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DHCP Overview of Client and Server Responsibilities
(Page 2 of 2)
DHCP Client Responsibilities
A DHCP client is any device that
sends DHCP requests to a server to obtain an IP address or other configuration
information. Due to the advantages of DHCP, most host computers on TCP/IP
internetworks today include DHCP client software, making them potential
DHCP clients if their administrator chooses to enable the function.
The main responsibilities of a DHCP client are:
DHCP Device Roles and Interaction
- Configuration Initiation: The client takes
the active role by initiating the communication exchange that
results in it being given an IP address and other parameters. The server,
in contrast, is passive and will not really do anything for the
client until the client makes contact.
- Configuration Parameter Management: The
client maintains parameters that pertain to its configuration, some
or all of which may be obtained from a DHCP server.
- Lease Management: Assuming its address
is dynamically allocated, the client keeps track of the status of its
own lease. It is responsible for renewing the lease at the appropriate
time, rebinding if renewal is not possible, and terminating the lease
early if the address is no longer needed.
- Message Retransmission: Since DHCP uses
the unreliable User
Datagram Protocol for messaging, clients
are responsible for detecting message loss and retransmitting requests
if need be.
The DHCP server and client obviously
play complementary roles. The server maintains configuration parameters
for all clients; each client maintains its own parameters, as discussed
in the next topic. IP address assignment and lease creation, renewal,
rebinding and termination are accomplished through specific exchanges
using a set of eight DHCP message types, which we will see later in
this section. To accomplish this messaging, special rules are followed
to generate, address and transport messages, which are explained
in a topic in the section on DHCP messaging.
Like BOOTP, DHCP also supports a
third type of device, the relay agent. Relay agents are neither
clients nor servers, but rather intermediaries that facilitate cross-network
communication between servers and clients. They are described in more
detail in the
section on DHCP implementation and features
(where you can also find more of the implementation details of servers
Key Concept: DHCP servers are devices programmed to provide DHCP services to clients. They manage address information and other parameters and respond to client configuration requests. DHCP clients are TCP/IP devices that have been set to use DHCP to determine their configuration. They send requests and read responses, and are responsible for managing their own leases, including renewing or rebinding a lease when necessary.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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