System Administration Guide: IP Services

How DHCP Client Protocols Manage Network Configuration Information

DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 client protocols manage network configuration information in different ways. The key difference is that with DHCPv4 the negotiation is for the lease of a single address and some options to go with it. With DHCPv6, the negotiation is over a batch of addresses and a batch of options.

For background information on the interaction between DHCPv4 client and server, see Chapter 12, About Oracle Solaris DHCP (Overview).

How the DHCPv4 Client Manages Network Configuration Information

After the information packet is obtained from a DHCP server, dhcpagent configures the network interface and brings up the interface. The daemon controls the interface for the duration of the lease time for the IP address, and maintains the configuration data in an internal table. The system startup scripts use the dhcpinfo command to extract configuration option values from the internal table. The values are used to configure the system and enable it to communicate on the network.

The dhcpagent daemon waits passively until a period of time elapses, usually half the lease time. The daemon then requests an extension of the lease from a DHCP server. If the system notifies dhcpagent that the interface is down or that the IP address has changed, the daemon does not control the interface until instructed by the ifconfig command to do so. If dhcpagent finds that the interface is up and the IP address has not changed, the daemon sends a request to the server for a lease renewal. If the lease cannot be renewed, dhcpagent takes down the interface at the end of the lease time.

Each time dhcpagent performs an action related to the lease, the daemon looks for an executable file called /etc/dhcp/eventhook. If an executable file with this name is found, dhcpagent invokes the executable. See DHCP Client Event Scripts for more information about using the event executable.

How the DHCPv6 Client Manages Network Configuration Information

DHCPv6 communication between client and server begins with the client sending out a Solicit message, to locate servers. In response, all servers available for DHCP service send an Advertise message. The server message contains multiple IA_NA (Identity Association Non-Temporary Address) records plus other options (such as DNS server addresses) that the server can supply.

A client can request particular addresses (and multiples of them) by setting up its own IA_NA/IAADDR records in its Request message. A client typically requests specific addresses if it has old addresses recorded and it would like the server to provide the same ones, if possible. Regardless of what the client does (even if it requests no addresses at all), the server can supply any number of addresses to the client for a single DHCPv6 transaction.

This is a the message dialog that takes place between the clients and servers.

If the preference value in the Advertise message is 255, the DHCPv6 client immediately selects that server. If the most preferred server does not respond, or fails to give a successful Reply to the Request message, then the client continues looking for less-preferred servers (in order) until there are no more Advertise messages on hand. At that point, the client starts over by again sending Solicit messages.

The chosen server sends a Reply message containing assigned addresses and configuration parameters in response to a Solicit or Request message.