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A. General 1. What is DHCP? 2. What is DHCP's purpose? 3. Who Created It? How Was It Created? 4. Can DHCP work with Appletalk or IPX? 5. How is it different than BOOTP or RARP? 6. How is it different than VLANs? 7. What protocol and port does DHCP use? 8. What is an IP address? 9. What is a MAC address? 10. What is a DHCP lease? 11. What is a Client ID? 12. Why shouldn't clients assign IP numbers without the use of a server? 13. Can DHCP support statically defined addresses? 14. How does DHCP and BOOTP handle other subnets? 15. Can a BOOTP client boot from a DHCP server? 16. Can a DHCP client boot from a BOOTP server? 17. Is a DHCP server "supposed to" be able to support a BOOTP client? 18. Is a DHCP client "supposed to" be able to use a BOOTP server? 19. Can a DHCP client or server make a DNS server update the client's DNS entry to
match the client's dynamically assigned address?
20. Can a DHCP server back up another DHCP server? 21. When will the server to server protocol be defined? 22. Is there a DHCP mailing list? 23. In a subnetted environment, how does the DHCP server discover what subnet a
request has come from? on subnets other than the primary one? 25. If a physical LAN has more than one logical subnet, how can different groups of clients be allocated addresses on different subnets? 26. Where is DHCP defined? 27. What other sources of information are available? 28. Can DHCP support remote access? 29. Can a client have a home address and still float? 30. How can I relay DHCP if my router does not support it? 31. How do I migrate my site from BOOTP to DHCP? 32. Can you limit which MAC addresses are allowed to roam? 33. Is there an SNMP MIB for DHCP? 34. What is DHCP Spoofing? 35. How long should a lease be? 36. How can I control which clients get leases from my server? 37. How can I prevent unauthorized laptops from using a network that uses DHCP for dynamic addressing? 38. What are the Gotcha's? Info on Implementations 1. What features or restrictions can a DHCP server have? 2. What freeware DHCP servers are available? 3. What commercial DHCP servers are available?
24. If a single LAN has more than one subnet number, how can addresses be served
4. What freeware DHCP clients are available? 5. Which vendors of client software currently support DHCP? 6. What are the DHCP plans of major client-software vendors? 7. What Routers forward DHCP requests? 8. What Routers include DHCP servers? 9. What Routers use DHCP to configure their IP addresses? 10. What Servers forward DHCP requests? 11. Which implementations support or require the broadcast flag? 12. What servers support secondary subnet numbers? 13. What servers support RFC-based dynamic DNS update? 14. How can I run Windows 95 without a DHCP server? 15. Do any servers limit the MAC addresses that may roam? 16. What analyzers decode DHCP? 17. What administration tools administer DHCP configurations? 18. How do I make a client give up its lease? 19. What are the Gotcha's specific to various implementations?
Answers A. General 1. What is DHCP? DHCP stands for "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol". 2. What is DHCP's purpose? DHCP's purpose is to enable individual computers on an IP network to extract their configurations from a server (the 'DHCP server') or servers, in particular, servers that have no exact information about the individual computers until they request the information. The overall purpose of this is to reduce the work necessary to administer a large IP network. The most significant piece of information distributed in this manner is the IP address. 3. Can DHCP work with AppleTalk or IPX? No, it is too tied to IP. Furthermore, they don't need it since they have always had automated mechanisms for assigning their own network addresses. 4. Who Created It? How Was It Created? DHCP was created by the Dynamic Host Configuration Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF; a volunteer organization which defines protocols for use on the Internet). As such, it's definition is recorded in an Internet RFC and the Internet Activities Board (IAB) is asserting its status as to Internet Standardization. As of this writing (June 1998), DHCP is an Internet Draft Standard Protocol and is Elective. BOOTP is an Internet Draft Standard Protocol and is recommended. For more information on Internet standardization, see RFC2300 (May 1998) 5. How is it different than BOOTP or RARP?
DHCP is based on BOOTP and maintains some backward compatibility. The main difference is that BOOTP was designed for manual pre-configuration of the host information in a server database, while DHCP allows for dynamic allocation of network addresses and configurations to newly attached hosts. Additionally, DHCP allows for recovery and reallocation of network addresses through a leasing mechanism. RARP is a protocol used by Sun and other vendors that allows a computer to find out its own IP number, which is one of the protocol parameters typically passed to the client system by DHCP or BOOTP. RARP doesn't support other parameters and using it, a server can only serve a single LAN. DHCP and BOOTP are designed so they can be routed. 6. How is it different than VLANs? DHCP and VLANs, which are very different in concept, are sometimes cited as different solutions to the same problem. While they have a goal in common (easing moves of networked computers), VLANs represent a more revolutionary change to a LAN than DHCP. A DHCP server and forwarding agents can allow you to set things up so that you can unplug a client computer from one network or subnet and plug it into another and have it come alive immediately, it having been reconfigured automatically. In conjunction to Dynamic DNS, it could automatically be given its same name in its new place. VLAN-capable LAN equipment with dynamic VLAN assignment allows you to configure things so a client computer can be plugged into any port and have the same IP number (as well as name) and be on the same subnet. The VLAN-capable network either has its own configuration that lists which MAC addresses are to belong to each VLAN, or it makes the determination from the source IP address of the IP packets that the client computer sends. Some differences in the two approaches: DHCP handles changes by reconfiguring the client while a VLAN-capable network handles it by reconfiguring the network port the client is moved to. DHCP dynamic reconfiguration requires a DHCP server, forwarding agent in each router, and DHCP capability in each client's TCP/IP support. The analogous capability in VLANs requires that all hubs throughout the network be VLAN-capable, supporting the same VLAN scheme. To this point VLAN support is proprietary with no vendor interoperability, but standards are being developed. DHCP can configure a new client computer for you while a VLAN-capable network can't. DHCP is generally aimed at giving "easy moves" capability to networks that are divided into subnets on a geographical basis, or on separate networks. VLANs are generally aimed at allowing you to set up subnets on some basis other than geographical, e.g. instead of putting everyone in one office on the same subnet, putting each person on a subnet that has access to the servers that that person requires.
