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Admin Digest: Setting Up A SuSE 8.0 Linux DHCP Client

Introduction to DHCP

  • December 30, 2002
  • By Rob Reilly

If you are a small-business owner who wants to link Linux into a pre-existing Windows network, then you might want to try to use DHCP to get all of your machines talking to each other.

DHCP allows an administrator to dynamically assign a network address to clients that connect to that network. It's useful, for example, with laptops that are used in several networks. DHCP is also a vital tool on large networks where keeping track of all addresses and configuring clients would otherwise be a major headache.

Because of its ease of use, DHCP is perfect for heterogeneous networks, since DHCP clients' operating systems are transparent to the network. In other word's the network does not care what kind of machine--Linux, Windows, OS X--is using the network.

It should be noted, however, that accessing the network and sharing files and applications between clients on the network are two different things. Filesharing between Windows and Linux machines falls under the domain of the Samba server, which is another topic altogether.

Back to DHCP: another advantage is the re-usability of IP addresses: as soon as a client logs off, the same IP address can be given to the next new client. The same mechanism is used by cable Internet providers.

DHCP's basic workflow is simple. When a client is configured to use DHCP, on booting it broadcasts a DHCPDISCOVER request on the network. If there's a DHCP server listening, it will respond with a DHCPOFFER. When they have found each other, the server then assigns an IP address to that DHCP client machine.

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