Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a network application protocol used by devices (DHCP clients) to obtain configuration information for operation in an Internet Protocol network. This protocol reduces system administration workload, allowing devices to be added to the network with little or no manual intervention.
The client broadcasts on the physical subnet to find available servers. Network administrators can configure a local router to forward DHCP packets to a DHCP server on a different subnet. This client-implementation creates a UDP packet with the broadcast destination of 255.255.255.255 or subnet broadcast address.
A client can also request its last-known IP address (in the example below, 192.168.1.100). If the client is still in a network where this IP is valid, the server might grant the request. Otherwise, it depends whether the server is set up as authoritative or not. An authoritative server will deny the request, making the client ask for a new IP immediately. A non-authoritative server simply ignores the request, leading to an implementation-dependent timeout for the client to give up on the request and ask for a new IP address.
When a DHCP server receives an IP lease request from a client, it reserves an IP address for the client and extends an IP lease offer by sending a DHCPOFFER message to the client. This message contains the client’s MAC address, the IP address that the server is offering, the subnet mask, the lease duration, and the IP address of the DHCP server making the offer.
The server determines the configuration, based on the client’s hardware address as specified in the CHADDR field. Here the server, 192.168.1.1, specifies the IP address in the YIADDR field.
A client can receive DHCP offers from multiple servers, but it will accept only one DHCP offer and broadcast a DHCP request message. Based on Transaction ID field in the request, servers are informed whose offer the client has accepted. When other DHCP servers receive this message, they withdraw any offers that they might have made to the client and return the offered address to the pool of available addresses.
When the DHCP server receives the DHCPREQUEST message from the client, the configuration processes enters its final phase. The acknowledgement phase involves sending a DHCPACK packet to the client. This packet includes the lease duration and any other configuration information that the client might have requested. At this point, the IP configuration process is complete.