There is an issue with trying to use DHCP (or BOOTP) and VLANs at the same time, in particular, with the scheme by which the VLAN-capable network determines the client's VLAN based upon the client computer's source IP address. Doing so assumes the client computer is already configured, which precludes the use of network to get the configuration information from a DHCP or BOOTP server.
What protocol and port does DHCP use? DHCP, like BOOTP runs over UDP, utilizing ports 67 and 68.
What is an IP address? An IP address (also called an IP number) is a number (typically written as four numbers separated by periods, i.e. 18.104.22.168 or 22.214.171.124) which uniquely identifies a computer that is making use of the Internet. It is analogous to your telephone number in that the telephone number is used by the telephone network to direct calls to you. The IP address is used by the Internet to direct data to your computer, e.g. the data your web browser retrieves and displays when you surf the net. One task of DHCP is to assist in the problem of getting a functional and unique IP number into the hands of the computers that make use of the Internet.
What is a MAC address? A MAC address (also called an Ethernet address or an IEEE MAC address) is a number (typically written as twelve hexadecimal digits, 0 through 9 and A through F, or as six hexadecimal numbers separated by periods or colons, i.e. 0080002012ef, 0:80:0:2:20:ef) which uniquely identifes a computer that has an Ethernet interface. Unlike the IP number, it includes no indication of where your computer is located. In DHCP's typical use, the server uses a requesting computer's MAC address to uniquely identify it.
What is a DHCP lease? A DHCP lease is the amount of time that the DHCP server grants to the DHCP client permission to use a particular IP address. A typical server allows its administrator to set the lease time.
What is a Client ID? What is termed the Client ID for the purposes of the DHCP protocol is whatever is used by the protocol to identify the client computer. By default, DHCP implementations typically employ the client's MAC address for this purpose, but the DHCP protocol allows other options. Some DHCP implementations have a setup option to specify the client ID you want. One alternative to the MAC address is simply a character string of your choice. In any case, in order for DHCP to function, you must be certain that no other client is using the client ID you choose, and you must be sure the DHCP server will accept it.
Why shouldn't clients assign IP numbers without the use of a server? It is theoretically possible to develop software for client-machines that finds an unused address by picking them out of the blue and broadcasting a request of all the other client machines to see if they are using them. Appletalk is designed around this idea, and Apple's MacTCP can be configured to do this for IP. However, this method of IP address assignment has disadvantages. 1 1 A computer that needs a permanently-assigned IP number might be turned off and lose its number to a machine coming up. This has problems both for finding services and for security.
A network might be temporarily divided into two noncommunicating networks while a network component is not functioning. During this time, two different client-machines might end up claiming the same IP number. When the network comes back, they start malfunctioning. 1 1 If such dynamic assignment is to be confined to ranges of IP addresses, then the ranges are configured in each desktop machine rather than being centrally administered. This can lead both to hidden configuration errors and to difficulty in changing the range. Another problem with the use of such ranges is keeping it easy to move a computer from one subnet to another. Can DHCP support statically defined addresses? 1 1 Yes. At least there is nothing in the protocol to preclude this and one expects it to be a feature of any DHCP server. This is really a server matter and the client should work either way. The RFC refers to this as manual allocation.
How does DHCP and BOOTP handle multiple subnets? For the situations where there is more than one LAN, each with its own subnet number, there are two ways. First of all, you can set up a seperate server on each subnet. Secondly, a feature of some routers known as "BOOTP forwarding" to forward DHCP or BOOTP requests to a server on another subnet and to forward the replies back to the client. The part of such a router (or server acting as a router) that does this is called a "BOOTP forwarding agent". Typically you have to enable it on the interface to the subnet to be served and have to configure it with the IP address of the DHCP or BOOTP server. On a Cisco router, the address is known as the "UDP Helper Address".
Can a BOOTP client boot from a DHCP server? Only if the DHCP server is specifically written to also handle BOOTP queries.
Can a DHCP client boot from a BOOTP server? Only if the DHCP client were specifically written to make use of the answer from a BOOTP server. It would presumably treat a BOOTP reply as an unending lease on the IP address. In particular, the TCP/IP stack included with Windows 95 does not have this capability.
Is a DHCP server "supposed to" be able to support a BOOTP client? The RFC on such interoperability (1534) is clear: "In summary, a DHCP server: ... MAY support BOOTP clients," (section 2). The word "MAY" indicates such support, however useful, is left as an option. A source of confusion on this point is the following statement in section 1.5 of RFC 1541: "DHCP must provide service to existing BOOTP clients." However, this statement is one in a list of "general design goals for DHCP", i.e. what the designers of the DHCP protocol set as their own goals. It is not in a list of requirements for DHCP servers.
Is a DHCP client "supposed to" be able to use a BOOTP server?
The RFC on such interoperability (1534) is clear: "A DHCP client MAY use a reply from a BOOTP server if the configuration returned from the BOOTP server is acceptable to the DHCP client." (section 3). The word "MAY" indicates such support, however useful, is left as an option. 8. Can a DHCP client or server make a DNS server update the client's DNS entry to match the client's dynamically assigned address? RFCs 2136 and 2137 indicate a way in which DNS entries can be updated dynamically. Using this requires a DNS server that supports this feature and a DHCP server that makes use of it. The RFCs are very recent (as of 5/97) and implementations are few. In the mean time, there are DNS and DHCP servers that accomplish this through proprietary means. 9. Can a DHCP server back up another DHCP server? You can have two or more servers handing out leases for different addresses. If each has a dynamic pool accessible to the same clients, then even if one server is down, one of those clients can lease an address from the other server. However, without communication between the two servers to share their information on current leases, when one server is down, any client with a lease from it will not be able to renew their lease with the other server. Such communication is the purpose of the "server to server protocol" (see next question). It is possible that some server vendors have addressed this issue with their own proprietary server-to-server communication. 10. When will the server to server protocol be defined? The DHC WG of the IETF is actively investigating the issues in inter-server communication. The protocol should be defined "soon". 11. Is there a DHCP mailing list? There are several: List Purpose ---------firstname.lastname@example.org General discussion: a good list for server administrators. email@example.com DHCP bakeoffs firstname.lastname@example.org Implementations email@example.com Server to server protocol firstname.lastname@example.org DNS-DHCP issues email@example.com DHCP for IPv6
The lists are run by firstname.lastname@example.org which can be used to subscribe and sign off. Archives for the dhcp-v4 list (which used to be called the host-conf list) are stored at ftp://ftp.bucknell.edu/pub/dhcp/. 12. In a subnetted environment, how does the DHCP server discover what subnet a request has come from?
DHCP client messages are sent to off-net servers by DHCP relay agents, which are often a part of an IP router. The DHCP relay agent records the subnet from which the message was received in the DHCP message header for use by the DHCP server. Note: a DHCP relay agent is the same thing as a BOOTP relay agent, and technically speaking, the latter phrase is correct. 13. If a single LAN has more than one subnet number, how can addresses be served on subnets other than the primary one? A single LAN might have more than one subnet number applicable to the same set of ports (broadcast domain). Typically, one subnet is designated as primary, the others as secondary. A site may find it necessary to support addresses on more than one subnet number associated with a single interface. DHCP's scheme for handling this is that the server has to be configured with the necessary information and has to support such configuration & allocation. Here are four cases a server might have to handle: 11 Dynamic allocation supported on secondary subnet numbers on the LAN to which the server is attached. 11 Dynamic allocation supported on secondary subnet numbers on a LAN which is handled through a DHCP/BOOTP Relay. In this case, the DHCP/BOOTP Relay sends the server a gateway address associated with the primary subnet and the server must know what to do with it. The other two cases are the same capabilities during manual allocation. It is possible that a particular server-implementation can handle some of these cases, but not all of them. See section below listing the capabilities of some servers. 14. If a physical LAN has more than one logical subnet, how can different groups of clients be allocated addresses on different subnets? One way to do this is to preconfigure each client with information about what group it belongs to. A DHCP feature designed for this is the user class option. To do this, the client software must allow the user class option to be preconfigured and the server software must support its use to control which pool a client's address is allocated from. 15. Where is DHCP defined? In Internet RFCs. 16. Can DHCP support remote access? PPP has its own non-DHCP way in which communications servers can hand clients an IP address called IPCP (IP Control Protocol) but doesn't have the same flexibility as DHCP or BOOTP in handing out other parameters. Such a communications server may support the use of DHCP to acquire the IP addresses it gives out. This is sometimes called doing DHCP by proxy for the client. I know that Windows NT's remote access support does this. A feature of DHCP under development (DHCPinform) is a method by which a DHCP server can supply parameters to a client that already has an IP number.
With this, a PPP client could get its IP number using IPCP, then get the rest of its parameters using this feature of DHCP. SLIP has no standard way in which a server can hand a client an IP address, but many communications servers support non-standard ways of doing this that can be utilized by scripts, etc. Thus, like communications servers supporting PPP, such communications servers could also support the use of DHCP to acquire the IP addressees to give out. The DHCP protocol is capable of allocating an IP address to a device without an IEEE-style MAC address, such as a computer attached through SLIP or PPP, but to do so, it makes use of a feature which may or may not be supported by the DHCP server: the ability of the server to use something other than the MAC address to identify the client. Communications servers that acquire IP numbers for their clients via DHCP run into the same roadblock in that they have just one MAC address, but need to acquire more than one IP address. One way such a communications server can get around this problem is through the use of a set of unique pseudo-MAC addresses for the purposes of its communications with the DHCP server. Another way (used by Shiva) is to use a different "client ID type" for your hardware address. Client ID type 1 means you're using MAC addresses. However, client ID type 0 means an ASCII string. 17. Can a client have a home address and still float? There is nothing in the protocol to keep a client that already has a leased or permanent IP number from getting a(nother) lease on a temporary basis on another subnet (i.e., for that laptop which is almost always in one office, but occasionally is plugged in in a conference room or class room). Thus it is left to the server implementation to support such a feature. I've heard that Microsoft's NT-based server can do it. 18. How can I relay DHCP if my router does not support it? A server on a net(subnet) can relay DHCP or BOOTP for that net. Microsoft has software to make Windows NT do this. 19. How do I migrate my site from BOOTP to DHCP? I don't have an answer for this, but will offer a little discussion. The answer depends a lot on what BOOTP server you are using and how you are maintaining it. If you depend heavily on BOOTP server software to support your existing clients, then the demand to support clients that support DHCP but not BOOTP presents you with problems. In general, you are faced with the choice: 11 Find a server that is administered like your BOOTP server only that also serves DHCP. For example, one popular BOOTP server, the CMU server, has been patched so that it will answer DHCP queries. 11 Run both a DHCP and a BOOTP server. It would be good if I could find out the gotcha's of such a setup. 11 Adapt your site's administration to one of the available DHCP/BOOTP servers. 1 1 Handle the non-BOOTP clients specially, e.g. turn off DHCP and configure them statically: not a good solution, but certainly one that can be done to handle the first few non-BOOTP clients at your site. Can you limit which MAC addresses are allowed to roam?
