Chapter 2, TCP/IP Network Configuration, covered configuring a computer to function on a TCP/IP network in any of several different ways. One of these ways was to use a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server. In this configuration, the computer sends out a broadcast query to locate a DHCP server, which responds by providing the computer with an IP address and other necessary configuration information. This configuration is very convenient for the DHCP client, because it obviates the need to enter the computer's IP address, IP addresses for gateways, and related information. DHCP doesn't work by magic, though. If you're running your own network, it requires that you configure a DHCP server computer to answer DHCP client requests . This chapter covers how to do this.
Before configuring a DHCP server, you should ask yourself whether you want to do this. If so, you need to locate the DHCP configuration files. The most basic configuration involves having the DHCP server assign IP addresses that may vary from one client boot to another, but with some more work you can have DHCP assign the same IP address to specific computers time after time. The final topic covered in this chapter concerns integrating a DHCP server with other servers, such as Samba and a Domain Name System (DNS) server.
As with many topics covered in this book, this chapter cannot cover all the details, but it should get you started, and may be enough for many configurations. If you need to create an extremely complex DHCP configuration, you may need to consult a book dedicated to the topic, such as Droms & Lemons' The DHCP Handbook: Understanding, Deploying, and Managing Automated Configuration Services (New Riders Publishing, 1999) or Kercheval's DHCP: A Guide to Dynamic TCP/IP Network Configuration (Prentice Hall, 1999).