The powerful features that add to the utility and flexibility of TCP/IP also add to its complexity. TCP/IP is not as easy to configure as some other networking systems. TCP/IP requires that the configuration provide hardware, addressing, and routing information. It is designed to be independent of any specific underlying network hardware, so configuration information that can be built into the hardware in some network systems cannot be built in for TCP/IP. The information must be provided by the person responsible for the configuration. This assumes that every system is run by people who are knowledgeable enough to provide the proper information to configure the system. Unfortunately, this assumption does not always prove correct.
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers make it possible for the network administrator to control TCP/IP configuration from a central point. This relieves the end user of some of the burden of configuration and improves the quality of the information used to configure systems.
The DCHP client broadcasts a request for TCP/IP configuration information. When a DHCP server receives the request, it returns a packet that contains an IP address and all of the other TCP/IP configuration parameters provided by the server. The exact exchange of packets between the client and the server is covered in Chapter 6. The result of the exchange is that the client obtains its configuration from the server.
The configuration parameters ...