Sites may choose to require central pre-configuration for all computers that will be able to acquire a dynamic address. A DHCP server could be designed to implement such a requirement, presumably as an option to the server administrator. See section below on servers that implement this. 21. Is there an SNMP MIB for DHCP? There is no standard MIB; creating one is on the list of possible activities of the DHCP working group. It is possible that some servers implement private MIBs. 22. What is DHCP Spoofing? Ascend Pipeline ISDN routers (which attach Ethernets to ISDN lines) incorporate a feature that Ascend calls "DHCP spoofing" which is essentially a tiny server implementation that hands an IP address to a connecting Windows 95 computer, with the intention of giving it an IP number during its connection process. 23. How long should a lease be? I've asked sites about this and have heard answers ranging from 15 minutes to a year. Most administrators will say it depends upon your goals, your site's usage patterns, and service arrangements for your DHCP server. A very relevant factor is that the client starts trying to renew the lease when it is halfway through: thus, for example, with a 4 day lease, the client which has lost access to its DHCP server has 2 days from when it first tries to renew the lease until the lease expires and the client must stop using the network. During a 2day outage, new users cannot get new leases, but no lease will expire for any computer turned on at the time that the outage commences. Another factor is that the longer the lease the longer time it takes for client configuration changes controlled by DHCP to propogate. Some relevant questions in deciding on a lease time: Do you have more users than addresses? If so, you want to keep the lease time short so people don't end up sitting on leases. Naturally, there are degrees. In this situation, I've heard examples cited of 15 minutes, 2 hours, and 2 days. Naturally, if you know you will have 20 users using 10 addresses in within a day, a 2 day lease is not practical. Are you supporting mobile users? If so, you may be in the situation of having more users than addresses on some particular IP number range. See above. Do you have a typical or minimum amount of time that you are trying to support? If your typical user is on for an hour at minimum, that suggest a hour lease at minimum. How many clients do you have and how fast are the communications lines over which the DHCP packets will be run? The shorter the lease, the higher the server and network load. In general, a lease of at least 2 hours is long enough that the load of even thousands of clients is negligible. For shorter leases, there may be a point beyond which you will want to watch the load. Note that if you have a communication line down for a long enough time for the leases to expire, you might see an unusually high load it returns. If the lease-time is at least double the communication line outage, this is avoided.
How long would it take to bring back up the DHCP server, and to what extent can your users live without it? If the lease time is at least double the server outage, then running clients who already have leases will not lose them. If you have a good idea of your longest likely server outage, you can avoid such problems. For example, if your server-coverage is likely to recover the server within three hours at any time that clients are using their addresses, then a six hour lease will handle such an outage. If you might have a server go down on Friday right after work and may need all Monday's work-day to fix it, then your maximum outage time is 3 days and a 6-day lease will handle it. Do you have users who want to tell other users about their IP number? If your users are setting up their own web servers and telling people how to get to them either by telling people the IP number or through a permanent DNS entry, then they are looking for an IP number that won't be changing. While some sites would manually allocate any address that people expected to remain stable, other sites want to use DHCP's ability to automate distribution of relatively permanent addresses. The relevant time is the maximum amount of time that you wish to allow the user to keep their machine turned off yet keep their address. For example, in a university, if students might have their computers turned off for as long as three weeks between semesters, and you wish them to keep their IP address, then a lease of six weeks or longer would suffice. Some examples of lease-times that sites have used & their rationals: 15 minutes To keep the maximum number of addresses free for distribution in cases where there will be more users than addresses. 6 hours Long enough to allow the DHCP server to be fixed, e.g. 3 hours. 12 hours If you need to take back an address, then you know that it will only take one night for the users' lease to expire. 3 days This is apparently Microsoft's default, thus many sites use it. 6 days Long enough that a weekend server outage that gets fixed on Monday will not result in leases terminating. 4 months Long enough that students can keep their IP address over the summer hiatus. I believe this rational is workable if the summer hiatus is no more than 2 months. One year If a user has not used their address in six months, then they are likely to be gone. Allows administrator to recover those addresses after someone has moved on. 24. How can I control which clients get leases from my server? There is no ideal answer: you have to give something up or do some extra work. You can put all your clients on a subnet of your own along with your own DHCP server. You can use manual allocation. Perhaps you can find DHCP server software that allows you to list which MAC addresses the server will accept. DHCP servers that support roaming machines may be adapted to such use. You can use the user class option assuming your clients and server support it: it will require you to configure each of your clients with a user
class name. You still depend upon the other clients to respect your wishes. 2. How can I prevent unauthorized laptops from using a network that uses DHCP for dynamic addressing? This would have to be done using a mechanism other than DHCP. DHCP does not prevent other clients from using the addresses it is set to hand out nor can it distinguish between a computer's permanent MAC address and one set by the computer's user. DHCP can impose no restrictions on what IP address can use a particular port nor control the IP address used by any client. 3. What are the Gotcha's? A malicious user could make trouble by putting up an unofficial DHCP server. The immediate problem would be a server passing out numbers already belonging to some computer yielding the potential for two or more "innocent bystander" nodes ending up with the same IP number. Net result is problems using the nodes, possibly intermittent of one or the other is sometimes turned off. A lot of problems are possible if a renegade server manages to get a client to accept its lease offering, and feeds the client its own version of other booting parameters. One scenario is a client that loads its OS over the network via tftp being directed to a different file (possibly on a different server), thus allowing the perpetrator to take over the client. Given that boot parameters are often made to control many different things about the computers' operation and communication, many other scenarios are just as serious. Note that BOOTP has the same vulnerabilities. The "broadcast flag": DHCP includes a way in which client implementations unable to receive a packet with a specific IP address can ask the server or relay agent to use the broadcast IP address in the replies (a "flag" set by the client in the requests). The definition of DHCP states that implementations "should" honor this flag, but it doesn't say they "must". Some Microsoft TCP/IP implementations used this flag, which meant in practical terms, relay agents and servers had to implement it. A number of BOOTP-relay-agent implementations (e.g. in routers) handled DHCP just fine except for the need for this feature, thus they announced new versions stated to handle DHCP. Some of the virtual LAN schemes, i.e., those that use the packet's IP number to decide which "virtual LAN" a client-computer is on for the purposes of TCP/IP, don't work when using DHCP to dynamically assign addresses. DHCP servers and relay agents use their knowledge of what LAN the client-station is on to select the subnet number for the clientstation's new IP address whereas such switches use the subnet number sent by the client-station to decide which (virtual) LAN to put the station on. Routers are sometimes configured so that one LAN on one port has multiple network (or subnet) numbers. When the router is relaying requests from such a LAN to the DHCP server, it must pass along as IP number that is associated with one of the network (or subnet) numbers. The only way the DHCP server can allocate addresses on one of the LAN's other network (or subnet) numbers is if the DHCP server is specifically written to have a feature to handle such cases, and it has a configuration describing the situation.
