Configuring Private DNS via DHCP

At IETF 102 in Montréal, I presented some slides on DHCPv6 Private DNS Discovery at the DRIU BOF.

The talk was based on an Internet Draft that Willem Toorop and I worked on: DHCPv6 Options for private DNS Discovery. It provided a means to include an Authenticated Domain Name (ADN) for a nameserver to be used with DNS over TLS (DoT) or DNS over HTTPS (DoH).

To say that the talk was received poorly is an understatment...

Ted Lemon made a good argument that DHCP should only be used for boostrapping initial network parameters and not for full fledged configuration of all network parameters.

There was enough consensus that we feel that moving forward with this work would go against the wishes of the IETF community.

There still is a need for configuring the ADN in a trusted campus environment but a different proposal will need to be invented for this use case.

Overall, it was a good excercise and I hope that by documenting this here, it will discourage others from going down this path in the future.

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DNS Packet library

Recently, I've been contributing to the node.js library dns-packet. This library takes a JSON description of DNS fields and encodes them into raw DNS packets. On the receiving side, it also decodes raw DNS packets and returns a JSON representation.

It's a handy package that I am using for another future project to be announced soon I hope.

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sdtest tool

sdtest tool project terminated

  • sdtest was a client simulation tool for testing DNS subscriptions. It was written in C and while useful, was limited by the amount of code required to extend it and the lack of C programmers who would do so.

  • Therefore, the project was terminated in favor of a new extensible tool called nst (Name Server Test tool) written in javascript node.js. See more on this site under test for more information on nst.

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Discovery daemon (discd) is an implementation of the "Discovery Proxy for Multicast DNS-Based Service Discovery" specified as an internet draft of the IETF:


It dynamically maps multicast DNS services into the unicast DNS name space. This allows remote service discovery requests to be answered when the querier is not on the same link local network as the service provider.

Traditionally, zero-conf networking (or Bonjour as Apple Computer calls it) only provides answers to queries on the local network. This works great for home and small offfice (SOHO) networks but frustrates corporate and campus users when a device they want to communicate with is on another IP subnet for network scaling reasons.

By dynamically mapping the ever changing multicast DNS (mDNS) services into the unicast DNS namespace, it's possible to remotely query services through a proxy.

discd is that proxy.

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iPhone/iPad TLS DNS Proxy

As Sarah Dickinson recently mentioned at DNS-OARC 27 in San Jose, CA,, there is a work in progress for a TLS DNS Proxy for the Apple iPhone/iPad running iOS 11 and above. This uses the new DNS Proxy Network Extension and, when enabled, all DNS requests will be sent to a resolver over TLS.

I expect this new DNS Network Extension to be available for macOS in a future release as well.

Check back here in a bit to see the status and sign up for beta testing.


After receiving the following message on the Console, it appears that the only way to use the new DNS Proxy Network Extension in iOS 11 is through Mobile Device Management (MDM) Tools as a supervised device. This makes it impossible to install for the average user through the App Store.

Therefore, I am suspending this effort until this extension is more useful to a wider audience.

Oct  5 17:29:26 iPhone nehelper(NetworkExtension)[99] <Error>: -[NEHelperConfigurationManager:562  Warning: allowing creation/modification of a DNS proxy configuration on non-supervised device because the requesting app (DNS-TLS) is a development version. This will not be allowed for the production version of DNS-TLS


An Apple representative confirmed this is currently only for supervised devices but he seems to indicate they are considering opening this up to all devices but with no assurances or timeline:

I’ve just confirmed that, as things currently stand, NEDNSProxyProvider is limited to supervised devices.  We have a bug on file (r. 34843801) requesting that this restriction be lifted.  I suspect that this will happen but, as per usual, I can’t make any specific promises about that, or about the timeline for this change.  It certainly wouldn’t hurt for each of you to file your own bug describing your use case, how this restriction is affecting you, and what workarounds you’ve resorted to.
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IETFers iPhone/iPad app

The IETFers iPhone/iPad app I wrote and maintain for the worldwide Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meetings is available for download in the Apple App Store.

