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Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

What does Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol mean?

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, which was standardized and distributed in 1993, offers possibilities for the automatic network configuration of computers by a server service. As a rule, manual settings must be maintained on a computer before it is integrated into a company network.


This includes entries such as netmask, IP number, gateway address and domain name server.

In large companies with hundreds of stations this would take too much time. Can mistakes be made in the process? Yes, the double assignment of the same IP address causes serious conflicts in the LAN. This is why companies worldwide rely on DHCP servers and the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

How is the DHCP applied?

On the one hand, the DHCP service runs in the background on a DHCP server. It listens on port 67 to see whether a client answers to it. On the other hand, a computer without configuration is connected to the network and sends a DHCPDISCOVER packet to the network via broadcast to contact an available DHCP server. The server sends the client the required TCP/IP parameters and writes the MAC and IP address of the client into a database.

Other DHCP servers are informed about the handshake. The IP assignment can be static so that the client receives the same address from the DHCP server every time it logs on to the network. However, dynamic assignment is much more common. This makes optimum use of the IP range that a company manages.

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