Originally Posted by ~Darkseeker~
DNS means domain Name system. It came along after WINS because not every network needs static IPs. DNS translates host names into IP addresses, then sends the IP addresses to DHCP, which in turn assigns them to the clients on the network.
So, basically it turns the PCs name into an IP address and gives it to DHCP, a separate protocol that gives them out.
This just means that the network administrator doesnt have to assign a static IP to every device that joins his/her network.
A client computer get's an IP address, Gateway IP and DNS Server(s) from the DHCP server (other things too, but they are probably the most important).
The IP address is assigned before DNS get's involved.
Most home networks do not have a DNS Server - Any DNS requests made to the router will be passed on to "external" DNS servers, as configured in your routers settings.
In a typical home network, hostname->IP resolution is done by WINS/NetBIOS, which is more like a distributed DNS server.
We use DNS so that we don't have to remember IP addresses. Would you rather have to remember "126.96.36.199", or "google.com"?