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BOOTP vendor information extensions (RFC1048) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000001854D
Original Publication Date: 1988-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-15
Document File: 7 page(s) / 10K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

P.A. Prindeville: AUTHOR

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC1048: DOI


This memo proposes an addition to the Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP). Comments and suggestions for improvements are sought.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 23% of the total text.

Network Working Group P. Prindeville Request for Comments: 1048 McGill University February 1988

BOOTP Vendor Information Extensions

Status of this Memo

This memo proposes an addition to the Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP). Comments and suggestions for improvements are sought. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


As workstations and personal computers proliferate on the Internet, the administrative complexity of maintaining a network is increased by an order of magnitude. The assignment of local network resources to each client represents one such difficulty. In most environments, delegating such responsibility to the user is not plausible and, indeed, the solution is to define the resources in uniform terms, and to automate their assignment.

The basic Bootstrap Protocol [RFC-951] dealt with the issue of assigning an internet address to a client, as well as a few other resources. The protocol included provisions for vendor-defined resource information.

This memo defines a (potentially) vendor-independent interpretation of this resource information.

Overview of BOOTP

While the Reverse Address Resolution (RARP) Protocol [RFC-903] may be used to assign an IP address to a local network hardware address, it provides only part of the functionality needed. Though this protocol can be used in conjunction with other supplemental protocols (the Resource Location Protocol [RFC-887], the Domain Name System [RFC- 883]), a more integrated solution may be desirable.

Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP) is a UDP/IP-based protocol that allows a booting host to configure itself dynamically, and more significantly, without user supervision. It provides a means to assign a host its IP address, a file from which to download a boot program from some server, that server’s address, and (if present) the address of an Internet gateway.

Prindeville [Page 1]

RFC 1048 BOOTP Extensions February 1988

One obvious advantage of this procedure is the centralized management of network addresses, which eliminates the need for per-host unique configuration files. In an environment with several hundred hosts, maintaining local configuration information and operating system versions specific to each host might otherwise become chaotic. By categorizing hosts into classes and maintaining configuration information and boot programs for each class, the complexity of this chore may be reduced in magnitude.

BOOTP Vendor Information Format

The full description of the BOOTP request/reply packet format may be found in [RFC-951]. The rest of this document will concern itself with the last field of the packet, a 64 octet area reserved for vendor information, to be used in a hitherto unspecified fashion. A generalized use of this area for giving information useful to a wide class of machines, operating systems, and configurations follows. In situations where a single BOOTP server is to be used among heterogeneous clients in a single site, a generic class of data may be used.

Vendor Information...