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KEA is a new open source DHCPv4/DHCPv6 server being developed by Internet Systems Consortium. The objective of this project is to provide a very high-performance, extensible DHCP server engine for use by enterprises and service providers, either as is or with extensions and modifications.

DHCP Standardization efforts: The lead developer on KEA is co-chair of the Dynamic Host Configuration working group in the IETF. We are committed to providing a standards-compliant implementation and are closely tracking developments in this working group and evaluating them for inclusion in KEA.

Kea News

2015-12-29: Kea 1.0.0 released!

Kea 1.0.0, our first production version, is released! Adding features like leases expiration, client classification and storing host reservation in MySQL! For detailed information please check Release Notes.

Kea 1.0.0 version is distributed under new license: MPL2.0. See the blog posting where you find new license and reasons why ISC decided to change.

Tarball package is available on the downloads page or ISC ftp server.

The following major features are working:

  • Fully functional DHCPv4, DHCPv6 and Dynamic DNS servers
  • OpenSSL support
  • IPv6 prefix delegation
  • Host reservations and PXE boot
  • Leases and stored in CSV file, MySQL or Postgres
  • host reservations can be stored in the JSON configuration file or MySQL (DHCPv4)
  • Applications API is available and documented
  • Linux, BSD and Mac OS X operating systems support
  • On-line configuration. It is possible to update the configuration file and tell the servers to reload configuration without restarting the system.
  • Statistics
  • Control channel

Known Issues List - known issues for current release.

To Do List? - running list of items to be done in the future


Kea is a high performance server. It is able to handle over 1000 leases/sec (that is 4000 packets/sec) with a MySQL backend. We also have a custom memfile backend that can provision 7500 leases/sec. To assess server performance, ISC has developed perfdhcp, a tool that is able to simulate thousands of clients and assess server responses.


See Install page for details, including packages list and installation from sources.


We are looking for a small group (up to 6 total) of key collaborators at this point. Contact us via the Kea mailing list if you think you might be interested in working on Kea and sharing that work with the community. The primary things we need are:

  • Test coverage in different environments, with a variety of clients
  • Applications based on the Kea API, both to validate the API and to demonstrate the potential for DHCP applications.

Current collaborators

How to participate in this project

1) Subscribe to the Kea developers mailing list.

2) Read the User Guide (sections 16,17,18 and 19) and the Developer's Guide.

3) Download and build a KEA instance. For the latest KEA code, rather than downloading from the main ISC site, please use our public GIT repository.

4) Give us feedback via the mailing list or submit a bug (sub-project=dhcp). See below for information about the known issues.

5) A description of the workflow can be found here Kea Git Workflow


Known Issues

  • Known Issues - This is a list of known issues with the current and previous releases
  • Outstanding tasks - this is a list of tasks that we are planning to do. Sometimes the difference between a bug and a missing feature is thin.
  • Submit new bug - setting the milestone as Kea-proposed is appreciated.
  • Known System Issues - list of all detected issues related to specific system configuration.
  • Our milestones - list of all milestones. KeaX.Y milestones contain the tickets we're planning to do in specific releases. Usually only the current milestone is up to date. Future milestones tend to fluctuate a bit.

Design documents

See Designs page.


Kea and BIND10

Kea was developed as an application within the framework of the BIND10 project. In 2014, ISC decided to discontinue active development on BIND10 and continue development of Kea as a standalone DHCP server. As a result, the BIND10 components were be removed from Kea to simplify long-term maintenance and reduce the footprint of Kea.

Getting in touch

  • Kea mailing list - feel free to post any Kea questions here
  • Kea developers list - for development discussions
  • [xmpp:// DHCP Jabber chatroom] - if you want to chat with developers. (Temporarily unavailable for non-ISC people)

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