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Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol

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Published by pulkit
The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a computer networking protocol used by hosts (DHCP clients) to retrieve IP address assignments and other configuration information.
The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a computer networking protocol used by hosts (DHCP clients) to retrieve IP address assignments and other configuration information.

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Published by: pulkit on Jun 30, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
) is a computer networking protocol used by hosts (
 DHCP clients
) to retrieve IP address assignments and other configuration information. DHCP uses a client-server architecture. The client sends a broadcast request for configuration information. The
 DHCP server 
receives the request and responds with configuration informationfrom its configuration database.In the absence of DHCP, all hosts on a network must be manually configured individually - atime-consuming and often error-prone undertaking.DHCP is popular with ISP's because it allows a host to obtain a temporary IP address.
RFC 1531 initially defined DHCP as a standard-track protocol in October 1993, succeeding theBootstrap Protocol (BOOTP). The next update, RFC 2131 released in 1997 is the current DHCP definition for Internet Protocol version 4(IPv4)networks. The extensions of DHCP for IPv6  (DHCPv6)were published as RFC 3315.  Before BOOTP and DHCP, there was another protocol used to discover a host's network address.The protocol was RARP (Reverse Address Resolution Protocol) RFC 906,published June 1984. RARP, BOOTP, and DHCP provide a way to request a network layer address for a host.
Technical overview
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol automates network-parameter assignment to network devices from one or more DHCP servers. Even in small networks, DHCP is useful because it canmake it easy to add new machines to the network.When a DHCP-configured client (a computer or any other network-aware device) connects to anetwork, the DHCP client sends a broadcast query requesting necessary information from a DHCP server. The DHCP server manages a pool of IP addresses and information about clientconfiguration parameters such as default gateway, domain name,the name servers,other servers such as time servers,and so forth. On receiving a valid request, the server assigns the computer an IP address, a lease (length of time the allocation is valid), and other IP configurationparameters, such as the subnet mask  and the default gateway.The query is typically initiated immediately after booting,and must complete before the client can initiate IP-based communication with other hosts.Depending on implementation, the DHCP server may have three methods of allocating IP-addresses:
dynamic allocation
: A network administrator assigns a range of IP addresses to DHCP, and each client computer on the LAN has its IP software configured to request an IP address from the DHCP server during network initialization. The request-and-grant process uses a lease concept with a controllable time period, allowing the DHCP server toreclaim (and then reallocate) IP addresses that are not renewed (dynamic re-use of IPaddresses).
automatic allocation
: The DHCP server permanently assigns a free IP address to arequesting client from the range defined by the administrator. This is like dynamicallocation, but the DHCP server keeps a table of past IP address assignments, so that itcan preferentially assign to a client the same IP address that the client previously had.
static allocation
: The DHCP server allocates an IP address based on a table with MACaddress / IP address pairs, which are manually filled in (perhaps by a network  administrator). Only requesting clients with a MAC address listed in this table will beallocated an IP address. This feature (which is not supported by all devices) is variouslycalled
Static DHCP Assignment 
(by DD-WRT),
(by the dhcpd
 DHCP reservation
Static DHCP
(by Cisco / Linksys), and
 MAC/IP binding
(by various other router manufacturers).
Technical details
DHCP uses the same two ports assigned by IANA for BOOTP:67/udp for sending data to the server, and 68/udp for data to the client.DHCP operations fall into four basic phases: IP discovery, IP lease offer, IP request, and IP leaseacknowledgement.Where a DHCP client and server are on the same subnet,they will communicate via UDP broadcasts. When the client and server are on different subnets, IP discovery and IP requestmessages are sent via UDP broadcasts, but IP lease offer and IP lease acknowledgementmessages are sent via unicast.
DHCP discovery
The client broadcasts messages on the physical subnet to discover available DHCP servers.Network administrators can configure a local router to forward DHCP packets to a DHCP serverfrom a different subnet. This client-implementation creates a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packet with the broadcast destination of or the specific subnet broadcastaddress.A DHCP client can also request its last-known IP address (in the example below, If the client remains connected to a network for which this IP is valid, the servermight grant the request. Otherwise, it depends whether the server is set up as authoritative or not.An authoritative server will deny the request, making the client ask for a new IP addressimmediately. A non-authoritative server simply ignores the request, leading to animplementation-dependent timeout for the client to give up on the request and ask for a new IPaddress.
DHCP offer
When a DHCP server receives an IP lease request from a client, it reserves an IP address for theclient and extends an IP lease offer by sending a DHCPOFFER message to the client. Thismessage contains the client's MAC address, the IP address that the server is offering, the subnetmask, the lease duration, and the IP address of the DHCP server making the offer.The server determines the configuration based on the client's hardware address as specified in theCHADDR (Client Hardware Address) field. Here the server,, specifies the IPaddress in the YIADDR (Your IP Address) field.
DHCP request

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