I'M reading a linux book and I've come to a chapter on setting up a DHCP server. The thing is I don't understand why I would ever need to set one up. All the computers in our house are already using DHCP and I've never set up a server, why would anyone need to? Also, since they are all using DHCP where are they getting it from, the router in our house or from our ISP? Even if I did set one up I wouldn't know how to make our network use it reather than whatever it's already using. Sorry for such a question but I'M really trying to understand how all this works.

DHCp server can be used for many things. If you have no need fo rit, i wouldnt worry to much. They assign IP address to units in a network, for example if you have a PXE server, any unit that connects to this would require an IP, so DHCp assigns for this, and away you go.

Inregards to where your PC's are getting there IP/DHCP from, this would be your router. Most modern routers, will act as a DHCP for easy local network setup. If you wanted to use a DHCp server you would need to disable this in your router. However this would require you to leave the DHCP server always on.

Well not all routers provide DHCP. And sometimes you might not even have a router, and your computers are directly connected to a series of switches. This is where DHCP comes in handy, as your computers will contact the DHCP server (aka your linux box) and be assigned a dynamic IP from a range for a certian time, allowing for better management of IPs and a very good chance that you won't accidentally run into an IP configuration mishap where you have two computers with the same IP address.

But again, most modern routers and switches provide can provide DHCP by deafult, but this is not always the case. And there are other reasons to implement this too, such as in a NAC solution where you want to control who can go where depeding on why. You might also have a nifty DHCPD gui that you can configure an modify that is easier or more accessible than the one on your router. Or maybe it's just a preference for some people. But, I'm just trying to provide examples.

As others mentioned, running a dedicated DHCP server, whether it be on Linux or Windows will provide more management capabilities, ability to create multiple scopes, etc... when compared to the service provided by a typical consumer grade internet router.

Thanks guys.

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