Internet Engineering Task Force S. Cheshire
Internet-Draft Apple Inc.
Intended status: Standards Track Jul 11, 2013

Hybrid Unicast/Multicast DNS-Based Service Discovery


Performing DNS-Based Service Discovery using purely Multicast DNS allows discovery only of services present on the local link. Using a very large local link with thousands of hosts improves service discovery, but at the cost of large amounts of multicast traffic.

Performing DNS-Based Service Discovery using purely Unicast DNS is more efficient, but requires configuration of DNS Update keys on the devices offering the services, which can be onerous for simple devices like printers and network cameras.

Hence a compromise is needed, that provides easy service discovery without requiring either large amounts of multicast traffic or onerous configuration.

Status of This Memo

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Multicast DNS [RFC6762] and its companion technology DNS-based Service Discovery [RFC6763] were created to provide IP networking with the ease-of-use and autoconfiguration for which AppleTalk was well known [RFC6760] [ZC].

Section 10 ("Populating the DNS with Information") of the DNS-SD specification [RFC6763] discusses possible ways that a service's PTR, SRV, TXT and address records can make their way into the DNS namespace, including manual zone file configuration [RFC1034] [RFC1035], DNS Update [RFC2136] [RFC3007] and proxies.

This document specifies a type of proxy called a Hybrid Proxy that uses Multicast DNS [RFC6762] to discover Multicast DNS records on its local link, and makes corresponding DNS records visible in the Unicast DNS namespace.

2. Conventions and Terminology Used in this Document

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels" [RFC2119].

Multicast DNS works between a hosts on the same link. A set of hosts is considered to be "on the same link", if:

The link-layer *header* may be modified, such as in Token Ring Source Routing [802.5], but not the link-layer *payload*. In particular, if any device forwarding a packet modifies any part of the IP header or IP payload then the packet is no longer considered to be on the same link. This means that the packet may pass through devices such as repeaters, bridges, hubs or switches and still be considered to be on the same link for the purpose of this document, but not through a device such as an IP router that decrements the TTL or otherwise modifies the IP header.

3. Hybrid Proxy Operation

In its simplest form, each local link in an organization is assigned a unique Unicast DNS domain name, such as "Building" or "4th Floor.Building" (Grouping multiple local links under the same Unicast DNS domain name is to be specified in a future companion document, but for the purposes of this document, assume that each link has its own unique Unicast DNS domain name.)

Each link in an organization has a Hybrid Proxy which serves it. This function could be performed by a router on that link, or, with appropriate VLAN configuration, a single Hybrid Proxy could have a logical presence on, and serve as the Hybrid Proxy for, multiple links. In the organization's DNS server, NS records are used to delegate ownership of each defined link name (e.g., "Building") to the Hybrid Proxy which serves that link.

Domain Enumeration PTR records [RFC6763] are also created to inform clients of available Device Discovery domains, e.g.,: PTR Building

When a DNS-SD client issues a Unicast DNS query to discover services in a particular Unicast DNS (e.g., "_printer._tcp.Building PTR ?") the normal DNS delegation mechanism results in that query being served from the delegated authoritative name server for that subdomain, namely the Hybrid Proxy on the link in question. Although a Hybrid Proxy implements the usual Unicast DNS protocol, in contrast to a conventional Unicast DNS server that generates answers according to data in its manually-configured zone file, a Hybrid Proxy gets its data by performing a Multicast DNS query (e.g., "_printer._tcp.local. PTR ?") on its local link, and then, from the Multicast DNS replies it receives, it generates a corresponding Unicast DNS reply.

Generating the corresponding Unicast DNS reply involves, at the very least, rewriting the "local" suffix to the appropriate Unicast DNS domain (e.g., "Building").

In addition it would be desirable to suppress Unicast DNS replies for records that are not useful outside the local link. For example, DNS A and AAAA records for IPv4 link-local addresses [RFC3927] and IPv6 link-local addresses [RFC4862] should be suppressed. Similarly, for sites that have multiple private address [RFC1918] realms, private addresses from one private address realm should not be communicated to clients in a different private address realm.

