Dynamic Configuration of IPv4 Link-Local Addresses

This RFC 3927 was published in 2005.

Abstract

To participate in wide-area IP networking, a host needs to be configured with IP addresses for its interfaces, either manually by the user or automatically from a source on the network such as a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server.
Unfortunately, such address configuration information may not always be available.
It is therefore beneficial for a host to be able to depend on a useful subset of IP networking functions even when no address configuration is available.
This document describes how a host may automatically configure an interface with an IPv4 address within the 169.254/16 prefix that is valid for communication with other devices connected to the same physical (or logical) link.

RFC 3927 introduction

As the Internet Protocol continues to grow in popularity, it becomes increasingly valuable to be able to use familiar IP tools such as FTP not only for global communication, but for local communication as well.
For example, two people with laptop computers supporting IEEE 802.11 Wireless LANs [802.11] may meet and wish to exchange files.
It is desirable for these people to be able to use IP application software without the inconvenience of having to manually configure static IP addresses or set up a DHCP server [RFC2131].

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