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Add a Bonjour Gateway to a WLAN

Bonjour is a standards-based protocol from Apple that provides a way for devices and services on the same network to discover one another. It works by forwarding multicast Domain Name System (mDNS) frames to clients on the LAN so they can automatically discover and connect to the advertised service (such as a printer or AirPlay device).

On wireless networks, however, it is common for clients and the various services to connect to the same WLAN from different VLANs. As such, to use the Bonjour services, it becomes necessary to bridge mDNS frames originating on one VLAN to wireless clients connected on another VLAN. You do this by setting up a Bonjour gateway on the WLAN. The gateway can bridge local VLANs on the WLAN, as discussed in this topic, as well as by tunneling through a Mist Edge, which will require the assistance of Juniper technical support.

Figure 1: Adding a Bonjour Gateway Adding a Bonjour Gateway

In Mist, the Bonjour gateway receives discovery queries from eligible clients (as explained below) on the Wi-Fi network, and forwards them to VLANs listed in the Discovery VLANs field of the gateway configuration. These VLANs can be part of the WLAN, or a part of the wired infrastructure. Responses from any Bonjour device on the network (that is, the WLAN, a wireless VLAN, or a wired VLAN) are forwarded (unicast) to the requesting client and added to the local cache. In this way, the gateway learns and builds a list of all users and devices that need to discover each other.

Access Control

When setting up a Bonjour gateway, you can also employ access control so a given Bonjour service is only discoverable for the specified user roles or locations. For example, for a classroom setting, you could leverage existing RADIUS roles for students and teachers to have screen casting in the Apple AirPlay service available only to teachers. You also use location-based access control to achieve similar results. For example, you can use your site floor plan when setting set up wireless printer service on the gateway in a way that ensures the printers are only discoverable by users who are on the same floor.

Custom Bonjour Services

Bonjour service labels use syntax such as the following: airplay._tcp._local. If you need to add a service that is not already on the list, you add your own custom service by providing the service-name portion of the label, for example, homeconnect in the Add Custom Service option. The rest of the label (the ._tcp._local part) will be appended automatically to that name.

Role-based Bonjour Discovery

Role-based access lets you limit Bonjour service discovery within a WLAN to specified user role(s). It requires a RADIUS server for providing users' authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) profile, and Mist user labels in order to map those attributes so they can be used in the Mist policy framework. The result is that you can use labels to filter out non-matching users so they cannot discover the selected Bonjour service, while at the same time it is available to authorized users. See Use Case: Labels for a Bonjour Gateway.

Best Practices

Juniper recommends that you filter (that is, drop) most broadcast and multicast frames on the wireless network so APs don't waste airtime in sending them. By default, this filtering includes mDNS frames when Bonjour is enabled.

Design your WLAN to minimize the volume of protocol chatter. Both SSDP (for plug-n-play devices) and mDNS can be very chatty protocols. As such, they can quickly degrade wireless performance by flooding the channel and consuming airtime. The design principles below can help reduce the chatter:

  • Define a flood boundary for the Bonjour gateway.

  • Pool Bonjour devices to use the minimal number of discovery VLANs.

  • Use location or role-based service discovery.

  • Test on the small scale before deploying in the network, especially before using custom Bonjour applications.

  • Enable broadcast and multicast filtering on the wireless network.

To add a Bonjour gateway to a WLAN:

  1. Navigate to the WLAN.
    • If the WLAN is in a WLAN template, select Organization > Wireless | WLAN Templates, click the template, and then click the WLAN.

    • For a site-level WLAN, select Site > Wireless | WLANs, and then click the WLAN.

  2. In the Bonjour gateway section, select Enabled.
  3. From the list of services that appears, select the one(s) you are making discoverable, or click Add Custom Service to define your own.
  4. Click a Bonjour service, and if you want to limit its discoverability by proximity to the Mist AP, select one of the following options:
    • Floorplan—Use this option to use Live View to choose APs on the floor plan will forward mDNS frames, and in so doing, make the Bonjour service discoverable by clients. Both the client and Bonjour service must be connected to the AP. Note you should only use this method if you are sure AP placement is accurate and that the RF design is good.

    • AP—Select this option to have the Bonjour service discoverable only by clients that are connected to the same AP (not WLAN).

    • Site—(Default) Select this option to have the Bonjour service discoverable by clients throughout the site.

  5. If you want to limit the discoverability of the service based on the user label, click Restricted to RADIUS groups, and then enter the user label(s) that you created to map RADIUS attributes. Delimit multiple groups with a comma.
  6. Under Discovery VLANs, specify the VLAN ID(s) or site variables for every VLAN in the wireless network with a wireless client or Bonjour services that you want to support.
  7. Specify any wired VLANs (that are not already part of the WLAN) that you want to support.
    Note that these VLANs must be enabled with Bonjour services and must be identified in the AP configuration page for the interface that connects to the switch.
  8. In the Filtering (Wireless) section, select Broadcast/Multicast filtering and Allow mDNS to pass the frames to the wireless clients.
  9. Click Save at the top of the page.