HomeNetworking BasicsWhat is DHCP? Dynamic host Configuration Protocol explained

What is DHCP? Dynamic host Configuration Protocol explained

The utilization of network devices has exponentially increased, given the convenient and efficient functionality, irrespective of the hyper-connected world. With this being said, DHCP has become a vital method of capacitating the devices to join and configure the network. With the implementation of DHCP, the error count will be reduced, compared to the manual allocation of the IP addresses. With this article, we are digging deeper into DHCP!

DHCP – What Is It?

DHCP stands for the dynamic host configuration protocol, which is defined as the network management protocol. It is used for automating the configuration process of the devices regarding the IP networks. As a result, the users will be allowed to deploy the network services, such as NTP and DNS (truth be told, it works on every communication protocol designed over TCP or UDP). 

The DHCP servers will assign the IP address and additional network configurations to each device connected to the network. As a result, users will be able to connect and communicate with various IP networks. In simpler words, DHCP works as the enhancement of dated protocols, commonly known as BOOTP. Even more, DHCP is a crucial component of DDI solutions. 

DHCP Servers

The DHCP server is actually the network servers that are responsible for providing and assigning the IP address (automatically). It also allocates the other networking parameters, such as default gateways. The DHCP servers rely on DHCP for responding to the broadcast queries of clients. The server sends the network parameters for clients for effective communication on the network. 

On the contrary, without the DHCP server, the network networks would need to set up the clients on the network (manually). Furthermore, it can be tedious, especially when you have to curate a huge network. The DHCP servers tend to assign a unique dynamic IP address to every client that also changes when the IP address lease expires. 

One might think that implementing the DHCP on the router is a better approach, but it’s always better to opt for the centralized DHCP servers. The DHCP servers are great for the network that needs DHCP for IPv4 as well as IPv6. At the virtual scale, the DHCP server vendors will offer support for multiple protocols, resulting in the proper management of interfaces. 

To begin with, the IPv6-enabled client nodes will have better visibility while offering management and logging interfaces. As a result, the administrators will be empowered to manage the IP address scopes. These servers offer improved availability and redundancy, resulting in preventing end-note interruption. 

Components of DHCP

While we are trying to establish an understanding regarding DHCP, we must understand the associated components. The components of the DHCP are outlined below, along with their functions, such as;

DHCP Server

The server is the networked device that runs the DHCP service and holds the configuration information along with the IP address. The server can be a router or any device that can act as a host (SD-WAN is one of them). 

DHCP Client

This is the endpoint that’s meant to receive the configuration information, which is directed from the server. The client can be any device that needs network connectivity, such as a computer, smartphone, or the Internet of Things endpoint. 

IP Address Pool 

The address pool is the extensive range of addresses that are readily available for the clients. These addresses can be handed out in ascending order. 


When it comes down to the IP networks, they can be categorized into various segments, commonly known as subnets. These subnets are responsible for keeping the networks properly managed. 


As the name suggests, a lease is the length or duration of time for which the clients can hold the IP address information. Once the lease ends, the clients need to renew it.

DHCP Relay 

Relay is the name for any host or router responsible for listening for the broadcasted client messages on the network. Furthermore, it forwards the client messages to the configured server. As a result, the server will send the response to the relay agent that’s further directed to the client. Relay is responsible for centralizing the servers rather than curating the server on every subnet. 

DHCP Options

The DHCP options can be utilized for the automatic provision of information to the clients on the network services. It’s safe to say that DHCP options help push the IP address of the mail server, time server, and DNS server, along with the printer server. Also, DHCP options can be used for providing the file server and file name for initiating the boot process. This is suitable for the Wi-Fi access points, IP phones, and servers with PXE. 



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