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How DHCP works

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

How DHCP works

DHCP uses a client-server model. The network administrator establishes one or more DHCP servers that maintain TCP/IP configuration information and provide it to clients. The server database includes the following:

  • Valid configuration parameters for all clients on the network.

  • Valid IP addresses maintained in a pool for assignment to clients, plus reserved addresses for manual assignment.

  • Duration of a lease offered by the server. The lease defines the length of time for which the assigned IP address can be used.

With a DHCP server installed and configured on your network, DHCP-enabled clients can obtain their IP address and related configuration parameters dynamically each time they start and join your network. DHCP servers provide this configuration in the form of an address-lease offer to requesting clients.

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