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Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol

Saeed Ahmad, Muzammil Abbas, Usama Hussain, Shaharyar Sajid

Abstract—[7] Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) automatically assigns the IP addresses to the nodes or the
systems dynamically and temporarily.
[8] The software itself keeps track of IP addresses rather than requiring an administrator to manage the task. A new
computer can be added without the hassle of assigning it the unique IP addresses (which, in case, not provided could cause
IP conflict, thus denying access to the concerned systems).

Index Terms— DHCP protocol, Configuration of IP address, subnet mask etc.


Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is an application layer protocol which provide [1]:

 IP Address (Internet Protocol Address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer
network that used it for communication)
 Subnet Mask (A subnet mask is a number that defines a range of IP addresses that can be used in a network)
 DNS Server ((Domain Name System) The Internet's system for converting alphabetic names into numeric IP
 Default Gateway (A default gateway makes it possible for devices in one network to communicate with
devices in another network)

At first, IP addresses were assigned manually and each station kept its own IP address in its secondary storage. But
when more complex networks were established and cheap client workstations without secondary storage came in use,
a need for central administration (such as Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP)) arise which allowed a
machine on a network segment to learn its own IP address.
After that the Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP) was developed that allowed configuration over broader networks and was
not limited to a single segment like RARP [5].
DHCP is based on the Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP). DHCP was first defined in RFC 1531 in October 1993 but due
to errors in the editorial process, it was almost immediately reissued in RFC 1541.


Working of DHCP: On [3] a TCP/IP-based network, DHCP is used to get information about a client host’s (i.e., a
network node’s) configuration from a DHCP server, which is a specially designated network node. This is useful, for
example, in situations where clients are assigned IP addresses dynamically, and where these addresses disappear after
a session or after the host relinquishes the address. This is common with Internet Access Providers that assign IP
addresses as subscribers connect for a session. The configuration information may not exist until the client requests
it. This helps keep down administrative chores
[2]In addition to being a protocol, DHCP also provides a mechanism for allocating network addresses. In fact, DHCP
provides three mechanisms:
1. Automatic allocation, in which a permanent IP address is assigned to the host.
2. Dynamic allocation, in which DHCP assigns a temporary IP address. This mechanism is what
distinguishes DHCP from earlier protocols.
3. Manual allocation, in which the network administrator assigns the address, and DHCP merely
transfers the address.
DHCP is not a routable protocol, nor is it a secure one. DHCP is limited to a specific local area network (LAN), which
means a single DHCP server per LAN is adequate, or two servers for use in case of a failover. Larger networks may
have a wide area network (WAN) containing multiple individual locations. Depending on the connections between
these points and the number of clients in each location, multiple DHCP servers can be set up to handle the distribution
of addresses.
3.1. Static vs. dynamic DHCP leases:
With dynamic DHCP, a client does not own the IP address assigned to it but instead "leases" it for a period of time.
Devices assigned static IP addresses have permanent IP addresses and are used for devices like web servers or

The advantages of using DHCP include:
 Centralized management of IP addresses
 Ease of adding new clients to a network
 Re-use of IP addresses reducing the total number of IP addresses that are required
 Simple reconfiguration of the IP address space on the DHCP server without needing to reconfigure each
 Removes the task of manueling assigning unique IP address, subnet mask and DNS server each time
 Allows reservation of IP address (known as static IP address) for particular devices such as network printers,
routers etc.


Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP) both are standards
(RFC2131 for DHCP and RFC903 for RARP) for IP address assignment. RARP is pretty simple and old protocol
compared to DHCP that is very advanced.
RARP has the limitation of Client and server being in the same sub network, so it has limited scalability. In fact RARP
is only limited to providing static IP address (but DHCP is dynamic) to client and can’t provide Default Gateway and
name server details. RARP is also pretty complex compared to DHCP.


I. Introduction
II. History of DHCP
III. Working of DHCP
IV. Advantages of DHCP
V. Comparisons with compatriots
VI. References

VII. References
1. geeksforGeeks

2. What is my IP address

3. Searching Network

4. The Encyclopedia of Networking 2nd Edition by Werner Feibel

(Page 807-808)

5. site

6. kunbus

7. PowerCert Animated Videos

8. Quora