Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is stable and operating campuswide at UC Santa Cruz. Dynamically assigned IP addresses are available on all campus subnets. The Internet Software Consortium's DHCP server is a freely available server providing BOOTP and DHCP service. DHCP offers advantages to computer users and administrators. Among the benefits are:

  • Efficient utilization of our IP address space
    Static assignment of IP addresses ultimately results in poor utilization of our address space, whereas dynamic assignment virtually guarantees that underutilization won't occur. Static assignment doesn't offer any mechanism for returning unused or abandoned IP addresses.
  • Host mobility is enabled
    DHCP provides the capability for a client to connect to any subnet, unlike BOOTP which tied a hardware address to a specific subnet. Thus, users with laptops can easily rove campus without having to ever modify their network configuration.
  • Immediate and automatic address assignment
    IP addresses are assigned by the DHCP server automatically, without the need for manual intervention. The latency of requesting a BOOTP entry be added has been eliminated, simplifying the work for users, computer coordinators, and central support.

DNS names corresponding to dynamically assigned addresses are of the form dhcp-XXX-YYY.ucsc.edu, where XXX is typically the subnet to which your host is attached, and YYY is the same as the last octet of your IP address. For example, if you reside on the 128.114.160/24 subnet and you were dynamically assigned the address, your hostname would be dhcp-160-210.ucsc.edu.

Not all systems will want their IP address (and DNS name) assigned dynamically. Examples of systems that typically need static addresses are printers and servers. Those users requiring a static name/address pair are still required to use DHCP to obtain their address, but they first need to register their MAC address at the following link, prior to activating their machine.

As a general rule, if your machine supports DHCP, Network Operations requires that you use it for obtaining your address.