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Working with DHCP

DHCP allows you to dynamically assign IP address to your network computers and other devices. IP addresses are taken from a pool of addresses and assigned to computers either permanently or for a fixed lease time. When you consider that you must configure every client computer on an IP network with such things as an IP address, a subnet mask, a default gateway address, and a DNS server address, you can see that there is an incredible margin for error.

DHCP provides a dynamic environment for assigning IP addresses to computers and devices on the network. It actually simplifies much of the drudgery that would be involved in manual assignments of IP addresses. Most network operating systems including Novell NetWare and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 provide the DHCP service, which can be configured on a network server that provides other services or on a standalone network server (which provides only the DHCP service). We will look at configuring a server for DHCP in a moment. First, let’s discuss how DHCP clients request an IP address from a DHCP server.


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