the service has been extended to public ports located in Minor Hall and the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library.

Currently registered UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff are eligible to use this service.

Under LIPS, when you start up your laptop while connected to a public network port, a DHCP server will assign an IP address and other network parameters appropriate to the subnet you're connecting to. Your laptop will need to have DHCP client software installed so that autoconfiguration can take place. Most newer flavors of Windows (95, 98, NT, 2000) and recent versions of the Macintosh OS come installed with the software and should work without any problems.

In the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library, LIPS ports can be found at tables and study carrels located throughout the library.

This project was first described in the Sept-Oct 1998 Berkeley Computing and Communications bulletin as the Campus DHAA (Dynamic Host Address Assignment) testbed project (, and re-christened in the Nov-Dec 1998 issue, as the Laptop IP Service (

Registering and Configuring your laptop for LIPS

The DHCP server will only respond to known computers, so you will need to first register your laptop in order to use LIPS.

The following Operating Systems have been tested under the LIPS service:

  • Windows '95,'98, NT, 2000.
  • MacOS 8.x.
  • Other systems can be configured for this service (e.g. UNIX systems with the necessary DHCP client software), but no configuration support is available at this time.

For the registration, you will need to know your hardware ethernet address (also known as the MAC - Media Access Control - address), and your student, faculty or staff id. Instructions on how to find the hardware address of your ethernet card, and on configuring your laptop for LIPS can be found on the web page Configuring your Computer to use LIPS (

To register, you will also need an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) capable browser, so that the registration process will encrypt any data sent between you and the server. Netscape 3.x and higher and Internet Explorer 4.x and higher support SSL. If you have an SSL-enabled browser, you may proceed to the LIPS registration web page.

NOTE: Residence Hall students who are registered for the DHCP service with Residential Computing do not need to sign-up via the web page, since they have already been registered for LIPS.

Support for LIPS

At this time, support for hardware and software configuration issues is limited. Electronic mail for "drmicro," drop-in visits and phone calls to the IS&T Consulting Office are discouraged. Please send any questions concerning LIPS to the mailing list,

Students may obtain some assistance in configuring their laptops at the Student Consulting Center, located on the 1st floor of the Moffitt Library Microcomputer Facility. Their hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. "Live" phone help at 643-7536 is available Monday-Friday 10 a.m - 2 p.m.

The Next Phase

The service will eventually support network connections at different campus locations, not just public ports in the Library. Users will also be able to register a static IP address for an office connection so that they will not have to reconfigure their laptop when moving between a public port and their office port. In the next phase, we will be exploring ways to improve the user registration process. We are also developing procedures for exchanging data between CNS and departmental DHCP servers, so that users registered within a department will be able to use LIPS-managed ports without re-registering their laptops. Data exchange with ResHall servers is a first step in that direction.


Much of the software for verifying access and monitoring connections to the network ports is based on work done by the Office of Residential Computing for the public networking PANDA system in the Residence Halls. The assistance and cooperation of ResComp and Library staff in the development of LIPS is gratefully acknowledged.