IT groups petition Apple to "fix" Bonjour protocol

By , Network World |  Networking, AirPlay, Apple

Levy notes that Apple TV's lack of WPA2-Enterprise support isn't related to Bonjour and AirPlay and can be fixed by Apple updating the device's firmware. "In that event, what they're really making is a feature request, and Apple pays attention to those," Levy says. "I think Apple would pay very real attention to feature requests that move more Apple TVs into boardrooms and classrooms as viable replacements for projectors and so on."

UT's Green again agrees. But the lack of WPA2-Enterprise support is one more missing piece in Apple's whole enterprise networking puzzle. "The lack of support is a problem for enterprises that track people individually via WPA2-Enterprise," Green says. "Some schools go as far as to drop them on different networks and provide them different services based on their login ID. We do not do that at my institution, but we do account for their actions and quarantine that way."

Education IT groups clearly are tired of having to constantly and awkwardly work around Bonjour.

Abilene Christian University, which began widespread deployment of iPhones and iPod touch devices starting in late 2007, set up separate SSIDs and VLANs for Bonjour services, says Arthur Brant, ACU's director of networking service. Originally just for faculty, the professors had to manually connect each Bonjour device to the correct SSID, via a captive portal provided by the WLAN controller. Apple TV adds to the complexity.

"We did have to manually set up the Apple TVs within the captive portal registry so that they could connect - and stay connected - to this dedicated SSID," Brant says. "This was an acceptable process when we had half a dozen Apple TVs, but not something that scales to hundreds of Apple TVs. This solution was, again, 'functional.' but the faculty/staff limitation proved to be the next hurdle we had to cross."

Then students wanted to use Apple's AirPlay mirroring to show their iPhone 4S or iPad screen on a flat-panel display through Apple TV. ACU has to set up yet another dedicated SSID, which authenticates users against ACU's network access control (NAC).

Universities and colleges are also finding that hundreds or thousands of Bonjour-enabled devices are constantly using the multicast protocol to find each other. The result is an astonishing amount of discovery traffic. Aruba Networks says that some of its higher education WLAN customers have found that Bonjour can account for 90% of the WLAN traffic at some times. Mathew Gast, Aerohive Networks director of product management, counted 400 Bonjour services available when visiting one customer.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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