Computer Science

Dynamic Host Conguration Protocol


In the context of computer networking the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is one that helps to configure the different devices that are attached to an IP Network.  This typically supports a client server model within a local area network (LAN).  The prime ain being to differentiate or separate public and private IP addresses.  Despite wide use of DHCP there are a number of advantages and disadvantages to this network protocol


  • There is no requirement from manual configuration for the client to the IP address;
  • No maintenance log required for IP addresses assigned;
  • Ability to automatically assign a new IP address where client relocates to a different subnet;
  • Ability to release IP address of offline computer and assign to another computer
  • DHCP server detects intruders or unauthorised people on the network


  • Security breaches by potential introduction of rogue DHCP server into the network
  • Where only one DCHP server is in place on the network it creates a single point of risk and potential failures may become system wide problems.(Canavan, 2001)


Despite the many advantages of DHCP in network security and controlling the IP addresses on a computer network it is important to recognise the potential areas of risk and minimize these within the proper configuration of the network systems architecture.  One of the main mitigation areas is to have more than one DHCP server reducing the risk if one serve is taken out of operation.  This can help prevent system wide problems whilst remedial action is taken to correct any notified errors.


Canavan, J. E. (2001). Fundamentals of Network Security. In J. E. Canavan, Fundamentals of Network Security (pp. 171-172). New York: Artech House.