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TCP/IP Guide by Charles M. Kozierok

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DHCP Options

When BOOTP was first developed, its message format included a 64-byte Vend field, called the Vendor-Specific Area. The idea behind this field was to provide flexibility to the protocol. The BOOTP standard did not define any specific way of using this field. Instead, the field was left open for the creators of different types of hardware to use it to customize BOOTP to meet the needs of their clients and/or servers.

Including this sort of undefined field is a good idea because it makes a protocol easily extensible—allowing the protocol to be easily enhanced in the future through the definition of new fields while not disturbing any existing fields. The problem with the BOOTP Vendor-Specific Area, however, is that the extensibility was ...

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