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Host Configuration Concepts, Issues and Motivation
(Page 2 of 3)
Cases Where Manual Configuration Is Not Feasible
The drudge work associated with manual
configuration is significant, but the problems with manual configuration
go well beyond the inefficiency issue. There are situations where manual
configuration is not just inconvenient, it's actually impossible:
- Remote Configuration: An administrator
cannot be everywhere; modern networks can span cities or nations. Unless
we want to train every user on how to configure network hosts, we must
use an automated protocol.
- Mobile Device Configuration: IP was designed
when computers were large and attached to each other using heavy cables;
today we have computers that fit in a shirt pocket and communicate using
radio waves. IP addresses must be assigned based on the network to which
they are attached, and this makes reconfiguration required when a device
is moved. This is not conducive to manual configuration at all.
- Dumb Host Configuration: Most
of the hosts we use today are full-fledged computers, with their own
internal storage. We can assign such a device an address by entering
it into a file that the device reads when it starts up. There are certain
devices, however, that do not include any form of storage. Since they
are mass-produced, they are all identical and cannot have individualized
parameters stored within them. Such a device relies on a configuration
protocol to learn what it needs to function on a networkespecially
including its individual identity, as we saw above.
- Address Sharing: The proliferation of
devices attached to the global Internet has led to a situation where
IP addresses must be carefully managed to ensure that they are not wasted
on devices that aren't using them. Some organizations even find themselves
with more potential hosts than they have addresses. A host configuration
protocol can allow an address to be automatically assigned to a host
when needed, and then returned to a common pool for reuse
when the host leaves the network. This permits addresses to be shared
and reduces the need for more address space.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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