A coalition of higher education IT folks petitioned Apple last August to make Bonjour, AirPlay, and AirPrint work better on large campus networks. The petition currently has 750 signatures, which may have helped Apple take notice.
This week, the Cupertino-based tech company responded to the petition by proposing a new industry standard that will fix issues with its “zero-configuration” networking technology–Bonjour–to let it scale better and be more secure across larger networks. At an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting in Atlanta, Apple and other vendors, including IBM, claimed support for the creation of a new working group to improve the current networking protocols, of which Bonjour is one.
Bonjour has become something of a de-facto standard, even though it wasn’t designed for more than smaller, home-based networking tasks.
“We targeted Bonjour at home networks, but over the last 10 years Multicast DNS – what Apple calls Bonjour – has become very popular,” Stuart Cheshire, an Apple networking engineer who created Bonjour and wrote the MDNS specifications, told Network World. “Every network printer uses Bonjour. TiVo, home video recorders and cameras use it. IPads and iPhones use it, and we are starting to get a lot of demand from customers that they won’t be able to print from iPads to a printer in the next building.”
The higher education group, Educause, petitioned Apple to fix these issues. They’d like Apple to make Apple TVs accessible across multiple network addresses and subnets, to improve the scalability of Bonjour for larger networks, and to add support for encryption and authentication on Apple TVs.
The trick will be to bring together all the vendors and suppliers that use MDNS protocols, fix the issues, and then deploy it across the working group members, so that the security and scalability of the protocol will improve without losing its awesome zero-configuration features. Seems like Apple is working with the IETF and other member agencies to make sure this happens.