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DHCP Technical Reference

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

DHCP Technical Reference

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 includes Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), a TCP/IP standard that enables the centralized management of IP addresses and other optional configuration information for client computers on a network.

DHCP simplifies IP address configuration by automating the process for clients on a network. DHCP servers, allocate IP addresses and related TCP/IP configuration settings to DHCP-enabled clients on the network. DHCP relay agents are used to forward initial DHCP messages between DHCP clients and DHCP servers if the clients and servers are not on the same IP broadcast subnet.

The DHCP Server service for Windows Server 2003 is based on Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards. DHCP specifications are defined in Requests for Comments (RFCs) published by the Dynamic Host Configuration working group of the IETF. The following RFCs specify the core DHCP standards that Windows Server 2003 DHCP supports:

  • RFC 2131: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol

  • RFC 2132: DHCP Options and BOOTP Vendor Extensions

Before you can understand DHCP you must have a working knowledge of TCP/IP networks. Specifically, you must understand how subnets work within a TCP/IP network. You should also review and understand the terms listed in “What Is DHCP?.”

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