By the same logic, DNS SRV records that reference target host names that have no addresses usable by the requester should be suppressed, and likewise, DNS PTR records that point to DNS names with DNS SRV records that reference target host names that have no addresses usable by the requester should be also be suppressed.

The same reachability requirement for advertised services also applies to the Hybrid Proxy itself. The mechanism specified in this document only works if the Hybrid Proxy is reachable from the client making the request.

In a simple analysis, this simple approach is adequate, but it raises the question of how long the Hybrid Proxy should wait to be sure that it has received all the Multicast DNS replies it needs to form a complete Unicast DNS reply. If it waits too little time, then it risks its Unicast DNS reply being incomplete. If it waits too long, then it creates a poor user experience at the client end.

This dilemma is solved by use of DNS Long-Lived Queries (DNS LLQ) [I-D.sekar-dns-llq]. The Hybrid Proxy replies immediately to the Unicast DNS query using the Multicast DNS records it already has in its cache (if any). This provides a good client user experience by providing a near-instantaneous response. Simultaneously, the Hybrid Proxy issues a Multicast DNS query on the local link to discover if there are additional Multicast DNS records it does not already have in its cache (including the case where it has *no* appropriate records in its cache). Should additional Multicast DNS replies be received, these are then delivered to the client using DNS LLQ update events. The timeliness of such LLQ updates is limited only by the timeliness of the device responding to the Multicast DNS query. If the Multicast DNS device responds quickly, then the LLQ update is delivered quickly. If the Multicast DNS device responds slowly, then the LLQ update is delivered slowly. The benefit of using LLQ is that the Hybrid Proxy can respond promptly because it doesn't have to delay its unicast reply to allow for the expected worst-case delay receiving a Multicast DNS reply. Even in the event that a Multicast DNS device takes even longer than the expected worst-case time, its reply is not lost; it is delivered when it arrives, in the form of a subsequent DNS LLQ update.

4. Implementation Status

Some aspects of the mechanism specified in this document already exist in deployed software. Some aspects are new. This section outlines which aspects already exist and which are new.

4.1. Already Implemented and Deployed

Domain enumeration discovery by the client (the "b._dns-sd._udp" queries) is already implemented and deployed.

Unicast queries to the indicated discovery domain is already implemented and deployed.

These are implemented and deployed in Mac OS X 10.4 and later (including all versions of Apple iOS, on all iPhone and iPads), in Bonjour for Windows, and in Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" (API Level 16) and later.

Domain enumeration discovery and unicast querying have been used for several years at IETF meetings to make Terminal Room printers discoverable from outside the Terminal room. When you Press Cmd-P on your Mac, or select AirPrint on your iPad or iPhone, and the Terminal room printers appear, that is because your client is doing unicast DNS queries to the IETF DNS servers.

4.2. Partially Implemented

The current APIs make multiple domains visible to client software, but most client UI today lumps all discovered services into a single flat list. This is largely a chicken-and-egg problem. Application writers were naturally reluctant to spend time writing domain-aware UI code when few customers today would benefit from it. If Hybrid Proxy deployment becomes common, then application writers will have a reason to provide better UI. Existing applications will work with the Hybrid Proxy, but will show all services in a single flat list. Applications with improved UI will group services by domain.

The Long-Lived Query mechanism [I-D.sekar-dns-llq] referred to in this specification exists and is deployed, but has not been standardized by the IETF. It is possible that the IETF may choose to standardize a different or better Long-Lived Query mechanism. In that case, the pragmatic deployment approach would be for vendors to produce Hybrid Proxies that implement both the deployed Long-Lived Query mechanism [I-D.sekar-dns-llq] (for today's clients) and a new IETF Standard Long-Lived Query mechanism (as the future long-term direction).

