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(also Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol)

DHCP definition

A network management protocol that automatically assigns IP addresses and other communication parameters to devices connected to a network. For example, a router usually acts as a DHCP server in most home networks. It assigns IP addresses to your devices. Implementing this protocol saves time and prevents human errors.

How DHCP works

A device joins a network and requests an IP address. The request is sent to a DHCP server, which assigns the device an IP and monitors its usage. When the device is shut down, the DHCP server takes the IP address back. This way, the same IP address can be assigned to another device. The IP address works for communicating on both internal and public networks.

DHCP advantages

  • IP configuration. Automatically resolves conflicts between two users with the same IP address.
  • Efficiency. DHCP centralizes the whole IP configuration, and separate IP-assigning servers are not needed.
  • Mobility. Users can use their mobile devices anywhere within the range of their network.
  • Flexibility. DHCP makes changes of IP address schemes easier and without disruptions to end users.

DHCP disadvantages

  • Doesn’t have any authentication methods in place.
  • Malicious clients can exhaust DHCP resources and make it crash.
  • Vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security