The knowledge that a particular IP number is associated with a particular node is often used for various functions. Examples are: for security purposes, for network management, and even for identifying resources. Furthermore, if the DNS's names are going to identify IP numbers, the numbers, the IP numbers have to be stable. Dynamic configuration of the IP numbers undercuts such methods. For this reason, some sites try to keep the continued use of dynamically allocatable IP numbers to a minimum. With two or more servers serving a LAN, clients that are moved around (e.g. mobile clients) can end up with redundant leases. Consider a home site with two DHCP servers, a remote site with DHCP services, and a mobile client. The client first connects to the home site and receives an address from one of the two serves. He/she then travels to the remote site (without releasing the lease at the home site) and attempts to use the acquired address. It is of course NAK'ed and the client receives an address appropriate for the remote site. The client then returns home and tries to use the address from the remote site. It is NAK'ed but now the client broadcasts a DHCPDISCOVER to get a address. The server that holds the previous lease will offer the address back to the client but there is no guarantee that the client will accept that address; consequently, it is possible for the client to acquire an address on the other server and therefore have two leases within the site. The problem can be solved by using only one server per subnet/site and can be mitigated by short lease lengths. But in a very mobile environment, it is possible for these transient clients to consume more than their fair share of addresses. If departments, offices, or individuals run DHCP servers with their own small address pools on LANs shared by other departments, offices, or individuals, they can find that their addresses are being used by anyone on the LAN that happens to set their IP configuration to use DHCP. An easy mistake to make in setting up a DHCP server is to fail to set all the necessary global parameters. This can result in some functions working while others are not, or functions working when the client is set up manually, but failing to work when set to use DHCP. Long leases can be disadvantageous in cases where you need to change a configuration parameter or withdraw an address from use. The length of the lease can mean the difference between having to go to every affected client and rebooting it, or merely waiting a certain amount of time for the leases to be renewed. (Note: one workaround is to fool with the client computer's clock).
B. Info on Implementations 4. What features or restrictions can a DHCP server have? While the DHCP server protocol is designed to support dynamic management of IP addresses, there is nothing to stop someone from implementing a server that uses the DHCP protocol, but does not provide that kind of support. In particular, the maintainer of a BOOTP server-implementation might find it helpful to enhance their BOOTP server to allow DHCP clients that cannot speak "BOOTP" to retrieve statically defined addresses via DHCP. The following terminology has become common to describe three kinds of IP address allocation/management. These are independent "features": a particular server can offer or not offer any of them:
Manual allocation: the server's administrator creates a configuration for the server that includes the MAC address and IP address of each DHCP client that will be able to get an address: functionally equivalent to BOOTP though the protocol is incompatible. Automatic allocation: the server's administrator creates a configuration for the server that includes only IP addresses, which it gives out to clients. An IP address, once associated with a MAC address, is permanently associated with it until the server's administrator intervenes. Dynamic allocation: like automatic allocation except that the server will track leases and give IP addresses whose lease has expired to other DHCP clients.
Other features which a DHCP server may or may not have: Support for BOOTP clients. Support for the broadcast bit. Administrator-settable lease times. Administrator-settable lease times on manually allocated addresses. Ability to limit what MAC addresses will be served with dynamic addresses. Allows administrator to configure additional DHCP option-types. Interaction with a DNS server. Note that there are a number of interactions that one might support and that a standard set & method is in the works. Interaction with some other type of name server, e.g. NIS. Allows manual allocation of two or more alternative IP numbers to a single MAC address, whose use depends upon the gateway address through which the request is relayed. Ability to define the pool/pools of addresses that can be allocated dynamically. This is pretty obvious, though someone might have a server that forces the pool to be a whole subnet or network. Ideally, the server does not force such a pool to consist of contiguous IP addresses. Ability to associate two or more dynamic address pools on separate IP networks (or subnets) with a single gateway address. This is the basic support for "secondary nets", e.g. a router that is acting as a BOOTP relay for an interface which has addresses for more than one IP network or subnet. Ability to configure groups of clients based upon client-supplied user and/or vendor class. Note: this is a feature that might be used to assign different client-groups on the same physical LAN to different logical subnets. Administrator-settable T1/T2 lengths. Interaction with another DHCP server. Note that there are a number of interactions that one might support and that a standard set & method is in the works. Use of PING (ICMP Echo Request) to check an address prior to dynamically allocating it. Server grace period on lease times. Ability to force client(s) to get a new address rather than renew.
Following are some features related not to the functions that the server is capable of carrying out, but to the way that it is administered. Ability to import files listing manually allocated addresses (as opposed to a system which requires you to type the entire configuration into its own
input utility). Even better is the ability to make the server do this via a command that can be used in a script, rdist, rsh, etc. Graphical administration. Central administration of multiple servers. Ability to import data in the format of legacy configurations, e.g. /etc/bootptab as used by the CMU BOOTP daemon. Ability to make changes while the server is running and leases are being tracked, i.e. add or take away addressees from a pool, modify parameters. Ability to make global modifications to parameters, i.e., that apply to all entries; or ability to make modifications to groups of ports or pools. Maintenance of a lease audit trail, i.e. a log of the leases granted.
5. What are the DHCP plans of major client-software vendors? Apple MacOS MacTCP's successor, Open Transport, supports DHCP. Open Transport 1.1 ships with System 7.5 Update 2.0 (which updates MacOS to version 7.5.3, released March 11, 1996) and supports any 68030, 68040, or PowerPC Macintosh. A shrink wrap version of Open Transport is planned. Microsoft Windows95 supports it and does not support BOOTP. I heard a rumor that BOOTP support will be added. Novell LAN Workplace for DOS For supporting DOS/Windows 3.1, Client32 for DOS/Windows, due in June 1996, will provide the TCP/IP stack functions and will support DHCP and BOOTP. For Windows 95 and Windows NT, the native stack will be used so that DHCP is supported. IBM OS/2 Warp supports it. 6. What Routers forward DHCP requests? (This is not necessarily a complete list). Note that in general, these routers probably already had BOOTP forwarding, but lacked the support for the BOOTP broadcast flag (see "broadcast flag" under What are the Gotcha's? above). It is likely that many other routers also support BOOTP forwarding. 7. What Routers include DHCP servers? DHCP requires disk storage (or some other form of reliable non-volatile storage), making the task of DHCP service more compatible with servers than with dedicated routers. The large-scale routers (i.e., those of Cisco, Bay, Fore) don't an will probably never will have a DHCP server function. But there are a number of types of servers that can be configured to route and serve DHCP. This includes Novell servers and computers running Unix. There are also units designed to handle two or more aspects of your Internet connection, e.g. routing between a LAN and a leased line as well as doing other functions to allow computers on the LAN to reach the Internet (or corporate intranet as the case may be). One example is Farallon's Netopia Internet Router mentioned above under commercial servers.
