Unveiling The Magic Of DHCP And DHCP Snooping – A Guide For Non-Techies

If you’re not a tech person, the acronyms DHCP and DHCP snooping can seem like nothing more than a jumble of letters – but in reality, these technologies are fundamental to many organizations’ networks. For those who don’t know much about them, DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and DHCP Snooping are two incredibly powerful tools that enable devices on a network to communicate with each other. Understanding how they work will help you gain an understanding of the technical nuances of modern computing, as well as be better equipped for troubleshooting any network issues that may arise. In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into the ins and outs of DHCP and DHCP snooping so even non-techies can understand it.

What is DHCP?

DHCP is a protocol that allows a server to automatically assign IP addresses to clients on a network. This makes it much easier to manage IP addresses on large networks, as the server can simply hand out new IP addresses as needed without having to manually configure each client.

DHCP snooping is a security feature that can be enabled on switches that prevents malicious devices from spoofing DHCP servers and handing out incorrect IP address information to clients. This can help prevent IP address conflicts and other network problems caused by rogue DHCP servers.

How DHCP works?

When you connect your device to a network, the first thing that happens is that it sends out a broadcast asking for an IP address. This broadcast is received by a DHCP server, which then assigns an IP address to the device and sends it back in a response.

The whole process happens automatically and takes just a few seconds. However, there are a few things that go on behind the scenes that you might not be aware of. Let’s take a closer look at how DHCP works.

When a device connects to a network, it will send out a DHCPDISCOVER message as a broadcast. This message contains the device’s MAC address, which is used to uniquely identify it on the network.

The DHCP server receives this message and responds with a DHCPOFFER message, which contains an IP address that the device can use. The device then sends back a DHCPREQUEST message to confirm that it wants to use this IP address. Finally, the DHCP server responds with a DHCACK message, which confirms that the IP address has been assigned to the device.

If everything goes smoothly, then the whole process will happen automatically and without any user intervention. However, there are some situations where the DHCP server may not be able to respond properly. For example, if there is no DHCP server on the network or if the DHCP server is configured incorrectly. In these cases, you may need to manually assign an IP address to your device.

How to configure DHCP snooping?

DHCP snooping is a security feature that can be configured on network devices to help prevent malicious devices from spoofing DHCP requests and injecting bogus DHCP server responses into the network. When DHCP snooping is enabled on a switch, the switch will listen for DHCP messages and only allow messages that are from legitimate DHCP servers to be forwarded. This can help to prevent rogue DHCP servers from being able to provide incorrect IP address information to devices on the network.

To configure DHCP snooping, you will need to enable it on all of the switches in your network. You will also need to specify which interfaces are connected to untrusted networks (such as the Internet). Once DHCP snooping is enabled, the switch will start listening for DHCP traffic and will only forward traffic that it deems to be from a legitimate source.

If you have multiple switches in your network, you will need to configure them all with the same settings in order for this security measure to be effective.

What are the potential risks of not using DHCP snooping?

If you are not using DHCP snooping, you are at risk of a few different things. One is that without DHCP snooping in place, it is possible for someone to spoof their MAC address and gain access to your network. Another potential risk is that malicious software could be installed on your network which could then be used to attack other systems or devices on your network. Additionally, if you are not using DHCP snooping, it is possible for an attacker to perform a denial of service attack against your network by flooding it with bogus DHCP requests.


To sum it up, DHCP and DHCP Snooping are two important protocols that can help you better manage your network. With the information provided in this article, I’m sure that non-techies have a much clearer understanding of what these protocols do and how they can be beneficial for the smooth operation of their networks. Understanding both of these protocols will enable you to secure your network from unwanted users on your system while at the same time improving its efficiency.