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DHCLIENT(8)            DragonFly System Manager's Manual           DHCLIENT(8)


dhclient -- Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) client


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


The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) allows hosts on a TCP/IP network to configure one or more network interfaces based on information collected from a DHCP server. DHCP is often used, for example, by cable modem and DSL network providers to automate network configuration for their customers. Information typically provided via DHCP includes address and subnet mask for the interface, default route, and domain name server. To have DragonFly configure an interface using DHCP (or its predecessor, BOOTP) the dhclient utility is used. dhclient is run on the command line with the name of the interface to be configured. If a dhclient is already running for the interface, the old process will be killed and replaced by the new invocation. The options are as follows: -c file Specify an alternate location to /etc/dhclient.conf for the configuration file. -d Forces dhclient to always run as a foreground process. By default, dhclient runs in the foreground until it has configured the interface, and then will revert to running in the background. -l file Specify an alternate location to /var/db/dhclient.leases.<IFNAME> for the leases file. -q 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. -w dhclient stays around permanently and will attempt to reconnect even if the interface does not exist, is down, or goes down. This is the default when interfaces are configured DHCP in /etc/dhclient.conf -x Kill any running dhclient on the specified interface. 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 attempts to configure the network interface 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. dhclient requires at least one /dev/bpf* file for each broadcast network interface. See bpf(4) for more information.


/etc/dhclient.conf DHCP client configuration file. /var/db/dhclient.leases.<IFNAME> Database of acquired leases. /var/run/dhclient.<IFNAME>.pid Pidfile for running instance. While active, the pidfile is flock()'d by dhclient which can be tested by a program using flock() or by a script using the lockf(1) utility, via a non-blocking lock attempt.


bpf(4), dhclient.conf(5), dhclient.leases(5), dhclient-script(8), dhcp(8), dhcpd(8) (net/isc-dhcp42-server), dhcrelay(8) (net/isc-dhcp42-relay)


R. Droms, Interoperation Between DHCP and BOOTP, RFC 1534, October 1993. R. Droms, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, RFC 2131, March 1997. S. Alexander and R. Droms, DHCP Options and BOOTP Vendor Extensions, RFC 2132, March 1997. T. Lemon and S. Cheshire, Encoding Long Options in the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCPv4), RFC 3396, November 2002. T. Lemon, S. Cheshire, and B. Volz, The Classless Static Route Option for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) version 4, RFC 3442, December 2002.


dhclient was imported into DragonFly 2.1.


dhclient was written by Ted Lemon <mellon@fugue.com> and Elliot Poger <elliot@poger.com>. The current implementation was reworked by Henning Brauer <henning@openbsd.org>. DragonFly 5.5 July 23, 2013 DragonFly 5.5

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