What Routers use DHCP to configure their IP addresses? The DHCP RFC specifically says that DHCP is not intended for use in configuring routers. The reason is that in maintaining and troubleshooting routers, it is important to know its exact configuration rather than leaving that to be automatically done, and also that you do not want your router's operation to depend upon the working of yet another server. It may be possible to configure some types of more general-purpose computers or servers to get their addresses from DHCP and to act as routers. Also, there are remote access servers, often which are usually not true routers, which use DHCP to acquire addresses to hand out to their clients.
What Servers forward DHCP requests? Windows NT's 3.51 Service Pack 3 (and 4) includes a BOOTP (& DHCP) relay agent as part of "Multi Protocol Router". 3.51). For Novell servers, there are NLMs that forward BOOTP requests, thus DHCP requests. The "BOOTPFWD NLM" is included in NetWare 4.1. You can get this support in NetWare 3.11 and 3.12 also by applying the TCPN01.EXE patch which is located at ftp://ftp.novell.com/updates/inet/mpr211/tcpn01.exe and on Netwire. Two other such NLMs (possibly old versions of the same) that are available online: ftp://netlab2.usu.edu/misc/bootpfd.zip(unsupported Novell software, 1993) ftp://netlab2.usu.edu/misc/bootp311.zip(unsupported Novell software, 1991) Also for Novell servers, the DHCP server that comes with NetWare/IP 2.2 can be configured to be just a BOOTP/DHCP forwarding agent. AIX, through its dhcprd daemon. Warp Server Version 4. Which implementations support or require the broadcast flag? The broadcast flag is an optional element of DHCP, but a client which sets it works only with a server or relay that supports it. Clients
Microsoft Windows NT DHCP client support added with version 3.5 sets the broadcast flag. Version 3.51 and later no longer set it. The exception is in the remote access support: it sets the flag when it uses DHCP to acquire addresses to hand out to its PPP clients. tcp/ip-32 for Microsoft Windows for Workgroups (WFW) Version 3.11a sets it, but version 3.11B doesn't. Microsoft Windows 95 Does not set the broadcast flag. 11. What servers support secondary subnet numbers? (These are not complete lists) The following servers can handle dynamic allocation on secondary subnet numbers: IPTrack version 2.0 ISC JOIN
SGI's DHCP Server under IRIX 6.2 Cisco (previously TGV) NetID Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 (since service pack 2) Sonic QDHCP ipLease IBM Warp Server Version 4 IBM AIX
The following can serve manually allocated addresses on secondary subnet numbers: IPTrack version 2.0 ISC JOIN QDHCP
The following cannot support secondary subnet numbers: Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 and 4.0 (through RC1) WIDE Sonic DHCP Server What servers support RFC-based dynamic DNS update? The following DHCP servers include the ability to make use of the RFC 2136/2137 DNS feature to make dynamic updates to the DNS. To make use of this ability, you need a DNS server that supports this feature. A likely use is to create temporary DNS records that associate a fully qualified DNS name derived from the client's netbios name with the client's leased IP number. Another use might be to associate DNS names with MAC addresses. These products might support one or both of these uses. American Internet Corp Net Registrar QDHCP IBM's Warp Server (version 4 and after) IBM's AIX server (version 4.1 and after) How can I run Windows 95 without a DHCP server? Not really a DHCP question, but it has been asked a lot, particularly by sites for which changing from BOOTP represents a lot of work. Some choices: Use no server at all for the Windows 95 clients: set the addresses in each client's setup. Install a non-Microsoft TCP/IP stack for Windows 95 that supports BOOTP. Switch from your current BOOTP server to one that supports both BOOTP and DHCP. The 'billgPC' program uses BOOTP (instead of DHCP) to configure Windows 95's native IP stack: http://www.panix.com/~perin/ (note: it also works with Windows NT).
A Document that addresses this question is the Windows 95tm Networking FAQ, http://www-leland.stanford.edu/~llurch/win95netbugs/faq.html
14. 15. 16.