4.3. Not Yet Implemented

The translating/filtering Hybrid Proxy specified in this document. Once implemented, such a Hybrid Proxy will immediately make wide-area discovery available with today's existing clients and devices.

A mechanism to 'stitch' together multiple ".local." zones so that they appear as one. Such a mechanism will be specified in a future companion document.

5. IPv6 Considerations

An IPv4-only host and an IPv6-only host behave as "ships that pass in the night". Even if they are on the same Ethernet, neither is aware of the other's traffic. For this reason, each physical link may have *two* unrelated ".local." zones, one for IPv4 and one for IPv6. Since for practical purposes, a group of IPv4-only hosts and a group of IPv6-only hosts on the same Ethernet act as if they were on two entirely separate Ethernet segments, it is unsurprising that their use of the ".local." zone should occur exactly as it would if they really were on two entirely separate Ethernet segments.

It will be desirable to have a mechanism to 'stitch' together these two unrelated ".local." zones so that they appear as one. Such mechanism will need to be able to differentiate between a dual-stack (v4/v6) host participating in both ".local." zones, and two different hosts, one IPv4-only and the other IPv6-only, which are both trying to use the same name(s). Such a mechanism will be specified in a future companion document.

6. Security Considerations

A service proves its presence on a local link by its ability to answer link-local multicast queries on that link. If greater security is desired, then the Hybrid Proxy mechanism should not be used, and instead authenticated secure DNS Update should be used [RFC2136] [RFC3007].

7. Intelectual Property Rights

Apple has submitted an IPR disclosure concerning the technique proposed in this document. Details are available on the IETF IPR disclosure page [IPR2119].

8. IANA Considerations

This document has no IANA Considerations.

9. Acknowledgments

[To be filled in later.]

10. References

10.1. Normative References

[RFC1034] Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - concepts and facilities", STD 13, RFC 1034, November 1987.
[RFC1035] Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - implementation and specification", STD 13, RFC 1035, November 1987.
[RFC1918] Rekhter, Y., Moskowitz, R., Karrenberg, D., Groot, G. and E. Lear, "Address Allocation for Private Internets", BCP 5, RFC 1918, February 1996.
[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
[RFC3927] Cheshire, S., Aboba, B. and E. Guttman, "Dynamic Configuration of IPv4 Link-Local Addresses", RFC 3927, May 2005.
[RFC4862] Thomson, S., Narten, T. and T. Jinmei, "IPv6 Stateless Address Autoconfiguration", RFC 4862, September 2007.
[RFC6762] Cheshire, S. and M. Krochmal, "Multicast DNS", RFC 6762, December 2012.
[RFC6763] Cheshire, S. and M. Krochmal, "DNS-Based Service Discovery", RFC 6763, December 2012.
[I-D.sekar-dns-llq] Sekar, K., "DNS Long-Lived Queries", Internet-Draft draft-sekar-dns-llq-01, August 2006.

10.2. Informative References

, "
[IPR2119]Apple Inc.'s Statement about IPR related to draft-cheshire-mdnsext-hybrid", .
[RFC2136] Vixie, P., Thomson, S., Rekhter, Y. and J. Bound, "Dynamic Updates in the Domain Name System (DNS UPDATE)", RFC 2136, April 1997.
[RFC3007] Wellington, B., "Secure Domain Name System (DNS) Dynamic Update", RFC 3007, November 2000.
[RFC6760] Cheshire, S. and M. Krochmal, "Requirements for a Protocol to Replace the AppleTalk Name Binding Protocol (NBP)", RFC 6760, December 2012.
[ZC] Cheshire, S. and D.H. Steinberg, "Zero Configuration Networking: The Definitive Guide", O'Reilly Media, Inc. , ISBN 0-596-10100-7, December 2005.

Author's Address

Stuart Cheshire Apple Inc. 1 Infinite Loop Cupertino, California 95014 USA Phone: +1 408 974 3207 EMail: