Network Administration: DHCP Server on Linux

DHCP is the TCP/IP protocol that automatically assigns IP addresses to hosts as they come on the network. (DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Control Protocol, but that won’t be on the test.) For a very small network (say, fewer than ten hosts), you don’t really need DHCP: You can just configure each computer to have a static IP address.

For larger networks, however, DHCP is almost a must. Without DHCP, you have to manually plan your entire IP address scheme and manually configure every computer with its IP information. Then, if a critical address such as your Internet gateway router or your DNS server address changes, you have to manually update each computer on the network. As you can imagine, DHCP can save you a lot of time.

Even for small networks, however, DHCP can be a timesaver. For example, suppose that you have a notebook computer that you take back and forth between your home and office. If you don’t set up a DHCP server at home, you have to change the computer’s static IP address each time you move the computer. With DHCP, the computer can change IP addresses automatically.