Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA)

Since Windows 98 and Windows ME, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol clients have had access to Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA), which allows them to dynamically assign IP addresses to themselves in the absence of a DHCP server. APIPA facilitates the configuration and maintenance of small LANs and acts as a DHCP server failover mechanism.

Assigning IP addresses and other network characteristics to devices or nodes on a network dynamically is possible with the help of the network management protocol known as DHCP. By automatically managing client network configurations from a centralized server using DHCP, managed devices no longer require human IP address assignment. All network sizes, from those in small businesses to those at the corporate level, are supported by DHCP.

A DHCP client computer tries to contact a DHCP server whenever it connects to the network. If a server is accessible, it will provide the DHCP client an IP address and other network information. A DHCP server might not be available in some circumstances. For instance, the server can be momentarily unavailable or the network might not have any DHCP servers. When this happens and APIPA is turned on, the client computer chooses an IP address from a list of predetermined addresses (ranging from to and assigns it to itself automatically.

To avoid conflicts with DHCP routable addresses, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allocates these numbers expressly for APIPA use cases. The DHCP client employs the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) as part of the APIPA assignment procedure to make sure the selected address isn’t already in use by another network machine. Once the client has issued itself an IP address, it may connect with other computers on the LAN using TCP/IP with a subnet mask of that is either manually configured for APIPA or with the right address range.

Even though the DCHP client has already gotten a prior IP address from the DHCP server, the APIPA service might still be useful. Even though the lease on that address has ended, this is still true. When a DHCP client shifts between DHCP and APIPA addressing, the user is normally informed. APIPA is usually enabled, although depending on the OS and how the DHCP client is set up, it may occasionally be deactivated.


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