What is Bootstrap-Protocol?
The bootstrap protocol is a network protocol that a client uses to obtain an IP address from a server. It was originally defined as the RFC 951 specification and was developed to replace the Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP), also known as RFC 903. The bootstrap protocol should allow computers to find the correct functions after booting. BOOTP uses a relay agent that enables packets to be forwarded from the local network using standard IP routing so that a BOOTP server can serve hosts on multiple subnets.
BOOTP has largely been replaced by the more efficient Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), which offers more options and flexibility. However, it has found new use in diskless media center PCs.
The bootstrap protocol is used to establish a network connection while the computer is starting up during the bootstrap process. The protocol originally used floppy disks, but it was soon incorporated into computer hardware on motherboards and network adapters so that no external drive is required.
BOOTP is a broadcast protocol because it needs to send messages to all available hosts on the network in order to receive responses or resources. BOOTP is used during the bootstrap process when the computer is first started, hence the name. BOOTP initially required the use of floppy disks to make the initial network connection, but soon the process was built into the BIOS of network interface cards and motherboards to allow direct network boot.
BOOTP was intended for diskless systems as they require such a protocol to contact a server for a network address and some information about which operating system to use. The computer then downloads the operating system using the Trivial File Transfer Protocol.