If you have bug reports or feature requests, use the Settings panel and send me your wishes!


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nst tool


  • nst is a new tool written in javascript node.js. It is a generic DNS name server test tool that can be used to test new DNS features in a server.

  • A major goal is to be able to support testing of long-lived DNS connections in addition to simple query/response tests. Long-lived connections are used for DNS Privacy connection optimization, DNS Stateful Operations such as DNS Push Notifications, and service discovery with a discovery proxy and relay.

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sdtest tool


  • sdtest is a client simulation tool for testing DNS subscriptions. It supports both the older Long Lived Queries (LLQ) and the new replacement DNS Push Notifications.

  • Since it is a work in progress, the best way to follow it is to look at the github sdtest project documentation that is being updated as the code is written.

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DNS Delegating Server

Requirements of the delegating server

The hybrid proxy is an authoritative DNS server for one or more subdomains. Each of these subdomains MUST be delegated to the hybrid proxy by the parent zone.


Subdomains are delegated to another server by defining NS records in the delegating server. The following records create three subdomains and delegate those subdomains to the listed servers. IN      NS IN      NS IN      NS

Browse Records

Service Discovery clients will query known search domains to see if they are browseable for services. Initially, they will query for If the domain is browseable, it will have PTR records for one or more browseable domains. This could include a PTR record for the domain and also for subdomains. For a client to search a hybrid proxy for discoverable services, PTR records for the subdomain of each IP subnet represented by the hybrid proxy must be listed in the delegating server.

b._dns-sd._udp IN      PTR     @                   ;apex is browseable
b._dns-sd._udp IN      PTR ;delegated to discovery proxy
b._dns-sd._udp IN      PTR
b._dns-sd._udp IN      PTR

The client will then query each of the subdomains listed to see if they are browseable, for example, The hybrid proxy should answer this query with its hostname.

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discd Configuration

Lua style configuration

Most configuration can be provided in the delegating DNS server. discd queries this DNS server for subdomains and names to listen for. If you don't have full control over the delegating server, you can override or augment the configuration with a local config file.

There is a sample config file in $SYSCONFIDR/discd.lua. For Linux, this is /etc/discd.lua. For FreeBSD, it would be /usr/local/etc/discd.lua. Here, you can override the host and domain name as well as the subdomains for each interface. Some sample configuration is included below. While it might not be obvious, using a Lua language file for configuration provides a lot of flexibility for generating the variables to be read by the discd daemon.

hostname = '' -- only needed to override default
port = {
    -- defaults, not yet implemented
    udp = 53, tcp = 53, tls = 853, llq = 5352, push = 853
certificate = {
    -- looks for letsencrypt certs automatically in the default location by hostname
    crt = '/etc/letsenscrypt/live/',
    key = '/etc/letsenscrypt/live/',
    chain = '/etc/letsenscrypt/live/'
interfaces = {
    -- currently required if no reverse PTR net records
    { name = 'eth0', subdomain = '' },
    { name = 'eth1', disable = true },


LLQ and DNS Push Notifications are not fully implemented.

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discd Install

To install on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), please add this repo and update. 64-bit only.

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys F93418C56652E60C
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb [arch=amd64] trusty main'
sudo apt-get update

To install on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), please add this repo and update. 64-bit only.

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys F93418C56652E60C
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb [arch=amd64] xenial main'
sudo apt-get update

The software can then be installed with the following commands:

sudo apt-get install discd
sudo apt-get install discli
sudo apt-get install discweb # (coming soon)
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IETF 92 DNS Push Talk

In March of 2015, I gave a talk to the IETF DNS-SD Working Group in Dallas introducing DNS Push Notifications. This work was a joint effort between Stuart Cheshire and myself as a next generation follow on to LLQ.

Here are the slides:

IETF 92 DNS Push Slides

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