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My network generally works well. I've got DHCP handing out IP addresses and a few fixed IP's for printers and NAS devices. I've got the following devices on my network all managed through wired and wireless connections:

  • Windows PC's (mostly Win7)
  • Ubuntu
  • NAS (Buffalo Storage, WD Cloud)
  • iPad / iPhone

The biggest thorn in my side is the "random" loss of capability to access machines via their hostname (e.g. KITCHEN-PC, NAS-A). I am not running a Windows Server. All PC's connect either wirelessly to a WAP or through a hardwire connection to a switch that is hardwired into the Netgear WNDR4500.

Some days (weeks?) I just lose the capability to reach shared resources (folders, NAS) on the network by hostname. The hostname could be the name of the Ubuntu box, the name of the NAS, or the name of another PC. Usually when one goes, they all go - I cannot connect to any of them by hostname. Typically, this happens on a laptop that I take back and forth from work. At work, everything is fine; all devices can be accessed by hostname. At home, not so much. For the last week, none of my devices could be reached by my laptop using their hostname, but all of them can be reached by their IP address. Yet, all of the attached devices on my WNDR4500 have names associated with their IP addresses.

Is there a feature in standard routers (e.g. NetGear) that provides this name resolution service? DNS? WINS? ... ?

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    If you are running Ubuntu, why not install BIND (DNS server) and then modify DHCP to point at your Ubuntu box for DNS resolution? Most consumer grade routers do not have a DNS server on the router itself. – Richie086 Jan 11 '16 at 3:18
  • Also, is your work laptop connected to a Windows (active directory) domain controller? That would make sense why host names are not working locally on your home network. – Richie086 Jan 11 '16 at 3:20
  • There may be a DNS server application available on your NAS, but consider setting up the DNS to work with your DHCP server, so that the the names point correctly as the addresses change. Also consider using your DHCP server to assign semi-fixed addresses, by mapping an IP to a MAC address. that way your whole address scheme is administered within DHCP. – Frank Thomas Jan 11 '16 at 4:46
  • I am a contractor at "work". Although they likely use Active Directory, I do not log into their domain. However, they likely have a DNS. Why don't consumer routers (e.g. NetGear) come with a DNS? It seems that a DNS needs fixed IP addr's. Is that the case? Doesn't that defeat the point of DHCP? – user3533030 Jan 11 '16 at 4:50
  • DNS and DHCP operations can be coordinated, but yes you are correct, the best way to handle DNS is with fixed addresses. The trick to it is you configure the fixed addresses in the DHCP server, by telling it to allways assign a given MAC address the same IP address, so you can use the DHCP server to push down fixed addresses to clients. the client just needs a reboot to pick up the dynamically "fixed" IP. More complicated systems will allow DNS and DHCP to work together so that a DNS name is automatically registered when DHCP assigns an address, but these are more complex and prone to failure. – Frank Thomas Jan 11 '16 at 13:27

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