General DHCP-relay operation with Option 82

Typically, the first (primary) Option 82 relay agent to receive a client's DHCP request packet appends an Option 82 field to the packet and forwards it toward the DHCP server identified by the IP helper address configured on the VLAN in which the client packet was received. Other, upstream relay agents used to forward the packet may append their own Option 82 fields, replace the Option 82 fields they find in the packet, forward the packet without adding another field, or drop the packet. (Intermediate next-hop routing switches without Option 82 capability can be used to forward—route—client request packets with Option 82 fields.) Response packets from an Option 82 server are routed back to the primary relay agent (routing switch) and include an IP addressing assignment for the requesting client and an exact copy of the Option 82 data the server received with the client request. The relay agent strips off the Option 82 data and forwards the response packet out the port indicated in the response as the Circuit ID (client access port.) Under certain validation conditions described later in this section, a relay agent detecting invalid Option 82 data in a response packet may drop the packet.

Example of DHCP Option 82 Operation in a Network with a Non-Compliant Relay Agent