November 08, 2012, 2:41 PM — ATLANTA -- Under fire from its customers in the higher education market, Apple has proposed creating a new industry standard that would fix problems with its Bonjour zero configuration networking technology that is causing scalability and security problems on campus networks.
APPLE FAMILY TREE: Apple platforms throughout the years
Apple described how such a standard could be used at an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting held in Atlanta this week. Apple and other vendors including Xirrus, Check Point and IBM support the idea of creating an IETF working group to improve network services like Apple's Bonjour and Linux Avahi, which use an existing IETF protocol called Multiicast DNS (MDNS). The new working group would be called MDNS Extensions or MDNSext.
Bonjour is Apple's marketing name for zero configuration networking, which allows a MacBook user to easily log into a local network and find an available printer. Behind the scenes, Bonjour provides automatic address assignment, looks up the host name and delivers available network services.
Bonjour uses MDNS, which transports DNS queries in a zero configuration way but only across local networks, not campus or enterprise networks. When it is deployed on large networks - particularly wired and wireless networks run by universities - Bonjour creates a flood of MDNS traffic, causing headaches for network managers.
"We targeted Bonjour at home networks, but over the last 10 years Multicast DNS - what Apple calls Bonjour - has become very popular," said Stuart Cheshire, an Apple networking engineer who created Bonjour and wrote the MDNS specifications. "Every network printer uses Bonjour. TiVo, home video recorders and cameras use it. IPads and iPhones use it, and we are starting to get a lot of demand from customers that they won't be able to print from iPads to a printer in the next building."