Document: draft-cheshire-dnsext-multicastdns-07.txt      Stuart Cheshire
Internet-Draft                                             Marc Krochmal
Category: Informational                                       Apple Inc.
Expires: 10 March 2009                                 10 September 2008

                             Multicast DNS


Status of this Memo

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, each author represents that any
   applicable patent or other IPR claims of which he or she is aware
   have been or will be disclosed, and any of which he or she becomes
   aware will be disclosed, in accordance with Section 6 of BCP 79.
   For the purposes of this document, the term "BCP 79" refers
   exclusively to RFC 3979, "Intellectual Property Rights in IETF
   Technology", published March 2005.

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   As networked devices become smaller, more portable, and
   more ubiquitous, the ability to operate with less configured
   infrastructure is increasingly important. In particular,
   the ability to look up DNS resource record data types
   (including, but not limited to, host names) in the absence
   of a conventional managed DNS server, is becoming essential.

   Multicast DNS (mDNS) provides the ability to do DNS-like operations
   on the local link in the absence of any conventional unicast DNS
   server. In addition, mDNS designates a portion of the DNS namespace
   to be free for local use, without the need to pay any annual fee, and
   without the need to set up delegations or otherwise configure a
   conventional DNS server to answer for those names.

   The primary benefits of mDNS names are that (i) they require little
   or no administration or configuration to set them up, (ii) they work
   when no infrastructure is present, and (iii) they work during
   infrastructure failures.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction....................................................3
   2.  Conventions and Terminology Used in this Document...............3
   3.  Multicast DNS Names.............................................5
   4.  Source Address Check............................................9
   5.  Reverse Address Mapping........................................10
   6.  Querying.......................................................11
   7.  Duplicate Suppression..........................................16
   8.  Responding.....................................................18
   9.  Probing and Announcing on Startup..............................23
   10. Conflict Resolution............................................29
   11. Resource Record TTL Values and Cache Coherency.................31
   12. Special Characteristics of Multicast DNS Domains...............37
   13. Multicast DNS for Service Discovery............................38
   14. Enabling and Disabling Multicast DNS...........................38
   15. Considerations for Multiple Interfaces.........................39
   16. Considerations for Multiple Responders on the Same Machine.....40
   17. Multicast DNS and Power Management.............................42
   18. Multicast DNS Character Set....................................43
   19. Multicast DNS Message Size.....................................45
   20. Multicast DNS Message Format...................................46
   21. Choice of UDP Port Number......................................49
   22. Summary of Differences Between Multicast DNS and Unicast DNS...50
   23. Benefits of Multicast Responses................................51
   24. IPv6 Considerations............................................52
   25. Security Considerations........................................53
   26. IANA Considerations............................................54
   27. Acknowledgments................................................54
   28. Deployment History.............................................54
   29. Copyright Notice...............................................55
   30. Intellectual Property Notice...................................55
   31. Normative References...........................................56
   32. Informative References.........................................56
   33. Authors' Addresses.............................................58

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1. Introduction

   When reading this document, familiarity with the concepts of Zero
   Configuration Networking [ZC] and automatic link-local addressing
   [RFC 2462] [RFC 3927] is helpful.

   This document proposes no change to the structure of DNS messages,
   and no new operation codes or response codes, or resource record
   types. This document discusses what needs to happen if DNS clients
   start sending DNS queries to a multicast address, and how a
   collection of hosts can cooperate to collectively answer those
   queries in a useful manner. This document introduces one additional
   DNS meta-type, used for communicating the TTL for caching negative

   There has been discussion of how much burden Multicast DNS might
   impose on a network. It should be remembered that whenever IPv4 hosts
   communicate, they broadcast ARP packets on the network on a regular
   basis, and this is not disastrous. The approximate amount of
   multicast traffic generated by hosts making conventional use of
   Multicast DNS is anticipated to be roughly the same order of
   magnitude as the amount of broadcast ARP traffic those hosts already

   Applications making new use of Multicast DNS capabilities for new
   purposes will inevitably generate more traffic. For example, also
   using Multicast DNS for Service Discovery [DNS-SD] would be expected
   to generate more traffic than using Multicast DNS for hostname
   resolution alone. It is reasonable to consider this additional
   Service Discovery traffic separately from hostname resolution
   traffic, since some other multicast-based Service Discovery protocol
   would in any case be generating multicast traffic of its own.

   It is possible that some new applications layered on top of Multicast
   DNS might be "chatty", and in that case work will be needed to help
   them become less chatty. When performing any analysis, it is
   important to make a distinction between the application behavior and
   the underlying protocol behavior. If a chatty application uses UDP,
   that doesn't mean that UDP is chatty, or that IP is chatty, or that
   Ethernet is chatty. What it means is that the application is chatty.
   The same applies to any future applications that may decide to layer
   increasing portions of their functionality over Multicast DNS.

2. Conventions and Terminology Used in this Document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in "Key words for use in
   RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels" [RFC 2119].

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   This document uses the term "host name" in the strict sense to mean a
   fully qualified domain name that has an IPv4 or IPv6 address record.
   It does not use the term "host name" in the commonly used but
   incorrect sense to mean just the first DNS label of a host's fully
   qualified domain name.

   A DNS (or mDNS) packet contains an IP TTL in the IP header, which
   is effectively a hop-count limit for the packet, to guard against
   routing loops. Each Resource Record also contains a TTL, which is
   the number of seconds for which the Resource Record may be cached.

   In any place where there may be potential confusion between these two
   types of TTL, the term "IP TTL" is used to refer to the IP header TTL
   (hop limit), and the term "RR TTL" is used to refer to the Resource
   Record TTL (cache lifetime).

   When this document uses the term "Multicast DNS", it should be taken
   to mean: "Clients performing DNS-like queries for DNS-like resource
   records by sending DNS-like UDP query and response packets over IP
   Multicast to UDP port 5353."

   This document uses the terms "shared" and "unique" when referring to
   resource record sets:

   A "shared" resource record set is one where several Multicast DNS
   Responders may have records with that name, rrtype, and rrclass, and
   several Responders may respond to a particular query.

   A "unique" resource record set is one where all the records with
   that name, rrtype, and rrclass are conceptually under the control
   or ownership of a single Responder, and it is expected that at most
   one Responder should respond to a query for that name, rrtype, and
   rrclass. Before claiming ownership of a unique resource record set,
   a Responder MUST probe to verify that no other Responder already
   claims ownership of that set, as described in Section 9.1 "Probing".
   For fault-tolerance and other reasons it is permitted sometimes to
   have more than one Responder answering for a particular "unique"
   resource record set, but such cooperating Responders MUST give
   answers containing identical rdata for these records or the
   answers will be perceived to be in conflict with each other.

   Strictly speaking the terms "shared" and "unique" apply to resource
   record sets, not to individual resource records, but it is sometimes
   convenient to talk of "shared resource records" and "unique resource
   records". When used this way, the terms should be understood to mean
   a record that is a member of a "shared" or "unique" resource record
   set, respectively.

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3. Multicast DNS Names

   This document specifies that the DNS top-level domain ".local."
   is a special domain with special semantics, namely that any fully-
   qualified name ending in ".local." is link-local, and names within
   this domain are meaningful only on the link where they originate.
   This is analogous to IPv4 addresses in the 169.254/16 prefix, which
   are link-local and meaningful only on the link where they originate.

   Any DNS query for a name ending with ".local." MUST be sent
   to the mDNS multicast address ( or its IPv6 equivalent

   It is unimportant whether a name ending with ".local." occurred
   because the user explicitly typed in a fully qualified domain name
   ending in ".local.", or because the user entered an unqualified
   domain name and the host software appended the suffix ".local."
   because that suffix appears in the user's search list. The ".local."
   suffix could appear in the search list because the user manually
   configured it, or because it was received in a DHCP option [RFC
   2132], or via any other valid mechanism for configuring the DNS
   search list. In this respect the ".local." suffix is treated no
   differently to any other search domain that might appear in the DNS
   search list.

   DNS queries for names that do not end with ".local." MAY be sent to
   the mDNS multicast address, if no other conventional DNS server is
   available. This can allow hosts on the same link to continue
   communicating using each other's globally unique DNS names during
   network outages which disrupt communication with the greater
   Internet. When resolving global names via local multicast, it is even
   more important to use DNSSEC or other security mechanisms to ensure
   that the response is trustworthy. Resolving global names via local
   multicast is a contentious issue, and this document does not discuss
   it in detail, instead concentrating on the issue of resolving local
   names using DNS packets sent to a multicast address.

   A host that belongs to an organization or individual who has control
   over some portion of the DNS namespace can be assigned a globally
   unique name within that portion of the DNS namespace, for example,
   "" For those of us who have this luxury, this
   works very well. However, the majority of home computer users do not
   have easy access to any portion of the global DNS namespace within
   which they have the authority to create names as they wish. This
   leaves the majority of home computers effectively anonymous for
   practical purposes.

   To remedy this problem, this document allows any computer user to
   elect to give their computers link-local Multicast DNS host names of
   the form: "single-dns-label.local." For example, a laptop computer
   may answer to the name "cheshire.local." Any computer user is granted

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   the authority to name their computer this way, provided that the
   chosen host name is not already in use on that link. Having named
   their computer this way, the user has the authority to continue using
   that name until such time as a name conflict occurs on the link which
   is not resolved in the user's favor. If this happens, the computer
   (or its human user) SHOULD cease using the name, and may choose to
   attempt to allocate a new unique name for use on that link. These
   conflicts are expected to be relatively rare for people who choose
   reasonably imaginative names, but it is still important to have a
   mechanism in place to handle them when they happen.

   The point made above is very important and bears repeating.
   It is easy for those of us in the IETF community who run our own
   name servers at home to forget that the majority of computer users
   do not run their own name server and have no easy way to create their
   own host names. When these users wish to transfer files between two
   laptop computers, they are frequently reduced to typing in
   dotted-decimal IP addresses because they simply have no other way for
   one host to refer to the other by name. This is a sorry state of
   affairs. What is worse, most users don't even bother trying to use
   dotted-decimal IP addresses. Most users still move data between
   machines by burning it onto CD-R, copying it onto a USB "keychain"
   flash drive, or similar removable media.

   In a world of gigabit Ethernet and ubiquitous wireless networking, it
   is a sad indictment of the networking community that most users still
   prefer sneakernet.

   Allowing ad hoc allocation of single-label names in a single flat
   ".local." namespace may seem to invite chaos. However, operational
   experience with AppleTalk NBP names [ATalk], which on any given link
   are also effectively single-label names in a flat namespace, shows
   that in practice name collisions happen extremely rarely and are not
   a problem. Groups of computer users from disparate organizations
   bring Macintosh laptop computers to events such as IETF Meetings, the
   Mac Hack conference, the Apple World Wide Developer Conference, etc.,
   and complaints at these events about users suffering conflicts and
   being forced to rename their machines have never been an issue.

   This document recommends a single flat namespace for dot-local host
   names, (i.e. the names of DNS "A" and "AAAA" records, which map names
   to IPv4 and IPv6 addresses), but other DNS record types (such as
   those used by DNS Service Discovery [DNS-SD]) may contain as many
   labels as appropriate for the desired usage, subject to the 256-byte
   name length limit specified below in Section 3.3 "Maximum Multicast
   DNS Name Length".

   Enforcing uniqueness of host names is probably desirable in the
   common case, but this document does not mandate that. It is
   permissible for a collection of coordinated hosts to agree to
   maintain multiple DNS address records with the same name, possibly

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   for load balancing or fault-tolerance reasons. This document does not
   take a position on whether that is sensible. It is important that
   both modes of operation are supported. The Multicast DNS protocol
   allows hosts to verify and maintain unique names for resource records
   where that behavior is desired, and it also allows hosts to maintain
   multiple resource records with a single shared name where that
   behavior is desired. This consideration applies to all resource
   records, not just address records (host names). In summary: It is
   required that the protocol have the ability to detect and handle name
   conflicts, but it is not required that this ability be used for every

3.1 Governing Standards Body

   Note that this use of the ".local." suffix falls under IETF/IANA
   jurisdiction, not ICANN jurisdiction. DNS is an IETF network
   protocol, governed by protocol rules defined by the IETF. These IETF
   protocol rules dictate character set, maximum name length, packet
   format, etc. ICANN determines additional rules that apply when the
   IETF's DNS protocol is used on the public Internet. In contrast,
   private uses of the DNS protocol on isolated private networks are not
   governed by ICANN. Since this change is a change to the core DNS
   protocol rules, it affects everyone, not just those machines using
   the ICANN-governed Internet. Hence this change falls into the
   category of an IETF protocol rule, not an ICANN usage rule.

   This allocation of responsibility is formally established in
   "Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Technical Work of the
   Internet Assigned Numbers Authority" [RFC 2860]. Exception (a) of
   clause 4.3 states that the IETF has the authority to instruct IANA
   to reserve pseudo-TLDs as required for protocol design purposes.
   For example, "Reserved Top Level DNS Names" [RFC 2606] defines
   the following pseudo-TLDs:


3.2 Private DNS Namespaces

   Note also that the special treatment of names ending in ".local." has
   been implemented in Macintosh computers since the days of Mac OS 9,
   and continues today in Mac OS X. There are also implementations for
   Microsoft Windows [B4W], Linux and other platforms [dotlocal].
   Operators setting up private internal networks ("intranets") are
   advised that their lives may be easier if they avoid using the suffix

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   ".local." in names in their private internal DNS server. Alternative
   possibilities include:


   Another alternative naming scheme, advocated by Professor D. J.
   Bernstein, is to use a numerical suffix, such as ".6." [djbdl].

3.3 Maximum Multicast DNS Name Length

   RFC 1034 says:

     the total number of octets that represent a domain name (i.e.,
     the sum of all label octets and label lengths) is limited to 255.

