INtime SDK Help

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) client.

dhclient [-bdqu] [-c file] [-l file] interface


The dhclient utility provides a means for configuring network interfaces using DHCP, BOOTP, or if these protocols fail, by statically assigning an address.

The name of the network interface that dhclient should attempt to configure must be specified on the command line.

Option Description
-b Forces dhclient to immediately move to the background. (Not supported by INtime).
-c Specify an alternate location, file, for the configuration file.
-l Specify an alternate location, file, for the leases file.
-q Quiet mode. Forces dhclient to be less verbose on startup.
-u Forces dhclient to reject leases with unknown options in them. The default behaviour is to accept such lease offers.
-v Verbose mode. Dhclient is more verbose on startup.

The DHCP protocol allows a host to contact a central server which maintains a list of IP addresses which may be assigned on one or more subnets. A DHCP client may request an address from this pool, and then use it on a temporary basis for communication on the network. The DHCP protocol also provides a mechanism whereby a client can learn important details about the network to which it is attached, such as the location of a default router, the location of a name server, and so on.

On startup, dhclient reads /etc/dhclient.conf for configuration instructions. It then gets a list of all the network interfaces that are configured in the current system. It then attempts to configure each interface with DHCP.

In order to keep track of leases across system reboots and server restarts, dhclient keeps a list of leases it has been assigned in the /var/db/dhclient.leases.IFNAME file. IFNAME represents the network interface of the DHCP client (e.g., em0), one for each interface. On startup, after reading the dhclient.conf(5) file, dhclient reads the leases file to refresh its memory about what leases it has been assigned.

Old leases are kept around in case the DHCP server is unavailable when dhclient is first invoked (generally during the initial system boot process). In that event, old leases from the dhclient.leases.IFNAME file which have not yet expired are tested, and if they are determined to be valid, they are used until either they expire or the DHCP server becomes available.

A mobile host which may sometimes need to access a network on which no DHCP server exists may be preloaded with a lease for a fixed address on that network. When all attempts to contact a DHCP server have failed, dhclient will try to validate the static lease, and if it succeeds, it will use that lease until it is restarted.

A mobile host may also travel to some networks on which DHCP is not available but BOOTP is. In that case, it may be advantageous to arrange with the network administrator for an entry on the BOOTP database, so that the host can boot quickly on that network rather than cycling through the list of old leases.


/etc/dhclient.cfg DHCP client configuration file
/etc/{ifname}.lea database of acquired leases


INtime 4.0
See Also