What Is Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)?

In modern hyper-connected IT environments, admins must ensure all the devices are configured correctly and connected in a network. Manually assigning IP addresses to every device is prone to errors. This is where Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol or DHCP configuration comes into play. DHCP is a network management protocol where a server dynamically assigns IP addresses and related information to all the devices on the network for effective communication. Not only IP addresses, but DHCP can also configure a default gateway, subnet mask, Domain Name Server (DNS) and other relevant networking parameters.

Know more @ what is the purpose of DHCP?

DHCP reduces the chances of common errors occurring when IP addresses are assigned manually. It also ensures no two hosts can have the same IP addresses. DHCP plays an important role in managing small networks where mobile devices are used and require IP addresses on a non-permanent basis. The automatic allotment of IP addresses allows mobile devices to move freely from one network to another.

Further, DHCP helps to reduce the typographical errors arising when IP address configuration parameters aren’t defined properly. Since every device must have a unique IP address, duplicate addresses can create conflict where one or both of the devices cannot connect to the network. This happens when addresses are assigned manually. DHCP minimizes the risk of such IP address conflicts. If a change is detected, the DHCP server is updated with new information and the information will be distributed to the new endpoints automatically.

COMPONENTS OF DHCP
DHCP Server
A DHCP server can be a router or a server acting as a host. This is a networked device executing the DHCP service and holding IP addresses and related configuration information.

DHCP Client
A client machine can be a computer, mobile device, or any other device needing to be connected to the network. The client receives configuration information from a DHCP server.

DHCP Relay
DHCP Relay can be a router or a host whose main job is to listen to client messages on the network and then forward them to the server. The server replies by sending responses back to the relay agent passing the message to the client.

IP Address Pool
This is a repository of IP addresses available to DHCP clients. They’re generally assigned sequentially from lowest to highest.

Subnet
IP networks are logically partitioned into two or more segments known as subnets or sub-networks, so they can be managed efficiently.

Lease
The amount of time for which a DHCP client can hold the IP address information.

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