   This text does not state whether the final root label at the end of
   every name should be included in this count. However, "Clarifications
   to the DNS Specification" [RFC 2181] does offer one clue:

     The zero length full name is defined as representing the root
     of the DNS tree, and is typically written and displayed as ".".

   If the empty root label, represented in the packet by a single zero
   byte, and typically written and displayed as ".", is defined to be
   the "zero length name", then for consistency, the final root label
   (zero byte) in all names should be similarly ignored. This yields
   the following nominal length (NL) calculations:

                                                   | 0x00 |    NL = 0

                                | 0x03 | c | o | m | 0x00 |    NL = 4

     | 0x05 | a | p | p | l | e | 0x03 | c | o | m | 0x00 |    NL = 10

   This means that the maximum length of a domain name, as represented
   in a Multicast DNS packet, MUST NOT exceed 255 bytes *excluding*
   the final terminating zero, or 256 bytes *including* the final
   terminating zero.

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4. Source Address Check

   All Multicast DNS responses (including responses sent via unicast)
   SHOULD be sent with IP TTL set to 255. This is recommended to provide
   backwards-compatibility with older Multicast DNS clients that check
   the IP TTL on reception to determine whether the packet originated
   on the local link. These older clients discard all packets with TTLs
   other than 255.

   A host sending Multicast DNS queries to a link-local destination
   address (including the link-local multicast address)
   MUST only accept responses to that query that originate from the
   local link, and silently discard any other response packets. Without
   this check, it could be possible for remote rogue hosts to send
   spoof answer packets (perhaps unicast to the victim host) which the
   receiving machine could misinterpret as having originated on the
   local link.

   The test for whether a response originated on the local link
   is done in two ways:

   * All responses sent to the link-local multicast address
     are necessarily deemed to have originated on the local link,
     regardless of source IP address. This is essential to allow devices
     to work correctly and reliably in unusual configurations, such as
     multiple logical IP subnets overlayed on a single link, or in cases
     of severe misconfiguration, where devices are physically connected
     to the same link, but are currently misconfigured with completely
     unrelated IP addresses and subnet masks.

   * For responses sent to a unicast destination address, the source IP
     address in the packet is checked to see if it is an address on a
     local subnet. An address is determined to be on a local subnet if,
     for (one of) the address(es) configured on the interface receiving
     the packet, (I & M) == (P & M), where I and M are the interface
     address and subnet mask respectively, P is the source IP address
     from the packet, '&' represents the bitwise logical 'and'
     operation, and '==' represents a bitwise equality test.

   Since queriers will ignore responses apparently originating outside
   the local subnet, a Responder SHOULD avoid generating responses that
   it can reasonably predict will be ignored. This applies particularly
   in the case of overlayed subnets. If a Responder receives a query
   addressed to the link-local multicast address, from a
   source address not apparently on the same subnet as the Responder,
   then even if the query indicates that a unicast response is preferred
   (see Section 6.5, "Questions Requesting Unicast Responses"), the
   Responder SHOULD elect to respond by multicast anyway, since it can
   reasonably predict that a unicast response with an apparently
   non-local source address will probably be ignored.

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5. Reverse Address Mapping

   Like ".local.", the IPv4 and IPv6 reverse mapping domains are also
   defined to be link-local:

     Any DNS query for a name ending with "" MUST
     be sent to the mDNS multicast address Since names
     under this domain correspond to IPv4 link-local addresses, it is
     logical that the local link is the best place to find information
     pertaining to those names.

     Likewise, any DNS query for a name within the reverse mapping
     domains for IPv6 Link-Local addresses ("",
     "", "", and "") MUST
     be sent to the IPv6 mDNS link-local multicast address FF02::FB.

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6. Querying

   There are three kinds of Multicast DNS Queries, one-shot queries of
   the kind made by today's conventional DNS clients, one-shot queries
   accumulating multiple responses made by multicast-aware DNS clients,
   and continuous ongoing Multicast DNS Queries used by IP network
   browser software.

   A Multicast DNS Responder that is offering records that are intended
   to be unique on the local link MUST also implement a Multicast DNS
   Querier so that it can first verify the uniqueness of those records
   before it begins answering queries for them.

6.1 One-Shot Multicast DNS Queries

   The most basic kind of Multicast DNS client may simply send its DNS
   queries blindly to, without necessarily even being
   aware of what a multicast address is. This change can typically be
   implemented with just a few lines of code in an existing DNS resolver
   library. Any time the name being queried for falls within one of the
   reserved mDNS domains (see Section 12 "Special Characteristics of
   Multicast DNS Domains") the query is sent to instead
   of the configured unicast DNS server address that would otherwise be
   used. Typically the timeout would also be shortened to two or three
   seconds. It's possible to make a minimal mDNS client with only these
   simple changes.

   A simple DNS client like this will typically just take the first
   response it receives. It will not listen for additional UDP
   responses, but in many instances this may not be a serious problem.
   If a user types "http://cheshire.local." into their Web browser and
   gets to see the page they were hoping for, then the protocol has met
   the user's needs in this case.

   While a basic DNS client like this may be adequate for simple
   hostname lookup, it may not get ideal behavior in other cases.
   Additional refinements that may be adopted by more sophisticated
   clients are described below.

6.2 One-Shot Queries, Accumulating Multiple Responses

   A more sophisticated DNS client should understand that Multicast DNS
   is not exactly the same as unicast DNS, and should modify its
   behavior in some simple ways.

   As described above, there are some cases, such as looking up the
   address associated with a unique host name, where a single response
   is sufficient, and moreover may be all that is expected. However,
   there are other DNS queries where more than one response is

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   possible, and for these queries a more advanced Multicast DNS client
   should include the ability to wait for an appropriate period of time
   to collect multiple responses.

   A naive DNS client retransmits its query only so long as it has
   received no response. A more advanced Multicast DNS client is aware
   that having received one response is not necessarily an indication
   that it might not receive others, and has the ability to retransmit
   its query until it is satisfied with the collection of responses it
   has gathered. When retransmitting, the interval between the first two
   queries SHOULD be at least one second, and the intervals between
   successive queries SHOULD increase by at least a factor of two.

   A Multicast DNS client that is retransmitting a query for which it
   has already received some responses MUST implement Known Answer
   Suppression, as described below in Section 7.1 "Known Answer
   Suppression". This indicates to Responders who have already replied
   that their responses have been received, and they don't need to send
   them again in response to this repeated query.

6.3 Continuous Multicast DNS Querying

   In One-Shot Queries, with either single or multiple responses,
   the underlying assumption is that the transaction begins when the
   application issues a query, and ends when the desired responses
   have been received. There is another type of operation which is more
   akin to continuous monitoring.

   iTunes users are accustomed to seeing a list of shared network music
   libraries in the sidebar of the iTunes window. There is no "refresh"
   button for the user to click because the list is expected to be
   always accurate, always reflecting the currently available libraries,
   without the user having to take any manual action to keep it that
   way. When a new library becomes available it promptly appears in the
   list, and when a library becomes unavailable it promptly disappears.
   It is vitally important that this responsive user interface be
   achieved without naive polling that would place an unreasonable
   burden on the network.

   Therefore, when retransmitting mDNS queries to implement this kind of
   continuous monitoring, the interval between the first two queries
   SHOULD be at least one second, the intervals between successive
   queries SHOULD increase by at least a factor of two, and the querier
   MUST implement Known Answer Suppression, as described below in
   Section 7.1. When the interval between queries reaches or exceeds 60
   minutes, a querier MAY cap the interval to a maximum of 60 minutes,
   and perform subsequent queries at a steady-state rate of one query
   per hour. To avoid accidental synchronization when for some reason
   multiple clients begin querying at exactly the same moment (e.g.
   because of some common external trigger event), a Multicast DNS
   Querier SHOULD also delay the first query of the series by a
   randomly-chosen amount in the range 20-120ms.

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   When a Multicast DNS Querier receives an answer, the answer contains
   a TTL value that indicates for how many seconds this answer is valid.
   After this interval has passed, the answer will no longer be valid
   and SHOULD be deleted from the cache. Before this time is reached,
   a Multicast DNS Querier which has clients with an active interest in
   the state of that record (e.g. a network browsing window displaying
   a list of discovered services to the user) SHOULD re-issue its query
   to determine whether the record is still valid.

   To perform this cache maintenance, a Multicast DNS Querier should
   plan to re-query for records after at least 50% of the record
   lifetime has elapsed. This document recommends the following
   specific strategy:

   The Querier should plan to issue a query at 80% of the record
   lifetime, and then if no answer is received, at 85%, 90% and 95%.
   If an answer is received, then the remaining TTL is reset to the
   value given in the answer, and this process repeats for as long as
   the Multicast DNS Querier has an ongoing interest in the record.
   If after four queries no answer is received, the record is deleted
   when it reaches 100% of its lifetime. A Multicast DNS Querier MUST
   NOT perform this cache maintenance for records for which it has no
   clients with an active interest. If the expiry of a particular record
   from the cache would result in no net effect to any client software
   running on the Querier device, and no visible effect to the human
   user, then there is no reason for the Multicast DNS Querier to
   waste network bandwidth checking whether the record remains valid.

   To avoid the case where multiple Multicast DNS Queriers on a network
   all issue their queries simultaneously, a random variation of 2% of
   the record TTL should be added, so that queries are scheduled to be
   performed at 80-82%, 85-87%, 90-92% and then 95-97% of the TTL.

6.4 Multiple Questions per Query

   Multicast DNS allows a querier to place multiple questions in the
   Question Section of a single Multicast DNS query packet.

   The semantics of a Multicast DNS query packet containing multiple
   questions is identical to a series of individual DNS query packets
   containing one question each. Combining multiple questions into a
   single packet is purely an efficiency optimization, and has no other
   semantic significance.

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6.5 Questions Requesting Unicast Responses

   Sending Multicast DNS responses via multicast has the benefit that
   all the other hosts on the network get to see those responses, and
   can keep their caches up to date, and can detect conflicting

   However, there are situations where all the other hosts on the
   network don't need to see every response. Some examples are a laptop
   computer waking from sleep, or the Ethernet cable being connected to
   a running machine, or a previously inactive interface being activated
   through a configuration change. At the instant of wake-up or link
   activation, the machine is a brand new participant on a new network.
   Its Multicast DNS cache for that interface is empty, and it has no
   knowledge of its peers on that link. It may have a significant number
   of questions that it wants answered right away to discover
   information about its new surroundings and present that information
   to the user. As a new participant on the network, it has no idea
   whether the exact same questions may have been asked and answered
   just seconds ago. In this case, triggering a large sudden flood of
   multicast responses may impose an unreasonable burden on the network.

   To avoid large floods of potentially unnecessary responses in these
   cases, Multicast DNS defines the top bit in the class field of a DNS
   question as the "unicast response" bit. When this bit is set in a
   question, it indicates that the Querier is willing to accept unicast
   responses instead of the usual multicast responses. These questions
   requesting unicast responses are referred to as "QU" questions, to
   distinguish them from the more usual questions requesting multicast
   responses ("QM" questions). A Multicast DNS Querier sending its
   initial batch of questions immediately on wake from sleep or
   interface activation SHOULD set the "QU" bit in those questions.

   When a question is retransmitted (as described in Section 6.3
   "Continuous Multicast DNS Querying") the "QU" bit SHOULD NOT be set
   in subsequent retransmissions of that question. Subsequent
   retransmissions SHOULD be usual "QM" questions. After the first
   question has received its responses, the querier should have a large
   known-answer list (see "Known Answer Suppression" below) so that
   subsequent queries should elicit few, if any, further responses.
   Reverting to multicast responses as soon as possible is important
   because of the benefits that multicast responses provide (see
   "Benefits of Multicast Responses" below). In addition, the "QU" bit
   SHOULD be set only for questions that are active and ready to be sent
   the moment of wake from sleep or interface activation. New questions
   issued by clients afterwards should be treated as normal "QM"
   questions and SHOULD NOT have the "QU" bit set on the first question
   of the series.

   When receiving a question with the "unicast response" bit set, a
   Responder SHOULD usually respond with a unicast packet directed back
   to the querier. If the Responder has not multicast that record

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   recently (within one quarter of its TTL), then the Responder SHOULD
   instead multicast the response so as to keep all the peer caches up
   to date, and to permit passive conflict detection. In the case of
   answering a probe question with the "unicast response" bit set, the
   Responder should always generate the requested unicast response, but
   may also send a multicast announcement too if the time since the last
   multicast announcement of that record is more than a quarter of its

   Except when defending a unique name against a probe from another
   host, unicast replies are subject to all the same packet generation
   rules as multicast replies, including the cache flush bit (see
   Section 11.3, "Announcements to Flush Outdated Cache Entries") and
   randomized delays to reduce network collisions (see Section 8,

6.6 Delaying Initial Query

   If a query is issued for which there already exist one or more
   records in the local cache, and those record(s) were received with
   the cache flush bit set (see Section 11.3, "Announcements to Flush
   Outdated Cache Entries"), indicating that they form a unique RRSet,
   then the host SHOULD delay its initial query by imposing a random
   delay from 500-1000ms. This is to avoid the situation where a group
   of hosts are synchronized by some external event and all perform
   the same query simultaneously. This means that when the first host
   (selected randomly by this algorithm) transmits its query, all the
   other hosts that were about to transmit the same query can suppress
   their superfluous queries, as described in "Duplicate Question
   Suppression" below.

6.7 Direct Unicast Queries to port 5353

   In specialized applications there may be rare situations where it
   makes sense for a Multicast DNS Querier to send its query via unicast
   to a specific machine. When a Multicast DNS Responder receives a
   query via direct unicast, it SHOULD respond as it would for a
   "QU" query, as described above in Section 6.5 "Questions Requesting
   Unicast Responses". Since it is possible for a unicast query to be
   received from a machine outside the local link, Responders SHOULD
   check that the source address in the query packet matches the local
   subnet for that link, and silently ignore the packet if not.