Do any servers limit the MAC addresses that may roam? IBM's AIX and OS/2 WARP DHCP servers. ISC. What analyzers decode DHCP? Release 5.0 of Network General Corporation's Sniffer software. How do I make a client give up its lease? This is a general question, but the answer is of necessity specific to the clientimplementation. Naturally, one way to avoid the problem is to keep leases short enough that you are not obliged to do this. One method mentioned is to temporarily change the clock on the client. For a Win95 client, the winipcfg.exe program can do it. What are the Gotcha's specific to various implementations? In many cases, new releases have solved the problems that have been identified with various DHCP implementations. An extra server feature is required to handle the allocation of addresses on the secondary IP addresses associated with a router port. You may find out after the fact that you have such secondary addresses There have been servers that are inflexible as to the list of configuration parameters they were able to serve. If your client requires certain parameters, you could find such a server unusable. I hate to cast wide suspicions, but I've heard occasional word on client DHCP implementations that do not implement the entire protocol. Doing so requires that the software module be able to wake up again after a specified period of time and "renew the lease", i.e., ask to continue using the IP number. This is at least one feature of DHCP that is very hard to implement in some simpler systems. A specific complaint about Microsoft's Windows 95 dhcp client: it times out its requests much more quickly than the times specified by RFC1541 section 4.1. Among the circumstances that can turn this into a practical problem are the latencies due to relay agents and a server's use of ICMP echo to doublecheck the address. While it works with Microsoft's own NTbased server, the problem prevents interoperation with some other DHCP servers under some conditions. Microsoft is rumored to have developed an updater named VDHCPUPD.EXE to patch this problem, once available through the following patch: File: Vdhcp.386 File Last Modified Date: 02/12/96 File Size: 27,985 bytes File Version Information: 4.00.951 It consists of 2 files, vdhcpupd.exe and vdhcpupd.txt. I've since been told that a newer version is 4.00.954. I've also been told that the exe file is on the net at http://www.halcyon.com/cerelli/software/vdhcpupd.exe There are a number of issues regarding the patched bootp servers. These have been reported to re DD2.4.3: 'When run from inetd, I had problems with "Could not bind port" and DHCP request failure. I don't know why, and the problem went away when bootpd is run as a daemon.' 'Unless you set "dl" to some value in the bootptab file, the DHCP lease time, renewal time and prebinding time will be rubbish,
which will cause occasional renewal problems.' One symptom you might see is Microsoft DHCP implementations using 5-minute leases, which is their default. Other implementations may not run at all. Early Microsoft DHCP client implementations required the broadcast bit. Current ones do not. I have heard a vague complaints about the Microsoft implementations of DHCP: that it does not follow the standards. I could use details. Early Apple Open Transport implementations did not always fill out packets to BOOTP's 300-byte minimum, thus BOOTP forwarding agents that follow the BOOTP RFC and discard such packets end up discarding such DHCP packets, causing some of the functions to fail. Open Transport 1.1 fixes this. Pre 1.1 versions of Open Transport experienced interoperability problems with the Microsoft NT DHCP server. The very first announced release of Carnegie Mellon's server, dhcp-3.3.6, circa March 1996 has shown signs of needing to be shaken out to be more easily compiled outside of its development environment. Windows NT server v3.51 allows the administrator to specify addresses within its assignment range to be excluded, but does not always exclude them. Report: Novell's NetwareIP 2.2 server refuses to hand out dynamic bootp assignments to hosts mentioned in the local /etc/hosts file, even if configured to do so. I've heard a report that some combinations of versions of Unix & the ISC server will transmit packets to the subnet broadcast address rather than the default broadcast address (255.255.255.255), which impedes interoperability with some clients. Windows 95 DHCP client answers pings from an IP address even after the the client's lease has expired. Thus a server that uses ping to check to see that an IP number is unused before reassigning it may find that it is still in use. Windows 95 DHCP client cannot handle a lease renewal offered by a different server. Some clients have no way to configure a class option, which can be a showstopper if you need to use the class option to help decide what pool of addresses the client uses. I've heard reports that Windows 95, or at least some versions will use an address after the lease has expired under some circumstances, even when renewal requests have been turned down. With properly behaving clients, an IP administrator can safely make the following statement: "As long as all the clients are set to get their addresses through DHCP, I can tell which addresses are not being used by the clients simply by checking the server to see which IP addresses have no outstanding leases." The reports suggest that Windows 95 implementations won't allow this statement to be assumed.
Contents • • • • • 1 2 3 4 5 Introduction Overview Extent of DHCP usage IP address allocation DHCP and firewalls o 5.1 Example in ipfw firewall o 5.2 Example in Cisco IOS Extended ACL 6 Technical details o 6.1 DHCP discovery o 6.2 DHCP offers o 6.3 DHCP requests o 6.4 DHCP acknowledgement o 6.5 DHCP selection o 6.6 DHCP information o 6.7 DHCP releasing o 6.8 Client configuration parameters 7 See also 8 External links
 Introduction DHCP is a protocol used by networked computers (clients) to obtain unique IP addresses, and other parameters such as default router, subnet mask, and IP addresses for DNS servers from a DHCP server. This protocol is used when computers are added to a network because these settings are necessary for the host to participate in the network. This setting is periodically refreshed (it expires, meaning the client must obtain another assignment) with typical intervals ranging from one hour to several months, and can, if desired, be set to infinite (never expire). The length of time the address is available to the device it was assigned to is called a lease, and is determined by the server. The DHCP server ensures that all IP addresses are unique, that is, no IP address is assigned to a second client while the first client's assignment is valid (its lease has not expired). Thus IP address pool management is done by the server and not by a human network administrator. DHCP emerged as a standard protocol in October 1993. As of 2006, RFC 2131 provides the latest ([dated March 1997]) DHCP definition. DHCP functionally became a successor to the older BOOTP protocol, whose leases were given for infinite time and did not support options. Due to the backward-compatibility of DHCP, very few networks continue to use pure BOOTP. The latest non-standard of the protocol, describing DHCPv6 (DHCP in an IPv6 environment), appeared in July 2003 as RFC 3315.  Overview The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) automates the assignment of IP addresses, subnet masks, default routers, and other IP parameters. The assignment usually occurs when the DHCP configured machine boots up or regains connectivity to the network. The DHCP client sends out a query requesting a response from a DHCP server on the locally attached network.
The query is typically initiated immediately after booting up and before the client initiates any IP based communication with other hosts. The DHCP server then replies to the client with its assigned IP address, subnet mask, DNS server and default gateway information. The assignment of the IP address usually expires after a predetermined period of time, at which point the DHCP client and server renegotiate a new IP address from the server's predefined pool of addresses. Configuring firewall rules to accommodate access from machines who receive their IP addresses via DHCP is therefore more difficult because the remote IP address will vary from time to time. Administrators must usually allow access to the entire remote DHCP subnet for a particular TCP/UDP port. Most home routers and firewalls are configured in the factory to be DHCP servers for a home network. An alternative to a home router is to use a computer as a DHCP server. ISPs generally use DHCP to assign clients individual IP addresses. DHCP is a broadcast-based protocol. As with other types of broadcast traffic, it does not cross a router unless specifically configured to do so. Users who desire this capability must configure their routers to pass DHCP traffic across UDP ports 67 and 68.  Extent of DHCP usage Most cable internet providers use DHCP to allocate IP addresses. In the UK many broad-band ISP networks use DHCP, but xDSL providers make extensive use of "infinite lease", which amounts to assigning semi-static IPs. In addition, many routers and other gateway devices provide DHCP support for networks running many computers being assigned private IP addresses. Office networks also use DHCP, in particular when workers make extensive use of laptops which link directly to the in-house network only occasionally . Network routers and often multilayer switches employ a DHCP relay agent, which relays DHCP "Discover" broadcasts from a LAN which does not include a DHCP server to a network which does have one. These devices may be sometimes configured to append information about port from which DHCP request originates (also known as option 82). One example of such a relay agent is the UDP Helper Address command employed by Cisco routers.  IP address allocation Depending on implementation, the DHCP server has three methods of allocating IP-addresses: • manual allocation, where the DHCP server performs the allocation based on a table with MAC address - IP address pairs manually filled by the server administrator. Only requesting clients with a MAC address listed in this table get the IP address according to the table. automatic allocation, where the DHCP server permanently assigns to a requesting client a free IP-address from a range given by the administrator. dynamic allocation, the only method which provides dynamic re-use of IP addresses. A network administrator assigns a range of IP addresses to DHCP, and each client computer on the LAN has its TCP/IP software configured to request an IP address from the DHCP server when that client computer's network interface card starts up. The request-and-grant process uses a lease concept with a controllable time period. This eases the network installation procedure on the client computer side considerably.
