System Administration Guide: IP Services

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.