How DHCP Works

It’s the hidden staple of modern day life.

A device connects wirelessly/plugs into a network and after a few minutes everything just… works (usually). You can browse the internet just fine and its like nothing much was done at all.

But how exactly does that work? What happened there behind the scenes? One aspect of the invisible process is the allocation of an IP address to your device. This post will take a brief look at how the DHCP process assigns an IP to devices on the network.

Let’s begin.

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TCP 3 Way Handshake

For data to be sent across the Internet, traffic is sent over either TCP or UDP. This post will focus on how a TCP session is established, for more information on the differences between UDP and TCP click here.

In order for a TCP session to be established between 2 devices, a process known as the TCP 3 Way Handshake must occur.

How It Works

We know that TCP uses sequence numbers when sending packets, this is part of how the order of packets are verified, and a great way to identify any missing data that might have been lost in transit.

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