What Does Bootstrap Protocol Mean?
The Bootstrap Protocol is a networking protocol used to by a client for obtaining an IP address from a server. It was originally defined as specification RFC 951 and was designed to replace the Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP), also known as RFC 903. Bootstrap protocol was intended to allow computers to find what they need to function properly after booting up. BOOTP uses a relay agent, which allows packet forwarding from the local network using standard IP routing, allowing one BOOTP server to serve hosts on multiple subnets.
BOOTP was largely replaced by the more efficient Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), which has more options and flexibility. However, it has found renewed utility in diskless media center PCs.
Techopedia Explains Bootstrap Protocol
BOOTP is a broadcast protocol as it needs to send messages out to all the available hosts in the network in order to get answers or resources. BOOTP is used during the bootstrap process when the computer is initially starting up, hence the name. BOOTP initially required the use of floppy disks to establish the initial network connection but soon the process was integrated into the BIOS of network interface cards and motherboards to allow direct network booting.