The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) enables the automatic assignment of IP addresses and other configuration settings to network devices.

DHCP is composed of three components: DHCP server, DHCP client, and DHCP relay agent.

The DHCP server contains the IP addresses and configuration settings for a network as defined by a network administrator. It responds to DHCP requests issued by DHCP clients, returning the requested network configuration settings.

The DHCP client runs on a network device. It issues a request to a DHCP server to obtain an IP address for the network device, and other network settings.

The DHCP relay agent acts an intermediary, forwarding DHCP requests/response between DHCP clients/servers on different networks. This enables DHCP clients to use the services of DHCP servers that are not on the same subnet on which they are located.