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DHCP, the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, describes the means by which a system can connect to a network and obtain the necessary information for communication upon that network.
When the DHCP client, is executed on the client machine, it begins broadcasting requests for configuration information.
By default, these requests are on UDP port 68. The server replies on UDP 67, giving the client an IP address and other relevant network information such as netmask, router, and DNS servers.
All of this information comes in the form of a DHCP lease and is only valid for a certain time (configured by the DHCP server maintainer).
In this manner, stale IP addresses for clients no longer connected to the network can be automatically reclaimed.