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RFC 6762 - Multicast DNS

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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                       S. Cheshire
Request for Comments: 6762                                   M. Krochmal
Category: Standards Track                                     Apple Inc.
ISSN: 2070-1721                                            February 2013

                             Multicast DNS


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

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

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

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
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   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
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   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

   This document may contain material from IETF Documents or IETF
   Contributions published or made publicly available before November
   10, 2008.  The person(s) controlling the copyright in some of this
   material may not have granted the IETF Trust the right to allow
   modifications of such material outside the IETF Standards Process.
   Without obtaining an adequate license from the person(s) controlling
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   it for publication as an RFC or to translate it into languages other
   than English.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................4
   2. Conventions and Terminology Used in This Document ...............4
   3. Multicast DNS Names .............................................5
   4. Reverse Address Mapping .........................................7
   5. Querying ........................................................8
   6. Responding .....................................................13
   7. Traffic Reduction ..............................................22
   8. Probing and Announcing on Startup ..............................25
   9. Conflict Resolution ............................................31
   10. Resource Record TTL Values and Cache Coherency ................33
   11. Source Address Check ..........................................38
   12. Special Characteristics of Multicast DNS Domains ..............40
   13. Enabling and Disabling Multicast DNS ..........................41
   14. Considerations for Multiple Interfaces ........................42
   15. Considerations for Multiple Responders on the Same Machine ....43
   16. Multicast DNS Character Set ...................................45
   17. Multicast DNS Message Size ....................................46
   18. Multicast DNS Message Format ..................................47
   19. Summary of Differences between Multicast DNS and Unicast DNS ..51
   20. IPv6 Considerations ...........................................52
   21. Security Considerations .......................................52
   22. IANA Considerations ...........................................53
   23. Acknowledgments ...............................................56
   24. References ....................................................56
   Appendix A. Design Rationale for Choice of UDP Port Number ........60
   Appendix B. Design Rationale for Not Using Hashed Multicast
               Addresses .............................................61
   Appendix C. Design Rationale for Maximum Multicast DNS Name
               Length ................................................62
   Appendix D. Benefits of Multicast Responses .......................64
   Appendix E. Design Rationale for Encoding Negative Responses ......65
   Appendix F. Use of UTF-8 ..........................................66
   Appendix G. Private DNS Namespaces ................................67
   Appendix H. Deployment History ....................................67

1.  Introduction

   Multicast DNS and its companion technology DNS-Based Service
   Discovery [RFC6763] were created to provide IP networking with the
   ease-of-use and autoconfiguration for which AppleTalk was well-known
   [RFC6760].  When reading this document, familiarity with the concepts
   of Zero Configuration Networking [Zeroconf] and automatic link-local
   addressing [RFC3927] [RFC4862] is helpful.

   Multicast DNS borrows heavily from the existing DNS protocol
   [RFC1034] [RFC1035] [RFC6195], using the existing DNS message
   structure, name syntax, and resource record types.  This document
   specifies no new operation codes or response codes.  This document
   describes how clients send DNS-like queries via IP multicast, and how
   a collection of hosts cooperate to collectively answer those queries
   in a useful manner.

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].

   When this document uses the term "Multicast DNS", it should be taken
   to mean: "Clients performing DNS-like queries for DNS-like resource
   records by sending DNS-like UDP query and response messages over IP
   Multicast to UDP port 5353".  The design rationale for selecting UDP
   port 5353 is discussed in Appendix A.

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

   A DNS (or mDNS) packet contains an IP Time to Live (TTL) in the IP
   header, which is effectively a hop-count limit for the packet, to
   guard against routing loops.  Each resource record also contains a
   TTL, which is the number of seconds for which the resource record may
   be cached.  This document uses the term "IP TTL" to refer to the IP
   header TTL (hop limit), and the term "RR TTL" or just "TTL" to refer
   to the resource record TTL (cache lifetime).

   DNS-format messages contain a header, a Question Section, then
   Answer, Authority, and Additional Record Sections.  The Answer,
   Authority, and Additional Record Sections all hold resource records

   in the same format.  Where this document describes issues that apply
   equally to all three sections, it uses the term "Resource Record
   Sections" to refer collectively to these three sections.

   This document uses the terms "shared" and "unique" when referring to
   resource record sets [RFC1034]:

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

      A "unique" resource record set is one where all the records with
      that name, rrtype, and rrclass are conceptually under the control
      or ownership of a single responder, and it is expected that at
      most one responder should respond to a query for that name,
      rrtype, and rrclass.  Before claiming ownership of a unique
      resource record set, a responder MUST probe to verify that no
      other responder already claims ownership of that set, as described
      in Section 8.1, "Probing".  (For fault-tolerance and other
      reasons, sometimes it is permissible to have more than one
      responder answering for a particular "unique" resource record set,
      but such cooperating responders MUST give answers containing
      identical rdata for these records.  If they do not give answers
      containing identical rdata, then the probing step will reject the
      data as being inconsistent with what is already being advertised
      on the network for those names.)

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

3.  Multicast DNS Names

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

   To remedy this problem, this document allows any computer user to
   elect to give their computers link-local Multicast DNS host names of
   the form: "single-dns-label.local.".  For example, a laptop computer
   may answer to the name "MyComputer.local.".  Any computer user is
   granted the authority to name their computer this way, provided that
   the chosen host name is not already in use on that link.  Having
   named their computer this way, the user has the authority to continue
   utilizing that name until such time as a name conflict occurs on the
   link that is not resolved in the user's favor.  If this happens, the
   computer (or its human user) MUST cease using the name, and SHOULD
   attempt to allocate a new unique name for use on that link.  These
   conflicts are expected to be relatively rare for people who choose
   reasonably imaginative names, but it is still important to have a
   mechanism in place to handle them when they happen.

   This document specifies that the DNS top-level domain ".local." is a
   special domain with special semantics, namely that any fully
   qualified name ending in ".local." is link-local, and names within
   this domain are meaningful only on the link where they originate.
   This is analogous to IPv4 addresses in the 169.254/16 prefix or IPv6
   addresses in the FE80::/10 prefix, which are link-local and
   meaningful only on the link where they originate.

   Any DNS query for a name ending with ".local." MUST be sent to the
   mDNS IPv4 link-local multicast address (or its IPv6
   equivalent FF02::FB).  The design rationale for using a fixed
   multicast address instead of selecting from a range of multicast
   addresses using a hash function is discussed in Appendix B.
   Implementers MAY choose to look up such names concurrently via other
   mechanisms (e.g., Unicast DNS) and coalesce the results in some
   fashion.  Implementers choosing to do this should be aware of the
   potential for user confusion when a given name can produce different
   results depending on external network conditions (such as, but not
   limited to, which name lookup mechanism responds faster).

   It is unimportant whether a name ending with ".local." occurred
   because the user explicitly typed in a fully qualified domain name
   ending in ".local.", or because the user entered an unqualified
   domain name and the host software appended the suffix ".local."
   because that suffix appears in the user's search list.  The ".local."
   suffix could appear in the search list because the user manually
   configured it, or because it was received via DHCP [RFC2132] or via
   any other mechanism for configuring the DNS search list.  In this
   respect the ".local." suffix is treated no differently from any other
   search domain that might appear in the DNS search list.

   DNS queries for names that do not end with ".local." MAY be sent to
   the mDNS multicast address, if no other conventional DNS server is
   available.  This can allow hosts on the same link to continue
   communicating using each other's globally unique DNS names during
   network outages that disrupt communication with the greater Internet.
   When resolving global names via local multicast, it is even more
   important to use DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) [RFC4033] or other
   security mechanisms to ensure that the response is trustworthy.
   Resolving global names via local multicast is a contentious issue,
   and this document does not discuss it further, instead concentrating
   on the issue of resolving local names using DNS messages sent to a
   multicast address.

   This document recommends a single flat namespace for dot-local host
   names, (i.e., the names of DNS "A" and "AAAA" records, which map
   names to IPv4 and IPv6 addresses), but other DNS record types (such
   as those used by DNS-Based Service Discovery [RFC6763]) may contain
   as many labels as appropriate for the desired usage, up to a maximum
   of 255 bytes, plus a terminating zero byte at the end.  Name length
   issues are discussed further in Appendix C.

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

4.  Reverse Address Mapping

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

      Any DNS query for a name ending with "254.169.in-addr.arpa." MUST
      be sent to the mDNS IPv4 link-local multicast address
      or the mDNS IPv6 multicast address FF02::FB.  Since names under
      this domain correspond to IPv4 link-local addresses, it is logical
      that the local link is the best place to find information
      pertaining to those names.

      Likewise, any DNS query for a name within the reverse mapping
      domains for IPv6 link-local addresses ("8.e.f.ip6.arpa.",
      "9.e.f.ip6.arpa.", "a.e.f.ip6.arpa.", and "b.e.f.ip6.arpa.") MUST
      be sent to the mDNS IPv6 link-local multicast address FF02::FB or
      the mDNS IPv4 link-local multicast address

5.  Querying

   There are two kinds of Multicast DNS queries: one-shot queries of the
   kind made by legacy DNS resolvers, and continuous, ongoing Multicast
   DNS queries made by fully compliant Multicast DNS queriers, which
   support asynchronous operations including DNS-Based Service Discovery

   Except in the rare case of a Multicast DNS responder that is
   advertising only shared resource records and no unique records, a
   Multicast DNS responder MUST also implement a Multicast DNS querier
   so that it can first verify the uniqueness of those records before it
   begins answering queries for them.

5.1.  One-Shot Multicast DNS Queries

   The most basic kind of Multicast DNS client may simply send standard
   DNS queries blindly to, without necessarily even
   being aware of what a multicast address is.  This change can
   typically be implemented with just a few lines of code in an existing
   DNS resolver library.  If a name being queried falls within one of
   the reserved Multicast DNS domains (see Sections 3 and 4), then,
   rather than using the configured Unicast DNS server address, the
   query is instead sent to (or its IPv6 equivalent
   [FF02::FB]:5353).  Typically, the timeout would also be shortened to
   two or three seconds.  It's possible to make a minimal Multicast DNS
   resolver with only these simple changes.  These queries are typically
   done using a high-numbered ephemeral UDP source port, but regardless
   of whether they are sent from a dynamic port or from a fixed port,
   these queries MUST NOT be sent using UDP source port 5353, since
   using UDP source port 5353 signals the presence of a fully compliant
   Multicast DNS querier, as described below.

   A simple DNS resolver like this will typically just take the first
   response it receives.  It will not listen for additional UDP
   responses, but in many instances this may not be a serious problem.
   If a user types "http://MyPrinter.local." into their web browser, and
   their simple DNS resolver just takes the first response it receives,
   and the user gets to see the status and configuration web page for
   their printer, then the protocol has met the user's needs in this

   While a basic DNS resolver like this may be adequate for simple host
   name lookup, it may not get ideal behavior in other cases.
   Additional refinements to create a fully compliant Multicast DNS
   querier are described below.

