How DHCP Works

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

DHCP provides an automated way to distribute and update IP addresses and other configuration information on a network. A DHCP server provides this information to a DHCP client through the exchange of a series of messages, known as the DHCP conversation or the DHCP transaction. If the DHCP server and DHCP clients are located on different subnets, a DHCP relay agent is used to facilitate the conversation.


You must have an understanding of basic TCP/IP concepts, including a working knowledge of subnets, before you can have a full understanding of DHCP. For more information, see the TCP/IP Technical Reference (

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