OIT Networking & Monitoring Services

About the Princeton University Host Database

The Host Database stores information about devices connected to the university's data network. Nearly every device connected to the network must be registered in the Host Database; see Which Devices Must Be Registered in the Host Database?

Host registration should normally be performed by the person responsible for the device, or the person responsible for attaching it to the network. In some cases, OIT staff perform the initial host registration on your behalf. See Who Needs to Register a Device in the Host Database?

Someone responsible for registering the device should do so within one business day of the device being attached to the campus network. If it is not possible to register the device promptly, the device should disconnected from the campus network until someone is able to register it.

Once the device is registered, the Technical Contacts specified in the registration are responsible for keeping the Host Database entry current, updating it as necessary.

Each entry in the database is identified by a unique fully-qualified DNS domain name; for example foo.princeton.edu. This is the device's Internet host name.

Each entry in the Host Database contains information describing the device. The information includes details about the device's network characteristics, location, and who is responsible for the device.

The information in the Host Database is used for a variety of purposes, including:

The information in the Host Database is used extensively by OIT staff to help troubleshoot problems on the campus data network. An accurate record of hardware addresses, assigned IP addresses, persons responsible for each device, and device locations helps OIT identify devices involved in network problems or security breaches far more rapidly than would otherwise be possible (if at all), reducing the time required to resolve such issues. It is in everyone's best interest that the information in the Host Database be as complete and as accurate as possible.

Detailed descriptions of most fields which may appear in a Host Database entry are available.

Each device connected to the network must be registered in its own Host Database entry; multiple devices should not be registered in the same Host Database entry. For example, each networked computer, printer, music player, NAT, Wireless Access Point, etc. must be registered in its own Host Database entry. (If a single device has multiple physical interfaces (e.g. a single computer with both an Ethernet interface and a Wireless interface) or has multiple IP addresses, normally all of the device's hardware addresses and IP addresses are registered in a single Host Database entry.) Physical interfaces or IP addresses associated with different devices must be registered in separate Host Database entries.

As registration of a device in the Host Database plays a crucial role in making network services available to the device, and often plays a role in billing for network service, knowingly entering incorrect information into the database may be treated as a violation of University policies.

When a device is disconnected from the network, remember to update the Host Database to reflect this. If the device was registered as an office device, delete its entry from the Host Database. Otherwise, if the device was registered as part of a Dormnet subscription, Unsubscribe From Dormnet. Be sure to promptly disconnect the device from the network (both wired and wireless) once deleting the entry from the Host Database (or unsubscribing it it from Dormnet).


A service of OIT Networking & Monitoring Services
The Office of Information Technology,
Princeton University
Last Updated: January 23 2015