   There may be specialized situations, outside the scope of this
   document, where it is intended and desirable to create a Responder
   that does answer queries originating outside the local link. Such
   a Responder would need to ensure that these non-local queries are
   always answered via unicast back to the Querier, since an answer sent
   via link-local multicast would not reach a Querier outside the local

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7. Duplicate Suppression

   A variety of techniques are used to reduce the amount of redundant
   traffic on the network.

7.1 Known Answer Suppression

   When a Multicast DNS Querier sends a query to which it already knows
   some answers, it populates the Answer Section of the DNS message with
   those answers.

   A Multicast DNS Responder MUST NOT answer a Multicast DNS Query if
   the answer it would give is already included in the Answer Section
   with an RR TTL at least half the correct value. If the RR TTL of the
   answer as given in the Answer Section is less than half of the true
   RR TTL as known by the Multicast DNS Responder, the Responder MUST
   send an answer so as to update the Querier's cache before the record
   becomes in danger of expiration.

   Because a Multicast DNS Responder will respond if the remaining TTL
   given in the known answer list is less than half the true TTL, it is
   superfluous for the Querier to include such records in the known
   answer list. Therefore a Multicast DNS Querier SHOULD NOT include
   records in the known answer list whose remaining TTL is less than
   half their original TTL. Doing so would simply consume space in the
   packet without achieving the goal of suppressing responses, and would
   therefore be a pointless waste of network bandwidth.

   A Multicast DNS Querier MUST NOT cache resource records observed in
   the Known Answer Section of other Multicast DNS Queries. The Answer
   Section of Multicast DNS Queries is not authoritative. By placing
   information in the Answer Section of a Multicast DNS Query the
   querier is stating that it *believes* the information to be true.
   It is not asserting that the information *is* true. Some of those
   records may have come from other hosts that are no longer on the
   network. Propagating that stale information to other Multicast DNS
   Queriers on the network would not be helpful.

7.2 Multi-Packet Known Answer Suppression

   Sometimes a Multicast DNS Querier will already have too many answers
   to fit in the Known Answer Section of its query packets. In this
   case, it should issue a Multicast DNS Query containing a question and
   as many Known Answer records as will fit. It MUST then set the TC
   (Truncated) bit in the header before sending the Query. It MUST then
   immediately follow the packet with another query packet containing no
   questions, and as many more Known Answer records as will fit. If
   there are still too many records remaining to fit in the packet, it
   again sets the TC bit and continues until all the Known Answer
   records have been sent.

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   A Multicast DNS Responder seeing a Multicast DNS Query with the TC
   bit set defers its response for a time period randomly selected in
   the interval 400-500ms. This gives the Multicast DNS Querier time to
   send additional Known Answer packets before the Responder responds.
   If the Responder sees any of its answers listed in the Known Answer
   lists of subsequent packets from the querying host, it SHOULD delete
   that answer from the list of answers it is planning to give, provided
   that no other host on the network is also waiting to receive the same
   answer record.

   If the Responder receives additional Known Answer packets with the TC
   bit set, it SHOULD extend the delay as necessary to ensure a pause of
   400-500ms after the last such packet before it sends its answer. This
   opens the potential risk that a continuous stream of Known Answer
   packets could, theoretically, prevent a Responder from answering
   indefinitely. In practice answers are never actually delayed
   significantly, and should a situation arise where significant delays
   did happen, that would be a scenario where the network is so
   overloaded that it would be desirable to err on the side of caution.
   The consequence of delaying an answer may be that it takes a user
   longer than usual to discover all the services on the local network;
   in contrast the consequence of incorrectly answering before all the
   Known Answer packets have been received would be wasting bandwidth
   sending unnecessary answers on an already overloaded network. In this
   (rare) situation, sacrificing speed to preserve reliable network
   operation is the right trade-off.

7.3 Duplicate Question Suppression

   If a host is planning to send a query, and it sees another host on
   the network send a QM query containing the same question, and the
   Known Answer Section of that query does not contain any records which
   this host would not also put in its own Known Answer Section, then
   this host should treat its own query as having been sent. When
   multiple clients on the network are querying for the same resource
   records, there is no need for them to all be repeatedly asking the
   same question.

7.4 Duplicate Answer Suppression

   If a host is planning to send an answer, and it sees another host on
   the network send a response packet containing the same answer record,
   and the TTL in that record is not less than the TTL this host would
   have given, then this host should treat its own answer as having been
   sent. When multiple Responders on the network have the same data,
   there is no need for all of them to respond.

   This feature is particularly useful when multiple Sleep Proxy Servers
   are deployed (see Section 17, "Multicast DNS and Power Management").

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   In the future it is possible that every general-purpose OS (Mac,
   Windows, Linux, etc.) will implement Sleep Proxy Service as a matter
   of course. In this case there could be a large number of Sleep Proxy
   Servers on any given network, which is good for reliability and
   fault-tolerance, but would be bad for the network if every Sleep
   Proxy Server were to answer every query.

8. Responding

   When a Multicast DNS Responder constructs and sends a Multicast DNS
   response packet, the Answer Section of that packet must contain only
   records for which that Responder is explicitly authoritative. These
   answers may be generated because the record answers a question
   received in a Multicast DNS query packet, or at certain other times
   that the Responder determines than an unsolicited announcement is
   warranted. A Multicast DNS Responder MUST NOT place records from its
   cache, which have been learned from other Responders on the network,
   in the Answer Section of outgoing response packets. Only an
   authoritative source for a given record is allowed to issue responses
   containing that record.

   The determination of whether a given record answers a given question
   is done using the standard DNS rules: The record name must match the
   question name, the record rrtype must match the question qtype
   (unless the qtype is "ANY"), and the record rrclass must match the
   question qclass (unless the qclass is "ANY").

   A Multicast DNS Responder MUST only respond when it has a positive
   non-null response to send, or it authoritatively knows that a
   particular record does not exist. For unique records, where the host
   has already established sole ownership of the name, it MUST return
   negative answers to queries for records that it knows not to exist.
   For example, a host with no IPv6 address, that has claimed sole
   ownership of the name "host.local." for all rrtypes, MUST respond to
   AAAA queries for "host.local." by sending a negative answer
   indicating that no AAAA records exist for that name. For shared
   records, which are owned by no single host, the nonexistence of a
   given record is ascertained by the failure of any machine to respond
   to the Multicast DNS query, not by any explicit negative response.
   NXDOMAIN and other error responses must not be sent.

   Multicast DNS Responses MUST NOT contain any questions in the
   Question Section. Any questions in the Question Section of a received
   Multicast DNS Response MUST be silently ignored. Multicast DNS
   Queriers receiving Multicast DNS Responses do not care what question
   elicited the response; they care only that the information in the
   response is true and accurate.

   A Multicast DNS Responder on Ethernet [IEEE 802] and similar shared
   multiple access networks SHOULD have the capability of delaying its
   responses by up to 500ms, as determined by the rules described below.

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   If a large number of Multicast DNS Responders were all to respond
   immediately to a particular query, a collision would be virtually
   guaranteed. By imposing a small random delay, the number of
   collisions is dramatically reduced. On a full-sized Ethernet using
   the maximum cable lengths allowed and the maximum number of repeaters
   allowed, an Ethernet frame is vulnerable to collisions during the
   transmission of its first 256 bits. On 10Mb/s Ethernet, this equates
   to a vulnerable time window of 25.6us. On higher-speed variants of
   Ethernet, the vulnerable time window is shorter.

   In the case where a Multicast DNS Responder has good reason to
   believe that it will be the only Responder on the link that will send
   a response (i.e. because it is able to answer every question in the
   query packet, and for all of those answer records it has previously
   verified that the name, rrtype and rrclass are unique on the link)
   it SHOULD NOT impose any random delay before responding, and SHOULD
   normally generate its response within at most 10ms. In particular,
   this applies to responding to probe queries with the "unicast
   response" bit set. Since receiving a probe query gives a clear
   indication that some other Responder is planning to start using this
   name in the very near future, answering such probe queries to defend
   a unique record is a high priority and needs to be done immediately,
   without delay. A probe query can be distinguished from a normal query
   by the fact that a probe query contains a proposed record in the
   Authority Section which answers the question in the Question Section
   (for more details, see Section 9.1, "Probing").

   Responding immediately without delay is appropriate for records like
   the address record for a particular host name, when the host name has
   been previously verified unique. Responding immediately without delay
   is *not* appropriate for things like looking up PTR records used for
   DNS Service Discovery [DNS-SD], where a large number of responses may
   be anticipated.

   In any case where there may be multiple responses, such as queries
   where the answer is a member of a shared resource record set, each
   Responder SHOULD delay its response by a random amount of time
   selected with uniform random distribution in the range 20-120ms.
   The reason for requiring that the delay be at least 20ms is to
   accommodate the situation where two or more query packets are sent
   back-to-back, because in that case we want a Responder with answers
   to more than one of those queries to have the opportunity to
   aggregate all of its answers into a single response packet.

   In the case where the query has the TC (truncated) bit set,
   indicating that subsequent known answer packets will follow,
   Responders SHOULD delay their responses by a random amount of time
   selected with uniform random distribution in the range 400-500ms,
   to allow enough time for all the known answer packets to arrive,
   as described in Section 7.2 "Multi-Packet Known Answer Suppression".

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   Except when a unicast response has been explicitly requested (via the
   "unicast response" bit, by virtue of being a Legacy Query (Section
   8.5), or by virtue of being a direct unicast query) Multicast DNS
   Responses MUST be sent to UDP port 5353 (the well-known port assigned
   to mDNS) on the multicast address (or its IPv6 equivalent
   FF02::FB). Operating in a Zeroconf environment requires constant
   vigilance. Just because a name has been previously verified unique
   does not mean it will continue to be so indefinitely. By allowing all
   Multicast DNS Responders to constantly monitor their peers'
   responses, conflicts arising out of network topology changes can be
   promptly detected and resolved. Sending all responses by multicast
   also facilitates opportunistic caching by other hosts on the network.

   To protect the network against excessive packet flooding due to
   software bugs or malicious attack, a Multicast DNS Responder MUST NOT
   (except in the one special case of answering probe queries) multicast
   a record on a given interface until at least one second has elapsed
   since the last time that record was multicast on that particular
   interface. A legitimate client on the network should have seen the
   previous transmission and cached it. A client that did not receive
   and cache the previous transmission will retry its request and
   receive a subsequent response. In the special case of answering probe
   queries, because of the limited time before the probing host will
   make its decision about whether or not to use the name, a Multicast
   DNS Responder MUST respond quickly. In this special case only, when
   responding via multicast to a probe, a Multicast DNS Responder is
   only required to delay its transmission as necessary to ensure an
   interval of at least 250ms since the last time the record was
   multicast on that interface.

8.1 Negative Responses

   In the early design of Multicast DNS it was assumed that explicit
   negative responses would never be needed. However, operational
   experience showed that negative responses can be important,
   specifically in the case of clients querying for a AAAA record when
   the host in question has no IPv6 addresses. In this case an explicit
   negative response is preferable to the client having to retransmit
   its query multiple times and eventually give up with a timeout before
   it can conclude that a given AAAA record does not exist.

   A Responder indicates the nonexistence of a record by using a special
   pseudo-RR with DNS meta-type "NEGATIVE" (248). This is considered a
   pseudo-RR because queries for this meta-type are ignored, and clients
   should never cache records with this type (though receipt of this
   pseudo-RR may cause the creation of the appropriate negative cache
   entry). Receipt of a NEGATIVE pseudo-RR indicates the nonexistence of
   a record, with the same name and rrclass as the NEGATIVE pseudo-RR,
   and rrtype as specified in the rdata of the NEGATIVE pseudo-RR (which
   is therefore always exactly two bytes long, containing a DNS rrtype

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   in network byte order). The TTL of the NEGATIVE pseudo-RR indicates
   the intended lifetime of the negative cache entry. In general, the
   TTL given for a NEGATIVE pseudo-RR SHOULD be the same as the TTL that
   the record would have had, had it existed. For example, the TTL for
   address records in Multicast DNS is typically 120 seconds, so the
   negative cache lifetime for an address record that does not exist
   should also be 120 seconds.

   A Responder should only generate negative responses to queries for
   which it has legitimate ownership of the name/rrtype/rrclass in
   question, and can legitimately assert that no record with that
   name/rrtype/rrclass exists. A Responder can assert that a specified
   rrtype does not exist for one of its names only if it previously
   claimed unique ownership of that name using probe queries for rrtype
   ANY. (If it were to use probe queries for a specific rrtype, then it
   would only own the name for that rrtype, and could not assert that
   other rrtypes do not exist.) Similarly, a Responder can assert that a
   specified rrclass does not exist for one of its names only if it
   previously claimed unique ownership of that name using probe queries
   for rrclass ANY. On receipt of a question for a particular
   name/rrtype/rrclass which a Responder knows not to exist by virtue of
   previous successful probing, the Responder MUST send a response
   packet containing the appropriate NEGATIVE pseudo-RR.

8.2 Responding to Address Queries

   In Multicast DNS, whenever a Responder places an IPv4 or IPv6 address
   record (rrtype "A" or "AAAA") into a response packet, it SHOULD also
   place the corresponding other address type into the additional
   section, if there is space in the packet.

   This is to provide fate sharing, so that all a device's addresses are
   delivered atomically in a single packet, to reduce the risk that
   packet loss could cause a querier to receive only the IPv4 addresses
   and not the IPv6 addresses, or vice versa.

   In the event that a device has only IPv4 addresses but no IPv6
   addresses, or vice versa, then the appropriate NEGATIVE pseudo-RR
   SHOULD be placed into the additional section, so that queriers can
   know with certainty that the device has no addresses of that kind.

