Configuring DHCP Relay







In large networks, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Servers are located on remote subnets, sometimes far from where the clients requesting the IP are located. In these cases, relays agents are needed to carry the DHCP Discover packets sourced from clients to the data center where the big DHCP servers reside.

This Free CCNA Lab describes how to configure DHCP Relay to provide configuration parameters including the host IP address, the default gateway, and a DNS server to DHCP clients across multiple subnets.

DHCP Server and Client Overview:

DHCP provides a framework for passing configuration information dynamically to hosts on a TCP/IP network. A DHCP client is an Internet host using DHCP to obtain configuration parameters such as an IP address. A DHCP relay agent is any host that forwards DHCP packets between clients and servers. Relay agents are used to forward requests and replies between clients and servers when they are not on the same physical subnet. Relay agent forwarding is distinct from the normal forwarding of an IP router, where IP datagrams are switched between networks somewhat transparently. By contrast, relay agents receive DHCP messages and then generate a new DHCP message to send on another interface. Figure 5-1 shows the basic steps that occur when a DHCP client requests an IP address from a DHCP server. The client, Host A, sends a DHCPDISCOVER broadcast message to locate a DHCP server. A relay agent forwards the packets between the DHCP client and server. A DHCP server offers configuration parameters (such as an IP address, a MAC address, a domain name, and a lease for the IP address) to the client in a DHCPOFFER unicast message.

DHCP Relay Agent Overview:

A DHCP relay agent is any host that forwards DHCP packets between clients and servers. Relay agents are used to forward requests and replies between clients and servers when they are not on the same physical subnet. Relay agent forwarding is distinct from the normal forwarding of an IP router, where IP datagrams are switched between networks somewhat transparently. By contrast, relay agents receive DHCP messages and then generate a new DHCP message to send out on another interface. The relay agent sets the gateway address (giaddr field of the DHCP packet) and, if configured, adds the relay agent information option (option82) in the packet and forwards it to the DHCP server. The reply from the server is forwarded back to the client after removing option 82. The Cisco IOS DHCP relay agent supports the use of unnumbered interfaces. For DHCP clients connected though the unnumbered interfaces, the DHCP relay agent automatically adds a static host route once the DHCP client obtains an address, specifying the unnumbered interface as the outbound interface. The route is automatically removed once the lease time expires or when the client releases the address.

Specifying the Packet Forwarding Address:

This is used to configure the DHCP relay agent to forward packets to a DHCP server. DHCP clients need to use User Datagram Protocol (UDP) broadcasts to send their initial DHCPDISCOVER messages because they don’t have information about the network to which they are attached. If the client is on a network segment that does not include a server, UDP broadcasts normally are not forwarded because most routers are configured to not forward broadcast traffic. You can remedy this situation by configuring the interface of your router that is receiving the broadcasts to forward certain classes of broadcasts to a helper address. You can use more than one helper address per interface. When a router forwards these address assignment/parameter requests, it is acting as a DHCP relay agent. The Cisco router implementation of the DHCP relay agent is provided via the IP helper-address interface configuration command.

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One Response to “Configuring DHCP Relay”

  1. Network professionals who have 1 to 3 years of experience in network specialization, administration and support engineering etc. can opt for the CCNA Exam.

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