System Administration Guide: IP Services

MAC Address and Client ID

DHCPv4 uses the MAC address and an optional Client ID to identify the client for purposes of assigning an address. Each time the same client arrives on the network, it gets the same address, if possible.

DHCPv6 uses basically the same scheme, but makes the Client ID mandatory and imposes structure on it. The Client ID in DHCPv6 consists of two parts: a DHCP Unique Identifier (DUID) and an Identity Association Identifier (IAID). The DUID identifies the client system (rather than just an interface, as in DHCPv4), and the IAID identifies the interface on that system.

As described in RFC 3315, an identity association is the means used for a server and a client to identify, group, and manage a set of related IPv6 addresses. A client must associate at least one distinct IA with each of its network interfaces, and then uses the assigned IAs to obtain configuration information from a server for that interface. For additional information about IAs, see the next section, “Protocol Details.”

DUID+IAID can also be used with DHCPv4. These can be concatenated together unambiguously so that they can serve as the Client ID. For compatibility reasons, this is not done for regular IPv4 interfaces. However, for logical interfaces ("hme0:1"), DUID+IAID is used if no Client ID is configured.

Unlike IPv4 DHCP, DHCPv6 does not provide a “client name” option, so there is no way to name your systems based on DHCPv6 alone. Instead, if you need to know the DNS name that goes with an address provided by DHCPv6, use DNS reverse-resolution (address-to-name query via the getaddrinfo(3SOCKET) function) to find the corresponding name information. One implication of this is that if you are using only DHCPv6 and want a node to have a specific name, you must set /etc/nodename on your system.