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While working through something in my favorite reading spot, I started thinking, “It would be so much easier to reconfigure a router than it would be to dream up something new to post on my blog.” Like the scorpion in the story told in “The Crying Game”, it is in my nature to do what I have to do. That router still needs work and here I am writing for you.

How does a new acronym become popular? In the world of IT, we often speak in acronyms, so we won’t have to say things like; Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). Nobody wants to hear that, anyway! So, we (geeks, nerds, or whatever is the popular tag for an information technology professional these days) learn the new language and are supposed to understand the meaning of the alphabet soup we’ve cooked up for our needs.

OK, I’m going to do it…. While it is pretty obvious what SMTP is, DHCP is this: 

You just plugged all of the cables and cords into the back of your new computer. You turn it on, identify yourself, answer the questions, maybe even create a password. It’s possible you did not wonder if you would have an Internet connection. After all, your old computer had one, so you assume. You assume that if you’ve carefully connected all of that stuff to all of the right stuff holes, then you should be able to surf the web and send email immediately after pushing through all of that question and answer configuration tumult. You are not surprised (perhaps you are somewhat impressed with yourself) when magically your web browser browses and your email presents itself as if nothing was new.

Back up a few words to, “magically” – that’s where the DHCP did its job. What happened was this: Your computer announced its presence on the local area network (LAN) to the router (we hope you have one!) and the router answered with an acknowledgement. Then your computer said to the router, “How do I play with others on this playground?” The router replied, “You’ll need this set of numbers. I’ll ‘lease’ them to you for a day or two and you’ll be able to communicate on this LAN.” Your computer happily accepted this as gospel and went off to play with the other kids.

Wow! That was easy, huh? Plug and play is really true. “And I think to myself, ‘What a wonderful world!’”