   Some Multicast DNS Responders treat a physical interface with both
   IPv4 and IPv6 address as a single interface with two addresses. Other
   Multicast DNS Responders treat this case as logically two interfaces,
   each with one address, but Responders that operate this way MUST NOT
   put the corresponding automatic NEGATIVE pseudo-RRs in replies they
   send (i.e. a negative IPv4 assertion in their IPv6 responses, and a
   negative IPv6 assertion in their IPv4 responses) because this would
   cause incorrect operation in Responders on the network that work the
   former way.

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8.3 Responding to Multi-Question Queries

   Multicast DNS Responders MUST correctly handle DNS query packets
   containing more than one question, by answering any or all of the
   questions to which they have answers. Any (non-defensive) answers
   generated in response to query packets containing more than one
   question SHOULD be randomly delayed in the range 20-120ms, or
   400-500ms if the TC (truncated) bit is set, as described above.
   (Answers defending a name, in response to a probe for that name,
   are not subject to this delay rule and are still sent immediately.)

8.4 Response Aggregation

   When possible, a Responder SHOULD, for the sake of network
   efficiency, aggregate as many responses as possible into a single
   Multicast DNS response packet. For example, when a Responder has
   several responses it plans to send, each delayed by a different
   interval, then earlier responses SHOULD be delayed by up to an
   additional 500ms if that will permit them to be aggregated with
   other responses scheduled to go out a little later.

8.5 Legacy Unicast Responses

   If the source UDP port in a received Multicast DNS Query is not port
   5353, this indicates that the client originating the query is a
   simple client that does not fully implement all of Multicast DNS.
   In this case, the Multicast DNS Responder MUST send a UDP response
   directly back to the client, via unicast, to the query packet's
   source IP address and port. This unicast response MUST be a
   conventional unicast response as would be generated by a conventional
   unicast DNS server; for example, it MUST repeat the query ID and the
   question given in the query packet.

   The resource record TTL given in a legacy unicast response SHOULD NOT
   be greater than ten seconds, even if the true TTL of the Multicast
   DNS resource record is higher. This is because Multicast DNS
   Responders that fully participate in the protocol use the cache
   coherency mechanisms described in Section 11 "Resource Record TTL
   Values and Cache Coherency" to update and invalidate stale data. Were
   unicast responses sent to legacy clients to use the same high TTLs,
   these legacy clients, which do not implement these cache coherency
   mechanisms, could retain stale cached resource record data long after
   it is no longer valid.

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   Having sent this unicast response, if the Responder has not sent this
   record in any multicast response recently, it SHOULD schedule the
   record to be sent via multicast as well, to facilitate passive
   conflict detection. "Recently" in this context means "if the time
   since the record was last sent via multicast is less than one quarter
   of the record's TTL".

   Note that while legacy queries usually contain exactly one question,
   they are permitted to contain multiple questions, and Responders
   listening for multicast queries on MUST be prepared
   to handle this correctly, responding by generating a unicast response
   containing the list of question(s) they are answering in the Question
   Section, and the records answering those question(s) in the Answer

9. Probing and Announcing on Startup

   Typically a Multicast DNS Responder should have, at the very least,
   address records for all of its active interfaces. Creating and
   advertising an HINFO record on each interface as well can be useful
   to network administrators.

   Whenever a Multicast DNS Responder starts up, wakes up from sleep,
   receives an indication of an Ethernet "Link Change" event, or has any
   other reason to believe that its network connectivity may have
   changed in some relevant way, it MUST perform the two startup steps
   below: Probing (Section 9.1) and Announcing (Section 9.3).

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9.1 Probing

   The first startup step is that for all those resource records that a
   Multicast DNS Responder desires to be unique on the local link, it
   MUST send a Multicast DNS Query asking for those resource records, to
   see if any of them are already in use. The primary example of this is
   its address records which map its unique host name to its unique IPv4
   and/or IPv6 addresses. All Probe Queries SHOULD be done using the
   desired resource record name and query type ANY (255), to elicit
   answers for all types of records with that name. This allows a single
   question to be used in place of several questions, which is more
   efficient on the network. It also allows a host to verify exclusive
   ownership of a name for all rrtypes, which is desirable in most
   cases. It would be confusing, for example, if one host owned the "A"
   record for "myhost.local.", but a different host owned the HINFO
   record for that name.

   The ability to place more than one question in a Multicast DNS Query
   is useful here, because it can allow a host to use a single packet
   for all of its resource records instead of needing a separate packet
   for each. For example, a host can simultaneously probe for uniqueness
   of its "A" record and all its SRV records [DNS-SD] in the same query

   When ready to send its mDNS probe packet(s) the host should first
   wait for a short random delay time, uniformly distributed in the
   range 0-250ms. This random delay is to guard against the case where a
   group of devices are powered on simultaneously, or a group of devices
   are connected to an Ethernet hub which is then powered on, or some
   other external event happens that might cause a group of hosts to all
   send synchronized probes.

   250ms after the first query the host should send a second, then
   250ms after that a third. If, by 250ms after the third probe, no
   conflicting Multicast DNS responses have been received, the host may
   move to the next step, announcing. (Note that this is the one
   exception from the normal rule that there should be at least one
   second between repetitions of the same question, and the interval
   between subsequent repetitions should at least double.)

   When sending probe queries, a host MUST NOT consult its cache for
   potential answers. Only conflicting Multicast DNS responses received
   "live" from the network are considered valid for the purposes of
   determining whether probing has succeeded or failed.

   In order to allow services to announce their presence without
   unreasonable delay, the time window for probing is intentionally set
   quite short. As a result of this, from the time the first probe
   packet is sent, another device on the network using that name has
   just 750ms to respond to defend its name. On networks that are slow,
   or busy, or both, it is possible for round-trip latency to account
   for a few hundred milliseconds, and software delays in slow devices

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   can add additional delay. For this reason, it is important that when
   a device receives a probe query for a name that it is currently using
   for unique records, it SHOULD generate its response to defend that
   name immediately and send it as quickly as possible. The usual rules
   about random delays before responding, to avoid sudden bursts of
   simultaneous answers from different hosts, do not apply here since
   at most one host should ever respond to a given probe question. Even
   when a single DNS query packet contains multiple probe questions,
   it would be unusual for that packet to elicit a defensive response
   from more than one other host. Because of the mDNS multicast rate
   limiting rules, the first two probes SHOULD be sent as "QU" questions
   with the "unicast response" bit set, to allow a defending host to
   respond immediately via unicast, instead of potentially having to
   wait before replying via multicast. At the present time, this
   document recommends that the third probe SHOULD be sent as a standard
   "QM" question, for backwards compatibility with the small number of
   old devices still in use that don't implement unicast responses.

   If, at any time during probing, from the beginning of the initial
   random 0-250ms delay onward, any conflicting Multicast DNS responses
   are received, then the probing host MUST defer to the existing host,
   and MUST choose new names for some or all of its resource records as
   appropriate. In the case of a host probing using query type ANY as
   recommended above, any answer containing a record with that name, of
   any type, MUST be considered a conflicting response and handled

   If fifteen failures occur within any ten-second period, then the host
   MUST wait at least five seconds before each successive additional
   probe attempt. This is to help ensure that in the event of software
   bugs or other unanticipated problems, errant hosts do not flood the
   network with a continuous stream of multicast traffic. For very
   simple devices, a valid way to comply with this requirement is
   to always wait five seconds after any failed probe attempt before
   trying again.

   If a Responder knows by other means, with absolute certainty, that
   its unique resource record set name, rrtype and rrclass cannot
   already be in use by any other Responder on the network, then it
   MAY skip the probing step for that resource record set. For example,
   when creating the reverse address mapping PTR records, the host can
   reasonably assume that no other host will be trying to create those
   same PTR records, since that would imply that the two hosts were
   trying to use the same IP address, and if that were the case, the
   two hosts would be suffering communication problems beyond the scope
   of what Multicast DNS is designed to solve.

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9.2 Simultaneous Probe Tie-Breaking

   The astute reader will observe that there is a race condition
   inherent in the previous description. If two hosts are probing for
   the same name simultaneously, neither will receive any response to
   the probe, and the hosts could incorrectly conclude that they may
   both proceed to use the name. To break this symmetry, each host
   populates the Query packets's Authority Section with the record or
   records with the rdata that it would be proposing to use, should its
   probing be successful. The Authority Section is being used here in a
   way analogous to the way it is used as the "Update Section" in a DNS
   Update packet [RFC 2136].

   When a host is probing for a group of related records with the same
   name (e.g. the SRV and TXT record describing a DNS-SD service), only
   a single question need be placed in the Question Section, since query
   type ANY (255) is used, which will elicit answers for all records
   with that name. However, for tie-breaking to work correctly in all
   cases, the Authority Section must contain *all* the records and
   proposed rdata being probed for uniqueness.

   When a host that is probing for a record sees another host issue a
   query for the same record, it consults the Authority Section of that
   query. If it finds any resource record(s) there which answers the
   query, then it compares the data of that (those) resource record(s)
   with its own tentative data. We consider first the simple case of a
   host probing for a single record, receiving a simultaneous probe from
   another host also probing for a single record. The two records are
   compared and the lexicographically later data wins. This means that
   if the host finds that its own data is lexicographically later, it
   simply ignores the other host's probe. If the host finds that its own
   data is lexicographically earlier, then it treats this exactly as if
   it had received a positive answer to its query, and concludes that it
   may not use the desired name.

   The determination of "lexicographically later" is performed by first
   comparing the record class, then the record type, then raw comparison
   of the binary content of the rdata without regard for meaning or
   structure. If the record classes differ, then the numerically greater
   class is considered "lexicographically later". Otherwise, if the
   record types differ, then the numerically greater type is considered
   "lexicographically later". If the rrtype and rrclass both match then
   the rdata is compared.

   In the case of resource records containing rdata that is subject to
   name compression [RFC 1035], the names MUST be uncompressed before
   comparison. (The details of how a particular name is compressed is an
   artifact of how and where the record is written into the DNS message;
   it is not an intrinsic property of the resource record itself.)

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   The bytes of the raw uncompressed rdata are compared in turn,
   interpreting the bytes as eight-bit UNSIGNED values, until a byte
   is found whose value is greater than that of its counterpart (in
   which case the rdata whose byte has the greater value is deemed
   lexicographically later) or one of the resource records runs out
   of rdata (in which case the resource record which still has
   remaining data first is deemed lexicographically later).

   The following is an example of a conflict:

   cheshire.local. A
   cheshire.local. A

   In this case is lexicographically later (the third
   byte, with value 200, is greater than its counterpart with value 99),
   so it is deemed the winner.

   Note that it is vital that the bytes are interpreted as UNSIGNED
   values in the range 0-255, or the wrong outcome may result. In
   the example above, if the byte with value 200 had been incorrectly
   interpreted as a signed eight-bit value then it would be interpreted
   as value -56, and the wrong address record would be deemed the

9.2.1 Simultaneous Probe Tie-Breaking for Multiple Records

   When a host is probing for a set of records with the same name, or a
   packet is received containing multiple tie-breaker records answering
   a given probe question in the Question Section, the host's records
   and the tie-breaker records from the packet are each sorted into
   order, and then compared pairwise, using the same comparison
   technique described above, until a difference is found.

   The records are sorted using the same lexicographical order as
   described above, that is: if the record classes differ, the record
   with the lower class number comes first. If the classes are the same
   but the rrtypes differ, the record with the lower rrtype number comes
   first. If the class and rrtype match, then the rdata is compared
   bytewise until a difference is found. For example, in the common case
   of advertising DNS-SD services with a TXT record and an SRV record,
   the TXT record comes first (the rrtype for TXT is 16) and the SRV
   record comes second (the rrtype for SRV is 33).

   When comparing the records, if the first records match perfectly,
   then the second records are compared, and so on. If either list of
   records runs out of records before any difference is found, then the
   list with records remaining is deemed to have won the tie-break. If
   both lists run out of records at the same time without any difference
   being found, then this indicates that two devices are advertising
   identical sets of records, as is sometimes done for fault tolerance,
   and there is in fact no conflict.

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9.3 Announcing

   The second startup step is that the Multicast DNS Responder MUST send
   a gratuitous Multicast DNS Response containing, in the Answer
   Section, all of its resource records (both shared records, and unique
   records that have completed the probing step). If there are too many
   resource records to fit in a single packet, multiple packets should
   be used.

   In the case of shared records (e.g. the PTR records used by DNS
   Service Discovery [DNS-SD]), the records are simply placed as-is
   into the Answer Section of the DNS Response.

   In the case of records that have been verified to be unique in the
   previous step, they are placed into the Answer Section of the DNS
   Response with the most significant bit of the rrclass set to one.
   The most significant bit of the rrclass for a record in the Answer
   Section of a response packet is the mDNS "cache flush" bit and is
   discussed in more detail below in Section 11.3 "Announcements to
   Flush Outdated Cache Entries".

   The Multicast DNS Responder MUST send at least two gratuitous
   responses, one second apart. A Responder MAY send up to eight
   gratuitous Responses, provided that the interval between gratuitous
   responses doubles with every response sent.

   A Multicast DNS Responder MUST NOT send announcements in the absence
   of information that its network connectivity may have changed in
   some relevant way. In particular, a Multicast DNS Responder MUST NOT
   send regular periodic announcements as a matter of course. It is not
   uncommon for protocol designers to encounter some problem which they
   decide to solve using regular periodic announcements, but this is
   generally not a wise protocol design choice. In the small scale
   periodic announcements may seem to remedy the short-term problem,
   but they do not scale well if the protocol becomes successful.
   If every host on the network implements the protocol -- if multiple
   applications on every host on the network are implementing the
   protocol -- then even a low periodic rate of just one announcement
   per minute per application per host can add up to multiple packets
   per second in total. While gigabit Ethernet may be able to carry
   a million packets per second, other network technologies cannot.
   For example, while IEEE 802.11g [IEEE W] wireless has a nominal data
   rate of up to 54Mb/sec, multicasting just 100 packets per second can
   consume the entire available bandwidth, leaving nothing for anything

   With the increasing popularity of hand-held devices, unnecessary
   continuous packet transmission can have bad implications for battery
   life. It's worth pointing out the precedent that TCP was also
   designed with this "no regular periodic idle packets" philosophy.
   Standard TCP sends packets only when it has data to send or
   acknowledge. If neither client nor server sends any bytes, then the

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   TCP code will send no packets, and a TCP connection can remain active
   in this state indefinitely, with no packets being exchanged for
   hours, days, weeks or months.

   Whenever a Multicast DNS Responder receives any Multicast DNS
   response (gratuitous or otherwise) containing a conflicting resource
   record, the conflict MUST be resolved as described below in "Conflict

9.4 Updating

   At any time, if the rdata of any of a host's Multicast DNS records
   changes, the host MUST repeat the Announcing step described above to
   update neighboring caches. For example, if any of a host's IP
   addresses change, it MUST re-announce those address records.

   In the case of shared records, a host MUST send a "goodbye"
   announcement with TTL zero (see Section 11.2 "Goodbye Packets")
   for the old rdata, to cause it to be deleted from peer caches,
   before announcing the new rdata. In the case of unique records,
   a host SHOULD omit the "goodbye" announcement, since the cache
   flush bit on the newly announced records will cause old rdata
   to be flushed from peer caches anyway.

   A host may update the contents of any of its records at any time,
   though a host SHOULD NOT update records more frequently than ten
   times per minute. Frequent rapid updates impose a burden on the
   network. If a host has information to disseminate which changes more
   frequently than ten times per minute, then it may be more appropriate
   to design a protocol for that specific purpose.

10. Conflict Resolution

   A conflict occurs when a Multicast DNS Responder has a unique record
   for which it is authoritative, and it receives a Multicast DNS
   response packet containing a record with the same name, rrtype and
   rrclass, but inconsistent rdata. What may be considered inconsistent
   is context sensitive, except that resource records with identical
   rdata are never considered inconsistent, even if they originate from
   different hosts. This is to permit use of proxies and other
   fault-tolerance mechanisms that may cause more than one Responder
   to be capable of issuing identical answers on the network.

   A common example of a resource record type that is intended to be
   unique, not shared between hosts, is the address record that maps a
   host's name to its IP address. Should a host witness another host
   announce an address record with the same name but a different IP
   address, then that is considered inconsistent, and that address
   record is considered to be in conflict.

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   Whenever a Multicast DNS Responder receives any Multicast DNS
   response (gratuitous or otherwise) containing a conflicting resource
   record in the Answer Section, the Multicast DNS Responder MUST
   immediately reset its conflicted unique record to probing state, and
   go through the startup steps described above in Section 9, "Probing
   and Announcing on Startup". The protocol used in the Probing phase
   will determine a winner and a loser, and the loser MUST cease using
   the name, and reconfigure.

   It is very important that any host receiving a resource record that
   conflicts with one of its own MUST take action as described above.
   In the case of two hosts using the same host name, where one has been
   configured to require a unique host name and the other has not, the
   one that has not been configured to require a unique host name will
   not perceive any conflict, and will not take any action. By reverting
   to Probing state, the host that desires a unique host name will go
   through the necessary steps to ensure that a unique host name is

   The recommended course of action after probing and failing is as

   o Programmatically change the resource record name in an attempt to
     find a new name that is unique. This could be done by adding some
     further identifying information (e.g. the model name of the
     hardware) if it is not already present in the name, appending the
     digit "2" to the name, or incrementing a number at the end of the
     name if one is already present.

   o Probe again, and repeat until a unique name is found.

   o Record this newly chosen name in persistent storage so that the
     device will use the same name the next time it is power-cycled.

   o Display a message to the user or operator informing them of the
     name change. For example:

        The name "Bob's Music" is in use by another iTunes music
        server on the network. Your music has been renamed to
        "Bob's Music (MacBook)". If you want to change this name,
        use [describe appropriate menu item or preference dialog].

   o If after one minute of probing the Multicast DNS Responder has been
     unable to find any unused name, it should display a message to the
     user or operator informing them of this fact. This situation should
     never occur in normal operation. The only situations that would
     cause this to happen would be either a deliberate denial-of-service
     attack, or some kind of very obscure hardware or software bug that
     acts like a deliberate denial-of-service attack.

   How the user or operator is informed depends on context. A desktop
   computer with a screen might put up a dialog box. A headless server

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   in the closet may write a message to a log file, or use whatever
   mechanism (email, SNMP trap, etc.) it uses to inform the
   administrator of error conditions. On the other hand a headless
   server in the closet may not inform the user at all -- if the user
   cares, they will notice the name has changed, and connect to the
   server in the usual way (e.g. via Web Browser) to configure a new

   These considerations apply to address records (i.e. host names) and
   to all resource records where uniqueness (or maintenance of some
   other defined constraint) is desired.

11. Resource Record TTL Values and Cache Coherency

   As a general rule, the recommended TTL value for Multicast DNS
   resource records with a host name as the resource record's name
   (e.g. A, AAAA, HINFO, etc.) or contained within the resource record's
   rdata (e.g. SRV, reverse mapping PTR record, etc.) is 120 seconds.

   The recommended TTL value for other Multicast DNS resource records
   is 75 minutes.

   A client with an active outstanding query will issue a query packet
   when one or more of the resource record(s) in its cache is (are) 80%
   of the way to expiry. If the TTL on those records is 75 minutes,
   this ongoing cache maintenance process yields a steady-state query
   rate of one query every 60 minutes.

   Any distributed cache needs a cache coherency protocol. If Multicast
   DNS resource records follow the recommendation and have a TTL of 75
   minutes, that means that stale data could persist in the system for
   a little over an hour. Making the default TTL significantly lower
   would reduce the lifetime of stale data, but would produce too much
   extra traffic on the network. Various techniques are available to
   minimize the impact of such stale data.

11.1 Cooperating Multicast DNS Responders

   If a Multicast DNS Responder ("A") observes some other Multicast DNS
   Responder ("B") send a Multicast DNS Response packet containing a
   resource record with the same name, rrtype and rrclass as one of A's
   resource records, but different rdata, then:

   o If A's resource record is intended to be a shared resource record,
     then this is no conflict, and no action is required.

   o If A's resource record is intended to be a member of a unique
     resource record set owned solely by that Responder, then this

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     is a conflict and MUST be handled as described in Section 10
     "Conflict Resolution".

   If a Multicast DNS Responder ("A") observes some other Multicast DNS
   Responder ("B") send a Multicast DNS Response packet containing a
   resource record with the same name, rrtype and rrclass as one of A's
   resource records, and identical rdata, then:

   o If the TTL of B's resource record given in the packet is at least
     half the true TTL from A's point of view, then no action is

   o If the TTL of B's resource record given in the packet is less than
     half the true TTL from A's point of view, then A MUST mark its
     record to be announced via multicast. Clients receiving the record
     from B would use the TTL given by B, and hence may delete the
     record sooner than A expects. By sending its own multicast response
     correcting the TTL, A ensures that the record will be retained for
     the desired time.

   These rules allow multiple Multicast DNS Responders to offer the same
   data on the network (perhaps for fault tolerance reasons) without
   conflicting with each other.

11.2 Goodbye Packets

   In the case where a host knows that certain resource record data is
   about to become invalid (for example when the host is undergoing a
   clean shutdown) the host SHOULD send a gratuitous announcement mDNS
   response packet, giving the same resource record name, rrtype,
   rrclass and rdata, but an RR TTL of zero. This has the effect of
   updating the TTL stored in neighboring hosts' cache entries to zero,
   causing that cache entry to be promptly deleted.

   Clients receiving a Multicast DNS Response with a TTL of zero SHOULD
   NOT immediately delete the record from the cache, but instead record
   a TTL of 1 and then delete the record one second later. In the case
   of multiple Multicast DNS Responders on the network described in
   Section 11.1 above, if one of the Responders shuts down and
   incorrectly sends goodbye packets for its records, it gives the other
   cooperating Responders one second to send out their own response to
   "rescue" the records before they expire and are deleted.

11.3 Announcements to Flush Outdated Cache Entries

   Whenever a host has a resource record with potentially new data (e.g.
   after rebooting, waking from sleep, connecting to a new network link,
   changing IP address, etc.), the host MUST first Probe to verify
   uniqueness of its unique records, and then MUST send a series of

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   gratuitous announcements to update cache entries in its neighbor
   hosts. In these gratuitous announcements, if the record is one that
   has been verified unique, the host sets the most significant bit of
   the rrclass field of the resource record. This bit, the "cache flush"
   bit, tells neighboring hosts that this is not a shared record type.
   Instead of merging this new record additively into the cache in
   addition to any previous records with the same name, rrtype and
   rrclass, all old records with that name, type and class that were
   received more than one second ago are declared invalid, and marked to
   expire from the cache in one second.

   The semantics of the cache flush bit are as follows: Normally when a
   resource record appears in the Answer Section of the DNS Response, it
   means, "This is an assertion that this information is true." When a
   resource record appears in the Answer Section of the DNS Response
   with the "cache flush" bit set, it means, "This is an assertion that
   this information is the truth and the whole truth, and anything you
   may have heard more than a second ago regarding records of this
   name/rrtype/rrclass is no longer valid".

   To accommodate the case where the set of records from one host
   constituting a single unique RRSet is too large to fit in a single
   packet, only cache records that are more than one second old are
   flushed. This allows the announcing host to generate a quick burst of
   packets back-to-back on the wire containing all the members
   of the RRSet. When receiving records with the "cache flush" bit set,
   all records older than one second are marked to be deleted one second
   in the future. One second after the end of the little packet burst,
   any records not represented within that packet burst will then be
   expired from all peer caches.

   Any time a host sends a response packet containing some members of a
   unique RRSet, it SHOULD send the entire RRSet, preferably in a single
   packet, or if the entire RRSet will not fit in a single packet, in a
   quick burst of packets sent as close together as possible. The host
   SHOULD set the cache flush bit on all members of the unique RRSet.
   In the event that for some reason the host chooses not to send the
   entire unique RRSet in a single packet or a rapid packet burst,
   it MUST NOT set the cache flush bit on any of those records.

   The reason for waiting one second before deleting stale records from
   the cache is to accommodate bridged networks. For example, a host's
   address record announcement on a wireless interface may be bridged
   onto a wired Ethernet, and cause that same host's Ethernet address
   records to be flushed from peer caches. The one-second delay gives
   the host the chance to see its own announcement arrive on the wired
   Ethernet, and immediately re-announce its Ethernet interface's
   address records so that both sets remain valid and live in peer

   These rules, about when to set the cache flush bit and sending the
   entire rrset, apply regardless of *why* the response packet is being
   generated. They apply to startup announcements as described in

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   Section 9.3 "Announcing", and to responses generated as a result
   of receiving query packets.

   The "cache flush" bit is only set in records in the Answer Section of
   Multicast DNS responses sent to UDP port 5353. The "cache flush" bit
   MUST NOT be set in any resource records in a response packet sent in
   legacy unicast responses to UDP ports other than 5353.

   The "cache flush" bit MUST NOT be set in any resource records in the
   known-answer list of any query packet.

   The "cache flush" bit MUST NOT ever be set in any shared resource
   record. To do so would cause all the other shared versions of this
   resource record with different rdata from different Responders to be
   immediately deleted from all the caches on the network.

   The "cache flush" bit does *not* apply to questions listed in the
   Question Section of a Multicast DNS packet. The top bit of the
   rrclass field in questions is used for an entirely different purpose
   (see Section 6.5, "Questions Requesting Unicast Responses").

   Note that the "cache flush" bit is NOT part of the resource record
   class. The "cache flush" bit is the most significant bit of the
   second 16-bit word of a resource record in the Answer Section of
   an mDNS packet (the field conventionally referred to as the rrclass
   field), and the actual resource record class is the least-significant
   fifteen bits of this field. There is no mDNS resource record class
   0x8001. The value 0x8001 in the rrclass field of a resource record in
   an mDNS response packet indicates a resource record with class 1,
   with the "cache flush" bit set. When receiving a resource record with
   the "cache flush" bit set, implementations should take care to mask
   off that bit before storing the resource record in memory.

   The re-use of the top bit of the rrclass field only applies to
   conventional Resource Record types that are subject to caching, not
   to pseudo-RRs like OPT [RFC 2671], TSIG [RFC 2845], TKEY [RFC 2930],
   SIG0 [RFC 2931], etc., that pertain only to a particular transport
   level message and not to any actual DNS data. Since pseudo-RRs should
   never go into the mDNS cache, the concept of a "cache flush" bit for
   these types is not applicable. In particular the rrclass field of
   an OPT records encodes the sender's UDP payload size, and should
   be interpreted as a 16-bit length value in the range 0-65535, not
   a one-bit flag and a 15-bit length.

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11.4 Cache Flush on Topology change

   If the hardware on a given host is able to indicate physical changes
   of connectivity, then when the hardware indicates such a change, the
   host should take this information into account in its mDNS cache
   management strategy. For example, a host may choose to immediately
   flush all cache records received on a particular interface when that
   cable is disconnected. Alternatively, a host may choose to adjust the
   remaining TTL on all those records to a few seconds so that if the
   cable is not reconnected quickly, those records will expire from the

   Likewise, when a host reboots, or wakes from sleep, or undergoes some
   other similar discontinuous state change, the cache management
   strategy should take that information into account.

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11.5 Cache Flush on Failure Indication

   Sometimes a cache record can be determined to be stale when a client
   attempts to use the rdata it contains, and finds that rdata to be

   For example, the rdata in an address record can be determined to be
   incorrect if attempts to contact that host fail, either because
   ARP/ND requests for that address go unanswered (for an address on a
   local subnet) or because a router returns an ICMP "Host Unreachable"
   error (for an address on a remote subnet).

   The rdata in an SRV record can be determined to be incorrect if
   attempts to communicate with the indicated service at the host and
   port number indicated are not successful.

   The rdata in a DNS-SD PTR record can be determined to be incorrect if
   attempts to look up the SRV record it references are not successful.

   In any such case, the software implementing the mDNS resource record
   cache should provide a mechanism so that clients detecting stale
   rdata can inform the cache.

   When the cache receives this hint that it should reconfirm some
   record, it MUST issue two or more queries for the resource record in
   question. If no response is received in a reasonable amount of time,
   then, even though its TTL may indicate that it is not yet due to
   expire, that record SHOULD be promptly flushed from the cache.

   The end result of this is that if a printer suffers a sudden power
   failure or other abrupt disconnection from the network, its name
   may continue to appear in DNS-SD browser lists displayed on users'
   screens. Eventually that entry will expire from the cache naturally,
   but if a user tries to access the printer before that happens, the
   failure to successfully contact the printer will trigger the more
   hasty demise of its cache entries. This is a sensible trade-off
   between good user-experience and good network efficiency. If we were
   to insist that printers should disappear from the printer list within
   30 seconds of becoming unavailable, for all failure modes, the only
   way to achieve this would be for the client to poll the printer at
   least every 30 seconds, or for the printer to announce its presence
   at least every 30 seconds, both of which would be an unreasonable
   burden on most networks.

11.6 Passive Observation of Failures

   A host observes the multicast queries issued by the other hosts on
   the network. One of the major benefits of also sending responses
   using multicast is that it allows all hosts to see the responses (or
   lack thereof) to those queries.

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   If a host sees queries, for which a record in its cache would be
   expected to be given as an answer in a multicast response, but no
   such answer is seen, then the host may take this as an indication
   that the record may no longer be valid.

   After seeing two or more of these queries, and seeing no multicast
   response containing the expected answer within a reasonable amount of
   time, then even though its TTL may indicate that it is not yet due to
   expire, that record MAY be flushed from the cache. The host SHOULD
   NOT perform its own queries to re-confirm that the record is truly
   gone. If every host on a large network were to do this, it would
   cause a lot of unnecessary multicast traffic. If host A sends
   multicast queries that remain unanswered, then there is no reason
   to suppose that host B or any other host is likely to be any more

   The previous section, "Cache Flush on Failure Indication", describes
   a situation where a user trying to print discovers that the printer
   is no longer available. By implementing the passive observation
   described here, when one user fails to contact the printer, all
   hosts on the network observe that failure and update their caches

12. Special Characteristics of Multicast DNS Domains

   Unlike conventional DNS names, names that end in ".local." or
   "" have only local significance. The same is
   true of names within the IPv6 Link-Local reverse mapping domains.

   Conventional Unicast DNS seeks to provide a single unified namespace,
   where a given DNS query yields the same answer no matter where on the
   planet it is performed or to which recursive DNS server the query is
   sent. In contrast, each IP link has its own private ".local.",
   "" and IPv6 Link-Local reverse mapping
   namespaces, and the answer to any query for a name within those
   domains depends on where that query is asked. (This characteristic is
   not unique to Multicast DNS. Although the original concept of DNS was
   a single global namespace, in recent years split views, firewalls,
   intranets, and the like have increasingly meant that the answer to a
   given DNS query has become dependent on the location of the querier.)

   The IPv4 name server for a Multicast DNS Domain is The
   IPv6 name server for a Multicast DNS Domain is FF02::FB. These are
   multicast addresses; therefore they identify not a single host but a
   collection of hosts, working in cooperation to maintain some
   reasonable facsimile of a competently managed DNS zone. Conceptually
   a Multicast DNS Domain is a single DNS zone, however its server is
   implemented as a distributed process running on a cluster of loosely
   cooperating CPUs rather than as a single process running on a single

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   Multicast DNS Domains are not delegated from their parent domain via
   use of NS records, and there is also no concept of delegation of
   subdomains within a Multicast DNS Domain. Just because a particular
   host on the network may answer queries for a particular record type
   with the name "example.local." does not imply anything about whether
   that host will answer for the name "child.example.local.", or indeed
   for other record types with the name "example.local."

   There are no NS records anywhere in Multicast DNS Domains. Instead,
   the Multicast DNS Domains are reserved by IANA and there is
   effectively an implicit delegation of all Multicast DNS Domains to
   the IP addresses and FF02::FB, by virtue of client
   software implementing the protocol rules specified in this document.

   Multicast DNS Zones have no SOA record. A conventional DNS zone's
   SOA record contains information such as the email address of the zone
   administrator and the monotonically increasing serial number of the
   last zone modification. There is no single human administrator for
   any given Multicast DNS Zone, so there is no email address. Because
   the hosts managing any given Multicast DNS Zone are only loosely
   coordinated, there is no readily available monotonically increasing
   serial number to determine whether or not the zone contents have
   changed. A host holding part of the shared zone could crash or be
   disconnected from the network at any time without informing the other
   hosts. There is no reliable way to provide a zone serial number that
   would, whenever such a crash or disconnection occurred, immediately
   change to indicate that the contents of the shared zone had changed.

   Zone transfers are not possible for any Multicast DNS Zone.

13. Multicast DNS for Service Discovery

   This document does not describe using Multicast DNS for network
   browsing or service discovery. However, the mechanisms this document
   describes are compatible with (and support) the browsing and service
   discovery mechanisms specified in "DNS-Based Service Discovery"

14. Enabling and Disabling Multicast DNS

   The option to fail-over to Multicast DNS for names not ending
   in ".local." SHOULD be a user-configured option, and SHOULD
   be disabled by default because of the possible security issues
   related to unintended local resolution of apparently global names.

   The option to lookup unqualified (relative) names by appending
   ".local." (or not) is controlled by whether ".local." appears
   (or not) in the client's DNS search list.

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   No special control is needed for enabling and disabling Multicast DNS
   for names explicitly ending with ".local." as entered by the user.
   The user doesn't need a way to disable Multicast DNS for names ending
   with ".local.", because if the user doesn't want to use Multicast
   DNS, they can achieve this by simply not using those names. If a user
   *does* enter a name ending in ".local.", then we can safely assume
   the user's intention was probably that it should work. Having user
   configuration options that can be (intentionally or unintentionally)
   set so that local names don't work is just one more way of
   frustrating the user's ability to perform the tasks they want,
   perpetuating the view that, "IP networking is too complicated to
   configure and too hard to use." This perception prolonged the
   continued use of protocols like AppleTalk and NetBIOS long after they
   should have been retired, and continues to encourage the creation of
   new one-off hardware-specific protocols. If we want to stop this
   pointless duplication of effort, we need to provide IP functionality
   that users can rely on to "always work, like AppleTalk." A little
   Multicast DNS traffic may be a burden on the network, but it is an
   insignificant burden compared to the continued use of AppleTalk and
   the creation of yet more protocols like it.

15. Considerations for Multiple Interfaces

   A host SHOULD defend its host name (FQDN) on all active interfaces on
   which it is answering Multicast DNS queries.

   In the event of a name conflict on *any* interface, a host should
   configure a new host name, if it wishes to maintain uniqueness of its
   host name.

   A host may choose to use the same name for all of its address records
   on all interfaces, or it may choose to manage its Multicast DNS host
   name(s) independently on each interface, potentially answering to
   different names on different interfaces.

   When answering a Multicast DNS query, a multi-homed host with a
   link-local address (or addresses) SHOULD take care to ensure that
   any address going out in a Multicast DNS response is valid for use
   on the interface on which the response is going out.

   Just as the same link-local IP address may validly be in use
   simultaneously on different links by different hosts, the same
   link-local host name may validly be in use simultaneously on
   different links, and this is not an error. A multi-homed host with
   connections to two different links may be able to communicate with
   two different hosts that are validly using the same name. While this
   kind of name duplication should be rare, it means that a host that
   wants to fully support this case needs network programming APIs that
   allow applications to specify on what interface to perform a

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   link-local Multicast DNS query, and to discover on what interface a
   Multicast DNS response was received.

   There is one other special precaution that multi-homed hosts need to
   take. It's common with today's laptop computers to have an Ethernet
   connection and an 802.11 [IEEE W] wireless connection active at the
   same time. What the software on the laptop computer can't easily tell
   is whether the wireless connection is in fact bridged onto the same
   network segment as its Ethernet connection. If the two networks are
   bridged together, then packets the host sends on one interface will
   arrive on the other interface a few milliseconds later, and care must
   be taken to ensure that this bridging does not cause problems:

   When the host announces its host name (i.e. its address records) on
   its wireless interface, those announcement records are sent with the
   cache-flush bit set, so when they arrive on the Ethernet segment,
   they will cause all the peers on the Ethernet to flush the host's
   Ethernet address records from their caches. The mDNS protocol has a
   safeguard to protect against this situation: when records are
   received with the cache-flush bit set, other records are not deleted
   from peer caches immediately, but are marked for deletion in one
   second. When the host sees its own wireless address records arrive on
   its Ethernet interface, with the cache-flush bit set, this one-second
   grace period gives the host time to respond and re-announce its
   Ethernet address records, to reinstate those records in peer caches
   before they are deleted.

   As described, this solves one problem, but creates another, because
   when those Ethernet announcement records arrive back on the wireless
   interface, the host would again respond defensively to reinstate its
   wireless records, and this process would continue forever,
   continuously flooding the network with traffic. The mDNS protocol has
   a second safeguard, to solve this problem: the cache-flush bit does
   not apply to records received very recently, within the last second.
   This means that when the host sees its own Ethernet address records
   arrive on its wireless interface, with the cache-flush bit set, it
   knows there's no need to re-announce its wireless address records
   again because it already sent them less than a second ago, and this
   makes them immune from deletion from peer caches.

16. Considerations for Multiple Responders on the Same Machine

   It is possible to have more than one Multicast DNS Responder and/or
   Querier implementation coexist on the same machine, but there are
   some known issues.

16.1 Receiving Unicast Responses

   In most operating systems, incoming multicast packets can be
   delivered to *all* open sockets bound to the right port number,
   provided that the clients take the appropriate steps to allow this.
   For this reason, all Multicast DNS implementations SHOULD use the

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   SO_REUSEPORT and/or SO_REUSEADDR options (or equivalent as
   appropriate for the operating system in question) so they will all be
   able to bind to UDP port 5353 and receive incoming multicast packets
   addressed to that port. However, incoming unicast UDP packets are
   typically delivered only to the first socket to bind to that port.
   This means that "QU" responses and other packets sent via unicast
   will be received only by the first Multicast DNS Responder and/or
   Querier on a system. This limitation can be partially mitigated if
   Multicast DNS implementations detect when they are not the first
   to bind to port 5353, and in that case they do not request "QU"
   responses. One way to detect if there is another Multicast DNS
   implementation already running is to attempt binding to port 5353
   without using SO_REUSEPORT and/or SO_REUSEADDR, and if that fails
   it indicates that some other socket is already bound to this port.

16.2 Multi-Packet Known-Answer lists

   When a Multicast DNS Querier issues a query with too many known
   answers to fit into a single packet, it divides the known answer list
   into two or more packets. Multicast DNS Responders associate the
   initial truncated query with its continuation packets by examining
   the source IP address in each packet. Since two independent Multicast
   DNS Queriers running on the same machine will be sending packets with
   the same source IP address, from an outside perspective they appear
   to be a single entity. If both Queriers happened to send the same
   multi-packet query at the same time, with different known answer
   lists, then they could each end up suppressing answers that the other

16.3 Efficiency

   If different clients on a machine were to each have their own
   separate independent Multicast DNS implementation, they would lose
   certain efficiency benefits. Apart from the unnecessary code
   duplication, memory usage, and CPU load, the clients wouldn't get the
   benefit of a shared system-wide cache, and they would not be able to
   aggregate separate queries into single packets to reduce network

16.4 Recommendation

   Because of these issues, this document encourages implementers to
   design systems with a single Multicast DNS implementation that
   provides Multicast DNS services shared by all clients on that
   machine, much as most operating systems today have a single TCP
   implementation, which is shared between all clients on that machine.
   Due to engineering constraints, there may be situations where
   embedding a Multicast DNS implementation in the client is the most
   expedient solution, and while this will usually work in practice,
   implementers should be aware of the issues outlined in this section.

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17. Multicast DNS and Power Management

   Many modern network devices have the ability to go into a low-power
   mode where only a small part of the Ethernet hardware remains
   powered, and the device can be woken up by sending a specially
   formatted Ethernet frame which the device's power-management hardware

   To make use of this in conjunction with Multicast DNS, we propose a
   network power management service called Sleep Proxy Service. A device
   that wishes to enter low-power mode first uses DNS-SD to determine if
   Sleep Proxy Service is available on the local network. In some
   networks there may be more than one piece of hardware implementing
   Sleep Proxy Service, for fault-tolerance reasons.

   If the device finds the network has Sleep Proxy Service, the device
   transmits two or more gratuitous mDNS announcements setting the TTL
   of its relevant resource records to zero, to delete them from
   neighboring caches. The relevant resource records include address
   records and SRV records, and other resource records as may apply to a
   particular device. The device then communicates all of its remaining
   active records, plus the names, rrtypes and rrclasses of the deleted
   records, to the Sleep Proxy Service(s), along with a copy of the
   specific "magic packet" required to wake the device up.

   When a Sleep Proxy Service sees an mDNS query for one of the
   device's active records (e.g. a DNS-SD PTR record), it answers on
   behalf of the device without waking it up. When a Sleep Proxy Service
   sees an mDNS query for one of the device's deleted resource
   records, it deduces that some client on the network needs to make an
   active connection to the device, and sends the specified "magic
   packet" to wake the device up. The device then wakes up, reactivates
   its deleted resource records, and re-announces them to the network.
   The client waiting to connect sees the announcements, learns the
   current IP address and port number of the desired service on the
   device, and proceeds to connect to it.

   The connecting client does not need to be aware of how Sleep Proxy
   Service works. Only devices that implement low power mode and wish to
   make use of Sleep Proxy Service need to be aware of how that protocol

   The reason that a device using a Sleep Proxy Service should send more
   than one goodbye packet is to ensure deletion of the resource records
   from all peer caches. If resource records were to inadvertently
   remain in some peer caches, then those peers may not issue any query
   packets for those records when attempting to access the sleeping
   device, so the Sleep Proxy Service would not receive any queries for
   the device's SRV and/or address records, and the necessary wake-up
   message would not be triggered.

   The full specification of mDNS / DNS-SD Sleep Proxy Service is
   to be described in a future document.

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18. Multicast DNS Character Set

   Historically, unicast DNS has been plagued by the lack of any support
   for non-US characters. Indeed, conventional DNS is usually limited to
   just letters, digits and hyphens, not even allowing spaces or other
   punctuation. Attempts to remedy this for unicast DNS have been badly
   constrained by the perceived need to accommodate old buggy legacy DNS
   implementations. In reality, the DNS specification actually imposes
   no limits on what characters may be used in names, and good DNS
   implementations handle any arbitrary eight-bit data without trouble.
   "Clarifications to the DNS Specification" [RFC 2181] directly
   discusses the subject of allowable character set in Section 11 ("Name
   syntax"), and explicitly states that DNS names may contain arbitrary
   eight-bit data. However, the old rules for ARPANET host names back in
   the 1980s required host names to be just letters, digits, and hyphens
   [RFC 1034], and since the predominant use of DNS is to store host
   address records, many have assumed that the DNS protocol itself
   suffers from the same limitation. It might be accurate to say that
   could be hypothetical bad implementations that do not handle
   eight-bit data correctly, but it would not be accurate to say that
   the protocol doesn't allow names containing eight-bit data.

   Multicast DNS is a new protocol and doesn't (yet) have old buggy
   legacy implementations to constrain the design choices. Accordingly,
   it adopts the simple obvious elegant solution: all names in Multicast
   DNS are encoded using precomposed UTF-8 [RFC 3629]. The characters
   SHOULD conform to Unicode Normalization Form C (NFC) [UAX15]: Use
   precomposed characters instead of combining sequences where possible,
   e.g. use U+00C4 ("Latin capital letter A with diaeresis") instead of
   U+0041 U+0308 ("Latin capital letter A", "combining diaeresis").

   Some users of 16-bit Unicode have taken to stuffing a "zero-width
   non-breaking space" character (U+FEFF) at the start of each UTF-16
   file, as a hint to identify whether the data is big-endian or
   little-endian, and calling it a "Byte Order Mark" (BOM). Since there
   is only one possible byte order for UTF-8 data, a BOM is neither
   necessary nor permitted. Multicast DNS names MUST NOT contain a "Byte
   Order Mark". Any occurrence of the Unicode character U+FEFF at the
   start or anywhere else in a Multicast DNS name MUST be interpreted as
   being an actual intended part of the name, representing (just as for
   any other legal unicode value) an actual literal instance of that
   character (in this case a zero-width non-breaking space character).

   For names that are restricted to letters, digits and hyphens, the
   UTF-8 encoding is identical to the US-ASCII encoding, so this is
   entirely compatible with existing host names. For characters outside
   the US-ASCII range, UTF-8 encoding is used.

   Multicast DNS implementations MUST NOT use any other encodings apart
   from precomposed UTF-8 (US-ASCII being considered a compatible subset
   of UTF-8).

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   The backwards-compatibility issue mentioned above bears repeating:
   After many years of debate, as a result of the perceived need to
   accommodate certain DNS implementations that apparently couldn't
   handle any character that's not a letter, digit or hyphen (and
   apparently never will be updated to remedy this limitation) the
   unicast DNS community settled on an extremely baroque encoding called
   "Punycode" [RFC 3492]. Punycode is a remarkably ingenious encoding
   solution, but it is complicated, hard to understand, and hard to
   implement, using sophisticated techniques including insertion unsort
   coding, generalized variable-length integers, and bias adaptation.
   The resulting encoding is remarkably compact given the constraints,
   but it's still not as good as simple straightforward UTF-8, and it's
   hard even to predict whether a given input string will encode to a
   Punycode string that fits within DNS's 63-byte limit, except by
   simply trying the encoding and seeing whether it fits. Indeed, the
   encoded size depends not only on the input characters, but on the
   order they appear, so the same set of characters may or may not
   encode to a legal Punycode string that fits within DNS's 63-byte
   limit, depending on the order the characters appear. This is
   extremely hard to present in a user interface that explains to users
   why one name is allowed, but another name containing the exact same
   characters is not. Neither Punycode nor any other of the "Ascii
   Compatible Encodings" proposed for Unicast DNS may be used in
   Multicast DNS packets. Any text being represented internally in some
   other representation MUST be converted to canonical precomposed UTF-8
   before being placed in any Multicast DNS packet.

   The simple rules for case-insensitivity in Unicast DNS also apply in
   Multicast DNS; that is to say, in name comparisons, the lower-case
   letters "a" to "z" (0x61 to 0x7A) match their upper-case equivalents
   "A" to "Z" (0x41 to 0x5A). Hence, if a client issues a query for an
   address record with the name "cheshire.local.", then a Responder
   having an address record with the name "Cheshire.local." should
   issue a response. No other automatic equivalences should be assumed.
   In particular all UTF-8 multi-byte characters (codes 0x80 and higher)
   are compared by simple binary comparison of the raw byte values.
   Accented characters are *not* defined to be automatically equivalent
   to their unaccented counterparts. Where automatic equivalences are
   desired, this may be achieved through the use of programmatically-
   generated CNAME records. For example, if a Responder has an address
   record for an accented name Y, and a client issues a query for a name
   X, where X is the same as Y with all the accents removed, then the
   Responder may issue a response containing two resource records:
   A CNAME record "X CNAME Y", asserting that the requested name X
   (unaccented) is an alias for the true (accented) name Y, followed
   by the address record for Y.

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19. Multicast DNS Message Size

   RFC 1035 restricts DNS Messages carried by UDP to no more than 512
   bytes (not counting the IP or UDP headers) [RFC 1035]. For UDP
   packets carried over the wide-area Internet in 1987, this was
   appropriate. For link-local multicast packets on today's networks,
   there is no reason to retain this restriction. Given that the packets
   are by definition link-local, there are no Path MTU issues to

   Multicast DNS Messages carried by UDP may be up to the IP MTU of the
   physical interface, less the space required for the IP header (20
   bytes for IPv4; 40 bytes for IPv6) and the UDP header (8 bytes).

   In the case of a single mDNS Resource Record which is too large to
   fit in a single MTU-sized multicast response packet, a Multicast DNS
   Responder SHOULD send the Resource Record alone, in a single IP
   datagram, sent using multiple IP fragments. Resource Records this
   large SHOULD be avoided, except in the very rare cases where they
   really are the appropriate solution to the problem at hand.
   Implementers should be aware that many simple devices do not
   re-assemble fragmented IP datagrams, so large Resource Records
   SHOULD NOT be used except in specialized cases where the implementer
   knows that all receivers implement reassembly.

   A Multicast DNS packet larger than the interface MTU, which is sent
   using fragments, MUST NOT contain more than one Resource Record.

   Even when fragmentation is used, a Multicast DNS packet, including IP
   and UDP headers, MUST NOT exceed 9000 bytes. 9000 bytes is the
   maximum payload size of an Ethernet "Jumbo" packet, which makes it a
   convenient upper limit to specify for the maximum Multicast DNS
   packet size. (In practice Ethernet "Jumbo" packets are not widely
   used, so it is advantageous to keep packets under 1500 bytes whenever

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20. Multicast DNS Message Format

   This section describes specific rules pertaining to the allowable
   values for the header fields of a Multicast DNS message, and other
   message format considerations.

20.1 ID (Query Identifier)

   Multicast DNS clients SHOULD listen for gratuitous responses
   issued by hosts booting up (or waking up from sleep or otherwise
   joining the network). Since these gratuitous responses may contain a
   useful answer to a question for which the client is currently
   awaiting an answer, Multicast DNS clients SHOULD examine all received
   Multicast DNS response messages for useful answers, without regard to
   the contents of the ID field or the Question Section. In Multicast
   DNS, knowing which particular query message (if any) is responsible
   for eliciting a particular response message is less interesting than
   knowing whether the response message contains useful information.

   Multicast DNS clients MAY cache any or all Multicast DNS response
   messages they receive, for possible future use, provided of course
   that normal TTL aging is performed on these cached resource records.

   In multicast query messages, the Query ID SHOULD be set to zero on

   In multicast responses, including gratuitous multicast responses, the
   Query ID MUST be set to zero on transmission, and MUST be ignored on

   In unicast response messages generated specifically in response to a
   particular (unicast or multicast) query, the Query ID MUST match the
   ID from the query message.

20.2 QR (Query/Response) Bit

   In query messages, MUST be zero.
   In response messages, MUST be one.


   In both multicast query and multicast response messages, MUST be zero
   (only standard queries are currently supported over multicast, unless
   other queries are allowed by some future extension to the Multicast
   DNS specification).

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20.4 AA (Authoritative Answer) Bit

   In query messages, the Authoritative Answer bit MUST be zero on
   transmission, and MUST be ignored on reception.

   In response messages for Multicast Domains, the Authoritative Answer
   bit MUST be set to one (not setting this bit would imply there's some
   other place where "better" information may be found) and MUST be
   ignored on reception.

20.5 TC (Truncated) Bit

   In query messages, if the TC bit is set, it means that additional
   Known Answer records may be following shortly. A Responder SHOULD
   record this fact, and wait for those additional Known Answer records,
   before deciding whether to respond. If the TC bit is clear, it means
   that the querying host has no additional Known Answers.

   In multicast response messages, the TC bit MUST be zero on
   transmission, and MUST be ignored on reception.

   In legacy unicast response messages, the TC bit has the same meaning
   as in conventional unicast DNS: it means that the response was too
   large to fit in a single packet, so the client SHOULD re-issue its
   query using TCP in order to receive the larger response.

20.6 RD (Recursion Desired) Bit

   In both multicast query and multicast response messages, the
   Recursion Desired bit SHOULD be zero on transmission, and MUST be
   ignored on reception.

20.7 RA (Recursion Available) Bit

   In both multicast query and multicast response messages, the
   Recursion Available bit MUST be zero on transmission, and MUST be
   ignored on reception.

20.8 Z (Zero) Bit

   In both query and response messages, the Zero bit MUST be zero on
   transmission, and MUST be ignored on reception.

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20.9 AD (Authentic Data) Bit [RFC 2535]

   In both multicast query and multicast response messages the Authentic
   Data bit MUST be zero on transmission, and MUST be ignored on

20.10 CD (Checking Disabled) Bit [RFC 2535]

   In both multicast query and multicast response messages, the Checking
   Disabled bit MUST be zero on transmission, and MUST be ignored on

20.11 RCODE (Response Code)

   In both multicast query and multicast response messages, the Response
   Code MUST be zero on transmission. Multicast DNS messages received
   with non-zero Response Codes MUST be silently ignored.

20.12 Repurposing of top bit of qclass in Question Section

   In the Question Section of a Multicast DNS Query, the top bit of the
   qclass field is used to indicate that unicast responses are preferred
   for this particular question.

20.13 Repurposing of top bit of rrclass in Answer Section

   In the Answer Section of a Multicast DNS Response, the top bit of the
   rrclass field is used to indicate that the record is a member of a
   unique RRSet, and the entire RRSet has been sent together (in the
   same packet, or in consecutive packets if there are too many records
   to fit in a single packet).

20.14 Name Compression

   In Multicast DNS packets, DNS name compression [RFC 1035] may be used
   for the rdata of the following rrtypes:


   In particular, in Multicast DNS queries and responses, compression of
   the target host in an SRV record is allowed and encouraged.

   In legacy unicast responses generated to answer legacy queries, name
   compression MUST NOT be performed on SRV records.

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21. Choice of UDP Port Number

   Arguments were made for and against using Multicast on UDP port 53.
   The final decision was to use UDP port 5353. Some of the arguments
   for and against are given below.

21.1 Arguments for using UDP port 53:

   * This is "just DNS", so it should be the same port.

   * There is less work to be done updating old clients to do simple
     mDNS queries. Only the destination address need be changed.
     In some cases, this can be achieved without any code changes,
     just by adding the address to a configuration file.

21.2 Arguments for using a different port (UDP port 5353):

   * This is not "just DNS". This is a DNS-like protocol, but different.

   * Changing client code to use a different port number is not hard.

   * Using the same port number makes it hard to run an mDNS Responder
     and a conventional unicast DNS server on the same machine. If a
     conventional unicast DNS server wishes to implement mDNS as well,
     it can still do that, by opening two sockets. Having two different
     port numbers allows this flexibility.

   * Some VPN software hijacks all outgoing traffic to port 53 and
     redirects it to a special DNS server set up to serve those VPN
     clients while they are connected to the corporate network. It is
     questionable whether this is the right thing to do, but it is
     common, and redirecting link-local multicast DNS packets to a
     remote server rarely produces any useful results. It does mean,
     for example, that the user becomes unable to access their local
     network printer sitting on their desk right next to their computer.
     Using a different UDP port helps avoid this particular problem.

   * On many operating systems, unprivileged clients may not send or
     receive packets on low-numbered ports. This means that any client
     sending or receiving mDNS packets on port 53 would have to run
     as "root", which is an undesirable security risk. Using a higher-
     numbered UDP port avoids this restriction.

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22. Summary of Differences Between Multicast DNS and Unicast DNS

   The value of Multicast DNS is that it shares, as much as possible,
   the familiar APIs, naming syntax, resource record types, etc., of
   Unicast DNS. There are of course necessary differences by virtue of
   it using multicast, and by virtue of it operating in a community of
   cooperating peers, rather than a precisely defined authoritarian
   hierarchy controlled by a strict chain of formal delegations from the
   root. These differences are summarized below:

   Multicast DNS...
   * uses multicast
   * uses UDP port 5353 instead of port 53
   * operates in well-defined parts of the DNS namespace
   * uses UTF-8, and only UTF-8, to encode resource record names
   * defines a clear limit on the maximum legal domain name
     (256 bytes including final terminating root label zero byte)
   * allows name compression in rdata for SRV and other record types
   * allows larger UDP packets
   * allows more than one question in a query packet
   * uses the Answer Section of a query to list Known Answers
   * uses the TC bit in a query to indicate additional Known Answers
   * uses the Authority Section of a query for probe tie-breaking
   * ignores the Query ID field (except for generating legacy responses)
   * doesn't require the question to be repeated in the response packet
   * uses gratuitous responses to announce new records to the peer group
   * defines a "unicast response" bit in the rrclass of query questions
   * defines a "cache flush" bit in the rrclass of response answers
   * defines a new "NEGATIVE" pseudo-RR meta-type
   * uses DNS TTL 0 to indicate that a record has been deleted
   * recommends AAAA records in the additional section when responding
     to rrtype "A" queries, and vice versa
   * monitors queries to perform Duplicate Question Suppression
   * monitors responses to perform Duplicate Answer Suppression...
   * ... and Ongoing Conflict Detection
   * ... and Opportunistic Caching

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23. Benefits of Multicast Responses

   Some people have argued that sending responses via multicast is
   inefficient on the network. In fact using multicast responses can
   result in a net lowering of overall multicast traffic for a variety
   of reasons, and provides other benefits too:

   * One multicast response can update the cache on all machines on the
     network. If another machine later wants to issue the same query, it
     already has the answer in its cache, so it may not need to even
     transmit that multicast query on the network at all.

   * When more than one machine has the same ongoing long-lived query
     running, every machine does not have to transmit its own
     independent query. When one machine transmits a query, all the
     other hosts see the answers, so they can suppress their own

   * When a host sees a multicast query, but does not see the
     corresponding multicast response, it can use this information
     to promptly delete stale data from its cache. To achieve the
     same level of user-interface quality and responsiveness without
     multicast responses would require lower cache lifetimes and more
     frequent network polling, resulting in a higher packet rate.

   * Multicast responses allow passive conflict detection. Without this
     ability, some other conflict detection mechanism would be needed,
     imposing its own additional burden on the network.

   * When using delayed responses to reduce network collisions, clients
     need to maintain a list recording to whom each answer should be
     sent. The option of multicast responses allows clients with limited
     storage, which cannot store an arbitrarily long list of response
     addresses, to choose to fail-over to a single multicast response in
     place of multiple unicast responses, when appropriate.

   * In the case of overlayed subnets, multicast responses allow a
     receiver to know with certainty that a response originated on the
     local link, even when its source address may apparently suggest

   * Link-local multicast transcends virtually every conceivable network
     misconfiguration. Even if you have a collection of devices where
     every device's IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, and DNS
     server address are all wrong, packets sent by any of those devices
     addressed to a link-local multicast destination address will still
     be delivered to all peers on the local link. This can be extremely
     helpful when diagnosing and rectifying network problems, since
     it facilitates a direct communication channel between client and
     server that works without reliance on ARP, IP routing tables, etc.
     Being able to discover what IP address a device has (or thinks it
     has) is frequently a very valuable first step in diagnosing why it
     is unable to communicate on the local network.

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24. 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.

   A dual-stack (v4/v6) host can participate in both ".local."
   zones, and should register its name(s) and perform its lookups both
   using IPv4 and IPv6. This enables it to reach, and be reached by,
   both IPv4-only and IPv6-only hosts. In effect this acts like a
   multi-homed host, with one connection to the logical "IPv4 Ethernet
   segment", and a connection to the logical "IPv6 Ethernet segment".

24.1 IPv6 Multicast Addresses by Hashing

   Some discovery protocols use a range of multicast addresses, and
   determine the address to be used by a hash function of the name being
   sought. Queries are sent via multicast to the address as indicated by
   the hash function, and responses are returned to the querier via
   unicast. Particularly in IPv6, where multicast addresses are
   extremely plentiful, this approach is frequently advocated.

   There are some problems with this:

   * When a host has a large number of records with different names, the
     host may have to join a large number of multicast groups. This can
     place undue burden on the Ethernet hardware, which typically
     supports a limited number of multicast addresses efficiently. When
     this number is exceeded, the Ethernet hardware may have to resort
     to receiving all multicasts and passing them up to the host
     software for filtering, thereby defeating the point of using a
     multicast address range in the first place.

   * Multiple questions cannot be placed in one packet if they don't all
     hash to the same multicast address.

   * Duplicate Question Suppression doesn't work if queriers are not
     seeing each other's queries.

   * Duplicate Answer Suppression doesn't work if Responders are not
     seeing each other's responses.

   * Opportunistic Caching doesn't work.

   * Ongoing Conflict Detection doesn't work.

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25. Security Considerations

   The algorithm for detecting and resolving name conflicts is, by its
   very nature, an algorithm that assumes cooperating participants. Its
   purpose is to allow a group of hosts to arrive at a mutually disjoint
   set of host names and other DNS resource record names, in the absence
   of any central authority to coordinate this or mediate disputes. In
   the absence of any higher authority to resolve disputes, the only
   alternative is that the participants must work together cooperatively
   to arrive at a resolution.

   In an environment where the participants are mutually antagonistic
   and unwilling to cooperate, other mechanisms are appropriate, like
   manually administered DNS.

   In an environment where there is a group of cooperating participants,
   but there may be other antagonistic participants on the same physical
   link, the cooperating participants need to use IPSEC signatures
   and/or DNSSEC [RFC 2535] signatures so that they can distinguish mDNS
   messages from trusted participants (which they process as usual) from
   mDNS messages from untrusted participants (which they silently

   When DNS queries for *global* DNS names are sent to the mDNS
   multicast address (during network outages which disrupt communication
   with the greater Internet) it is *especially* important to use
   DNSSEC, because the user may have the impression that he or she is
   communicating with some authentic host, when in fact he or she is
   really communicating with some local host that is merely masquerading
   as that name. This is less critical for names ending with ".local.",
   because the user should be aware that those names have only local
   significance and no global authority is implied.

   Most computer users neglect to type the trailing dot at the end of a
   fully qualified domain name, making it a relative domain name (e.g.
   ""). In the event of network outage, attempts to
   positively resolve the name as entered will fail, resulting in
   application of the search list, including ".local.", if present.
   A malicious host could masquerade as "" by answering
   the resulting Multicast DNS query for ""
   To avoid this, a host MUST NOT append the search suffix
   ".local.", if present, to any relative (partially qualified)
   host name containing two or more labels. Appending ".local." to
   single-label relative host names is acceptable, since the user
   should have no expectation that a single-label host name will
   resolve as-is.

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26. IANA Considerations

   IANA has allocated the IPv4 link-local multicast address
   for the use described in this document.

   IANA has allocated the IPv6 multicast address set FF0X::FB for the
   use described in this document. Only address FF02::FB (Link-Local
   Scope) is currently in use by deployed software, but it is possible
   that in future implementers may experiment with Multicast DNS using
   larger-scoped addresses, such as FF05::FB (Site-Local Scope).

   IANA has allocated the DNS MetaTYPE 248 for the NEGATIVE pseudo-RR.
   [We're assuming it will have by the time this is published as RFC.]

   When this document is published, IANA should designate a list of
   domains which are deemed to have only link-local significance, as
   described in Section 12 of this document ("Special Characteristics of
   Multicast DNS Domains").

   The re-use of the top bit of the rrclass field in the Question and
   Answer Sections means that Multicast DNS can only carry DNS records
   with classes in the range 0-32767. Classes in the range 32768 to
   65535 are incompatible with Multicast DNS. However, since to-date
   only three DNS classes have been assigned by IANA (1, 3 and 4),
   and only one (1, "Internet") is actually in widespread use, this
   limitation is likely to remain a purely theoretical one.

   No other IANA services are required by this document.

27. Acknowledgments

   The concepts described in this document have been explored, developed
   and implemented with help from Freek Dijkstra, Erik Guttman, Paul
   Vixie, Bill Woodcock, and others.

   Special thanks go to Bob Bradley, Josh Graessley, Scott Herscher,
   Rory McGuire, Roger Pantos and Kiren Sekar for their significant

28. Deployment History

   Multicast DNS client software first became available to the public
   in Mac OS 9 in 2001. Multicast DNS Responder software first began
   shipping to end users in large volumes with the launch of Mac OS X
   10.2 Jaguar in August 2002, and became available for Microsoft
   Windows users with the launch of Apple's "Rendezvous for Windows"
   (now "Bonjour for Windows") in June 2004 [B4W].

   Apple released the source code for the mDNSResponder daemon as Open
   Source in September 2002, first under Apple's standard Apple Public
   Source License, and then later, in August 2006, under the Apache
   License, Version 2.0.

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   In addition to desktop and laptop computers running Mac OS X and
   Microsoft Windows, Multicast DNS is implemented in a wide range of
   hardware devices, such as Apple's "AirPort Extreme" and "AirPort
   Express" wireless base stations, home gateways from other vendors,
   network printers, network cameras, TiVo DVRs, etc.

   The Open Source community has produced many independent
   implementations of Multicast DNS, some in C like Apple's
   mDNSResponder daemon, and others in a variety of different languages
   including Java, Python, Perl, and C#/Mono.

29. Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2008).

   This document is subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions
   contained in BCP 78, and except as set forth therein, the authors
   retain all their rights.

   This document and the information contained herein are provided on an

30. Intellectual Property Notice

   The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any
   Intellectual Property Rights or other rights that might be claimed to
   pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in
   this document or the extent to which any license under such rights
   might or might not be available; nor does it represent that it has
   made any independent effort to identify any such rights.  Information
   on the procedures with respect to rights in RFC documents can be
   found in BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Copies of IPR disclosures made to the IETF Secretariat and any
   assurances of licenses to be made available, or the result of an
   attempt made to obtain a general license or permission for the use of
   such proprietary rights by implementers or users of this
   specification can be obtained from the IETF on-line IPR repository at

   The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any
   copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary
   rights that may cover technology that may be required to implement
   this standard.  Please address the information to the IETF at

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31. Normative References

   [RFC 1034] Mockapetris, P., "Domain Names - Concepts and
              Facilities", STD 13, RFC 1034, November 1987.

   [RFC 1035] Mockapetris, P., "Domain Names - Implementation and
              Specifications", STD 13, RFC 1035, November 1987.

   [RFC 2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC 3629] Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO
              10646", RFC 3629, November 2003.

   [UAX15]    "Unicode Normalization Forms"

32. Informative References

   [B4W]      Bonjour for Windows <>

   [dotlocal] <>

   [djbdl]    <>

   [DNS-SD]   Cheshire, S., and M. Krochmal, "DNS-Based Service
              Discovery", Internet-Draft (work in progress),
              draft-cheshire-dnsext-dns-sd-05.txt, September 2008.

   [IEEE 802] IEEE Standards for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks:
              Overview and Architecture.
              Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers,
              IEEE Standard 802, 1990.

   [IEEE W]   <>

   [ATalk]    Cheshire, S., and M. Krochmal,
              "Requirements for Replacing AppleTalk",
              Internet-Draft (work in progress),
              draft-cheshire-dnsext-nbp-06.txt, September 2008.

   [RFC 2132] Alexander, S., and Droms, R., "DHCP Options and BOOTP
              Vendor Extensions", RFC 2132, March 1997.

   [RFC 2136] Vixie, P., et al., "Dynamic Updates in the Domain Name
              System (DNS UPDATE)", RFC 2136, April 1997.

   [RFC 2181] Elz, R., and Bush, R., "Clarifications to the DNS
              Specification", RFC 2181, July 1997.

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   [RFC 2462] S. Thomson and T. Narten, "IPv6 Stateless Address
              Autoconfiguration", RFC 2462, December 1998.

   [RFC 2535] Eastlake, D., "Domain Name System Security Extensions",
              RFC 2535, March 1999.

   [RFC 2606] Eastlake, D., and A. Panitz, "Reserved Top Level DNS
              Names", RFC 2606, June 1999.

   [RFC 2671] Vixie, P., "Extension Mechanisms for DNS (EDNS0)",
              RFC 2671, August 1999.

   [RFC 2845] Vixie, P., et al., "Secret Key Transaction Authentication
              for DNS (TSIG)", RFC 2845, May 2000.

   [RFC 2860] Carpenter, B., Baker, F. and M. Roberts, "Memorandum
              of Understanding Concerning the Technical Work of the
              Internet Assigned Numbers Authority", RFC 2860, June

   [RFC 2930] Eastlake, D., "Secret Key Establishment for DNS
              (TKEY RR)", RFC 2930, September 2000.

   [RFC 2931] Eastlake, D., "DNS Request and Transaction Signatures
              ( SIG(0)s )", RFC 2931, September 2000.

   [RFC 3492] Costello, A., "Punycode: A Bootstring encoding of
              Unicode for use with Internationalized Domain Names
              in Applications (IDNA)", RFC 3492, March 2003.

   [RFC 3927] Cheshire, S., B. Aboba, and E. Guttman,
              "Dynamic Configuration of IPv4 Link-Local Addresses",
              RFC 3927, May 2005.

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33. Authors' Addresses

   Stuart Cheshire
   Apple Inc.
   1 Infinite Loop
   California 95014

   Phone: +1 408 974 3207

   Marc Krochmal
   Apple Inc.
   1 Infinite Loop
   California 95014

   Phone: +1 408 974 4368

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