Apple Working on New Multicast DNS Standard for Bonjour to Work With Larger Networks


Bonjour works great at home. See a printer, pick it up, all the day you’ll have good networking luck. Unfortunately, Bonjour can wreak havoc on larger networks. Universities have been particularly vulnerable because a) so many students have devices that ping for Bonjour and b) their physical size and complexity. Apple is working with International working groups to fix this.

Bonjour service

It’s the cost of popularity, I guess, Apple devices are all over the place on Universities around the world. Which is great for Apple, but not for network administrators because part of Bonjour and multicast DNS (MDNS) is that it kinda floods a network with traffic and requests. It’s like hundreds of kids in a room all screaming “Mommy!!!”, the net result it’s really hard for communication to get through.

The answer is to work on a protocol that plays nice in the sandbox—when they sandbox is a ginormous university or corporate network. Apple has proposed at an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting this week how it might be done. Oh and don’t think that this is only and Apple issue.  Xirrus, Check Point, and IBM are all interested in making this work too. Bonjour, and its Linux equivalent Avahi, make connecting devices together simple and painless, which isn’t just appealing to home users, but IT Managers too (having been a tech support person, getting machines connected to network devices can be a chore).

Needless to say, folks are pleased with Apple wanting to get this official standard rolling. It’s expected that by March 2013 when the task force meets again, things will be well along their way.

For a really in-depth look at this check out Network World’s post on the topic.

Hat tip: TUAW

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