5.2.  Continuous Multicast DNS Querying

   In one-shot queries, the underlying assumption is that the
   transaction begins when the application issues a query, and ends when
   the first response is received.  There is another type of query
   operation that is more asynchronous, in which having received one
   response is not necessarily an indication that there will be no more
   relevant responses, and the querying operation continues until no
   further responses are required.  Determining when no further
   responses are required depends on the type of operation being
   performed.  If the operation is looking up the IPv4 and IPv6
   addresses of another host, then no further responses are required
   once a successful connection has been made to one of those IPv4 or
   IPv6 addresses.  If the operation is browsing to present the user
   with a list of DNS-SD services found on the network [RFC6763], then
   no further responses are required once the user indicates this to the
   user-interface software, e.g., by closing the network browsing window
   that was displaying the list of discovered services.

   Imagine some hypothetical software that allows users to discover
   network printers.  The user wishes to discover all printers on the
   local network, not only the printer that is quickest to respond.
   When the user is actively looking for a network printer to use, they
   open a network browsing window that displays the list of discovered
   printers.  It would be convenient for the user if they could rely on
   this list of network printers to stay up to date as network printers
   come and go, rather than displaying out-of-date stale information,
   and requiring the user explicitly to click a "refresh" button any
   time they want to see accurate information (which, from the moment it
   is displayed, is itself already beginning to become out-of-date and
   stale).  If we are to display a continuously updated live list like
   this, we need to be able to do it efficiently, without naive constant
   polling, which would be an unreasonable burden on the network.  It is
   not expected that all users will be browsing to discover new printers
   all the time, but when a user is browsing to discover service
   instances for an extended period, we want to be able to support that
   operation efficiently.

   Therefore, when retransmitting Multicast DNS queries to implement
   this kind of continuous monitoring, the interval between the first
   two queries MUST be at least one second, the intervals between
   successive queries MUST increase by at least a factor of two, and the
   querier MUST implement Known-Answer Suppression, as described below

   in Section 7.1.  The Known-Answer Suppression mechanism tells
   responders which answers are already known to the querier, thereby
   allowing responders to avoid wasting network capacity with pointless
   repeated transmission of those answers.  A querier retransmits its
   question because it wishes to receive answers it may have missed the
   first time, not because it wants additional duplicate copies of
   answers it already received.  Failure to implement Known-Answer
   Suppression can result in unacceptable levels of network traffic.
   When the interval between queries reaches or exceeds 60 minutes, a
   querier MAY cap the interval to a maximum of 60 minutes, and perform
   subsequent queries at a steady-state rate of one query per hour.  To
   avoid accidental synchronization when, for some reason, multiple
   clients begin querying at exactly the same moment (e.g., because of
   some common external trigger event), a Multicast DNS querier SHOULD
   also delay the first query of the series by a randomly chosen amount
   in the range 20-120 ms.

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

   To perform this cache maintenance, a Multicast DNS querier should
   plan to retransmit its query after at least 50% of the record
   lifetime has elapsed.  This document recommends the following
   specific strategy.

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

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

   An additional efficiency optimization SHOULD be performed when a
   Multicast DNS response is received containing a unique answer (as
   indicated by the cache-flush bit being set, described in Section
   10.2, "Announcements to Flush Outdated Cache Entries").  In this
   case, there is no need for the querier to continue issuing a stream
   of queries with exponentially increasing intervals, since the receipt
   of a unique answer is a good indication that no other answers will be
   forthcoming.  In this case, the Multicast DNS querier SHOULD plan to
   issue its next query for this record at 80-82% of the record's TTL,
   as described above.

   A compliant Multicast DNS querier, which implements the rules
   specified in this document, MUST send its Multicast DNS queries from
   UDP source port 5353 (the well-known port assigned to mDNS), and MUST
   listen for Multicast DNS replies sent to UDP destination port 5353 at
   the mDNS link-local multicast address ( and/or its IPv6
   equivalent FF02::FB).

5.3.  Multiple Questions per Query

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

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

5.4.  Questions Requesting Unicast Responses

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

   However, there are situations where all the other hosts on the
   network don't need to see every response.  Some examples are a laptop
   computer waking from sleep, the Ethernet cable being connected to a
   running machine, or a previously inactive interface being activated
   through a configuration change.  At the instant of wake-up or link
   activation, the machine is a brand new participant on a new network.
   Its Multicast DNS cache for that interface is empty, and it has no

   knowledge of its peers on that link.  It may have a significant
   number of questions that it wants answered right away, to discover
   information about its new surroundings and present that information
   to the user.  As a new participant on the network, it has no idea
   whether the exact same questions may have been asked and answered
   just seconds ago.  In this case, triggering a large sudden flood of
   multicast responses may impose an unreasonable burden on the network.

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

   When a question is retransmitted (as described in Section 5.2), the
   unicast-response bit SHOULD NOT be set in subsequent retransmissions
   of that question.  Subsequent retransmissions SHOULD be usual "QM"
   questions.  After the first question has received its responses, the
   querier should have a large Known-Answer list (Section 7.1) so that
   subsequent queries should elicit few, if any, further responses.
   Reverting to multicast responses as soon as possible is important
   because of the benefits that multicast responses provide (see
   Appendix D).  In addition, the unicast-response bit SHOULD be set
   only for questions that are active and ready to be sent the moment of
   wake from sleep or interface activation.  New questions created by
   local clients afterwards should be treated as normal "QM" questions
   and SHOULD NOT have the unicast-response bit set on the first
   question of the series.

   When receiving a question with the unicast-response bit set, a
   responder SHOULD usually respond with a unicast packet directed back
   to the querier.  However, if the responder has not multicast that
   record recently (within one quarter of its TTL), then the responder
   SHOULD instead multicast the response so as to keep all the peer
   caches up to date, and to permit passive conflict detection.  In the
   case of answering a probe question (Section 8.1) with the unicast-
   response bit set, the responder should always generate the requested
   unicast response, but it may also send a multicast announcement if
   the time since the last multicast announcement of that record is more
   than a quarter of its TTL.

   Unicast replies are subject to all the same packet generation rules
   as multicast replies, including the cache-flush bit (Section 10.2)
   and (except when defending a unique name against a probe from another
   host) randomized delays to reduce network collisions (Section 6).

5.5.  Direct Unicast Queries to Port 5353

   In specialized applications there may be rare situations where it
   makes sense for a Multicast DNS querier to send its query via unicast
   to a specific machine.  When a Multicast DNS responder receives a
   query via direct unicast, it SHOULD respond as it would for "QU"
   questions, as described above in Section 5.4.  Since it is possible
   for a unicast query to be received from a machine outside the local
   link, responders SHOULD check that the source address in the query
   packet matches the local subnet for that link (or, in the case of
   IPv6, the source address has an on-link prefix) and silently ignore
   the packet if not.

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

6.  Responding

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

   The determination of whether a given record answers a given question
   is made using the standard DNS rules: the record name must match the
   question name, the record rrtype must match the question qtype unless
   the qtype is "ANY" (255) or the rrtype is "CNAME" (5), and the record
   rrclass must match the question qclass unless the qclass is "ANY"
   (255).  As with Unicast DNS, generally only DNS class 1 ("Internet")
   is used, but should client software use classes other than 1, the
   matching rules described above MUST be used.

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

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

   A Multicast DNS responder on Ethernet [IEEE.802.3] and similar shared
   multiple access networks SHOULD have the capability of delaying its
   responses by up to 500 ms, as described below.

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

   In the case where a Multicast DNS responder has good reason to
   believe that it will be the only responder on the link that will send
   a response (i.e., because it is able to answer every question in the
   query message, and for all of those answer records it has previously
   verified that the name, rrtype, and rrclass are unique on the link),
   it SHOULD NOT impose any random delay before responding, and SHOULD
   normally generate its response within at most 10 ms.  In particular,
   this applies to responding to probe queries with the unicast-response
   bit set.  Since receiving a probe query gives a clear indication that
   some other responder is planning to start using this name in the very
   near future, answering such probe queries to defend a unique record
   is a high priority and needs to be done without delay.  A probe query

   can be distinguished from a normal query by the fact that a probe
   query contains a proposed record in the Authority Section that
   answers the question in the Question Section (for more details, see
   Section 8.2, "Simultaneous Probe Tiebreaking").

   Responding without delay is appropriate for records like the address
   record for a particular host name, when the host name has been
   previously verified unique.  Responding without delay is *not*
   appropriate for things like looking up PTR records used for DNS-Based
   Service Discovery [RFC6763], where a large number of responses may be

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

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

   The source UDP port in all Multicast DNS responses MUST be 5353 (the
   well-known port assigned to mDNS).  Multicast DNS implementations
   MUST silently ignore any Multicast DNS responses they receive where
   the source UDP port is not 5353.

   The destination UDP port in all Multicast DNS responses MUST be 5353,
   and the destination address MUST be the mDNS IPv4 link-local
   multicast address or its IPv6 equivalent FF02::FB, except
   when generating a reply to a query that explicitly requested a
   unicast response:

      * via the unicast-response bit,
      * by virtue of being a legacy query (Section 6.7), or
      * by virtue of being a direct unicast query.

   Except for these three specific cases, responses MUST NOT be sent via
   unicast, because then the "Passive Observation of Failures"
   mechanisms described in Section 10.5 would not work correctly.  Other

   benefits of sending responses via multicast are discussed in Appendix
   D.  A Multicast DNS querier MUST only accept unicast responses if
   they answer a recently sent query (e.g., sent within the last two
   seconds) that explicitly requested unicast responses.  A Multicast
   DNS querier MUST silently ignore all other unicast responses.

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

6.1.  Negative Responses

   In the early design of Multicast DNS it was assumed that explicit
   negative responses would never be needed.  A host can assert the
   existence of the set of records that it claims to exist, and the
   union of all such sets on a link is the set of Multicast DNS records
   that exist on that link.  Asserting the nonexistence of every record
   in the complement of that set -- i.e., all possible Multicast DNS
   records that could exist on this link but do not at this moment --
   was felt to be impractical and unnecessary.  The nonexistence of a
   record would be ascertained by a querier querying for it and failing
   to receive a response from any of the hosts currently attached to the

   However, operational experience showed that explicit negative
   responses can sometimes be valuable.  One such example is when a
   querier is querying for a AAAA record, and the host name in question
   has no associated IPv6 addresses.  In this case, the responding host
   knows it currently has exclusive ownership of that name, and it knows
   that it currently does not have any IPv6 addresses, so an explicit
   negative response is preferable to the querier having to retransmit
   its query multiple times, and eventually give up with a timeout,
   before it can conclude that a given AAAA record does not exist.

   Any time a responder receives a query for a name for which it has
   verified exclusive ownership, for a type for which that name has no
   records, the responder MUST (except as allowed in (a) below) respond
   asserting the nonexistence of that record using a DNS NSEC record
   [RFC4034].  In the case of Multicast DNS the NSEC record is not being
   used for its usual DNSSEC [RFC4033] security properties, but simply
   as a way of expressing which records do or do not exist with a given

   On receipt of a question for a particular name, rrtype, and rrclass,
   for which a responder does have one or more unique answers, the
   responder MAY also include an NSEC record in the Additional Record
   Section indicating the nonexistence of other rrtypes for that name
   and rrclass.

