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Reverse Address Resolution and the TCP/IP Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP)
(Page 4 of 4)
Limitations of RARP
RARP is the earliest and most rudimentary
of the class of technologies I call host configuration protocols,
describe in general terms in a dedicated section.
As the first of these protocols, RARP was a useful addition to the TCP/IP
protocol in the early 1980s, but has several shortcomings, the most
important of which are:
- Low-Level Hardware Orientation: RARP works
using hardware broadcasts. This means that if you have a large internetwork
with many physical networks, you need an RARP server on every
network segment. Worse, if you need reliability to make sure RARP keeps
running even if one RARP server goes down, you need two
on each physical network. This makes centralized management of IP addresses
- Manual Assignment: RARP allows hosts to
configure themselves automatically, but the RARP server must still be
set up with a manual table of bindings between hardware and IP addresses.
These must be maintained for each server, which is again a lot of work
on an administrator.
- Limited Information: RARP only provides
a host with its IP address. It cannot provide other needed information
such as, for example, a
subnet mask or default gateway.
Today, the importance of host configuration
has increased since the early 1980s. Many organizations assign IP addresses
dynamically even for hosts that have disk storage, because of the many
advantages this provides in administration and efficient use of address
space. For this reason, RARP has been replaced by two more capable technologies
that operate at higher layers in the TCP/IP protocol stack: BOOTP
They are discussed in the
application layer section on host configuration protocols.
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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