Short for Address Resolution Protocol, a network layer protocol used to convert an IP address into a physical address (called a DLC address), such as an Ethernet address. A host wishing to obtain a physical address broadcasts an ARP request onto the TCP/IP network. The host on the network that has the IP address in the request then replies with its physical hardware address.

There is also Reverse ARP (RARP) which can be used by a host to discover its IP address. In this case, the host broadcasts its physical address and a RARP server replies with the host's IP address.