   Implementers working with devices with sufficient memory and CPU
   resources MAY choose to implement code to handle the full generality
   of the DNS NSEC record [RFC4034], including bitmaps up to 65,536 bits
   long.  To facilitate use by devices with limited memory and CPU
   resources, Multicast DNS queriers are only REQUIRED to be able to
   parse a restricted form of the DNS NSEC record.  All compliant
   Multicast DNS implementations MUST at least correctly generate and
   parse the restricted DNS NSEC record format described below:

      o The 'Next Domain Name' field contains the record's own name.
        When used with name compression, this means that the 'Next
        Domain Name' field always takes exactly two bytes in the

      o The Type Bit Map block number is 0.

      o The Type Bit Map block length byte is a value in the range 1-32.

      o The Type Bit Map data is 1-32 bytes, as indicated by length

   Because this restricted form of the DNS NSEC record is limited to
   Type Bit Map block number zero, it cannot express the existence of
   rrtypes above 255.  Consequently, if a Multicast DNS responder were
   to have records with rrtypes above 255, it MUST NOT generate these
   restricted-form NSEC records for those names, since to do so would
   imply that the name has no records with rrtypes above 255, which
   would be false.  In such cases a Multicast DNS responder MUST either
   (a) emit no NSEC record for that name, or (b) emit a full NSEC record
   containing the appropriate Type Bit Map block(s) with the correct
   bits set for all the record types that exist.  In practice this is
   not a significant limitation, since rrtypes above 255 are not
   currently in widespread use.

   If a Multicast DNS implementation receives an NSEC record where the
   'Next Domain Name' field is not the record's own name, then the
   implementation SHOULD ignore the 'Next Domain Name' field and process
   the remainder of the NSEC record as usual.  In Multicast DNS the
   'Next Domain Name' field is not currently used, but it could be used
   in a future version of this protocol, which is why a Multicast DNS
   implementation MUST NOT reject or ignore an NSEC record it receives
   just because it finds an unexpected value in the 'Next Domain Name'

   If a Multicast DNS implementation receives an NSEC record containing
   more than one Type Bit Map, or where the Type Bit Map block number is
   not zero, or where the block length is not in the range 1-32, then
   the Multicast DNS implementation MAY silently ignore the entire NSEC
   record.  A Multicast DNS implementation MUST NOT ignore an entire
   message just because that message contains one or more NSEC record(s)
   that the Multicast DNS implementation cannot parse.  This provision
   is to allow future enhancements to the protocol to be introduced in a
   backwards-compatible way that does not break compatibility with older
   Multicast DNS implementations.

   To help differentiate these synthesized NSEC records (generated
   programmatically on-the-fly) from conventional Unicast DNS NSEC
   records (which actually exist in a signed DNS zone), the synthesized
   Multicast DNS NSEC records MUST NOT have the NSEC bit set in the Type
   Bit Map, whereas conventional Unicast DNS NSEC records do have the
   NSEC bit set.

   The TTL of the NSEC record indicates the intended lifetime of the
   negative cache entry.  In general, the TTL given for an NSEC record
   SHOULD be the same as the TTL that the record would have had, had it
   existed.  For example, the TTL for address records in Multicast DNS
   is typically 120 seconds (see Section 10), so the negative cache
   lifetime for an address record that does not exist should also be 120

   A responder MUST only generate negative responses to queries for
   which it has legitimate ownership of the name, rrtype, and rrclass in
   question, and can legitimately assert that no record with that name,
   rrtype, and rrclass exists.  A responder can assert that a specified
   rrtype does not exist for one of its names if it knows a priori that
   it has exclusive ownership of that name (e.g., names of reverse
   address mapping PTR records, which are derived from IP addresses,
   which should be unique on the local link) or if it previously claimed
   unique ownership of that name using probe queries for rrtype "ANY".
   (If it were to use probe queries for a specific rrtype, then it would
   only own the name for that rrtype, and could not assert that other
   rrtypes do not exist.)

   The design rationale for this mechanism for encoding negative
   responses is discussed further in Appendix E.

6.2.  Responding to Address Queries

   When a Multicast DNS responder sends a Multicast DNS response message
   containing its own address records, it MUST include all addresses
   that are valid on the interface on which it is sending the message,
   and MUST NOT include addresses that are not valid on that interface
   (such as addresses that may be configured on the host's other
   interfaces).  For example, if an interface has both an IPv6 link-
   local and an IPv6 routable address, both should be included in the
   response message so that queriers receive both and can make their own
   choice about which to use.  This allows a querier that only has an
   IPv6 link-local address to connect to the link-local address, and a
   different querier that has an IPv6 routable address to connect to the
   IPv6 routable address instead.

   When a Multicast DNS responder places an IPv4 or IPv6 address record
   (rrtype "A" or "AAAA") into a response message, it SHOULD also place
   any records of the other address type with the same name into the
   additional section, if there is space in the message.  This is to
   provide fate sharing, so that all a device's addresses are delivered
   atomically in a single message, to reduce the risk that packet loss
   could cause a querier to receive only the IPv4 addresses and not the
   IPv6 addresses, or vice versa.

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

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

6.3.  Responding to Multiquestion Queries

   Multicast DNS responders MUST correctly handle DNS query messages
   containing more than one question, by answering any or all of the
   questions to which they have answers.  Unlike single-question

   queries, where responding without delay is allowed in appropriate
   cases, for query messages containing more than one question, all
   (non-defensive) answers SHOULD be randomly delayed in the range
   20-120 ms, or 400-500 ms if the TC (truncated) bit is set.  This is
   because when a query message contains more than one question, a
   Multicast DNS responder cannot generally be certain that other
   responders will not also be simultaneously generating answers to
   other questions in that query message.  (Answers defending a name, in
   response to a probe for that name, are not subject to this delay rule
   and are still sent immediately.)

6.4.  Response Aggregation

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

6.5.  Wildcard Queries (qtype "ANY" and qclass "ANY")

   When responding to queries using qtype "ANY" (255) and/or qclass
   "ANY" (255), a Multicast DNS responder MUST respond with *ALL* of its
   records that match the query.  This is subtly different from how
   qtype "ANY" and qclass "ANY" work in Unicast DNS.

   A common misconception is that a Unicast DNS query for qtype "ANY"
   will elicit a response containing all matching records.  This is
   incorrect.  If there are any records that match the query, the
   response is required only to contain at least one of them, not
   necessarily all of them.

   This somewhat surprising behavior is commonly seen with caching
   (i.e., "recursive") name servers.  If a caching server receives a
   qtype "ANY" query for which it has at least one valid answer, it is
   allowed to return only those matching answers it happens to have
   already in its cache, and it is not required to reconsult the
   authoritative name server to check if there are any more records that
   also match the qtype "ANY" query.

   For example, one might imagine that a query for qtype "ANY" for name
   "host.example.com" would return both the IPv4 (A) and the IPv6 (AAAA)
   address records for that host.  In reality, what happens is that it
   depends on the history of what queries have been previously received
   by intervening caching servers.  If a caching server has no records
   for "host.example.com", then it will consult another server (usually

   the authoritative name server for the name in question), and, in that
   case, it will typically return all IPv4 and IPv6 address records.
   However, if some other host has recently done a query for qtype "A"
   for name "host.example.com", so that the caching server already has
   IPv4 address records for "host.example.com" in its cache but no IPv6
   address records, then it will return only the IPv4 address records it
   already has cached, and no IPv6 address records.

   Multicast DNS does not share this property that qtype "ANY" and
   qclass "ANY" queries return some undefined subset of the matching
   records.  When responding to queries using qtype "ANY" (255) and/or
   qclass "ANY" (255), a Multicast DNS responder MUST respond with *ALL*
   of its records that match the query.

6.6.  Cooperating Multicast DNS Responders

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

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

      o If A's resource record is intended to be a member of a unique
        resource record set owned solely by that responder, then this is
        a conflict and MUST be handled as described in Section 9,
        "Conflict Resolution".

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

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

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

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

6.7.  Legacy Unicast Responses

   If the source UDP port in a received Multicast DNS query is not port
   5353, this indicates that the querier originating the query is a
   simple resolver such as described in Section 5.1, "One-Shot Multicast
   DNS Queries", which does not fully implement all of Multicast DNS.
   In this case, the Multicast DNS responder MUST send a UDP response
   directly back to the querier, via unicast, to the query packet's
   source IP address and port.  This unicast response MUST be a
   conventional unicast response as would be generated by a conventional
   Unicast DNS server; for example, it MUST repeat the query ID and the
   question given in the query message.  In addition, the cache-flush
   bit described in Section 10.2, "Announcements to Flush Outdated Cache
   Entries", MUST NOT be set in legacy unicast responses.

   The resource record TTL given in a legacy unicast response SHOULD NOT
   be greater than ten seconds, even if the true TTL of the Multicast
   DNS resource record is higher.  This is because Multicast DNS
   responders that fully participate in the protocol use the cache
   coherency mechanisms described in Section 10, "Resource Record TTL
   Values and Cache Coherency", to update and invalidate stale data.
   Were unicast responses sent to legacy resolvers to use the same high
   TTLs, these legacy resolvers, which do not implement these cache
   coherency mechanisms, could retain stale cached resource record data
   long after it is no longer valid.

7.  Traffic Reduction

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

7.1.  Known-Answer Suppression

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

   Generally, this applies only to Shared records, not Unique records,
   since if a Multicast DNS querier already has at least one Unique
   record in its cache then it should not be expecting further different
   answers to this question, since the Unique record(s) it already has
   comprise the complete answer, so it has no reason to be sending the
   query at all.  In contrast, having some Shared records in its cache
   does not necessarily imply that a Multicast DNS querier will not

   receive further answers to this query, and it is in this case that it
   is beneficial to use the Known-Answer list to suppress repeated
   sending of redundant answers that the querier already knows.

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

   Because a Multicast DNS responder will respond if the remaining TTL
   given in the Known-Answer list is less than half the true TTL, it is
   superfluous for the querier to include such records in the Known-
   Answer list.  Therefore, a Multicast DNS querier SHOULD NOT include
   records in the Known-Answer list whose remaining TTL is less than
   half of their original TTL.  Doing so would simply consume space in
   the message without achieving the goal of suppressing responses and
   would, therefore, be a pointless waste of network capacity.

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

7.2.  Multipacket Known-Answer Suppression

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

   A Multicast DNS responder seeing a Multicast DNS query with the TC
   bit set defers its response for a time period randomly selected in
   the interval 400-500 ms.  This gives the Multicast DNS querier time
   to send additional Known-Answer packets before the responder

   responds.  If the responder sees any of its answers listed in the
   Known-Answer lists of subsequent packets from the querying host, it
   MUST delete that answer from the list of answers it is planning to
   give (provided that no other host on the network has also issued a
   query for that record and is waiting to receive an answer).

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

7.3.  Duplicate Question Suppression

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

7.4.  Duplicate Answer Suppression

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

   The opportunity for duplicate answer suppression occurs when a host
   has received a query, and is delaying its response for some pseudo-
   random interval up to 500 ms, as described elsewhere in this
   document, and then, before the host sends its response, it sees some
   other host on the network send a response message containing the same
   answer record.

   This feature is particularly useful when Multicast DNS Proxy Servers
   are in use, where there could be more than one proxy on the network
   giving Multicast DNS answers on behalf of some other host (e.g.,
   because that other host is currently asleep and is not itself
   responding to queries).

8.  Probing and Announcing on Startup

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

   Whenever a Multicast DNS responder starts up, wakes up from sleep,
   receives an indication of a network interface "Link Change" event, or
   has any other reason to believe that its network connectivity may
   have changed in some relevant way, it MUST perform the two startup
   steps below: Probing (Section 8.1) and Announcing (Section 8.3).

8.1.  Probing

   The first startup step is that, for all those resource records that a
   Multicast DNS responder desires to be unique on the local link, it
   MUST send a Multicast DNS query asking for those resource records, to
   see if any of them are already in use.  The primary example of this
   is a host's address records, which map its unique host name to its
   unique IPv4 and/or IPv6 addresses.  All probe queries SHOULD be done
   using the desired resource record name and class (usually class 1,
   "Internet"), and query type "ANY" (255), to elicit answers for all
   types of records with that name.  This allows a single question to be
   used in place of several questions, which is more efficient on the
   network.  It also allows a host to verify exclusive ownership of a
   name for all rrtypes, which is desirable in most cases.  It would be
   confusing, for example, if one host owned the "A" record for
   "myhost.local.", but a different host owned the "AAAA" record for
   that name.

   The ability to place more than one question in a Multicast DNS query
   is useful here, because it can allow a host to use a single message
   to probe for all of its resource records instead of needing a
   separate message for each.  For example, a host can simultaneously
   probe for uniqueness of its "A" record and all its SRV records
   [RFC6763] in the same query message.

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

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

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

   In order to allow services to announce their presence without
   unreasonable delay, the time window for probing is intentionally set
   quite short.  As a result of this, from the time the first probe
   packet is sent, another device on the network using that name has
   just 750 ms to respond to defend its name.  On networks that are
   slow, or busy, or both, it is possible for round-trip latency to
   account for a few hundred milliseconds, and software delays in slow
   devices can add additional delay.  Hence, it is important that when a
   device receives a probe query for a name that it is currently using,
   it SHOULD generate its response to defend that name immediately and
   send it as quickly as possible.  The usual rules about random delays
   before responding, to avoid sudden bursts of simultaneous answers
   from different hosts, do not apply here since normally at most one
   host should ever respond to a given probe question.  Even when a
   single DNS query message contains multiple probe questions, it would
   be unusual for that message to elicit a defensive response from more
   than one other host.  Because of the mDNS multicast rate-limiting

   rules, the probes SHOULD be sent as "QU" questions with the unicast-
   response bit set, to allow a defending host to respond immediately
   via unicast, instead of potentially having to wait before replying
   via multicast.

   During probing, from the time the first probe packet is sent until
   250 ms after the third probe, if any conflicting Multicast DNS
   response is received, then the probing host MUST defer to the
   existing host, and SHOULD choose new names for some or all of its
   resource records as appropriate.  Apparently conflicting Multicast
   DNS responses received *before* the first probe packet is sent MUST
   be silently ignored (see discussion of stale probe packets in Section
   8.2, "Simultaneous Probe Tiebreaking", below).  In the case of a host
   probing using query type "ANY" as recommended above, any answer
   containing a record with that name, of any type, MUST be considered a
   conflicting response and handled accordingly.

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

   If a responder knows by other means that its unique resource record
   set name, rrtype, and rrclass cannot already be in use by any other
   responder on the network, then it SHOULD skip the probing step for
   that resource record set.  For example, when creating the reverse
   address mapping PTR records, the host can reasonably assume that no
   other host will be trying to create those same PTR records, since
   that would imply that the two hosts were trying to use the same IP
   address, and if that were the case, the two hosts would be suffering
   communication problems beyond the scope of what Multicast DNS is
   designed to solve.  Similarly, if a responder is acting as a proxy,
   taking over from another Multicast DNS responder that has already
   verified the uniqueness of the record, then the proxy SHOULD NOT
   repeat the probing step for those records.

8.2.  Simultaneous Probe Tiebreaking

   The astute reader will observe that there is a race condition
   inherent in the previous description.  If two hosts are probing for
   the same name simultaneously, neither will receive any response to
   the probe, and the hosts could incorrectly conclude that they may
   both proceed to use the name.  To break this symmetry, each host
   populates the query message's Authority Section with the record or

   records with the rdata that it would be proposing to use, should its
   probing be successful.  The Authority Section is being used here in a
   way analogous to the way it is used as the "Update Section" in a DNS
   Update message [RFC2136] [RFC3007].

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

   When a host that is probing for a record sees another host issue a
   query for the same record, it consults the Authority Section of that
   query.  If it finds any resource record(s) there which answers the
   query, then it compares the data of that (those) resource record(s)
   with its own tentative data.  We consider first the simple case of a
   host probing for a single record, receiving a simultaneous probe from
   another host also probing for a single record.  The two records are
   compared and the lexicographically later data wins.  This means that
   if the host finds that its own data is lexicographically later, it
   simply ignores the other host's probe.  If the host finds that its
   own data is lexicographically earlier, then it defers to the winning
   host by waiting one second, and then begins probing for this record
   again.  The logic for waiting one second and then trying again is to
   guard against stale probe packets on the network (possibly even stale
   probe packets sent moments ago by this host itself, before some
   configuration change, which may be echoed back after a short delay by
   some Ethernet switches and some 802.11 base stations).  If the
   winning simultaneous probe was from a real other host on the network,
   then after one second it will have completed its probing, and will
   answer subsequent probes.  If the apparently winning simultaneous
   probe was in fact just an old stale packet on the network (maybe from
   the host itself), then when it retries its probing in one second, its
   probes will go unanswered, and it will successfully claim the name.

   The determination of "lexicographically later" is performed by first
   comparing the record class (excluding the cache-flush bit described
   in Section 10.2), then the record type, then raw comparison of the
   binary content of the rdata without regard for meaning or structure.
   If the record classes differ, then the numerically greater class is
   considered "lexicographically later".  Otherwise, if the record types
   differ, then the numerically greater type is considered
   "lexicographically later".  If the rrtype and rrclass both match,
   then the rdata is compared.

   In the case of resource records containing rdata that is subject to
   name compression [RFC1035], the names MUST be uncompressed before
   comparison.  (The details of how a particular name is compressed is
   an artifact of how and where the record is written into the DNS
   message; it is not an intrinsic property of the resource record

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

     MyPrinter.local. A
     MyPrinter.local. A

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

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

8.2.1.  Simultaneous Probe Tiebreaking for Multiple Records

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

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

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

8.3.  Announcing

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

   In the case of shared records (e.g., the PTR records used by DNS-
   Based Service Discovery [RFC6763]), the records are simply placed as
   is into the Answer Section of the DNS response.

   In the case of records that have been verified to be unique in the
   previous step, they are placed into the Answer Section of the DNS
   response with the most significant bit of the rrclass set to one.
   The most significant bit of the rrclass for a record in the Answer
   Section of a response message is the Multicast DNS cache-flush bit
   and is discussed in more detail below in Section 10.2, "Announcements
   to Flush Outdated Cache Entries".

   The Multicast DNS responder MUST send at least two unsolicited
   responses, one second apart.  To provide increased robustness against
   packet loss, a responder MAY send up to eight unsolicited responses,
   provided that the interval between unsolicited responses increases by
   at least a factor of two with every response sent.

   A Multicast DNS responder MUST NOT send announcements in the absence
   of information that its network connectivity may have changed in some
   relevant way.  In particular, a Multicast DNS responder MUST NOT send
   regular periodic announcements as a matter of course.

   Whenever a Multicast DNS responder receives any Multicast DNS
   response (solicited or otherwise) containing a conflicting resource
   record, the conflict MUST be resolved as described in Section 9,
   "Conflict Resolution".

8.4.  Updating

   At any time, if the rdata of any of a host's Multicast DNS records
   changes, the host MUST repeat the Announcing step described above to
   update neighboring caches.  For example, if any of a host's IP
   addresses change, it MUST re-announce those address records.  The
   host does not need to repeat the Probing step because it has already
   established unique ownership of that name.

   In the case of shared records, a host MUST send a "goodbye"
   announcement with RR TTL zero (see Section 10.1, "Goodbye Packets")
   for the old rdata, to cause it to be deleted from peer caches, before
   announcing the new rdata.  In the case of unique records, a host
   SHOULD omit the "goodbye" announcement, since the cache-flush bit on
   the newly announced records will cause old rdata to be flushed from
   peer caches anyway.

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

9.  Conflict Resolution

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

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

   Whenever a Multicast DNS responder receives any Multicast DNS
   response (solicited or otherwise) containing a conflicting resource
   record in any of the Resource Record Sections, the Multicast DNS
   responder MUST immediately reset its conflicted unique record to
   probing state, and go through the startup steps described above in

   Section 8, "Probing and Announcing on Startup".  The protocol used in
   the Probing phase will determine a winner and a loser, and the loser
   MUST cease using the name, and reconfigure.

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

   The recommended course of action after probing and failing is as

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

      2. Probe again, and repeat as necessary until a unique name is

      3. Once an available unique name has been determined, by probing
         without receiving any conflicting response, record this newly
         chosen name in persistent storage so that the device will use
         the same name the next time it is power-cycled.

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

            The name "Bob's Music" is in use by another music server on
            the network.  Your music collection has been renamed to
            "Bob's Music (2)".  If you want to change this name, use
            [describe appropriate menu item or preference dialog here].

         The details of how the user or operator is informed of the new
         name depends on context.  A desktop computer with a screen
         might put up a dialog box.  A headless server in the closet may
         write a message to a log file, or use whatever mechanism
         (email, SNMP trap, etc.) it uses to inform the administrator of
         error conditions.  On the other hand, a headless server in the
         closet may not inform the user at all -- if the user cares,

         they will notice the name has changed, and connect to the
         server in the usual way (e.g., via web browser) to configure a
         new name.

      5. After one minute of probing, if the Multicast DNS responder has
         been unable to find any unused name, it should log an error
         message to inform the user or operator of this fact.  This
         situation should never occur in normal operation.  The only
         situations that would cause this to happen would be either a
         deliberate denial-of-service attack, or some kind of very
         obscure hardware or software bug that acts like a deliberate
         denial-of-service attack.

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

10.  Resource Record TTL Values and Cache Coherency

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

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

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

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

10.1.  Goodbye Packets

   In the case where a host knows that certain resource record data is
   about to become invalid (for example, when the host is undergoing a
   clean shutdown), the host SHOULD send an unsolicited Multicast DNS

   response packet, giving the same resource record name, rrtype,
   rrclass, and rdata, but an RR TTL of zero.  This has the effect of
   updating the TTL stored in neighboring hosts' cache entries to zero,
   causing that cache entry to be promptly deleted.

   Queriers receiving a Multicast DNS response with a TTL of zero SHOULD
   NOT immediately delete the record from the cache, but instead record
   a TTL of 1 and then delete the record one second later.  In the case
   of multiple Multicast DNS responders on the network described in
   Section 6.6 above, if one of the responders shuts down and
   incorrectly sends goodbye packets for its records, it gives the other
   cooperating responders one second to send out their own response to
   "rescue" the records before they expire and are deleted.

10.2.  Announcements to Flush Outdated Cache Entries

   Whenever a host has a resource record with new data, or with what
   might potentially be new data (e.g., after rebooting, waking from
   sleep, connecting to a new network link, or changing IP address), the
   host needs to inform peers of that new data.  In cases where the host
   has not been continuously connected and participating on the network
   link, it MUST first probe to re-verify uniqueness of its unique
   records, as described above in Section 8.1, "Probing".

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

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

   To accommodate the case where the set of records from one host
   constituting a single unique RRSet is too large to fit in a single
   packet, only cache records that are more than one second old are

   flushed.  This allows the announcing host to generate a quick burst
   of packets back-to-back on the wire containing all the members of the
   RRSet.  When receiving records with the cache-flush bit set, all
   records older than one second are marked to be deleted one second in
   the future.  One second after the end of the little packet burst, any
   records not represented within that packet burst will then be expired
   from all peer caches.

   Any time a host sends a response packet containing some members of a
   unique RRSet, it MUST send the entire RRSet, preferably in a single
   packet, or if the entire RRSet will not fit in a single packet, in a
   quick burst of packets sent as close together as possible.  The host
   MUST set the cache-flush bit on all members of the unique RRSet.

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

   These rules, about when to set the cache-flush bit and about sending
   the entire rrset, apply regardless of *why* the response message is
   being generated.  They apply to startup announcements as described in
   Section 8.3, "Announcing", and to responses generated as a result of
   receiving query messages.

   The cache-flush bit is only set in records in the Resource Record
   Sections of Multicast DNS responses sent to UDP port 5353.

   The cache-flush bit MUST NOT be set in any resource records in a
   response message sent in legacy unicast responses to UDP ports other
   than 5353.

   The cache-flush bit MUST NOT be set in any resource records in the
   Known-Answer list of any query message.

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

   The cache-flush bit does *not* apply to questions listed in the
   Question Section of a Multicast DNS message.  The top bit of the
   rrclass field in questions is used for an entirely different purpose
   (see Section 5.4, "Questions Requesting Unicast Responses").

   Note that the cache-flush bit is NOT part of the resource record
   class.  The cache-flush bit is the most significant bit of the second
   16-bit word of a resource record in a Resource Record Section of a
   Multicast DNS message (the field conventionally referred to as the
   rrclass field), and the actual resource record class is the least
   significant fifteen bits of this field.  There is no Multicast DNS
   resource record class 0x8001.  The value 0x8001 in the rrclass field
   of a resource record in a Multicast DNS response message indicates a
   resource record with class 1, with the cache-flush bit set.  When
   receiving a resource record with the cache-flush bit set,
   implementations should take care to mask off that bit before storing
   the resource record in memory, or otherwise ensure that it is given
   the correct semantic interpretation.

   The reuse of the top bit of the rrclass field only applies to
   conventional resource record types that are subject to caching, not
   to pseudo-RRs like OPT [RFC2671], TSIG [RFC2845], TKEY [RFC2930],
   SIG0 [RFC2931], etc., that pertain only to a particular transport
   level message and not to any actual DNS data.  Since pseudo-RRs
   should never go into the Multicast DNS cache, the concept of a cache-
   flush bit for these types is not applicable.  In particular, the
   rrclass field of an OPT record encodes the sender's UDP payload size,
   and should be interpreted as a sixteen-bit length value in the range
   0-65535, not a one-bit flag and a fifteen-bit length.

10.3.  Cache Flush on Topology change

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

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

10.4.  Cache Flush on Failure Indication

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

   For example, the rdata in an address record can be determined to be
   incorrect if attempts to contact that host fail, either because (for
   an IPv4 address on a local subnet) ARP requests for that address go
   unanswered, because (for an IPv6 address with an on-link prefix) ND
   requests for that address go unanswered, or because (for an address
   on a remote network) a router returns an ICMP "Host Unreachable"

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

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

   The software implementing the Multicast DNS resource record cache
   should provide a mechanism so that clients detecting stale rdata can
   inform the cache.

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

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

10.5.  Passive Observation Of Failures (POOF)

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

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

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

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

11.  Source Address Check

   All Multicast DNS responses (including responses sent via unicast)
   SHOULD be sent with IP TTL set to 255.  This is recommended to
   provide backwards-compatibility with older Multicast DNS queriers
   (implementing a draft version of this document, posted in February
   2004) that check the IP TTL on reception to determine whether the
   packet originated on the local link.  These older queriers discard
   all packets with TTLs other than 255.

   A host sending Multicast DNS queries to a link-local destination
   address (including the and FF02::FB link-local multicast
   addresses) MUST only accept responses to that query that originate
   from the local link, and silently discard any other response packets.
   Without this check, it could be possible for remote rogue hosts to
   send spoof answer packets (perhaps unicast to the victim host), which
   the receiving machine could misinterpret as having originated on the
   local link.

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

      * All responses received with a destination address in the IP
        header that is the mDNS IPv4 link-local multicast address or the mDNS IPv6 link-local multicast address
        FF02::FB are necessarily deemed to have originated on the local
        link, regardless of source IP address.  This is essential to
        allow devices to work correctly and reliably in unusual
        configurations, such as multiple logical IP subnets overlayed on
        a single link, or in cases of severe misconfiguration, where
        devices are physically connected to the same link, but are
        currently misconfigured with completely unrelated IP addresses
        and subnet masks.

      * For responses received with a unicast destination address in the
        IP header, the source IP address in the packet is checked to see
        if it is an address on a local subnet.  An IPv4 source address
        is determined to be on a local subnet if, for (one of) the
        address(es) configured on the interface receiving the packet, (I
        & M) == (P & M), where I and M are the interface address and
        subnet mask respectively, P is the source IP address from the
        packet, '&' represents the bitwise logical 'and' operation, and
        '==' represents a bitwise equality test.  An IPv6 source address
        is determined to be on the local link if, for any of the on-link
        IPv6 prefixes on the interface receiving the packet (learned via
        IPv6 router advertisements or otherwise configured on the host),
        the first 'n' bits of the IPv6 source address match the first
        'n' bits of the prefix address, where 'n' is the length of the
        prefix being considered.

   Since queriers will ignore responses apparently originating outside
   the local subnet, a responder SHOULD avoid generating responses that
   it can reasonably predict will be ignored.  This applies particularly
   in the case of overlayed subnets.  If a responder receives a query
   addressed to the mDNS IPv4 link-local multicast address,
   from a source address not apparently on the same subnet as the
   responder (or, in the case of IPv6, from a source IPv6 address for
   which the responder does not have any address with the same prefix on
   that interface), then even if the query indicates that a unicast
   response is preferred (see Section 5.4, "Questions Requesting Unicast
   Responses"), the responder SHOULD elect to respond by multicast
   anyway, since it can reasonably predict that a unicast response with
   an apparently non-local source address will probably be ignored.

12.  Special Characteristics of Multicast DNS Domains

   Unlike conventional DNS names, names that end in ".local." have only
   local significance.  The same is true of names within the IPv4 link-
   local reverse mapping domain "254.169.in-addr.arpa." and the IPv6
   link-local reverse mapping domains "8.e.f.ip6.arpa.",
   "9.e.f.ip6.arpa.", "a.e.f.ip6.arpa.", and "b.e.f.ip6.arpa.".

   These names function primarily as protocol identifiers, rather than
   as user-visible identifiers.  Even though they may occasionally be
   visible to end users, that is not their primary purpose.  As such,
   these names should be treated as opaque identifiers.  In particular,
   the string "local" should not be translated or localized into
   different languages, much as the name "localhost" is not translated
   or localized into different languages.

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

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

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

   There are no NS records anywhere in Multicast DNS domains.  Instead,
   the Multicast DNS domains are reserved by IANA, and there is
   effectively an implicit delegation of all Multicast DNS domains to
   the and [FF02::FB]:5353 multicast groups, by virtue
   of client software implementing the protocol rules specified in this

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

   Zone transfers are not possible for any Multicast DNS zone.

13.  Enabling and Disabling Multicast DNS

   The option to fail-over to Multicast DNS for names not ending in
   ".local." SHOULD be a user-configured option, and SHOULD be disabled
   by default because of the possible security issues related to
   unintended local resolution of apparently global names.  Enabling
   Multicast DNS for names not ending in ".local." may be appropriate on
   a secure isolated network, or on some future network were machines
   exclusively use DNSSEC for all DNS queries, and have Multicast DNS
   responders capable of generating the appropriate cryptographic DNSSEC
   signatures, thereby guarding against spoofing.

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

   No special control is needed for enabling and disabling Multicast DNS
   for names explicitly ending with ".local." as entered by the user.
   The user doesn't need a way to disable Multicast DNS for names ending
   with ".local.", because if the user doesn't want to use Multicast
   DNS, they can achieve this by simply not using those names.  If a
   user *does* enter a name ending in ".local.", then we can safely
   assume the user's intention was probably that it should work.  Having
   user configuration options that can be (intentionally or

   unintentionally) set so that local names don't work is just one more
   way of frustrating the user's ability to perform the tasks they want,
   perpetuating the view that, "IP networking is too complicated to
   configure and too hard to use".

14.  Considerations for Multiple Interfaces

   A host SHOULD defend its dot-local host name on all active interfaces
   on which it is answering Multicast DNS queries.

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

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

   Except in the case of proxying and other similar specialized uses,
   addresses in IPv4 or IPv6 address records in Multicast DNS responses
   MUST be valid for use on the interface on which the response is being

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

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

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

   As described, this solves one problem, but creates another, because
   when those Ethernet announcement records arrive back on the wireless
   interface, the host would again respond defensively to reinstate its
   wireless records, and this process would continue forever,
   continuously flooding the network with traffic.  The Multicast DNS
   protocol has a second safeguard, to solve this problem: the cache-
   flush bit does not apply to records received very recently, within
   the last second.  This means that when the host sees its own Ethernet
   address records arrive on its wireless interface, with the cache-
   flush bit set, it knows there's no need to re-announce its wireless
   address records again because it already sent them less than a second
   ago, and this makes them immune from deletion from peer caches.  (See
   Section 10.2.)

15.  Considerations for Multiple Responders on the Same Machine

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

15.1.  Receiving Unicast Responses

   In most operating systems, incoming *multicast* packets can be
   delivered to *all* open sockets bound to the right port number,
   provided that the clients take the appropriate steps to allow this.
   For this reason, all Multicast DNS implementations SHOULD use the
   SO_REUSEPORT and/or SO_REUSEADDR options (or equivalent as
   appropriate for the operating system in question) so they will all be
   able to bind to UDP port 5353 and receive incoming multicast packets
   addressed to that port.  However, unlike multicast packets, incoming
   unicast UDP packets are typically delivered only to the first socket
   to bind to that port.  This means that "QU" responses and other
   packets sent via unicast will be received only by the first Multicast
   DNS responder and/or querier on a system.  This limitation can be

   partially mitigated if Multicast DNS implementations detect when they
   are not the first to bind to port 5353, and in that case they do not
   request "QU" responses.  One way to detect if there is another
   Multicast DNS implementation already running is to attempt binding to
   port 5353 without using SO_REUSEPORT and/or SO_REUSEADDR, and if that
   fails it indicates that some other socket is already bound to this

15.2.  Multipacket Known-Answer lists

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

15.3.  Efficiency

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

15.4.  Recommendation

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

16.  Multicast DNS Character Set

   Historically, Unicast DNS has been used with a very restricted set of
   characters.  Indeed, conventional DNS is usually limited to just
   twenty-six letters, ten digits and the hyphen character, not even
   allowing spaces or other punctuation.  Attempts to remedy this for
   Unicast DNS have been badly constrained by the perceived need to
   accommodate old buggy legacy DNS implementations.  In reality, the
   DNS specification itself actually imposes no limits on what
   characters may be used in names, and good DNS implementations handle
   any arbitrary eight-bit data without trouble.  "Clarifications to the
   DNS Specification" [RFC2181] directly discusses the subject of
   allowable character set in Section 11 ("Name syntax"), and explicitly
   states that DNS names may contain arbitrary eight-bit data.  However,
   the old rules for ARPANET host names back in the 1980s required host
   names to be just letters, digits, and hyphens [RFC1034], and since
   the predominant use of DNS is to store host address records, many
   have assumed that the DNS protocol itself suffers from the same
   limitation.  It might be accurate to say that there could be
   hypothetical bad implementations that do not handle eight-bit data
   correctly, but it would not be accurate to say that the protocol
   doesn't allow names containing eight-bit data.

   Multicast DNS is a new protocol and doesn't (yet) have old buggy
   legacy implementations to constrain the design choices.  Accordingly,
   it adopts the simple obvious elegant solution: all names in Multicast
   DNS MUST be encoded as precomposed UTF-8 [RFC3629] "Net-Unicode"
   [RFC5198] text.

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

   For names that are restricted to US-ASCII [RFC0020] letters, digits,
   and hyphens, the UTF-8 encoding is identical to the US-ASCII
   encoding, so this is entirely compatible with existing host names.
   For characters outside the US-ASCII range, UTF-8 encoding is used.

   Multicast DNS implementations MUST NOT use any other encodings apart
   from precomposed UTF-8 (US-ASCII being considered a compatible subset
   of UTF-8).  The reasons for selecting UTF-8 instead of Punycode
   [RFC3492] are discussed further in Appendix F.

   The simple rules for case-insensitivity in Unicast DNS [RFC1034]
   [RFC1035] also apply in Multicast DNS; that is to say, in name
   comparisons, the lowercase letters "a" to "z" (0x61 to 0x7A) match
   their uppercase equivalents "A" to "Z" (0x41 to 0x5A).  Hence, if a
   querier issues a query for an address record with the name
   "myprinter.local.", then a responder having an address record with
   the name "MyPrinter.local." should issue a response.  No other
   automatic equivalences should be assumed.  In particular, all UTF-8
   multibyte characters (codes 0x80 and higher) are compared by simple
   binary comparison of the raw byte values.  Accented characters are
   *not* defined to be automatically equivalent to their unaccented
   counterparts.  Where automatic equivalences are desired, this may be
   achieved through the use of programmatically generated CNAME records.
   For example, if a responder has an address record for an accented
   name Y, and a querier issues a query for a name X, where X is the
   same as Y with all the accents removed, then the responder may issue
   a response containing two resource records: a CNAME record "X CNAME
   Y", asserting that the requested name X (unaccented) is an alias for
   the true (accented) name Y, followed by the address record for Y.

17.  Multicast DNS Message Size

   The 1987 DNS specification [RFC1035] restricts DNS messages carried
   by UDP to no more than 512 bytes (not counting the IP or UDP
   headers).  For UDP packets carried over the wide-area Internet in
   1987, this was appropriate.  For link-local multicast packets on
   today's networks, there is no reason to retain this restriction.
   Given that the packets are by definition link-local, there are no
   Path MTU issues to consider.

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

   In the case of a single Multicast DNS resource record that is too
   large to fit in a single MTU-sized multicast response packet, a
   Multicast DNS responder SHOULD send the resource record alone, in a
   single IP datagram, using multiple IP fragments.  Resource records
   this large SHOULD be avoided, except in the very rare cases where
   they really are the appropriate solution to the problem at hand.
   Implementers should be aware that many simple devices do not
   reassemble fragmented IP datagrams, so large resource records SHOULD
   NOT be used except in specialized cases where the implementer knows

   that all receivers implement reassembly, or where the large resource
   record contains optional data which is not essential for correct
   operation of the client.

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

   Even when fragmentation is used, a Multicast DNS packet, including IP
   and UDP headers, MUST NOT exceed 9000 bytes.

   Note that 9000 bytes is also the maximum payload size of an Ethernet
   "Jumbo" packet [Jumbo].  However, in practice Ethernet "Jumbo"
   packets are not widely used, so it is advantageous to keep packets
   under 1500 bytes whenever possible.  Even on hosts that normally
   handle Ethernet "Jumbo" packets and IP fragment reassembly, it is
   becoming more common for these hosts to implement power-saving modes
   where the main CPU goes to sleep and hands off packet reception tasks
   to a more limited processor in the network interface hardware, which
   may not support Ethernet "Jumbo" packets or IP fragment reassembly.

18.  Multicast DNS Message Format

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

18.1.  ID (Query Identifier)

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

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

   In multicast query messages, the Query Identifier SHOULD be set to
   zero on transmission.

   In multicast responses, including unsolicited multicast responses,
   the Query Identifier MUST be set to zero on transmission, and MUST be
   ignored on reception.

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

18.2.  QR (Query/Response) Bit

   In query messages the QR bit MUST be zero.
   In response messages the QR bit MUST be one.

18.3.  OPCODE

   In both multicast query and multicast response messages, the OPCODE
   MUST be zero on transmission (only standard queries are currently
   supported over multicast).  Multicast DNS messages received with an
   OPCODE other than zero MUST be silently ignored.

18.4.  AA (Authoritative Answer) Bit

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

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

18.5.  TC (Truncated) Bit

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

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

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

18.6.  RD (Recursion Desired) Bit

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

18.7.  RA (Recursion Available) Bit

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

18.8.  Z (Zero) Bit

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

18.9.  AD (Authentic Data) Bit

   In both multicast query and multicast response messages, the
   Authentic Data bit [RFC2535] MUST be zero on transmission, and MUST
   be ignored on reception.

18.10.  CD (Checking Disabled) Bit

   In both multicast query and multicast response messages, the Checking
   Disabled bit [RFC2535] MUST be zero on transmission, and MUST be
   ignored on reception.

18.11.  RCODE (Response Code)

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

18.12.  Repurposing of Top Bit of qclass in Question Section

   In the Question Section of a Multicast DNS query, the top bit of the
   qclass field is used to indicate that unicast responses are preferred
   for this particular question.  (See Section 5.4.)

18.13.  Repurposing of Top Bit of rrclass in Resource Record Sections

   In the Resource Record Sections of a Multicast DNS response, the top
   bit of the rrclass field is used to indicate that the record is a
   member of a unique RRSet, and the entire RRSet has been sent together
   (in the same packet, or in consecutive packets if there are too many
   records to fit in a single packet).  (See Section 10.2.)

18.14.  Name Compression

   When generating Multicast DNS messages, implementations SHOULD use
   name compression wherever possible to compress the names of resource
   records, by replacing some or all of the resource record name with a
   compact two-byte reference to an appearance of that data somewhere
   earlier in the message [RFC1035].

   This applies not only to Multicast DNS responses, but also to
   queries.  When a query contains more than one question, successive
   questions in the same message often contain similar names, and
   consequently name compression SHOULD be used, to save bytes.  In
   addition, queries may also contain Known Answers in the Answer
   Section, or probe tiebreaking data in the Authority Section, and
   these names SHOULD similarly be compressed for network efficiency.

   In addition to compressing the *names* of resource records, names
   that appear within the *rdata* of the following rrtypes SHOULD also
   be compressed in all Multicast DNS messages:


   Until future IETF Standards Action [RFC5226] specifying that names in
   the rdata of other types should be compressed, names that appear
   within the rdata of any type not listed above MUST NOT be compressed.

   Implementations receiving Multicast DNS messages MUST correctly
   decode compressed names appearing in the Question Section, and
   compressed names of resource records appearing in other sections.

   In addition, implementations MUST correctly decode compressed names
   appearing within the *rdata* of the rrtypes listed above.  Where
   possible, implementations SHOULD also correctly decode compressed
   names appearing within the *rdata* of other rrtypes known to the
   implementers at the time of implementation, because such forward-
   thinking planning helps facilitate the deployment of future
   implementations that may have reason to compress those rrtypes.  It
   is possible that no future IETF Standards Action [RFC5226] will be
   created that mandates or permits the compression of rdata in new
   types, but having implementations designed such that they are capable
   of decompressing all known types helps keep future options open.

   One specific difference between Unicast DNS and Multicast DNS is that
   Unicast DNS does not allow name compression for the target host in an
   SRV record, because Unicast DNS implementations before the first SRV
   specification in 1996 [RFC2052] may not decode these compressed

   records properly.  Since all Multicast DNS implementations were
   created after 1996, all Multicast DNS implementations are REQUIRED to
   decode compressed SRV records correctly.

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

19.  Summary of Differences between Multicast DNS and Unicast DNS

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

   Multicast DNS...
   * uses multicast
   * uses UDP port 5353 instead of port 53
   * operates in well-defined parts of the DNS namespace
   * has no SOA (Start of Authority) records
   * uses UTF-8, and only UTF-8, to encode resource record names
   * allows names up to 255 bytes plus a terminating zero byte
   * allows name compression in rdata for SRV and other record types
   * allows larger UDP packets
   * allows more than one question in a query message
   * defines consistent results for qtype "ANY" and qclass "ANY" queries
   * uses the Answer Section of a query to list Known Answers
   * uses the TC bit in a query to indicate additional Known Answers
   * uses the Authority Section of a query for probe tiebreaking
   * ignores the Query ID field (except for generating legacy responses)
   * doesn't require the question to be repeated in the response message
   * uses unsolicited responses to announce new records
   * uses NSEC records to signal nonexistence of records
   * defines a unicast-response bit in the rrclass of query questions
   * defines a cache-flush bit in the rrclass of response records
   * uses DNS RR TTL 0 to indicate that a record has been deleted
   * recommends AAAA records in the additional section when responding
     to rrtype "A" queries, and vice versa
   * monitors queries to perform Duplicate Question Suppression
   * monitors responses to perform Duplicate Answer Suppression...
   * ... and Ongoing Conflict Detection
   * ... and Opportunistic Caching

20.  IPv6 Considerations

   An IPv4-only host and an IPv6-only host behave as "ships that pass in
   the night".  Even if they are on the same Ethernet, neither is aware
   of the other's traffic.  For this reason, each physical link may have
   *two* unrelated ".local." zones, one for IPv4 and one for IPv6.
   Since for practical purposes, a group of IPv4-only hosts and a group
   of IPv6-only hosts on the same Ethernet act as if they were on two
   entirely separate Ethernet segments, it is unsurprising that their
   use of the ".local." zone should occur exactly as it would if they
   really were on two entirely separate Ethernet segments.

   A dual-stack (v4/v6) host can participate in both ".local." zones,
   and should register its name(s) and perform its lookups both using
   IPv4 and IPv6.  This enables it to reach, and be reached by, both
   IPv4-only and IPv6-only hosts.  In effect, this acts like a
   multihomed host, with one connection to the logical "IPv4 Ethernet
   segment", and a connection to the logical "IPv6 Ethernet segment".
   When such a host generates NSEC records, if it is using the same host
   name for its IPv4 addresses and its IPv6 addresses on that network
   interface, its NSEC records should indicate that the host name has
   both A and AAAA records.

21.  Security Considerations

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

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

   In an environment where there is a group of cooperating participants,
   but clients cannot be sure that there are no antagonistic hosts on
   the same physical link, the cooperating participants need to use
   IPsec signatures and/or DNSSEC [RFC4033] signatures so that they can
   distinguish Multicast DNS messages from trusted participants (which
   they process as usual) from Multicast DNS messages from untrusted
   participants (which they silently discard).

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

   Most computer users neglect to type the trailing dot at the end of a
   fully qualified domain name, making it a relative domain name (e.g.,
   "www.example.com").  In the event of network outage, attempts to
   positively resolve the name as entered will fail, resulting in
   application of the search list, including ".local.", if present.  A
   malicious host could masquerade as "www.example.com." by answering
   the resulting Multicast DNS query for "www.example.com.local.".  To
   avoid this, a host MUST NOT append the search suffix ".local.", if
   present, to any relative (partially qualified) host name containing
   two or more labels.  Appending ".local." to single-label relative
   host names is acceptable, since the user should have no expectation
   that a single-label host name will resolve as is.  However, users who
   have both "example.com" and "local" in their search lists should be
   aware that if they type "www" into their web browser, it may not be
   immediately clear to them whether the page that appears is
   "www.example.com" or "www.local".

   Multicast DNS uses UDP port 5353.  On operating systems where only
   privileged processes are allowed to use ports below 1024, no such
   privilege is required to use port 5353.

22.  IANA Considerations

   IANA has allocated the UDP port 5353 for the Multicast DNS protocol
   described in this document [SN].

   IANA has allocated the IPv4 link-local multicast address
   for the use described in this document [MC4].

   IANA has allocated the IPv6 multicast address set FF0X::FB (where "X"
   indicates any hexadecimal digit from '1' to 'F') for the use
   described in this document [MC6].  Only address FF02::FB (link-local
   scope) is currently in use by deployed software, but it is possible
   that in the future implementers may experiment with Multicast DNS
   using larger-scoped addresses, such as FF05::FB (site-local scope)

   IANA has implemented the following DNS records:

      MDNS.MCAST.NET.            IN  A  IN  PTR  MDNS.MCAST.NET.

   Entries for the AAAA and corresponding PTR records have not been made
   as there is not yet an RFC providing direction for the management of
   the IP6.ARPA domain relating to the IPv6 multicast address space.

   The reuse of the top bit of the rrclass field in the Question and
   Resource Record Sections means that Multicast DNS can only carry DNS
   records with classes in the range 0-32767.  Classes in the range
   32768 to 65535 are incompatible with Multicast DNS.  IANA has noted
   this fact, and if IANA receives a request to allocate a DNS class
   value above 32767, IANA will make sure the requester is aware of this
   implication before proceeding.  This does not mean that allocations
   of DNS class values above 32767 should be denied, only that they
   should not be allowed until the requester has indicated that they are
   aware of how this allocation will interact with Multicast DNS.
   However, to date, only three DNS classes have been assigned by IANA
   (1, 3, and 4), and only one (1, "Internet") is actually in widespread
   use, so this issue is likely to remain a purely theoretical one.

   IANA has recorded the list of domains below as being Special-Use
   Domain Names [RFC6761]:


22.1.  Domain Name Reservation Considerations

   The six domains listed above, and any names falling within those
   domains (e.g., "MyPrinter.local.", "",
   "Ink-Jet._pdl-datastream._tcp.local.") are special [RFC6761] in the
   following ways:

      1. Users may use these names as they would other DNS names,
         entering them anywhere that they would otherwise enter a
         conventional DNS name, or a dotted decimal IPv4 address, or a
         literal IPv6 address.

         Since there is no central authority responsible for assigning
         dot-local names, and all devices on the local network are
         equally entitled to claim any dot-local name, users SHOULD be

         aware of this and SHOULD exercise appropriate caution.  In an
         untrusted or unfamiliar network environment, users SHOULD be
         aware that using a name like "www.local" may not actually
         connect them to the web site they expected, and could easily
         connect them to a different web page, or even a fake or spoof
         of their intended web site, designed to trick them into
         revealing confidential information.  As always with networking,
         end-to-end cryptographic security can be a useful tool.  For
         example, when connecting with ssh, the ssh host key
         verification process will inform the user if it detects that
         the identity of the entity they are communicating with has
         changed since the last time they connected to that name.

      2. Application software may use these names as they would other
         similar DNS names, and is not required to recognize the names
         and treat them specially.  Due to the relative ease of spoofing
         dot-local names, end-to-end cryptographic security remains
         important when communicating across a local network, just as it
         is when communicating across the global Internet.

      3. Name resolution APIs and libraries SHOULD recognize these names
         as special and SHOULD NOT send queries for these names to their
         configured (unicast) caching DNS server(s).  This is to avoid
         unnecessary load on the root name servers and other name
         servers, caused by queries for which those name servers do not
         have useful non-negative answers to give, and will not ever
         have useful non-negative answers to give.

      4. Caching DNS servers SHOULD recognize these names as special and
         SHOULD NOT attempt to look up NS records for them, or otherwise
         query authoritative DNS servers in an attempt to resolve these
         names.  Instead, caching DNS servers SHOULD generate immediate
         NXDOMAIN responses for all such queries they may receive (from
         misbehaving name resolver libraries).  This is to avoid
         unnecessary load on the root name servers and other name

      5. Authoritative DNS servers SHOULD NOT by default be configurable
         to answer queries for these names, and, like caching DNS
         servers, SHOULD generate immediate NXDOMAIN responses for all
         such queries they may receive.  DNS server software MAY provide
         a configuration option to override this default, for testing
         purposes or other specialized uses.

      6. DNS server operators SHOULD NOT attempt to configure
         authoritative DNS servers to act as authoritative for any of
         these names.  Configuring an authoritative DNS server to act as
         authoritative for any of these names may not, in many cases,

         yield the expected result.  Since name resolver libraries and
         caching DNS servers SHOULD NOT send queries for those names
         (see 3 and 4 above), such queries SHOULD be suppressed before
         they even reach the authoritative DNS server in question, and
         consequently it will not even get an opportunity to answer

      7. DNS Registrars MUST NOT allow any of these names to be
         registered in the normal way to any person or entity.  These
         names are reserved protocol identifiers with special meaning
         and fall outside the set of names available for allocation by
         registrars.  Attempting to allocate one of these names as if it
         were a normal domain name will probably not work as desired,
         for reasons 3, 4, and 6 above.

23.  Acknowledgments

   The concepts described in this document have been explored,
   developed, and implemented with help from Ran Atkinson, Richard
   Brown, Freek Dijkstra, Erik Guttman, Kyle McKay, Pasi Sarolahti,
   Pekka Savola, Robby Simpson, 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 contributions.  Special thanks also to
   Kerry Lynn for converting the document to xml2rfc form in May 2010,
   and to Area Director Ralph Droms for shepherding the document through
   its final steps.

24.  References

24.1.  Normative References

   [MC4]      IANA, "IPv4 Multicast Address Space Registry",

   [MC6]      IANA, "IPv6 Multicast Address Space Registry",

   [RFC0020]  Cerf, V., "ASCII format for network interchange", RFC 20,
              October 1969.

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

   [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.

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

   [RFC4034]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "Resource Records for the DNS Security Extensions",
              RFC 4034, March 2005.

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

   [RFC6195]  Eastlake 3rd, D., "Domain Name System (DNS) IANA
              Considerations", BCP 42, RFC 6195, March 2011.

   [RFC6761]  Cheshire, S. and M. Krochmal, "Special-Use Domain Names",
              RFC 6761, February 2013.

   [SN]       IANA, "Service Name and Transport Protocol Port Number
              Registry", <http://www.iana.org/assignments/

24.2.  Informative References

   [B4W]      "Bonjour for Windows",

   [BJ]       Apple Bonjour Open Source Software,

              "Information technology - Telecommunications and
              information exchange between systems - Local and
              metropolitan area networks - Specific requirements - Part
              3: Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection
              (CMSA/CD) Access Method and Physical Layer
              Specifications", IEEE Std 802.3-2008, December 2008,

              "Information technology - Telecommunications and
              information exchange between systems - Local and
              metropolitan area networks - Specific requirements - Part
              11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical
              Layer (PHY) Specifications", IEEE Std 802.11-2007, June
              2007, <http://standards.ieee.org/getieee802/802.11.html>.

   [Jumbo]    "Ethernet Jumbo Frames", November 2009,

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

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

   [RFC2052]  Gulbrandsen, A. and P. Vixie, "A DNS RR for specifying the
              location of services (DNS SRV)", RFC 2052, October 1996.

   [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.

   [RFC2535]  Eastlake 3rd, D., "Domain Name System Security
              Extensions", RFC 2535, March 1999.

   [RFC2671]  Vixie, P., "Extension Mechanisms for DNS (EDNS0)", RFC
              2671, August 1999.

   [RFC2845]  Vixie, P., Gudmundsson, O., Eastlake 3rd, D., and B.
              Wellington, "Secret Key Transaction Authentication for DNS
              (TSIG)", RFC 2845, May 2000.

   [RFC2930]  Eastlake 3rd, D., "Secret Key Establishment for DNS (TKEY
              RR)", RFC 2930, September 2000.

   [RFC2931]  Eastlake 3rd, D., "DNS Request and Transaction Signatures
              ( SIG(0)s )", RFC 2931, September 2000.

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

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

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

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

   [RFC4291]  Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IP Version 6 Addressing
              Architecture", RFC 4291, February 2006.

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

   [RFC4861]  Narten, T., Nordmark, E., Simpson, W., and H. Soliman,
              "Neighbor Discovery for IP version 6 (IPv6)", RFC 4861,
              September 2007.

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

   [RFC5226]  Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, "Guidelines for Writing an
              IANA Considerations Section in RFCs", BCP 26, RFC 5226,
              May 2008.

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

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

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

   [RFC6763]  Cheshire, S. and M. Krochmal, "DNS-Based Service
              Discovery", RFC 6763, February 2013.

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

Appendix A.  Design Rationale for Choice of UDP Port Number

   Arguments were made for and against using UDP port 53, the standard
   Unicast DNS port.  Some of the arguments are given below.  The
   arguments for using a different port were greater in number and more
   compelling, so that option was ultimately selected.  The UDP port
   "5353" was selected for its mnemonic similarity to "53".

   Arguments for using UDP port 53:

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

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

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

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

   * Changing resolver library code to use a different port number is
     not hard.  In some cases, this can be achieved without any code
     changes, just by adding the address to a
     configuration file.

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

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

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

Appendix B.  Design Rationale for Not Using Hashed Multicast Addresses

   Some discovery protocols use a range of multicast addresses, and
   determine the address to be used by a hash function of the name being
   sought.  Queries are sent via multicast to the address as indicated
   by the hash function, and responses are returned to the querier via
   unicast.  Particularly in IPv6, where multicast addresses are
   extremely plentiful, this approach is frequently advocated.  For
   example, IPv6 Neighbor Discovery [RFC4861] sends Neighbor
   Solicitation messages to the "solicited-node multicast address",
   which is computed as a function of the solicited IPv6 address.

   There are some disadvantages to using hashed multicast addresses like
   this in a service discovery protocol:

   * When a host has a large number of records with different names, the
     host may have to join a large number of multicast groups.  Each
     time a host joins or leaves a multicast group, this results in
     Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) or Multicast Listener
     Discovery (MLD) traffic on the network announcing this fact.
     Joining a large number of multicast groups can place undue burden
     on the Ethernet hardware, which typically supports a limited number
     of multicast addresses efficiently.  When this number is exceeded,
     the Ethernet hardware may have to resort to receiving all
     multicasts and passing them up to the host networking code for
     filtering in software, thereby defeating much of the point of using
     a multicast address range in the first place.  Finally, many IPv6
     stacks have a fixed limit IPV6_MAX_MEMBERSHIPS, and the code simply
     fails with an error if a client attempts to exceed this limit.
     Common values for IPV6_MAX_MEMBERSHIPS are 20 or 31.

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

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

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

   * Opportunistic Caching doesn't work.

   * Ongoing Conflict Detection doesn't work.

Appendix C.  Design Rationale for Maximum Multicast DNS Name Length

   Multicast DNS names may be up to 255 bytes long (in the on-the-wire
   message format), not counting the terminating zero byte at the end.

   "Domain Names - Implementation and Specification" [RFC1035] says:

      Various objects and parameters in the DNS have size limits.  They
      are listed below.  Some could be easily changed, others are more

      labels          63 octets or less

      names           255 octets or less


      the total length of a domain name (i.e., label octets and label
      length octets) is restricted to 255 octets or less.

   This text does not state whether this 255-byte limit includes the
   terminating zero at the end of every name.

   Several factors lead us to conclude that the 255-byte limit does
   *not* include the terminating zero:

   o It is common in software engineering to have size limits that are a
     power of two, or a multiple of a power of two, for efficiency.  For
     example, an integer on a modern processor is typically 2, 4, or 8
     bytes, not 3 or 5 bytes.  The number 255 is not a power of two, nor
     is it to most people a particularly noteworthy number.  It is
     noteworthy to computer scientists for only one reason -- because it
     is exactly one *less* than a power of two.  When a size limit is
     exactly one less than a power of two, that suggests strongly that
     the one extra byte is being reserved for some specific reason -- in
     this case reserved, perhaps, to leave room for a terminating zero
     at the end.

   o In the case of DNS label lengths, the stated limit is 63 bytes.  As
     with the total name length, this limit is exactly one less than a
     power of two.  This label length limit also excludes the label
     length byte at the start of every label.  Including that extra
     byte, a 63-byte label takes 64 bytes of space in memory or in a DNS

   o It is common in software engineering for the semantic "length" of
     an object to be one less than the number of bytes it takes to store
     that object.  For example, in C, strlen("foo") is 3, but
     sizeof("foo") (which includes the terminating zero byte at the end)
     is 4.

   o The text describing the total length of a domain name mentions
     explicitly that label length and data octets are included, but does
     not mention the terminating zero at the end.  The zero byte at the
     end of a domain name is not a label length.  Indeed, the value zero
     is chosen as the terminating marker precisely because it is not a
     legal length byte value -- DNS prohibits empty labels.  For
     example, a name like "bad..name." is not a valid domain name
     because it contains a zero-length label in the middle, which cannot
     be expressed in a DNS message, because software parsing the message
     would misinterpret a zero label-length byte as being a zero "end of
     name" marker instead.

   Finally, "Clarifications to the DNS Specification" [RFC2181] offers
   additional confirmation that, in the context of DNS specifications,
   the stated "length" of a domain name does not include the terminating
   zero byte at the end.  That document refers to the root name, which
   is typically written as "." and is represented in a DNS message by a
   single lone zero byte (i.e., zero bytes of data plus a terminating
   zero), as the "zero length full name":

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

   This wording supports the interpretation that, in a DNS context, when
   talking about lengths of names, the terminating zero byte at the end
   is not counted.  If the root name (".") is considered to be zero
   length, then to be consistent, the length (for example) of "org" has
   to be 4 and the length of "ietf.org" has to be 9, as shown below:

                                                 | 0x00 |   length = 0

                             ------------------   ------
                            | 0x03 | o | r | g | | 0x00 |   length = 4
                             ------------------   ------

      -----------------------------------------   ------
     | 0x04 | i | e | t | f | 0x03 | o | r | g | | 0x00 |   length = 9
      -----------------------------------------   ------

   This means that the maximum length of a domain name, as represented
   in a Multicast DNS message, up to but not including the final
   terminating zero, must not exceed 255 bytes.

   However, many Unicast DNS implementers have read these RFCs
   differently, and argue that the 255-byte limit does include the
   terminating zero, and that the "Clarifications to the DNS
   Specification" [RFC2181] statement that "." is the "zero length full
   name" was simply a mistake.

   Hence, implementers should be aware that other Unicast DNS
   implementations may limit the maximum domain name to 254 bytes plus a
   terminating zero, depending on how that implementer interpreted the
   DNS specifications.

   Compliant Multicast DNS implementations MUST support names up to 255
   bytes plus a terminating zero, i.e., 256 bytes total.

Appendix D.  Benefits of Multicast Responses

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

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

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

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

   * Passive Conflict Detection.  Just because a name has been
     previously verified to be unique does not guarantee it will
     continue to be so indefinitely.  By allowing all Multicast DNS

     responders to constantly monitor their peers' responses, conflicts
     arising out of network topology changes can be promptly detected
     and resolved.  If responses were not sent via multicast, some other
     conflict detection mechanism would be needed, imposing its own
     additional burden on the network.

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

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

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

Appendix E.  Design Rationale for Encoding Negative Responses

   Alternative methods of asserting nonexistence were considered, such
   as using an NXDOMAIN response, or emitting a resource record with
   zero-length rdata.

   Using an NXDOMAIN response does not work well with Multicast DNS.  A
   Unicast DNS NXDOMAIN response applies to the entire message, but for
   efficiency Multicast DNS allows (and encourages) multiple responses
   in a single message.  If the error code in the header were NXDOMAIN,
   it would not be clear to which name(s) that error code applied.

   Asserting nonexistence by emitting a resource record with zero-length
   rdata would mean that there would be no way to differentiate between
   a record that doesn't exist, and a record that does exist, with zero-

   length rdata.  By analogy, most file systems today allow empty files,
   so a file that exists with zero bytes of data is not considered
   equivalent to a filename that does not exist.

   A benefit of asserting nonexistence through NSEC records instead of
   through NXDOMAIN responses is that NSEC records can be added to the
   Additional Section of a DNS response to offer additional information
   beyond what the querier explicitly requested.  For example, in
   response to an SRV query, a responder should include A record(s)
   giving its IPv4 addresses in the Additional Section, and an NSEC
   record indicating which other types it does or does not have for this
   name.  If the responder is running on a host that does not support
   IPv6 (or does support IPv6 but currently has no IPv6 address on that
   interface) then this NSEC record in the Additional Section will
   indicate this absence of AAAA records.  In effect, the responder is
   saying, "Here's my SRV record, and here are my IPv4 addresses, and
   no, I don't have any IPv6 addresses, so don't waste your time
   asking".  Without this information in the Additional Section, it
   would take the querier an additional round-trip to perform an
   additional query to ascertain that the target host has no AAAA
   records.  (Arguably Unicast DNS could also benefit from this ability
   to express nonexistence in the Additional Section, but that is
   outside the scope of this document.)

Appendix F.  Use of UTF-8

   After many years of debate, as a result of the perceived need to
   accommodate certain DNS implementations that apparently couldn't
   handle any character that's not a letter, digit, or hyphen (and
   apparently never would be updated to remedy this limitation), the
   Unicast DNS community settled on an extremely baroque encoding called
   "Punycode" [RFC3492].  Punycode is a remarkably ingenious encoding
   solution, but it is complicated, hard to understand, and hard to
   implement, using sophisticated techniques including insertion unsort
   coding, generalized variable-length integers, and bias adaptation.
   The resulting encoding is remarkably compact given the constraints,
   but it's still not as good as simple straightforward UTF-8, and it's
   hard even to predict whether a given input string will encode to a
   Punycode string that fits within DNS's 63-byte limit, except by
   simply trying the encoding and seeing whether it fits.  Indeed, the
   encoded size depends not only on the input characters, but on the
   order they appear, so the same set of characters may or may not
   encode to a legal Punycode string that fits within DNS's 63-byte
   limit, depending on the order the characters appear.  This is
   extremely hard to present in a user interface that explains to users
   why one name is allowed, but another name containing the exact same
   characters is not.  Neither Punycode nor any other of the "ASCII-
   Compatible Encodings" [RFC5890] proposed for Unicast DNS may be used

   in Multicast DNS messages.  Any text being represented internally in
   some other representation must be converted to canonical precomposed
   UTF-8 before being placed in any Multicast DNS message.

Appendix G.  Private DNS Namespaces

   The special treatment of names ending in ".local." has been
   implemented in Macintosh computers since the days of Mac OS 9, and
   continues today in Mac OS X and iOS.  There are also implementations
   for Microsoft Windows [B4W], Linux, and other platforms.

   Some network operators setting up private internal networks
   ("intranets") have used unregistered top-level domains, and some may
   have used the ".local" top-level domain.  Using ".local" as a private
   top-level domain conflicts with Multicast DNS and may cause problems
   for users.  Clients can be configured to send both Multicast and
   Unicast DNS queries in parallel for these names, and this does allow
   names to be looked up both ways, but this results in additional
   network traffic and additional delays in name resolution, as well as
   potentially creating user confusion when it is not clear whether any
   given result was received via link-local multicast from a peer on the
   same link, or from the configured unicast name server.  Because of
   this, we recommend against using ".local" as a private Unicast DNS
   top-level domain.  We do not recommend use of unregistered top-level
   domains at all, but should network operators decide to do this, the
   following top-level domains have been used on private internal
   networks without the problems caused by trying to reuse ".local." for
   this purpose:


Appendix H.  Deployment History

   In July 1997, in an email to the net-thinkers@thumper.vmeng.com
   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 [MC4] 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-

   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]
     proposed a way to perform NBP-like service discovery using DNS-
     compatible names and record types.

   o "Multicast DNS" (this document) 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.

   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].

   In June 2012, Google's Android operating system added native support
   for DNS-SD and Multicast DNS with the android.net.nsd.NsdManager
   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
   EMail: cheshire@apple.com

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

   Phone: +1 408 974 4368
   EMail: marc@apple.com


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