A lease specifies the amount of time the DHCP server grants permission to a DHCP client to use a particular IP address. During the initial server configuration, you must specify a site-wide lease policy to indicate the lease time and whether clients can renew their leases. The server uses the information you supply to set option values in the default macros it creates during configuration. You can set different lease policies for specific clients or type of clients, by setting options in configuration macros you create.
The lease time is specified as a number of hours, days, or weeks for which the lease is valid. When a client is assigned an IP address (or renegotiates a lease on an IP address it is already assigned), the lease expiration date and time is calculated by adding the number of hours in the lease time to the timestamp on the client's DHCP acknowledgment. For example, if the timestamp of the DHCP acknowledgment is September 16, 2001 9:15 A.M., and the lease time is 24 hours, the lease expiration time is September 17, 2001 9:15 A.M. The lease expiration time is stored in the client's DHCP network record, viewable in DHCP Manager or with pntadm.
The lease time value should be relatively small, so that expired addresses are reclaimed quickly, but large enough so that if your DHCP service becomes unavailable, the clients continue to function until the system(s) that run the DHCP service can be repaired. A rule of thumb is to specify a time that is two times the predicted down time of a server. For example, if it generally takes four hours to obtain and replace a defective part and reboot the server, you should specify a lease time of eight hours.
The lease negotiation option determines whether or not a client can renegotiate its lease with the server before the lease expires. If lease negotiation is allowed, the client tracks the time that remains in its lease, and when half the lease time is used, the client requests the DHCP server to extend its lease to the original lease time. It is useful to disable lease negotiation in environments where there are more systems than IP addresses, so the time limit is enforced on the use of IP addresses. If there are enough IP addresses, you should enable lease negotiation so you do not force a client to take down its network interface and obtain a new lease, which can interrupt the client's TCP connections (such as NFS and telnet sessions). You can enable lease negotiation site-wide during the server configuration, and for particular clients or types of clients through the use of the LeaseNeg option in configuration macros.
Systems that provide services on the network should retain their IP addresses, and should not be subject to short-term leases. You can use DHCP with such systems if you assign them reserved (manual) IP addresses, rather than IP addresses with permanent leases. This enables you to detect when the system's IP address is no longer in use.