System Administration Guide: IP Services

Mapping Your Network Topology

If you have not already done so, you should map the physical structure of your network. Indicate the location of routers and clients, and the location of servers that provide network services. This map of your network topology can help you determine which server to use for the DHCP service. The map can also help you determine the configuration information that the DHCP server can provide to clients.

See Chapter 2, Planning Your TCP/IP Network (Tasks) for more information about planning your network.

The DHCP configuration process can gather some network information from the server's system and network files. Updating System Files and Netmask Tables discusses these files. However, you might want to give clients other service information, which you must enter into the server's macros. As you examine your network topology, record the IP addresses of any servers you want your clients to know about. The following servers, for example, might provide services on your network. The DHCP configuration does not discover these servers.

Network Topology to Avoid

In some IP network environments, several local area networks (LANs) share the same network hardware media. The networks may use multiple network hardware interfaces or multiple logical interfaces. DHCP does not work well in this kind of shared media network. When multiple LANs run across the same physical network, a DHCP client's request arrives on all network hardware interfaces. This effect makes the client appear to be attached to all of the IP networks simultaneously.

DHCP must be able to determine the address of a client's network in order to assign an appropriate IP address to the client. If more than one network is present on the hardware media, the server cannot determine the client's network. The server cannot assign an IP address without knowing the network number.

You can use DHCP on only one of the networks. If one network does not suit your DHCP needs, you must reconfigure the networks. You should consider the following suggestions: