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DNS-Based Service Discovery
RFC 6763

Document Type RFC - Proposed Standard (February 2013) Errata
Updated by RFC 8553
Was draft-cheshire-dnsext-dns-sd (individual in int area)
Authors Stuart Cheshire , Marc Krochmal
Last updated 2020-10-22
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
IESG Responsible AD Ralph Droms
Send notices to (None)
RFC 6763
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                       S. Cheshire
Request for Comments: 6763                                   M. Krochmal
Category: Standards Track                                     Apple Inc.
ISSN: 2070-1721                                            February 2013

                      DNS-Based Service Discovery


   This document specifies how DNS resource records are named and
   structured to facilitate service discovery.  Given a type of service
   that a client is looking for, and a domain in which the client is
   looking for that service, this mechanism allows clients to discover
   a list of named instances of that desired service, using standard
   DNS queries.  This mechanism is referred to as DNS-based Service
   Discovery, or DNS-SD.

Status of This Memo

   This is an Internet Standards Track document.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Further information on
   Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

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Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................3
   2. Conventions and Terminology Used in This Document ...............5
   3. Design Goals ....................................................5
   4. Service Instance Enumeration (Browsing) .........................6
      4.1. Structured Service Instance Names ..........................6
      4.2. User Interface Presentation ................................9
      4.3. Internal Handling of Names .................................9
   5. Service Instance Resolution ....................................10
   6. Data Syntax for DNS-SD TXT Records .............................11
      6.1. General Format Rules for DNS TXT Records ..................11
      6.2. DNS-SD TXT Record Size ....................................12
      6.3. DNS TXT Record Format Rules for Use in DNS-SD .............13
      6.4. Rules for Keys in DNS-SD Key/Value Pairs ..................14
      6.5. Rules for Values in DNS-SD Key/Value Pairs ................16
      6.6. Example TXT Record ........................................17
      6.7. Version Tag ...............................................17
      6.8. Service Instances with Multiple TXT Records ...............18
   7. Service Names ..................................................19
      7.1. Selective Instance Enumeration (Subtypes) .................21
      7.2. Service Name Length Limits ................................23
   8. Flagship Naming ................................................25
   9. Service Type Enumeration .......................................27
   10. Populating the DNS with Information ...........................27
   11. Discovery of Browsing and Registration Domains (Domain
       Enumeration) ..................................................28
   12. DNS Additional Record Generation ..............................30
      12.1. PTR Records ..............................................30
      12.2. SRV Records ..............................................30
      12.3. TXT Records ..............................................31
      12.4. Other Record Types .......................................31
   13. Working Examples ..............................................31
      13.1. What web pages are being advertised from .....31
      13.2. What printer-configuration web pages are there? ..........31
      13.3. How do I access the web page called "Service
            Discovery"? ..............................................32
   14. IPv6 Considerations ...........................................32
   15. Security Considerations .......................................32
   16. IANA Considerations ...........................................32
   17. Acknowledgments ...............................................33
   18. References ....................................................33
      18.1. Normative References .....................................33
      18.2. Informative References ...................................34
   Appendix A. Rationale for Using DNS as a Basis for Service
               Discovery .............................................37

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   Appendix B. Ordering of Service Instance Name Components ..........38
      B.1. Semantic Structure ........................................38
      B.2. Network Efficiency ........................................39
      B.3. Operational Flexibility ...................................39
   Appendix C. What You See Is What You Get ..........................40
   Appendix D. Choice of Factory-Default Names .......................42
   Appendix E. Name Encodings in the Domain Name System ..............44
   Appendix F. "Continuous Live Update" Browsing Model ...............45
   Appendix G. Deployment History ....................................47

1.  Introduction

   This document specifies how DNS resource records are named and
   structured to facilitate service discovery.  Given a type of service
   that a client is looking for, and a domain in which the client is
   looking for that service, this mechanism allows clients to discover a
   list of named instances of that desired service, using standard DNS
   queries.  This mechanism is referred to as DNS-based Service
   Discovery, or DNS-SD.

   This document proposes no change to the structure of DNS messages,
   and no new operation codes, response codes, resource record types, or
   any other new DNS protocol values.

   This document specifies that a particular service instance can be
   described using a DNS SRV [RFC2782] and DNS TXT [RFC1035] record.
   The SRV record has a name of the form "<Instance>.<Service>.<Domain>"
   and gives the target host and port where the service instance can be
   reached.  The DNS TXT record of the same name gives additional
   information about this instance, in a structured form using key/value
   pairs, described in Section 6.  A client discovers the list of
   available instances of a given service type using a query for a DNS
   PTR [RFC1035] record with a name of the form "<Service>.<Domain>",
   which returns a set of zero or more names, which are the names of the
   aforementioned DNS SRV/TXT record pairs.

   This specification is compatible with both Multicast DNS [RFC6762]
   and with today's existing Unicast DNS server and client software.

   When used with Multicast DNS, DNS-SD can provide zero-configuration
   operation -- just connect a DNS-SD/mDNS device, and its services are
   advertised on the local link with no further user interaction [ZC].

   When used with conventional Unicast DNS, some configuration will
   usually be required -- such as configuring the device with the DNS
   domain(s) in which it should advertise its services, and configuring
   it with the DNS Update [RFC2136] [RFC3007] keys to give it permission
   to do so.  In rare cases, such as a secure corporate network behind a

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   firewall where no DNS Update keys are required, zero-configuration
   operation may be achieved by simply having the device register its
   services in a default registration domain learned from the network
   (see Section 11, "Discovery of Browsing and Registration Domains"),
   but this is the exception and usually security credentials will be
   required to perform DNS updates.

   Note that when using DNS-SD with Unicast DNS, the Unicast DNS-SD
   service does NOT have to be provided by the same DNS server hardware
   that is currently providing an organization's conventional host name
   lookup service.  While many people think of "DNS" exclusively in the
   context of mapping host names to IP addresses, in fact, "the DNS is a
   general (if somewhat limited) hierarchical database, and can store
   almost any kind of data, for almost any purpose" [RFC2181].  By
   delegating the "_tcp" and "_udp" subdomains, all the workload related
   to DNS-SD can be offloaded to a different machine.  This flexibility,
   to handle DNS-SD on the main DNS server or not, at the network
   administrator's discretion, is one of the benefits of using DNS.

   Even when the DNS-SD functions are delegated to a different machine,
   the benefits of using DNS remain: it is mature technology, well
   understood, with multiple independent implementations from different
   vendors, a wide selection of books published on the subject, and an
   established workforce experienced in its operation.  In contrast,
   adopting some other service discovery technology would require every
   site in the world to install, learn, configure, operate, and maintain
   some entirely new and unfamiliar server software.  Faced with these
   obstacles, it seems unlikely that any other service discovery
   technology could hope to compete with the ubiquitous deployment that
   DNS already enjoys.  For further discussion, see Appendix A,
   "Rationale for Using DNS as a Basis for Service Discovery".

   This document is written for two audiences: for developers creating
   application software that offers or accesses services on the network,
   and for developers creating DNS-SD libraries to implement the
   advertising and discovery mechanisms.  For both audiences,
   understanding the entire document is helpful.  For developers
   creating application software, this document provides guidance on
   choosing instance names, service names, and other aspects that play a
   role in creating a good overall user experience.  However, also
   understanding the underlying DNS mechanisms used to provide the
   service discovery facilities helps application developers understand
   the capabilities and limitations of those underlying mechanisms
   (e.g., name length limits).  For library developers writing software
   to construct the DNS records (to advertise a service) and generate
   the DNS queries (to discover and use a service), understanding the
   ultimate user-experience goals helps them provide APIs that can meet
   those goals.

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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" [RFC2119].

3.  Design Goals

   Of the many properties a good service discovery protocol needs to
   have, three of particular importance are:

      (i) The ability to query for services of a certain type in a
      certain logical domain, and receive in response a list of named
      instances (network browsing or "Service Instance Enumeration").

      (ii) Given a particular named instance, the ability to efficiently
      resolve that instance name to the required information a client
      needs to actually use the service, i.e., IP address and port
      number, at the very least (Service Instance Resolution).

      (iii) Instance names should be relatively persistent.  If a user
      selects their default printer from a list of available choices
      today, then tomorrow they should still be able to print on that
      printer -- even if the IP address and/or port number where the
      service resides have changed -- without the user (or their
      software) having to repeat the step (i) (the initial network
      browsing) a second time.

   In addition, if it is to become successful, a service discovery
   protocol should be so simple to implement that virtually any device
   capable of implementing IP should not have any trouble implementing
   the service discovery software as well.

   These goals are discussed in more detail in the remainder of this
   document.  A more thorough treatment of service discovery
   requirements may be found in "Requirements for a Protocol to Replace
   the AppleTalk Name Binding Protocol (NBP)" [RFC6760].  That document
   draws upon examples from two decades of operational experience with
   AppleTalk to develop a list of universal requirements that are
   broadly applicable to any potential service discovery protocol.

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4.  Service Instance Enumeration (Browsing)

   Traditional DNS SRV records [RFC2782] are useful for locating
   instances of a particular type of service when all the instances are
   effectively indistinguishable and provide the same service to the

   For example, SRV records with the (hypothetical) name
   "" would allow a client to discover servers
   implementing the "_http._tcp" service (i.e., web servers) for the
   "" domain.  The unstated assumption is that all these
   servers offer an identical set of web pages, and it doesn't matter to
   the client which of the servers it uses, as long as it selects one at
   random according to the weight and priority rules laid out in the DNS
   SRV specification [RFC2782].

   Instances of other kinds of service are less easily interchangeable.
   If a word processing application were to look up the (hypothetical)
   SRV record "" to find the list of Internet
   Printing Protocol (IPP) [RFC2910] printers at Example Co., then
   picking one at random and printing on it would probably not be what
   the user wanted.

   The remainder of this section describes how SRV records may be used
   in a slightly different way, to allow a user to discover the names of
   all available instances of a given type of service, and then select,
   from that list, the particular instance they desire.

4.1.  Structured Service Instance Names

   This document borrows the logical service-naming syntax and semantics
   from DNS SRV records, but adds one level of indirection.  Instead of
   requesting records of type "SRV" with name "",
   the client requests records of type "PTR" (pointer from one name to
   another in the DNS namespace) [RFC1035].

   In effect, if one thinks of the domain name ""
   as being analogous to an absolute path to a directory in a file
   system, then DNS-SD's PTR lookup is akin to performing a listing of
   that directory to find all the entries it contains.  (Remember that
   domain names are expressed in reverse order compared to path names --
   an absolute path name starts with the root on the left and is read
   from left to right, whereas a fully qualified domain name starts with
   the root on the right and is read from right to left.  If the fully
   qualified domain name "" were expressed as a
   file system path name, it would be "/com/example/_tcp/_ipp".)

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   The result of this PTR lookup for the name "<Service>.<Domain>" is a
   set of zero or more PTR records giving Service Instance Names of the

      Service Instance Name = <Instance> . <Service> . <Domain>

   For explanation of why the components are in this order, see Appendix
   B, "Ordering of Service Instance Name Components".

4.1.1.  Instance Names

   The <Instance> portion of the Service Instance Name is a user-
   friendly name consisting of arbitrary Net-Unicode text [RFC5198].  It
   MUST NOT contain ASCII control characters (byte values 0x00-0x1F and
   0x7F) [RFC20] but otherwise is allowed to contain any characters,
   without restriction, including spaces, uppercase, lowercase,
   punctuation -- including dots -- accented characters, non-Roman text,
   and anything else that may be represented using Net-Unicode.  For
   discussion of why the <Instance> name should be a user-visible, user-
   friendly name rather than an invisible machine-generated opaque
   identifier, see Appendix C, "What You See Is What You Get".

   The <Instance> portion of the name of a service being offered on the
   network SHOULD be configurable by the user setting up the service, so
   that he or she may give it an informative name.  However, the device
   or service SHOULD NOT require the user to configure a name before it
   can be used.  A sensible choice of default name can in many cases
   allow the device or service to be accessed without any manual
   configuration at all.  The default name should be short and
   descriptive, and SHOULD NOT include the device's Media Access Control
   (MAC) address, serial number, or any similar incomprehensible
   hexadecimal string in an attempt to make the name globally unique.
   For discussion of why <Instance> names don't need to be (and SHOULD
   NOT be) made unique at the factory, see Appendix D, "Choice of
   Factory-Default Names".

   This <Instance> portion of the Service Instance Name is stored
   directly in the DNS as a single DNS label of canonical precomposed
   UTF-8 [RFC3629] "Net-Unicode" (Unicode Normalization Form C)
   [RFC5198] text.  For further discussion of text encodings, see
   Appendix E, "Name Encodings in the Domain Name System".

   DNS labels are currently limited to 63 octets in length.  UTF-8
   encoding can require up to four octets per Unicode character, which
   means that in the worst case, the <Instance> portion of a name could
   be limited to fifteen Unicode characters.  However, the Unicode

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   characters with longer octet lengths under UTF-8 encoding tend to be
   the more rarely used ones, and tend to be the ones that convey
   greater meaning per character.

   Note that any character in the commonly used 16-bit Unicode Basic
   Multilingual Plane [Unicode6] can be encoded with no more than three
   octets of UTF-8 encoding.  This means that an instance name can
   contain up to 21 Kanji characters, which is a sufficiently expressive
   name for most purposes.

4.1.2.  Service Names

   The <Service> portion of the Service Instance Name consists of a pair
   of DNS labels, following the convention already established for SRV
   records [RFC2782].  The first label of the pair is an underscore
   character followed by the Service Name [RFC6335].  The Service Name
   identifies what the service does and what application protocol it
   uses to do it.  The second label is either "_tcp" (for application
   protocols that run over TCP) or "_udp" (for all others).  For more
   details, see Section 7, "Service Names".

4.1.3.  Domain Names

   The <Domain> portion of the Service Instance Name specifies the DNS
   subdomain within which those names are registered.  It may be
   "local.", meaning "link-local Multicast DNS" [RFC6762], or it may be
   a conventional Unicast DNS domain name, such as "",
   "", or ""  Because Service Instance
   Names are not host names, they are not constrained by the usual rules
   for host names [RFC1033] [RFC1034] [RFC1035], and rich-text service
   subdomains are allowed and encouraged, for example:

     Building 2, 1st Floor  .  example  .  com  .
     Building 2, 2nd Floor  .  example  .  com  .
     Building 2, 3rd Floor  .  example  .  com  .
     Building 2, 4th Floor  .  example  .  com  .

   In addition, because Service Instance Names are not constrained by
   the limitations of host names, this document recommends that they be
   stored in the DNS, and communicated over the wire, encoded as
   straightforward canonical precomposed UTF-8 [RFC3629] "Net-Unicode"
   (Unicode Normalization Form C) [RFC5198] text.  In cases where the
   DNS server returns a negative response for the name in question,
   client software MAY choose to retry the query using the "Punycode"
   algorithm [RFC3492] to convert the UTF-8 name to an IDNA "A-label"
   [RFC5890], beginning with the top-level label, then issuing the query

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   repeatedly, with successively more labels translated to IDNA A-labels
   each time, and giving up if it has converted all labels to IDNA
   A-labels and the query still fails.

4.2.  User Interface Presentation

   The names resulting from the Service Instance Enumeration PTR lookup
   are presented to the user in a list for the user to select one (or
   more).  Typically, only the first label is shown (the user-friendly
   <Instance> portion of the name).

   In the common case the <Service> and <Domain> are already known to
   the client software, these having been provided implicitly by the
   user in the first place, by the act of indicating the service being
   sought, and the domain in which to look for it.  Note that the
   software handling the response should be careful not to make invalid
   assumptions though, since it *is* possible, though rare, for a
   service enumeration in one domain to return the names of services in
   a different domain.  Similarly, when using subtypes (see Section 7.1,
   "Selective Instance Enumeration") the <Service> of the discovered
   instance may not be exactly the same as the <Service> that was

   For further discussion of Service Instance Enumeration (browsing)
   user-interface considerations, see Appendix F, "'Continuous Live
   Update' Browsing Model".

   Once the user has selected the desired named instance, the Service
   Instance Name may then be used immediately, or saved away in some
   persistent user-preference data structure for future use, depending
   on what is appropriate for the application in question.

4.3.  Internal Handling of Names

   If client software takes the <Instance>, <Service>, and <Domain>
   portions of a Service Instance Name and internally concatenates them
   together into a single string, then because the <Instance> portion is
   allowed to contain any characters, including dots, appropriate
   precautions MUST be taken to ensure that DNS label boundaries are
   properly preserved.  Client software can do this in a variety of
   ways, such as character escaping.

   This document RECOMMENDS that if concatenating the three portions of
   a Service Instance Name, any dots in the <Instance> portion be
   escaped following the customary DNS convention for text files: by
   preceding literal dots with a backslash (so "." becomes "\.").
   Likewise, any backslashes in the <Instance> portion should also be
   escaped by preceding them with a backslash (so "\" becomes "\\").

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   Having done this, the three components of the name may be safely
   concatenated.  The backslash-escaping allows literal dots in the name
   (escaped) to be distinguished from label-separator dots (not
   escaped), and the resulting concatenated string may be safely passed
   to standard DNS APIs like res_query(), which will interpret the
   backslash-escaped string as intended.

5.  Service Instance Resolution

   When a client needs to contact a particular service, identified by a
   Service Instance Name, previously discovered via Service Instance
   Enumeration (browsing), it queries for the SRV and TXT records of
   that name.  The SRV record for a service gives the port number and
   target host name where the service may be found.  The TXT record
   gives additional information about the service, as described in
   Section 6, "Data Syntax for DNS-SD TXT Records".

   SRV records are extremely useful because they remove the need for
   preassigned port numbers.  There are only 65535 TCP port numbers
   available.  These port numbers are traditionally allocated one per
   application protocol [RFC6335].  Some protocols like the X Window
   System have a block of 64 TCP ports allocated (6000-6063).  Using a
   different TCP port for each different instance of a given service on
   a given machine is entirely sensible, but allocating each application
   its own large static range, as was done for the X Window System, is
   not a practical way to do that.  On any given host, most TCP ports
   are reserved for services that will never run on that particular host
   in its lifetime.  This is very poor utilization of the limited port
   space.  Using SRV records allows each host to allocate its available
   port numbers dynamically to those services actually running on that
   host that need them, and then advertise the allocated port numbers
   via SRV records.  Allocating the available listening port numbers
   locally on a per-host basis as needed allows much better utilization
   of the available port space than today's centralized global

   In the event that more than one SRV is returned, clients MUST
   correctly interpret the priority and weight fields -- i.e., lower-
   numbered priority servers should be used in preference to higher-
   numbered priority servers, and servers with equal priority should be
   selected randomly in proportion to their relative weights.  However,
   in the overwhelmingly common case, a single advertised DNS-SD service
   instance is described by exactly one SRV record, and in this common
   case the priority and weight fields of the SRV record SHOULD both be
   set to zero.

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6.  Data Syntax for DNS-SD TXT Records

   Some services discovered via Service Instance Enumeration may need
   more than just an IP address and port number to completely identify
   the service instance.  For example, printing via the old Unix LPR
   (port 515) protocol [RFC1179] often specifies a queue name [BJP].
   This queue name is typically short and cryptic, and need not be shown
   to the user.  It should be regarded the same way as the IP address
   and port number: it is another component of the addressing
   information required to identify a specific instance of a service
   being offered by some piece of hardware.  Similarly, a file server
   may have multiple volumes, each identified by its own volume name.  A
   web server typically has multiple pages, each identified by its own
   URL.  In these cases, the necessary additional data is stored in a
   TXT record with the same name as the SRV record.  The specific nature
   of that additional data, and how it is to be used, is service-
   dependent, but the overall syntax of the data in the TXT record is
   standardized, as described below.

   Every DNS-SD service MUST have a TXT record in addition to its SRV
   record, with the same name, even if the service has no additional
   data to store and the TXT record contains no more than a single zero
   byte.  This allows a service to have explicit control over the Time
   to Live (TTL) of its (empty) TXT record, rather than using the
   default negative caching TTL, which would otherwise be used for a "no
   error no answer" DNS response.

   Note that this requirement for a mandatory TXT record applies
   exclusively to DNS-SD service advertising, i.e., services advertised
   using the PTR+SRV+TXT convention specified in this document.  It is
   not a requirement of SRV records in general.  The DNS SRV record
   datatype [RFC2782] may still be used in other contexts without any
   requirement for accompanying PTR and TXT records.

6.1.  General Format Rules for DNS TXT Records

   A DNS TXT record can be up to 65535 (0xFFFF) bytes long.  The total
   length is indicated by the length given in the resource record header
   in the DNS message.  There is no way to tell directly from the data
   alone how long it is (e.g., there is no length count at the start, or
   terminating NULL byte at the end).

   Note that when using Multicast DNS [RFC6762] the maximum packet size
   is 9000 bytes, including the IP header, UDP header, and DNS message
   header, which imposes an upper limit on the size of TXT records of
   about 8900 bytes.  In practice the maximum sensible size of a DNS-SD
   TXT record is smaller even than this, typically at most a few hundred
   bytes, as described below in Section 6.2.

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   The format of the data within a DNS TXT record is one or more
   strings, packed together in memory without any intervening gaps or
   padding bytes for word alignment.

   The format of each constituent string within the DNS TXT record is a
   single length byte, followed by 0-255 bytes of text data.

   These format rules for TXT records are defined in Section 3.3.14 of
   the DNS specification [RFC1035] and are not specific to DNS-SD.
   DNS-SD specifies additional rules for what data should be stored in
   those constituent strings when used for DNS-SD service advertising,
   i.e., when used to describe services advertised using the PTR+SRV+TXT
   convention specified in this document.

   An empty TXT record containing zero strings is not allowed [RFC1035].
   DNS-SD implementations MUST NOT emit empty TXT records.  DNS-SD
   clients MUST treat the following as equivalent:

   o  A TXT record containing a single zero byte.
      (i.e., a single empty string.)

   o  An empty (zero-length) TXT record.
      (This is not strictly legal, but should one be received, it should
      be interpreted as the same as a single empty string.)

   o  No TXT record.
      (i.e., an NXDOMAIN or no-error-no-answer response.)

6.2.  DNS-SD TXT Record Size

   The total size of a typical DNS-SD TXT record is intended to be small
   -- 200 bytes or less.

   In cases where more data is justified (e.g., LPR printing [BJP]),
   keeping the total size under 400 bytes should allow it to fit in a
   single 512-byte DNS message [RFC1035].

   In extreme cases where even this is not enough, keeping the size of
   the TXT record under 1300 bytes should allow it to fit in a single
   1500-byte Ethernet packet.

   Using TXT records larger than 1300 bytes is NOT RECOMMENDED at this

   Note that some Ethernet hardware vendors offer chipsets with
   Multicast DNS [RFC6762] offload, so that computers can sleep and
   still be discoverable on the network.  Early versions of such
   chipsets were sometimes quite limited: for example, some were

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   (unwisely) limited to handling TXT records no larger than 256 bytes
   (which meant that LPR printer services with larger TXT records did
   not work).  Developers should be aware of this real-world limitation,
   and should understand that even hardware which is otherwise perfectly
   capable may have low-power and sleep modes that are more limited.

6.3.  DNS TXT Record Format Rules for Use in DNS-SD

   DNS-SD uses DNS TXT records to store arbitrary key/value pairs
   conveying additional information about the named service.  Each
   key/value pair is encoded as its own constituent string within the
   DNS TXT record, in the form "key=value" (without the quotation
   marks).  Everything up to the first '=' character is the key (Section
   6.4).  Everything after the first '=' character to the end of the
   string (including subsequent '=' characters, if any) is the value
   (Section 6.5).  No quotation marks are required around the value,
   even if it contains spaces, '=' characters, or other punctuation
   marks.  Each author defining a DNS-SD profile for discovering
   instances of a particular type of service should define the base set
   of key/value attributes that are valid for that type of service.

   Using this standardized key/value syntax within the TXT record makes
   it easier for these base definitions to be expanded later by defining
   additional named attributes.  If an implementation sees unknown keys
   in a service TXT record, it MUST silently ignore them.

   The target host name and TCP (or UDP) port number of the service are
   given in the SRV record.  This information -- target host name and
   port number -- MUST NOT be duplicated using key/value attributes in
   the TXT record.

   The intention of DNS-SD TXT records is to convey a small amount of
   useful additional information about a service.  Ideally, it should
   not be necessary for a client to retrieve this additional information
   before it can usefully establish a connection to the service.  For a
   well-designed application protocol, even if there is no information
   at all in the TXT record, it should be possible, knowing only the
   host name, port number, and protocol being used, to communicate with
   that listening process and then perform version- or feature-
   negotiation to determine any further options or capabilities of the
   service instance.  For example, when connecting to an AFP (Apple
   Filing Protocol) server [AFP] over TCP, the client enters into a
   protocol exchange with the server to determine which version of AFP
   the server implements and which optional features or capabilities (if
   any) are available.

   For protocols designed with adequate in-band version- and feature-
   negotiation, any information in the TXT record should be viewed as a

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   performance optimization -- when a client discovers many instances of
   a service, the TXT record allows the client to know some rudimentary
   information about each instance without having to open a TCP
   connection to each one and interrogate every service instance
   separately.  Care should be taken when doing this to ensure that the
   information in the TXT record is in agreement with the information
   that would be retrieved by a client connecting over TCP.

   There are legacy protocols that provide no feature negotiation
   capability, and in these cases it may be useful to convey necessary
   information in the TXT record.  For example, when printing using LPR
   [RFC1179], the LPR protocol provides no way for the client to
   determine whether a particular printer accepts PostScript, what
   version of PostScript, etc.  In this case it is appropriate to embed
   this information in the TXT record [BJP], because the alternative
   would be worse -- passing around written instructions to the users,
   arcane manual configuration of "/etc/printcap" files, etc.

   The engineering decision about what keys to define for the TXT record
   needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis for each service type.
   For some service types it is appropriate to communicate information
   via the TXT record as well as (or instead of) via in-band
   communication in the application protocol.

6.4.  Rules for Keys in DNS-SD Key/Value Pairs

   The key MUST be at least one character.  DNS-SD TXT record strings
   beginning with an '=' character (i.e., the key is missing) MUST be
   silently ignored.

   The key SHOULD be no more than nine characters long.  This is because
   it is beneficial to keep packet sizes small for the sake of network
   efficiency.  When using DNS-SD in conjunction with Multicast DNS
   [RFC6762] this is important because multicast traffic is especially
   expensive on 802.11 wireless networks [IEEEW], but even when using
   conventional Unicast DNS, keeping the TXT records small helps improve
   the chance that responses will fit within the original DNS 512-byte
   size limit [RFC1035].  Also, each constituent string of a DNS TXT
   record is limited to 255 bytes, so excessively long keys reduce the
   space available for that key's values.

   The keys in key/value pairs can be as short as a single character.
   A key name needs only to be unique and unambiguous within the context
   of the service type for which it is defined.  A key name is intended
   solely to be a machine-readable identifier, not a human-readable
   essay giving detailed discussion of the purpose of a parameter, with
   a URL for a web page giving yet more details of the specification.
   For ease of development and debugging, it can be valuable to use key

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   names that are mnemonic textual names, but excessively verbose keys
   are wasteful and inefficient, hence the recommendation to keep them
   to nine characters or fewer.

   The characters of a key MUST be printable US-ASCII values (0x20-0x7E)
   [RFC20], excluding '=' (0x3D).

   Spaces in the key are significant, whether leading, trailing, or in
   the middle -- so don't include any spaces unless you really intend

   Case is ignored when interpreting a key, so "papersize=A4",
   "PAPERSIZE=A4", and "Papersize=A4" are all identical.

   If there is no '=' in a DNS-SD TXT record string, then it is a
   boolean attribute, simply identified as being present, with no value.

   A given key SHOULD NOT appear more than once in a TXT record.  The
   reason for this simplifying rule is to facilitate the creation of
   client libraries that parse the TXT record into an internal data
   structure (such as a hash table or dictionary object that maps from
   keys to values) and then make that abstraction available to client
   code.  The rule that a given key may not appear more than once
   simplifies these abstractions because they aren't required to support
   the case of returning more than one value for a given key.

   If a client receives a TXT record containing the same key more than
   once, then the client MUST silently ignore all but the first
   occurrence of that attribute.  For client implementations that
   process a DNS-SD TXT record from start to end, placing key/value
   pairs into a hash table using the key as the hash table key, this
   means that if the implementation attempts to add a new key/value pair
   into the table and finds an entry with the same key already present,
   then the new entry being added should be silently discarded instead.
   Client implementations that retrieve key/value pairs by searching the
   TXT record for the requested key should search the TXT record from
   the start and simply return the first matching key they find.

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   When examining a TXT record for a given key, there are therefore four
   categories of results that may be returned:

   *  Attribute not present (Absent)

   *  Attribute present, with no value
      (e.g., "passreq" -- password required for this service)

   *  Attribute present, with empty value
      (e.g., "PlugIns=" -- the server supports plugins, but none are
      presently installed)

   *  Attribute present, with non-empty value
      (e.g., "PlugIns=JPEG,MPEG2,MPEG4")

   Each author defining a DNS-SD profile for discovering instances of a
   particular type of service should define the interpretation of these
   different kinds of result.  For example, for some keys, there may be
   a natural true/false boolean interpretation:

   *  Absent implies 'false'
   *  Present implies 'true'

   For other keys it may be sensible to define other semantics, such as

   *  Present with value implies that value.
      (e.g., "Color=4" for a four-color ink-jet printer
      or "Color=6" for a six-color ink-jet printer)

   *  Present with empty value implies 'false'.
      (e.g., not a color printer)

   *  Absent implies 'Unknown'.
      (e.g., a print server connected to some unknown printer where the
      print server doesn't actually know if the printer does color or
      not -- which gives a very bad user experience and should be
      avoided wherever possible)

   Note that this is a hypothetical example, not an example of actual
   key/value keys used by DNS-SD network printers, which are documented
   in the "Bonjour Printing Specification" [BJP].

6.5.  Rules for Values in DNS-SD Key/Value Pairs

   If there is an '=' in a DNS-SD TXT record string, then everything
   after the first '=' to the end of the string is the value.  The value
   can contain any eight-bit values including '='.  The value MUST NOT

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   be enclosed in additional quotation marks or any similar punctuation;
   any quotation marks, or leading or trailing spaces, are part of the

   The value is opaque binary data.  Often the value for a particular
   attribute will be US-ASCII [RFC20] or UTF-8 [RFC3629] text, but it is
   legal for a value to be any binary data.

   Generic debugging tools should generally display all attribute values
   as a hex dump, with accompanying text alongside displaying the UTF-8
   interpretation of those bytes, except for attributes where the
   debugging tool has embedded knowledge that the value is some other
   kind of data.

   Authors defining DNS-SD profiles SHOULD NOT generically convert
   binary attribute data types into printable text using hexadecimal
   representation, Base-64 [RFC4648], or Unix-to-Unix (UU) encoding,
   merely for the sake of making the data appear to be printable text
   when seen in a generic debugging tool.  Doing this simply bloats the
   size of the TXT record, without actually making the data any more
   understandable to someone looking at it in a generic debugging tool.

6.6.  Example TXT Record

   The TXT record below contains three syntactically valid key/value
   strings.  (The meaning of these key/value pairs, if any, would depend
   on the definitions pertaining to the service in question that is
   using them.)

        | 0x09 | key=value | 0x08 | paper=A4 | 0x07 | passreq |

6.7.  Version Tag

   It is recommended that authors defining DNS-SD profiles include an
   attribute of the form "txtvers=x", where "x" is a decimal version
   number in US-ASCII [RFC20] text (e.g., "txtvers=1" or "txtvers=8"),
   in their definition, and require it to be the first key/value pair in
   the TXT record.  This information in the TXT record can be useful to
   help clients maintain backwards compatibility with older
   implementations if it becomes necessary to change or update the
   specification over time.  Even if the profile author doesn't
   anticipate the need for any future incompatible changes, having a
   version number in the TXT record provides useful insurance should
   incompatible changes become unavoidable [RFC6709].  Clients SHOULD
   ignore TXT records with a txtvers number higher (or lower) than the
   version(s) they know how to interpret.

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   Note that the version number in the txtvers tag describes the version
   of the specification governing the defined keys and the meaning of
   those keys for that particular TXT record, not the version of the
   application protocol that will be used if the client subsequently
   decides to contact that service.  Ideally, every DNS-SD TXT record
   specification starts at txtvers=1 and stays that way forever.
   Improvements can be made by defining new keys that older clients
   silently ignore.  The only reason to increment the version number is
   if the old specification is subsequently found to be so horribly
   broken that there's no way to do a compatible forward revision, so
   the txtvers number has to be incremented to tell all the old clients
   they should just not even try to understand this new TXT record.

   If there is a need to indicate which version number(s) of the
   application protocol the service implements, the recommended key for
   this is "protovers".

6.8.  Service Instances with Multiple TXT Records

   Generally speaking, every DNS-SD service instance has exactly one TXT
   record.  However, it is possible for a particular protocol's DNS-SD
   advertising specification to state that it allows multiple TXT
   records.  In this case, each TXT record describes a different variant
   of the same logical service, offered using the same underlying
   protocol on the same port, described by the same SRV record.

   Having multiple TXT records to describe a single service instance is
   very rare, and to date, of the many hundreds of registered DNS-SD
   service types [SN], only one makes use of this capability, namely LPR
   printing [BJP].  This capability is used when a printer conceptually
   supports multiple logical queue names, where each different logical
   queue name implements a different page description language, such as
   80-column monospaced plain text, seven-bit Adobe PostScript, eight-
   bit ("binary") PostScript, or some proprietary page description
   language.  When multiple TXT records are used to describe multiple
   logical LPR queue names for the same underlying service, printers
   include two additional keys in each TXT record: 'qtotal', which
   specifies the total number of TXT records associated with this SRV
   record, and 'priority', which gives the printer's relative preference
   for this particular TXT record.  Clients then select the most
   preferred TXT record that meets the client's needs [BJP].  The only
   reason multiple TXT records are used is because the LPR protocol
   lacks in-band feature-negotiation capabilities for the client and
   server to agree on a data representation for the print job, so this
   information has to be communicated out-of-band instead using the DNS-
   SD TXT records.  Future protocol designs should not follow this bad
   example by mimicking this inadequacy of the LPR printing protocol.

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7.  Service Names

   The <Service> portion of a Service Instance Name consists of a pair
   of DNS labels, following the convention already established for SRV
   records [RFC2782].

   The first label of the pair is an underscore character followed by
   the Service Name [RFC6335].  The Service Name identifies what the
   service does and what application protocol it uses to do it.

   For applications using TCP, the second label is "_tcp".

   For applications using any transport protocol other than TCP, the
   second label is "_udp".  This applies to all other transport
   protocols, including User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Stream Control
   Transmission Protocol (SCTP) [RFC4960], Datagram Congestion Control
   Protocol (DCCP) [RFC4340], Adobe's Real Time Media Flow Protocol
   (RTMFP), etc.  In retrospect, perhaps the SRV specification should
   not have used the "_tcp" and "_udp" labels at all, and instead should
   have used a single label "_srv" to carve off a subdomain of DNS
   namespace for this use, but that specification is already published
   and deployed.  At this point there is no benefit in changing
   established practice.  While "_srv" might be aesthetically nicer than
   "_udp", it is not a user-visible string, and all that is required
   protocol-wise is (i) that it be a label that can form a DNS
   delegation point, and (ii) that it be short so that it does not take
   up too much space in the packet, and in this respect either "_udp" or
   "_srv" is equally good.  Thus, it makes sense to use "_tcp" for TCP-
   based services and "_udp" for all other transport protocols -- which
   are in fact, in today's world, often encapsulated over UDP -- rather
   than defining a new subdomain for every new transport protocol.

   Note that this usage of the "_udp" label for all protocols other than
   TCP applies exclusively to DNS-SD service advertising, i.e., services
   advertised using the PTR+SRV+TXT convention specified in this
   document.  It is not a requirement of SRV records in general.  Other
   specifications that are independent of DNS-SD and not intended to
   interoperate with DNS-SD records are not in any way constrained by
   how DNS-SD works just because they also use the DNS SRV record
   datatype [RFC2782]; they are free to specify their own naming
   conventions as appropriate.

   The rules for Service Names [RFC6335] state that they may be no more
   than fifteen characters long (not counting the mandatory underscore),
   consisting of only letters, digits, and hyphens, must begin and end
   with a letter or digit, must not contain consecutive hyphens, and
   must contain at least one letter.  The requirement to contain at
   least one letter is to disallow Service Names such as "80" or

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   "6000-6063", which could be misinterpreted as port numbers or port
   number ranges.  While both uppercase and lowercase letters may be
   used for mnemonic clarity, case is ignored for comparison purposes,
   so the strings "HTTP" and "http" refer to the same service.

   Wise selection of a Service Name is important, and the choice is not
   always as obvious as it may appear.

   In many cases, the Service Name merely names and refers to the on-
   the-wire message format and semantics being used.  FTP is "ftp", IPP
   printing is "ipp", and so on.

   However, it is common to "borrow" an existing protocol and repurpose
   it for a new task.  This is entirely sensible and sound engineering
   practice, but that doesn't mean that the new protocol is providing
   the same semantic service as the old one, even if it borrows the same
   message formats.  For example, the network music sharing protocol
   implemented by iTunes on Macintosh and Windows is built upon "HTTP
   GET" commands.  However, that does *not* mean that it is sensible or
   useful to try to access one of these music servers by connecting to
   it with a standard web browser.  Consequently, the DNS-SD service
   advertised (and browsed for) by iTunes is "_daap._tcp" (Digital Audio
   Access Protocol), not "_http._tcp".

   If iTunes were to advertise that it offered "_http._tcp" service,
   that would cause iTunes servers to appear in conventional web
   browsers (Safari, Camino, OmniWeb, Internet Explorer, Firefox,
   Chrome, etc.), which is of little use since an iTunes music library
   offers no HTML pages containing human-readable content that a web
   browser could display.

   Equally, if iTunes were to browse for "_http._tcp" service, that
   would cause it to discover generic web servers, such as the embedded
   web servers in devices like printers, which is of little use since
   printers generally don't have much music to offer.

   Analogously, Sun Microsystems's Network File System (NFS) is built on
   top of Sun Microsystems's Remote Procedure Call (Sun RPC) mechanism,
   but that doesn't mean it makes sense for an NFS server to advertise
   that it provides "Sun RPC" service.  Likewise, Microsoft's Server
   Message Block (SMB) file service is built on top of Netbios running
   over IP, but that doesn't mean it makes sense for an SMB file server
   to advertise that it provides "Netbios-over-IP" service.  The DNS-SD
   name of a service needs to encapsulate both the "what" (semantics)
   and the "how" (protocol implementation) of the service, since
   knowledge of both is necessary for a client to use the service
   meaningfully.  Merely advertising that a service was built on top of
   Sun RPC is no use if the client has no idea what the service does.

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   Another common question is whether the service type advertised by
   iTunes should be "_daap._http._tcp."  This would also be incorrect.
   Similarly, a protocol designer implementing a network service that
   happens to use the Simple Object Access Protocol [SOAP] should not
   feel compelled to have "_soap" appear somewhere in the Service Name.
   Part of the confusion here is that the presence of "_tcp" or "_udp"
   in the <Service> portion of a Service Instance Name has led people to
   assume that the visible structure of the <Service> should reflect
   the private internal structure of how the protocol was implemented.
   This is not correct.  All that is required is that the service be
   identified by some unique opaque Service Name.  Making the Service
   Name be English text that is at least marginally descriptive of what
   the service does may be convenient, but it is by no means essential.

7.1.  Selective Instance Enumeration (Subtypes)

   This document does not attempt to define a sophisticated (e.g.,
   Turing complete, or even regular expression) query language for
   service discovery, nor do we believe one is necessary.

   However, there are some limited circumstances where narrowing the set
   of results may be useful.  For example, many network printers offer a
   web-based user interface, for management and administration, using
   HTML/HTTP.  A web browser wanting to discover all advertised web
   pages issues a query for "_http._tcp.<Domain>".  On the other hand,
   there are cases where users wish to manage printers specifically, not
   to discover web pages in general, and it is good accommodate this.
   In this case, we define the "_printer" subtype of "_http._tcp", and
   to discover only the subset of pages advertised as having that
   subtype property, the web browser issues a query for

   The Safari web browser on Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" and later uses
   subtypes in this way.  If an "_http._tcp" service is discovered both
   via "_printer._sub._http._tcp" browsing and via "_http._tcp" browsing
   then it is displayed in the "Printers" section of Safari's UI.  If a
   service is discovered only via "_http._tcp" browsing then it is
   displayed in the "Webpages" section of Safari's UI.  This can be seen
   by using the commands below on Mac OS X to advertise two "fake"
   services.  The service instance "A web page" is displayed in the
   "Webpages" section of Safari's Bonjour list, while the instance
   "A printer's web page" is displayed in the "Printers" section.

      dns-sd -R "A web page"           _http._tcp          local 100
      dns-sd -R "A printer's web page" _http._tcp,_printer local 101

   Note that the advertised web page's Service Instance Name is
   unchanged by the use of subtypes -- it is still something of the form

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   "The", and the advertised web page is
   still discoverable using a standard browsing query for services of
   type "_http._tcp".  The subdomain in which HTTP server SRV records
   are registered defines the namespace within which HTTP server names
   are unique.  Additional subtypes (e.g., "_printer") of the basic
   service type (e.g., "_http._tcp") serve to allow clients to query for
   a narrower set of results, not to create more namespace.

   Using DNS zone file syntax, the service instance "A web page" is
   advertised using one PTR record, while the instance "A printer's web
   page" is advertised using two: the primary service type and the
   additional subtype.  Even though the "A printer's web page" service
   is advertised two different ways, both PTR records refer to the name
   of the same SRV+TXT record pair:

   ; One PTR record advertises "A web page"
   _http._tcp.local. PTR A\032web\032page._http._tcp.local.

   ; Two different PTR records advertise "A printer's web page"
   _http._tcp.local. PTR A\032printer's\032web\032page._http._tcp.local.
                     PTR A\032printer's\032web\032page._http._tcp.local.

   Subtypes are appropriate when it is desirable for different kinds of
   client to be able to browse for services at two levels of
   granularity.  In the example above, we describe two classes of HTTP
   clients: general web browsing clients that are interested in all web
   pages, and specific printer management tools that would like to
   discover only web UI pages advertised by printers.  The set of HTTP
   servers on the network is the same in both cases; the difference is
   that some clients want to discover all of them, whereas other clients
   only want to find the subset of HTTP servers whose purpose is printer

   Subtypes are only appropriate in two-level scenarios such as this
   one, where some clients want to find the full set of services of a
   given type, and at the same time other clients only want to find some
   subset.  Generally speaking, if there is no client that wants to find
   the entire set, then it's neither necessary nor desirable to use the
   subtype mechanism.  If all clients are browsing for some particular
   subtype, and no client exists that browses for the parent type, then
   a new Service Name representing the logical service should be
   defined, and software should simply advertise and browse for that
   particular service type directly.  In particular, just because a
   particular network service happens to be implemented in terms of some
   other underlying protocol, like HTTP, Sun RPC, or SOAP, doesn't mean
   that it's sensible for that service to be defined as a subtype of
   "_http", "_sunrpc", or "_soap".  That would only be useful if there

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   were some class of client for which it is sensible to say, "I want to
   discover a service on the network, and I don't care what it does, as
   long as it does it using the SOAP XML RPC mechanism."

   Subtype strings are not required to begin with an underscore, though
   they often do.  As with the TXT record key/value pairs, the list of
   possible subtypes, if any (including whether some or all begin with
   an underscore) are defined and specified separately for each basic
   service type.

   Subtype strings (e.g., "_printer" in the example above) may be
   constructed using arbitrary 8-bit data values.  In many cases these
   data values may be UTF-8 [RFC3629] representations of text, or even
   (as in the example above) plain ASCII [RFC20], but they do not have
   to be.  Note, however, that even when using arbitrary 8-bit data for
   subtype strings, DNS name comparisons are still case-insensitive, so
   (for example) the byte values 0x41 and 0x61 will be considered
   equivalent for subtype comparison purposes.

7.2.  Service Name Length Limits

   As specified above, Service Names are allowed to be no more than
   fifteen characters long.  The reason for this limit is to conserve
   bytes in the domain name for use both by the network administrator
   (choosing service domain names) and by the end user (choosing
   instance names).

   A fully qualified domain name may be up to 255 bytes long, plus one
   byte for the final terminating root label at the end.  Domain names
   used by DNS-SD take the following forms:

                   <sn>._tcp . <servicedomain> . <parentdomain>.
      <Instance> . <sn>._tcp . <servicedomain> . <parentdomain>.
      <sub>._sub . <sn>._tcp . <servicedomain> . <parentdomain>.

   The first example shows the name used for PTR queries.  The second
   shows a Service Instance Name, i.e., the name of the service's SRV
   and TXT records.  The third shows a subtype browsing name, i.e., the
   name of a PTR record pointing to a Service Instance Name (see Section
   7.1, "Selective Instance Enumeration").

   The Service Name <sn> may be up to 15 bytes, plus the underscore and
   length byte, making a total of 17.  Including the "_udp" or "_tcp"
   and its length byte, this makes 22 bytes.

   The instance name <Instance> may be up to 63 bytes.  Including the
   length byte used by the DNS format when the name is stored in a
   packet, that makes 64 bytes.

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   When using subtypes, the subtype identifier is allowed to be up to 63
   bytes, plus the length byte, making 64.  Including the "_sub" and its
   length byte, this makes 69 bytes.

   Typically, DNS-SD service records are placed into subdomains of their
   own beneath a company's existing domain name.  Since these subdomains
   are intended to be accessed through graphical user interfaces, not
   typed on a command line, they are frequently long and descriptive.
   Including the length byte, the user-visible service domain may be up
   to 64 bytes.

   Of our available 255 bytes, we have now accounted for 69+22+64 = 155
   bytes.  This leaves 100 bytes to accommodate the organization's
   existing domain name <parentdomain>.  When used with Multicast DNS,
   <parentdomain> is "local.", which easily fits.  When used with parent
   domains of 100 bytes or less, the full functionality of DNS-SD is
   available without restriction.  When used with parent domains longer
   than 100 bytes, the protocol risks exceeding the maximum possible
   length of domain names, causing failures.  In this case, careful
   choice of short <servicedomain> names can help avoid overflows.  If
   the <servicedomain> and <parentdomain> are too long, then service
   instances with long instance names will not be discoverable or
   resolvable, and applications making use of long subtype names may

   Because of this constraint, we choose to limit Service Names to 15
   characters or less.  Allowing more characters would not increase the
   expressive power of the protocol and would needlessly reduce the
   maximum <parentdomain> length that may be safely used.

   Note that <Instance> name lengths affect the maximum number of
   services of a given type that can be discovered in a given
   <servicedomain>.  The largest Unicast DNS response than can be sent
   (typically using TCP, not UDP) is 64 kB.  Using DNS name compression,
   a Service Instance Enumeration PTR record requires 2 bytes for the
   (compressed) name, plus 10 bytes for type, class, ttl, and rdata
   length.  The rdata of the PTR record requires up to 64 bytes for the
   <Instance> part of the name, plus 2 bytes for a name compression
   pointer to the common suffix, making a maximum of 78 bytes total.
   This means that using maximum-sized <Instance> names, up to 839
   instances of a given service type can be discovered in a given

   Multicast DNS aggregates response packets, so it does not have the
   same hard limit, but in practice it is also useful for up to a few
   hundred instances of a given service type, but probably not

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   However, displaying even 100 instances in a flat list is probably too
   many to be helpful to a typical user.  If a network has more than 100
   instances of a given service type, it's probably appropriate to
   divide those services into logical subdomains by building, by floor,
   by department, etc.

8.  Flagship Naming

   In some cases, there may be several network protocols available that
   all perform roughly the same logical function.  For example, the
   printing world has the lineprinter (LPR) protocol [RFC1179] and the
   Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) [RFC2910], both of which cause
   printed sheets to be emitted from printers in much the same way.  In
   addition, many printer vendors send their own proprietary page
   description language (PDL) data over a TCP connection to TCP port
   9100, herein referred to generically as the "pdl-datastream"
   protocol.  In an ideal world, we would have only one network printing
   protocol, and it would be sufficiently good that no one felt a
   compelling need to invent a different one.  However, in practice,
   multiple legacy protocols do exist, and a service discovery protocol
   has to accommodate that.

   Many printers implement all three printing protocols: LPR, IPP, and
   pdl-datastream.  For the benefit of clients that may speak only one
   of those protocols, all three are advertised.

   However, some clients may implement two, or all three of those
   printing protocols.  When a client looks for all three service types
   on the network, it will find three distinct services -- an LPR
   service, an IPP service, and a pdl-datastream service -- all of which
   cause printed sheets to be emitted from the same physical printer.

   In a case like this, where multiple protocols all perform effectively
   the same function, a client may browse for all the service types it
   supports and display all the discovered instance names in a single
   aggregated list.  Where the same instance name is discovered more
   than once because that entity supports more than one service type
   (e.g. a single printer which implements multiple printing protocols)
   the duplicates should be suppressed and the name should appear only
   once in the list.  When the user indicates their desire to print on a
   given named printer, the printing client is responsible for choosing
   which of the available protocols will best achieve the desired
   effect, without, for example, requiring the user to make a manual
   choice between LPR and IPP.

   As described so far, this all works very well.  However, consider the
   case of: some future printer that only supports IPP printing, and
   some other future printer that only supports pdl-datastream printing.

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   The namespaces for different service types are intentionally disjoint
   (it is acceptable and desirable to be able to have both a file server
   called "Sales Department" and a printer called "Sales Department").
   However, it is not desirable, in the common case, to allow two
   different printers both to be called "Sales Department" merely
   because those two printers implement different printing protocols.

   To help guard against this, when there are two or more network
   protocols that perform roughly the same logical function, one of the
   protocols is declared the "flagship" of the fleet of related
   protocols.  Typically the flagship protocol is the oldest and/or
   best-known protocol of the set.

   If a device does not implement the flagship protocol, then it instead
   creates a placeholder SRV record (priority=0, weight=0, port=0,
   target host = host name of device) with that name.  If, when it
   attempts to create this SRV record, it finds that a record with the
   same name already exists, then it knows that this name is already
   taken by some other entity implementing at least one of the protocols
   from the fleet, and it must choose another.  If no SRV record already
   exists, then the act of creating it stakes a claim to that name so
   that future devices in the same protocol fleet will detect a conflict
   when they try to use it.

   Note: When used with Multicast DNS [RFC6762], the target host field
   of the placeholder SRV record MUST NOT be the empty root label.  The
   SRV record needs to contain a real target host name in order for the
   Multicast DNS conflict detection rules to operate.  If two different
   devices were to create placeholder SRV records both using a null
   target host name (just the root label), then the two SRV records
   would be seen to be in agreement, and no conflict would be detected.

   By defining a common well-known flagship protocol for the class,
   future devices that may not even know about each other's protocols
   establish a common ground where they can coordinate to verify
   uniqueness of names.

   No PTR record is created advertising the presence of empty flagship
   SRV records, since they do not represent a real service being
   advertised, and hence are not (and should not be) discoverable via
   Service Instance Enumeration (browsing).

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9.  Service Type Enumeration

   In general, a normal client is not interested in finding *every*
   service on the network, just the services that the client knows how
   to use.

   However, for problem diagnosis and network management tools, it may
   be useful for network administrators to find the list of advertised
   service types on the network, even if those Service Names are just
   opaque identifiers and not particularly informative in isolation.

   For this purpose, a special meta-query is defined.  A DNS query for
   PTR records with the name "_services._dns-sd._udp.<Domain>" yields a
   set of PTR records, where the rdata of each PTR record is the two-
   label <Service> name, plus the same domain, e.g.,
   "_http._tcp.<Domain>".  Including the domain in the PTR rdata allows
   for slightly better name compression in Unicast DNS responses, but
   only the first two labels are relevant for the purposes of service
   type enumeration.  These two-label service types can then be used to
   construct subsequent Service Instance Enumeration PTR queries, in
   this <Domain> or others, to discover instances of that service type.

10.  Populating the DNS with Information

   How a service's PTR, SRV, and TXT records make their way into the DNS
   is outside the scope of this document, but, for illustrative
   purposes, some examples are given here.

   On some networks, the administrator might manually enter the records
   into the name server's configuration file.

   A network monitoring tool could output a standard zone file to be
   read into a conventional DNS server.  For example, a tool that can
   find networked PostScript laser printers using AppleTalk NBP could
   find the list of printers, communicate with each one to find its IP
   address, PostScript version, installed options, etc., and then write
   out a DNS zone file describing those printers and their capabilities
   using DNS resource records.  That information would then be available
   to IP-only clients that implement DNS-SD but not AppleTalk NBP.

   A printer manager device that has knowledge of printers on the
   network through some other management protocol could also output a
   zone file or use DNS Update [RFC2136] [RFC3007].

   Alternatively, a printer manager device could implement enough of the
   DNS protocol that it is able to answer DNS queries directly, and
   Example Co.'s main DNS server could delegate the
   "" subdomain to the printer manager device.

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   IP printers could use Dynamic DNS Update [RFC2136] [RFC3007] to
   automatically register their own PTR, SRV, and TXT records with the
   DNS server.

   Zeroconf printers answer Multicast DNS queries on the local link for
   their own PTR, SRV, and TXT names ending with ".local." [RFC6762].

11.  Discovery of Browsing and Registration Domains (Domain Enumeration)

   One of the motivations for DNS-based Service Discovery is to enable a
   visiting client (e.g., a Wi-Fi-equipped [IEEEW] laptop computer,
   tablet, or mobile telephone) arriving on a new network to discover
   what services are available on that network, without any manual
   configuration.  The logic that discovering services without manual
   configuration is a good idea also dictates that discovering
   recommended registration and browsing domains without manual
   configuration is a similarly good idea.

   This discovery is performed using DNS queries, using Unicast or
   Multicast DNS.  Five special RR names are reserved for this purpose:


   By performing PTR queries for these names, a client can learn,

   o  A list of domains recommended for browsing.

   o  A single recommended default domain for browsing.

   o  A list of domains recommended for registering services using
      Dynamic Update.

   o  A single recommended default domain for registering services.

   o  The "legacy browsing" or "automatic browsing" domain(s).
      Sophisticated client applications that care to present choices of
      domain to the user use the answers learned from the previous four
      queries to discover the domains to present.  In contrast, many
      current applications browse without specifying an explicit domain,
      allowing the operating system to automatically select an
      appropriate domain on their behalf.  It is for this class of
      application that the "automatic browsing" query is provided, to

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      allow the network administrator to communicate to the client
      operating systems which domain(s) should be used automatically for
      these applications.

   These domains are purely advisory.  The client or user is free to
   register services and/or browse in any domains.  The purpose of these
   special queries is to allow software to create a user interface that
   displays a useful list of suggested choices to the user, from which
   the user may make an informed selection, or ignore the offered
   suggestions and manually enter their own choice.

   The <domain> part of the Domain Enumeration query name may be
   "local." (meaning "perform the query using link-local multicast") or
   it may be learned through some other mechanism, such as the DHCP
   "Domain" option (option code 15) [RFC2132], the DHCP "Domain Search"
   option (option code 119) [RFC3397], or IPv6 Router Advertisement
   Options [RFC6106].

   The <domain> part of the query name may also be derived a different
   way, from the host's IP address.  The host takes its IP address and
   calculates the logical AND of that address and its subnet mask, to
   derive the 'base' address of the subnet (the 'network address' of
   that subnet, or, equivalently, the IP address of the 'all-zero' host
   address on that subnet).  It then constructs the conventional DNS
   "reverse mapping" name corresponding to that base address, and uses
   that as the <domain> part of the name for the queries described
   above.  For example, if a host has the address, with
   the subnet mask, then the 'base' address of the subnet is, and to discover the recommended automatic browsing
   domain(s) for devices on this subnet, the host issues a DNS PTR query
   for the name ""

   Equivalent address-derived Domain Enumeration queries should also be
   done for the host's IPv6 address(es).

   Address-derived Domain Enumeration queries SHOULD NOT be done for
   IPv4 link-local addresses [RFC3927] or IPv6 link-local addresses

   Sophisticated clients may perform Domain Enumeration queries both in
   "local." and in one or more unicast domains, using both name-derived
   and address-derived queries, and then present the user with an
   combined result, aggregating the information received from all

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12.  DNS Additional Record Generation

   DNS has an efficiency feature whereby a DNS server may place
   additional records in the additional section of the DNS message.
   These additional records are records that the client did not
   explicitly request, but the server has reasonable grounds to expect
   that the client might request them shortly, so including them can
   save the client from having to issue additional queries.

   This section recommends which additional records SHOULD be generated
   to improve network efficiency, for both Unicast and Multicast DNS-SD

   Note that while servers SHOULD add these additional records for
   efficiency purposes, as with all DNS additional records, it is the
   client's responsibility to determine whether or not to trust them.

   Generally speaking, stub resolvers that talk to a single recursive
   name server for all their queries will trust all records they receive
   from that recursive name server (whom else would they ask?).
   Recursive name servers that talk to multiple authoritative name
   servers should verify that any records they receive from a given
   authoritative name server are "in bailiwick" for that server, and
   ignore them if not.

   Clients MUST be capable of functioning correctly with DNS servers
   (and Multicast DNS Responders) that fail to generate these additional
   records automatically, by issuing subsequent queries for any further
   record(s) they require.  The additional-record generation rules in
   this section are RECOMMENDED for improving network efficiency, but
   are not required for correctness.

12.1.  PTR Records

   When including a DNS-SD Service Instance Enumeration or Selective
   Instance Enumeration (subtype) PTR record in a response packet, the
   server/responder SHOULD include the following additional records:

   o  The SRV record(s) named in the PTR rdata.
   o  The TXT record(s) named in the PTR rdata.
   o  All address records (type "A" and "AAAA") named in the SRV rdata.

12.2.  SRV Records

   When including an SRV record in a response packet, the
   server/responder SHOULD include the following additional records:

   o  All address records (type "A" and "AAAA") named in the SRV rdata.

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12.3.  TXT Records

   When including a TXT record in a response packet, no additional
   records are required.

12.4.  Other Record Types

   In response to address queries, or other record types, no new
   additional records are recommended by this document.

13.  Working Examples

   The following examples were prepared using standard unmodified
   nslookup and standard unmodified BIND running on GNU/Linux.

   Note: In real products, this information is obtained and presented to
   the user using graphical network browser software, not command-line
   tools.  However, if you wish, you can try these examples for yourself
   as you read along, using the nslookup command already available on
   most Unix machines.

13.1.  What web pages are being advertised from

   nslookup -q=ptr
                name =
                name = Multicast\
                name = Service\
                name = Stuart's\

   Answer: There are four, called "Zeroconf", "Multicast DNS", "Service
   Discovery", and "Stuart's Printer".

   Note that nslookup escapes spaces as "\032" for display purposes, but
   a graphical DNS-SD browser should not.

13.2.  What printer-configuration web pages are there?

   nslookup -q=ptr
                name = Stuart's\

   Answer: "Stuart's Printer" is the web configuration UI of a network

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13.3.  How do I access the web page called "Service Discovery"?

   nslookup -q=any "Service\"
                  priority = 0, weight = 0, port = 80, host =
                  text = "txtvers=1" "path=/"     nameserver =     internet address = internet address =

   Answer: You need to connect to port 80, path "/".
   The address for is also given (

14.  IPv6 Considerations

   IPv6 has only minor differences from IPv4.

   The address of the SRV record's target host is given by the
   appropriate IPv6 "AAAA" address records instead of (or in addition
   to) IPv4 "A" records.

   Address-based Domain Enumeration queries are performed using names
   under the IPv6 reverse-mapping tree, which is different from the IPv4
   reverse-mapping tree and has longer names in it.

15.  Security Considerations

   Since DNS-SD is just a specification for how to name and use records
   in the existing DNS system, it has no specific additional security
   requirements over and above those that already apply to DNS queries
   and DNS updates.

   For DNS queries, DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) [RFC4033] should be
   used where the authenticity of information is important.

   For DNS updates, secure updates [RFC2136] [RFC3007] should generally
   be used to control which clients have permission to update DNS

16.  IANA Considerations

   IANA manages the namespace of unique Service Names [RFC6335].

   When a protocol service advertising specification includes subtypes,
   these should be documented in the protocol specification in question
   and/or in the "notes" field of the registration request sent to IANA.
   In the event that a new subtype becomes relevant after a protocol

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   specification has been published, this can be recorded by requesting
   that IANA add it to the "notes" field.  For example, vendors of
   network printers advertise their embedded web servers using the
   subtype _printer.  This allows printer management clients to browse
   for only printer-related web servers by browsing for the _printer
   subtype.  While the existence of the _printer subtype of _http._tcp
   is not directly relevant to the HTTP protocol specification, it is
   useful to record this usage in the IANA registry to help avoid
   another community of developers inadvertently using the same subtype
   string for a different purpose.  The namespace of possible subtypes
   is separate for each different service type.  For example, the
   existence of the _printer subtype of _http._tcp does not imply that
   the _printer subtype is defined or has any meaning for any other
   service type.

   When IANA records a Service Name registration, if the new application
   protocol is one that conceptually duplicates existing functionality
   of an older protocol, and the implementers desire the Flagship Naming
   behavior described in Section 8, then the registrant should request
   that IANA record the name of the flagship protocol in the "notes"
   field of the new registration.  For example, the registrations for
   "ipp" and "pdl-datastream" both reference "printer" as the flagship
   name for this family of printing-related protocols.

17.  Acknowledgments

   The concepts described in this document have been explored,
   developed, and implemented with help from Ran Atkinson, Richard
   Brown, Freek Dijkstra, Ralph Droms, Erik Guttman, Pasi Sarolahti,
   Pekka Savola, Mark Townsley, 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

18.  References

18.1.  Normative References

   [RFC20]     Cerf, V., "ASCII format for network interchange", RFC 20,
               October 1969.

   [RFC1033]   Lottor, M., "Domain Administrators Operations Guide", RFC
               1033, November 1987.

   [RFC1034]   Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - concepts and
               facilities", STD 13, RFC 1034, November 1987.

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   [RFC1035]   Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - implementation and
               specification", STD 13, RFC 1035, November 1987.

   [RFC2119]   Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
               Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC2782]   Gulbrandsen, A., Vixie, P., and L. Esibov, "A DNS RR for
               specifying the location of services (DNS SRV)", RFC 2782,
               February 2000.

   [RFC3492]   Costello, A., "Punycode: A Bootstring encoding of Unicode
               for Internationalized Domain Names in Applications
               (IDNA)", RFC 3492, March 2003.

   [RFC3629]   Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO
               10646", STD 63, RFC 3629, November 2003.

   [RFC3927]   Cheshire, S., Aboba, B., and E. Guttman, "Dynamic
               Configuration of IPv4 Link-Local Addresses", RFC 3927,
               May 2005.

   [RFC4862]   Thomson, S., Narten, T., and T. Jinmei, "IPv6 Stateless
               Address Autoconfiguration", RFC 4862, September 2007.

   [RFC5198]   Klensin, J. and M. Padlipsky, "Unicode Format for Network
               Interchange", RFC 5198, March 2008.

   [RFC5890]   Klensin, J., "Internationalized Domain Names for
               Applications (IDNA): Definitions and Document Framework",
               RFC 5890, August 2010.

   [RFC6335]   Cotton, M., Eggert, L., Touch, J., Westerlund, M., and S.
               Cheshire, "Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
               Procedures for the Management of the Service Name and
               Transport Protocol Port Number Registry", BCP 165, RFC
               6335, August 2011.

18.2.  Informative References

   [AFP]       Mac OS X Developer Library, "Apple Filing Protocol
               Programming Guide", <

   [BJ]        Apple Bonjour Open Source Software,

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   [BJP]       Bonjour Printing Specification,

   [IEEEW]     IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee,

   [NIAS]      Cheshire, S., "Discovering Named Instances of Abstract
               Services using DNS", Work in Progress, July 2001.

   [NSD]       "NsdManager | Android Developer", June 2012,

   [RFC1179]   McLaughlin, L., "Line printer daemon protocol", RFC 1179,
               August 1990.

   [RFC2132]   Alexander, S. and R. Droms, "DHCP Options and BOOTP
               Vendor Extensions", RFC 2132, March 1997.

   [RFC2136]   Vixie, P., Ed., Thomson, S., Rekhter, Y., and J. Bound,
               "Dynamic Updates in the Domain Name System (DNS UPDATE)",
               RFC 2136, April 1997.

   [RFC2181]   Elz, R. and R. Bush, "Clarifications to the DNS
               Specification", RFC 2181, July 1997.

   [RFC2910]   Herriot, R., Ed., Butler, S., Moore, P., Turner, R., and
               J. Wenn, "Internet Printing Protocol/1.1: Encoding and
               Transport", RFC 2910, September 2000.

   [RFC4960]   Stewart, R., Ed., "Stream Control Transmission Protocol",
               RFC 4960, September 2007.

   [RFC3007]   Wellington, B., "Secure Domain Name System (DNS) Dynamic
               Update", RFC 3007, November 2000.

   [RFC4340]   Kohler, E., Handley, M., and S. Floyd, "Datagram
               Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP)", RFC 4340, March

   [RFC3397]   Aboba, B. and S. Cheshire, "Dynamic Host Configuration
               Protocol (DHCP) Domain Search Option", RFC 3397, November

   [RFC4033]   Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
               Rose, "DNS Security Introduction and Requirements", RFC
               4033, March 2005.

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   [RFC4648]   Josefsson, S., "The Base16, Base32, and Base64 Data
               Encodings", RFC 4648, October 2006.

   [RFC4795]   Aboba, B., Thaler, D., and L. Esibov, "Link-local
               Multicast Name Resolution (LLMNR)", RFC 4795, January

   [RFC6106]   Jeong, J., Park, S., Beloeil, L., and S. Madanapalli,
               "IPv6 Router Advertisement Options for DNS
               Configuration", RFC 6106, November 2010.

   [RFC6281]   Cheshire, S., Zhu, Z., Wakikawa, R., and L. Zhang,
               "Understanding Apple's Back to My Mac (BTMM) Service",
               RFC 6281, June 2011.

   [RFC6709]   Carpenter, B., Aboba, B., Ed., and S. Cheshire, "Design
               Considerations for Protocol Extensions", RFC 6709,
               September 2012.

   [RFC6760]   Cheshire, S. and M. Krochmal, "Requirements for a
               Protocol to Replace the AppleTalk Name Binding Protocol
               (NBP)", RFC 6760, February 2013.

   [RFC6762]   Cheshire, S. and M. Krochmal, "Multicast DNS", RFC 6762,
               February 2013.

   [SN]        IANA, "Service Name and Transport Protocol Port Number
               Registry", <

   [SOAP]      Mitra, N., "SOAP Version 1.2 Part 0: Primer", W3C
               Proposed Recommendation 24 June 2003,

   [Unicode6]  The Unicode Consortium. The Unicode Standard, Version
               6.0.0, (Mountain View, CA: The Unicode Consortium, 2011.
               ISBN 978-1-936213-01-6)

   [ZC]        Cheshire, S. and D. Steinberg, "Zero Configuration
               Networking: The Definitive Guide", O'Reilly Media, Inc.,
               ISBN 0-596-10100-7, December 2005.

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Appendix A.  Rationale for Using DNS as a Basis for Service Discovery

   Over the years, there have been many proposed ways to do network
   service discovery with IP, but none achieved ubiquity in the
   marketplace.  Certainly none has achieved anything close to the
   ubiquity of today's deployment of DNS servers, clients, and other

   The advantage of using DNS as the basis for service discovery is that
   it makes use of those existing servers, clients, protocols,
   infrastructure, and expertise.  Existing network analyzer tools
   already know how to decode and display DNS packets for network

   For ad hoc networks such as Zeroconf environments, peer-to-peer
   multicast protocols are appropriate.  Using DNS-SD running over
   Multicast DNS [RFC6762] provides zero-configuration ad hoc service
   discovery, while maintaining the DNS-SD semantics and record types
   described here.

   In larger networks, a high volume of enterprise-wide IP multicast
   traffic may not be desirable, so any credible service discovery
   protocol intended for larger networks has to provide some facility to
   aggregate registrations and lookups at a central server (or servers)
   instead of working exclusively using multicast.  This requires some
   service discovery aggregation server software to be written,
   debugged, deployed, and maintained.  This also requires some service
   discovery registration protocol to be implemented and deployed for
   clients to register with the central aggregation server.  Virtually
   every company with an IP network already runs a DNS server, and DNS
   already has a dynamic registration protocol [RFC2136] [RFC3007].
   Given that virtually every company already has to operate and
   maintain a DNS server anyway, it makes sense to take advantage of
   this expertise instead of also having to learn, operate, and maintain
   a different service registration server.  It should be stressed again
   that using the same software and protocols doesn't necessarily mean
   using the same physical piece of hardware.  The DNS-SD service
   discovery functions do not have to be provided by the same piece of
   hardware that is currently providing the company's DNS name service.
   The "_tcp.<Domain>" and "_udp.<Domain>" subdomains may be delegated
   to a different piece of hardware.  However, even when the DNS-SD
   service is being provided by a different piece of hardware, it is
   still the same familiar DNS server software, with the same
   configuration file syntax, the same log file format, and so forth.

   Service discovery needs to be able to provide appropriate security.
   DNS already has existing mechanisms for security [RFC4033].

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   In summary:

      Service discovery requires a central aggregation server.
      DNS already has one: a DNS server.

      Service discovery requires a service registration protocol.
      DNS already has one: DNS Dynamic Update.

      Service discovery requires a query protocol.
      DNS already has one: DNS queries.

      Service discovery requires security mechanisms.
      DNS already has security mechanisms: DNSSEC.

      Service discovery requires a multicast mode for ad hoc networks.
      Using DNS-SD in conjunction with Multicast DNS provides this,
      using peer-to-peer multicast instead of a DNS server.

   It makes more sense to use the existing software that every network
   needs already, instead of deploying an entire parallel system just
   for service discovery.

Appendix B.  Ordering of Service Instance Name Components

   There have been questions about why services are named using DNS
   Service Instance Names of the form:

      Service Instance Name = <Instance> . <Service> . <Domain>

   instead of:

      Service Instance Name = <Service> . <Instance> . <Domain>

   There are three reasons why it is beneficial to name service
   instances with the parent domain as the most-significant (rightmost)
   part of the name, then the abstract service type as the next-most
   significant, and then the specific instance name as the least-
   significant (leftmost) part of the name.  These reasons are discussed
   below in Sections B.1, B.2, and B.3.

B.1.  Semantic Structure

   The facility being provided by browsing ("Service Instance
   Enumeration") is effectively enumerating the leaves of a tree
   structure.  A given domain offers zero or more services.  For each of
   those service types, there may be zero or more instances of that

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   The user knows what type of service they are seeking.  (If they are
   running an FTP client, they are looking for FTP servers.  If they
   have a document to print, they are looking for entities that speak
   some known printing protocol.)  The user knows in which
   organizational or geographical domain they wish to search.  (The user
   does not want a single flat list of every single printer on the
   planet, even if such a thing were possible.)  What the user does not
   know in advance is whether the service they seek is offered in the
   given domain, or if so, the number of instances that are offered and
   the names of those instances.

   Hence, having the instance names be the leaves of the tree is
   consistent with this semantic model.

   Having the service types be the terminal leaves of the tree would
   imply that the user knows the domain name and the name of the service
   instance, but doesn't have any idea what the service does.  We would
   argue that this is a less useful model.

B.2.  Network Efficiency

   When a DNS response contains multiple answers, name compression works
   more effectively if all the names contain a common suffix.  If many
   answers in the packet have the same <Service> and <Domain>, then each
   occurrence of a Service Instance Name can be expressed using only the
   <Instance> part followed by a two-byte compression pointer
   referencing a previous appearance of "<Service>.<Domain>".  This
   efficiency would not be possible if the <Service> component appeared
   first in each name.

B.3.  Operational Flexibility

   This name structure allows subdomains to be delegated along logical
   service boundaries.  For example, the network administrator at
   Example Co. could choose to delegate the ""
   subdomain to a different machine, so that the machine handling
   service discovery doesn't have to be the machine that handles other
   day-to-day DNS operations.  (It *can* be the same machine if the
   administrator so chooses, but the administrator is free to make that
   choice.)  Furthermore, if the network administrator wishes to
   delegate all information related to IPP printers to a machine
   dedicated to that specific task, this is easily done by delegating
   the "" subdomain to the desired machine.  It is
   also convenient to set security policies on a per-zone/per-subdomain
   basis.  For example, the administrator may choose to enable DNS
   Dynamic Update [RFC2136] [RFC3007] for printers registering in the

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   "" subdomain, but not for other
   zones/subdomains.  This easy flexibility would not exist if the
   <Service> component appeared first in each name.

Appendix C.  What You See Is What You Get

   Some service discovery protocols decouple the true service identifier
   from the name presented to the user.  The true service identifier
   used by the protocol is an opaque unique identifier, often
   represented using a long string of hexadecimal digits, which should
   never be seen by the typical user.  The name presented to the user is
   merely one of the decorative ephemeral attributes attached to this
   opaque identifier.

   The problem with this approach is that it decouples user perception
   from network reality:

   *  What happens if there are two service instances, with different
      unique ids, but they have inadvertently been given the same user-
      visible name?  If two instances appear in an on-screen list with
      the same name, how does the user know which is which?

   *  Suppose a printer breaks down, and the user replaces it with
      another printer of the same make and model, and configures the new
      printer with the exact same name as the one being replaced:
      "Stuart's Printer".  Now, when the user tries to print, the on-
      screen print dialog tells them that their selected default printer
      is "Stuart's Printer".  When they browse the network to see what
      is there, they see a printer called "Stuart's Printer", yet when
      the user tries to print, they are told that the printer "Stuart's
      Printer" can't be found.  The hidden internal unique identifier
      that the software is trying to find on the network doesn't match
      the hidden internal unique identifier of the new printer, even
      though its apparent "name" and its logical purpose for being there
      are the same.  To remedy this, the user typically has to delete
      the print queue they have created, and then create a new
      (apparently identical) queue for the new printer, so that the new
      queue will contain the right hidden internal unique identifier.
      Having all this hidden information that the user can't see makes
      for a confusing and frustrating user experience, and exposing
      long, ugly hexadecimal strings to the user and forcing them to
      understand what they mean is even worse.

   *  Suppose an existing printer is moved to a new department, and
      given a new name and a new function.  Changing the user-visible
      name of that piece of hardware doesn't change its hidden internal
      unique identifier.  Users who had previously created a print queue

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      for that printer will still be accessing the same hardware by its
      unique identifier, even though the logical service that used to be
      offered by that hardware has ceased to exist.

   Solving these problems requires the user or administrator to be aware
   of the supposedly hidden unique identifier, and to set its value
   correctly as hardware is moved around, repurposed, or replaced,
   thereby contradicting the notion that it is a hidden identifier that
   human users never need to deal with.  Requiring the user to
   understand this expert behind-the-scenes knowledge of what is
   *really* going on is just one more burden placed on the user when
   they are trying to diagnose why their computers and network devices
   are not working as expected.

   These anomalies and counterintuitive behaviors can be eliminated by
   maintaining a tight bidirectional one-to-one mapping between what the
   user sees on the screen and what is really happening "behind the
   curtain".  If something is configured incorrectly, then that is
   apparent in the familiar day-to-day user interface that everyone
   understands, not in some little-known, rarely used "expert"

   In summary: in DNS-SD the user-visible name is also the primary
   identifier for a service.  If the user-visible name is changed, then
   conceptually the service being offered is a different logical service
   -- even though the hardware offering the service may have stayed the
   same.  If the user-visible name doesn't change, then conceptually the
   service being offered is the same logical service -- even if the
   hardware offering the service is new hardware brought in to replace
   some old equipment.

   There are certainly arguments on both sides of this debate.
   Nonetheless, the designers of any service discovery protocol have to
   make a choice between having the primary identifiers be hidden, or
   having them be visible, and these are the reasons that we chose to
   make them visible.  We're not claiming that there are no
   disadvantages of having primary identifiers be visible.  We
   considered both alternatives, and we believe that the few
   disadvantages of visible identifiers are far outweighed by the many
   problems caused by use of hidden identifiers.

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Appendix D.  Choice of Factory-Default Names

   When a DNS-SD service is advertised using Multicast DNS [RFC6762], if
   there is already another service of the same type advertising with
   the same name then automatic name conflict resolution will occur.  As
   described in the Multicast DNS specification [RFC6762], upon
   detecting a conflict, the service should:

   1.  Automatically select a new name (typically by appending or
       incrementing a digit at the end of the name),
   2.  Try advertising with the new name, and
   3.  Upon success, record the new name in persistent storage.

   This renaming behavior is very important, because it is key to
   providing user-friendly instance names in the out-of-the-box factory-
   default configuration.  Some product developers apparently have not
   realized this, because there are some products today where the
   factory-default name is distinctly unfriendly, containing random-
   looking strings of characters, such as the device's Ethernet address
   in hexadecimal.  This is unnecessary and undesirable, because the
   point of the user-visible name is that it should be friendly and
   meaningful to human users.  If the name is not unique on the local
   network then the protocol will remedy this as necessary.  It is
   ironic that many of the devices with this design mistake are network
   printers, given that these same printers also simultaneously support
   AppleTalk-over-Ethernet, with nice user-friendly default names (and
   automatic conflict detection and renaming).  Some examples of good
   factory-default names are:

      Brother 5070N
      Canon W2200
      HP LaserJet 4600
      Lexmark W840
      Okidata C5300
      Ricoh Aficio CL7100
      Xerox Phaser 6200DX

   To make the case for why adding long, ugly factory-unique serial
   numbers to the end of names is neither necessary nor desirable,
   consider the cases where the user has (a) only one network printer,
   (b) two network printers, and (c) many network printers.

   (a)  In the case where the user has only one network printer,
        a simple name like (to use a vendor-neutral example)
        "Printer" is more user-friendly than an ugly name like
        "Printer_0001E68C74FB".  Appending ugly hexadecimal goop to the
        end of the name to make sure the name is unique is irrelevant to
        a user who only has one printer anyway.

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   (b)  In the case where the user gets a second network printer, having
        the new printer detect that the name "Printer" is already in use
        and automatically name itself "Printer (2)" instead, provides a
        good user experience.  For most users, remembering that the old
        printer is "Printer" and the new one is "Printer (2)" is easy
        and intuitive.  Seeing a printer called "Printer_0001E68C74FB"
        and another called "Printer_00306EC3FD1C" is a lot less helpful.

   (c)  In the case of a network with ten network printers, seeing a
        list of ten names all of the form "Printer_xxxxxxxxxxxx" has
        effectively taken what was supposed to be a list of user-
        friendly rich-text names (supporting mixed case, spaces,
        punctuation, non-Roman characters, and other symbols) and turned
        it into just about the worst user interface imaginable: a list
        of incomprehensible random-looking strings of letters and
        digits.  In a network with a lot of printers, it would be
        advisable for the people setting up the printers to take a
        moment to give each one a descriptive name, but in the event
        they don't, presenting the users with a list of sequentially
        numbered printers is a much more desirable default user
        experience than showing a list of raw Ethernet addresses.

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Appendix E.  Name Encodings in the Domain Name System

   Although the original DNS specifications [RFC1033] [RFC1034]
   [RFC1035] recommend that host names contain only letters, digits, and
   hyphens (because of the limitations of the typing-based user
   interfaces of that era), Service Instance Names are not host names.
   Users generally access a service by selecting it from a list
   presented by a user interface, not by typing in its Service Instance
   Name. "Clarifications to the DNS Specification" [RFC2181] directly
   discusses the subject of allowable character set in Section 11 ("Name
   syntax"), and explicitly states that the traditional letters-digits-
   hyphens rule applies only to conventional host names:

      Occasionally it is assumed that the Domain Name System serves only
      the purpose of mapping Internet host names to data, and mapping
      Internet addresses to host names.  This is not correct, the DNS is
      a general (if somewhat limited) hierarchical database, and can
      store almost any kind of data, for almost any purpose.

      The DNS itself places only one restriction on the particular
      labels that can be used to identify resource records.  That one
      restriction relates to the length of the label and the full name.
      The length of any one label is limited to between 1 and 63 octets.
      A full domain name is limited to 255 octets (including the
      separators).  The zero length full name is defined as representing
      the root of the DNS tree, and is typically written and displayed
      as ".".  Those restrictions aside, any binary string whatever can
      be used as the label of any resource record.  Similarly, any
      binary string can serve as the value of any record that includes a
      domain name as some or all of its value (SOA, NS, MX, PTR, CNAME,
      and any others that may be added).  Implementations of the DNS
      protocols must not place any restrictions on the labels that can
      be used.  In particular, DNS servers must not refuse to serve a
      zone because it contains labels that might not be acceptable to
      some DNS client programs.

   Note that just because DNS-based Service Discovery supports arbitrary
   UTF-8-encoded names doesn't mean that any particular user or
   administrator is obliged to make use of that capability.  Any user is
   free, if they wish, to continue naming their services using only
   letters, digits, and hyphens, with no spaces, capital letters, or
   other punctuation.

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Appendix F.  "Continuous Live Update" Browsing Model

   Of particular concern in the design of DNS-SD, especially when used
   in conjunction with ad hoc Multicast DNS, is the dynamic nature of
   service discovery in a changing network environment.  Other service
   discovery protocols seem to have been designed with an implicit
   unstated assumption that the usage model is:

   (a)  client software calls the service discovery API,
   (b)  service discovery code spends a few seconds getting a list of
        instances available at a particular moment in time, and then
   (c)  client software displays the list for the user to select from.

   Superficially this usage model seems reasonable, but the problem is
   that it's too optimistic.  It only considers the success case, where
   the software immediately finds the service instance the user is
   looking for.

   In the case where the user is looking for (say) a particular printer,
   and that printer is not turned on or not connected, the user first
   has to attempt to remedy the problem, and then has to click a
   "refresh" button to retry the service discovery to find out whether
   they were successful.  Because nothing happens instantaneously in
   networking, and packets can be lost, necessitating some number of
   retransmissions, a service discovery search is not instantaneous and
   typically takes a few seconds.  As a result, a fairly typical user
   experience is:

   (a)  display an empty window,
   (b)  display some animation like a searchlight sweeping back and
        forth for ten seconds, and then
   (c)  at the end of the ten-second search, display a static list
        showing what was discovered.

   Every time the user clicks the "refresh" button they have to endure
   another ten-second wait, and every time the discovered list is
   finally shown at the end of the ten-second wait, it's already
   beginning to get stale and out-of-date the moment it's displayed on
   the screen.

   The service discovery user experience that the DNS-SD designers had
   in mind has some rather different properties:

   1.  Displaying the initial list of discovered services should be
       effectively instantaneous -- i.e., typically 0.1 seconds, not 10

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   2.  The list of discovered services should not be getting stale and
       out-of-date from the moment it's displayed.  The list should be
       'live' and should continue to update as new services are
       discovered.  Because of the delays, packet losses, and
       retransmissions inherent in networking, it is to be expected that
       sometimes, after the initial list is displayed showing the
       majority of discovered services, a few remaining stragglers may
       continue to trickle in during the subsequent few seconds.  Even
       after this stable list has been built and displayed, it should
       remain 'live' and should continue to update.  At any future time,
       be it minutes, hours, or even days later, if a new service of the
       desired type is discovered, it should be displayed in the list
       automatically, without the user having to click a "refresh"
       button or take any other explicit action to update the display.

   3.  With users getting in the habit of leaving service discovery
       windows open, and expecting them to show a continuous 'live' view
       of current network reality, this gives us an additional
       requirement: deletion of stale services.  When a service
       discovery list shows just a static snapshot at a moment in time,
       then the situation is simple: either a service was discovered and
       appears in the list, or it was not and does not.  However, when
       our list is live and updates continuously with the discovery of
       new services, then this implies the corollary: when a service
       goes away, it needs to *disappear* from the service discovery
       list.  Otherwise, the service discovery list would simply grow
       monotonically over time, accreting stale data, and would require
       a periodic "refresh" (or complete dismissal and recreation) to
       restore correct display.

   4.  Another consequence of users leaving service discovery windows
       open for extended periods of time is that these windows should
       update not only in response to services coming and going, but
       also in response to changes in configuration and connectivity of
       the client machine itself.  For example, if a user opens a
       service discovery window when the client machine has no network
       connectivity, then the window will typically appear empty, with
       no discovered services.  When the user connects an Ethernet cable
       or joins an 802.11 [IEEEW] wireless network the window should
       then automatically populate with discovered services, without
       requiring any explicit user action.  If the user disconnects the
       Ethernet cable or turns off 802.11 wireless then all the services
       discovered via that network interface should automatically
       disappear.  If the user switches from one 802.11 wireless access
       point to another, the service discovery window should
       automatically update to remove all the services discovered via
       the old wireless access point, and add all the services
       discovered via the new one.

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Appendix G.  Deployment History

   In July 1997, in an email to the
   mailing list, Stuart Cheshire first proposed the idea of running the
   AppleTalk Name Binding Protocol [RFC6760] over IP.  As a result of
   this and related IETF discussions, the IETF Zeroconf working group
   was chartered September 1999.  After various working group
   discussions and other informal IETF discussions, several Internet-
   Drafts were written that were loosely related to the general themes
   of DNS and multicast, but did not address the service discovery
   aspect of NBP.

   In April 2000, Stuart Cheshire registered IPv4 multicast address with IANA and began writing code to test and develop the
   idea of performing NBP-like service discovery using Multicast DNS,
   which was documented in a group of three Internet-Drafts:

   o "Requirements for a Protocol to Replace the AppleTalk Name Binding
      Protocol (NBP)" [RFC6760] is an overview explaining the AppleTalk
      Name Binding Protocol, because many in the IETF community had
      little first-hand experience using AppleTalk, and confusion in the
      IETF community about what AppleTalk NBP did was causing confusion
      about what would be required in an IP-based replacement.

   o "Discovering Named Instances of Abstract Services using DNS"
      [NIAS], which later became this document, proposed a way to
      perform NBP-like service discovery using DNS-compatible names and
      record types.

   o "Multicast DNS" [RFC6762] specifies a way to transport those DNS-
      compatible queries and responses using IP multicast, for zero-
      configuration environments where no conventional Unicast DNS
      server was available.

   In 2001, an update to Mac OS 9 added resolver library support for
   host name lookup using Multicast DNS.  If the user typed a name such
   as "MyPrinter.local." into any piece of networking software that used
   the standard Mac OS 9 name lookup APIs, then those name lookup APIs
   would recognize the name as a dot-local name and query for it by
   sending simple one-shot Multicast DNS queries to
   This enabled the user to, for example, enter the name
   "MyPrinter.local." into their web browser in order to view a
   printer's status and configuration web page, or enter the name
   "MyPrinter.local." into the printer setup utility to create a print
   queue for printing documents on that printer.

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   Multicast DNS responder software, with full service discovery, first
   began shipping to end users in volume with the launch of Mac OS X
   10.2 "Jaguar" in August 2002, and network printer makers (who had
   historically supported AppleTalk in their network printers and were
   receptive to IP-based technologies that could offer them similar
   ease-of-use) started adopting Multicast DNS shortly thereafter.

   In September 2002, Apple released the source code for the
   mDNSResponder daemon as Open Source under Apple's standard Apple
   Public Source License (APSL).

   Multicast DNS responder software became available for Microsoft
   Windows users in June 2004 with the launch of Apple's "Rendezvous for
   Windows" (now "Bonjour for Windows"), both in executable form (a
   downloadable installer for end users) and as Open Source (one of the
   supported platforms within Apple's body of cross-platform code in the
   publicly accessible mDNSResponder CVS source code repository) [BJ].

   In August 2006, Apple re-licensed the cross-platform mDNSResponder
   source code under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

   In addition to desktop and laptop computers running Mac OS X and
   Microsoft Windows, Multicast DNS is now implemented in a wide range
   of hardware devices, such as Apple's "AirPort" wireless base
   stations, iPhone and iPad, and in 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.

   In January 2007, the IETF published the Informational RFC "Link-Local
   Multicast Name Resolution (LLMNR)" [RFC4795], which is substantially
   similar to Multicast DNS, but incompatible in some small but
   important ways.  In particular, the LLMNR design explicitly excluded
   support for service discovery, which made it an unsuitable candidate
   for a protocol to replace AppleTalk NBP [RFC6760].

   While the original focus of Multicast DNS and DNS-Based Service
   Discovery was for zero-configuration environments without a
   conventional Unicast DNS server, DNS-Based Service Discovery also
   works using Unicast DNS servers, using DNS Update [RFC2136] [RFC3007]
   to create service discovery records and standard DNS queries to query
   for them.  Apple's Back to My Mac service, launched with Mac OS X
   10.5 "Leopard" in October 2007, uses DNS-Based Service Discovery over
   Unicast DNS [RFC6281].

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   In June 2012, Google's Android operating system added native support
   for DNS-SD and Multicast DNS with the
   class in Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" (API Level 16) [NSD].

Authors' Addresses

   Stuart Cheshire
   Apple Inc.
   1 Infinite Loop
   Cupertino, CA  95014

   Phone: +1 408 974 3207

   Marc Krochmal
   Apple Inc.
   1 Infinite Loop
   Cupertino, CA  95014

   Phone: +1 408 974 4368

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