cybersecurity Glossary

What is DHCP?

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), also defined as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, is a network protocol that works based on a client-server architecture. The technology dynamically and automatically assigns an IP address when a new computer is connected to the network, facilitating communication and preventing at all times two different computers from working with the same IP address, a scenario that, in case of occurrence, would trigger chaos in the local network.

A device connected to a network sends a broadcast request with a DHCREQUEST message asking for a DHCP server to provide connectivity.

This dynamic IP address may be private from a router to the computers on a local network or public when it’s a telecommunications operator (ISP). Thus, when a DHCP server goes into action, all the IP addresses it has provided to different users are stored in a list that relates the IP provided (logical address) and the MAC (the physical address of the network card).

The best-known utility of the DHCP protocol is to provide basic network and connection information (the IP address, the subnet mask and the gateway). Still, it can also provide other information such as the DNS server name, DNS server of the network, NTP servers, and MTU server for the interface…