This decision remains transparent to clients. Some DHCP server implementations can update the DNS name associated with the client hosts to reflect the new IP address. They make use of the DNS update protocol established with RFC 2136.  DHCP and firewalls Firewalls usually have to permit DHCP traffic explicitly. Specification of the DHCP client-server protocol describes several cases when packets must have the source address of 0x00000000 or the destination address of 0xffffffff. Anti-spoofing policy rules and tight inclusive firewalls often stop such packets. Multi-homed DHCP servers require special consideration and further complicate configuration. To allow DHCP, network administrators need to allow several types of packets through the server-side firewall. All DHCP packets travel as UDP datagrams; all client-sent packets have source port 68 and destination port 67; all server-sent packets have source port 67 and destination port 68. For example, a server-side firewall should allow the following types of packets: • • • Incoming packets from 0.0.0.0 or dhcp-pool to dhcp-ip Incoming packets from any address to 255.255.255.255 Outgoing packets from dhcp-ip to dhcp-pool or 255.255.255.255
where dhcp-ip represents any address configured on a DHCP server host and dhcp-pool stands for the pool from which a DHCP server assigns addresses to clients  Example in ipfw firewall To give an idea of how a configuration would look in production, the following rules for a server-side ipfirewall to allow DHCP traffic through. Dhcpd operates on interface rl0 and assigns addresses from 192.168.0.0/24 : pass udp from 0.0.0.0,192.168.0.0/24 68 to me 67 in recv rl0 pass udp from any 68 to 255.255.255.255 67 in recv rl0 pass udp from me 67 to 192.168.0.0/24,255.255.255.255 68 out xmit rl0  Example in Cisco IOS Extended ACL The following entries are valid on a Cisco 3560 switch with enabled DHCP service. The ACL is applied to a routed interface, 10.32.73.129, on input. The subnet is 10.32.73.128/26. 10 permit udp host 0.0.0.0 eq bootpc host 10.32.73.129 eq bootps 20 permit udp 10.32.73.128 0.0.0.63 eq bootpc host 10.32.73.129 eq bootps 30 permit udp any eq bootpc host 255.255.255.255 eq bootps  Technical details DHCP uses the same two IANA assigned ports as BOOTP: 67/udp for the server side, and 68/udp for the client side. DHCP operations fall into four basic phases. These phases are IP lease request, IP lease offer, IP lease selection, and IP lease acknowledgement.
 DHCP discovery The client broadcasts on the local physical subnet to find available servers. Network administrators can configure a local router to forward DHCP packets to a DHCP server on a different subnet. This client-implementation creates a UDP packet with the broadcast destination of 255.255.255.255 or subnet broadcast address and also requests its last-known IP address (in the example below, 192.168.1.100) although the server may ignore this optional parameter....  DHCP offers When a DHCP server receives an IP lease request from a client, it extends an IP lease offer. This is done by reserving an IP address for the client and broadcasting a DHCPOFFER message across the network. This message contains the client's MAC address, followed by the IP address that the server is offering, the subnet mask, 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 the CHADDR field. Here the server, 192.168.1.1, specifies the IP address in the YIADDR field.  DHCP requests Whenever a computer comes on line, it checks to see if it currently has an IP address leased. If it does not, it requests a lease from a DHCP server. Because the client computer does not know the address of a DHCP server, it uses 0.0.0.0 as its own IP address and 255.255.255.255 as the destination address. Doing so allows the client to broadcast a DHCPDISCOVER message across the network. Such a message consists of the client computer's Media Access Control (MAC) address (the hardware address built into the network card) and its NetBIOS name. The client selects a configuration out of the DHCP "Offer" packets it has received and broadcasts it on the local subnet. Again, this client requests the 192.168.1.100 address that the server specified. In case the client has received multiple offers it specifies the server from which it has accepted the offer.  DHCP acknowledgement When the DHCP server receives the DHCPREQUEST message from the client, it initiates the final phase of the configuration process. This acknowledgement phase involves sending a DHCPACK packet to the client. This packet includes the lease duration and any other configuration information that the client might have requested. At this point, the TCP/IP configuration process is complete. The server acknowledges the request and sends the acknowledgement to the client. The system as a whole expects the client to configure its network interface with the supplied options.  DHCP selection When the client PC receives an IP lease offer, it must tell all the other DHCP servers that it has accepted an offer. To do this, the client broadcasts a DHCPREQUEST message containing the IP address of the server that made the offer. When the other DHCP servers receive this message, they withdraw any offers that they might have made to the client. They then return the address that they had reserved for the client back to the pool of valid addresses that they can offer to another computer. Any number of DHCP servers can respond to an IP lease request, but the client can only accept one offer per network interface card.
 DHCP information The client sends a request to the DHCP server: either to request more information than the server sent with the original DHCPACK; or to repeat data for a particular application - for example, browsers use DHCP Inform to obtain web proxy settings via WPAD. Such queries do not cause the DHCP server to refresh the IP expiry time in its database.  DHCP releasing The client sends a request to the DHCP server to release the DHCP and the client unconfigures its IP address. As clients usually do not know when users may unplug them from the network, the protocol does not define the sending of DHCP Release as mandatory.  Client configuration parameters A DHCP server can provide optional configuration parameters to the client. RFC 2132 defines the available DHCP options, which are summarized here.
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