The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a method for automaticly assigning and tracking IP addresses. This method has been approved as a standard by Internet Engineering Task Force.
IP addresses allow computers to identify and effectively communicate with each other. It is very important that IP addresses be unique in order for the communication to work. Traditionally a network administrator would manually configure the address on each machine on the network. Then record this information in a document or spreadsheet. This work can be a burden in a network with a large number of computers.
In order to increase the effecency of assigning IP addresses several automated methodes have been developed. The older method is called the the Bootstrap Protocol (BootP). The newer method is DHCP. The general idea behind the two methods is very similar but the DHCP methods has a few additional options.
The general approach automating this process is to have a computer with a group of IP addresses it can manage. This machine (ofter refered to as the server) is manually assigned an IP address for its own use and also told what group of addresses it can manage. A machine (the client) that does not have an IP address assigned can then communicate with the server and recieve an address.
This process can be divided into four steps.
TCP/IP Networking with NT
Setting up a private network? According to RFC1597, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has reserved the following three blocks of the IP address space for private networks:
10.0.0.0 - 10.255.255.255
172.16.0.0 - 172.31.255.255
192.168.0.0 - 192.168.255.255