# MdnsLite

[![Hex version]( "Hex version")](

MdnsLite is a simple, limited, no frills implementation of an
[mDNS]( (Multicast Domain Name
System) client and server. It operates like DNS, but uses multicast instead of
unicast so that any computer on a LAN can help resolve names. In particular, it
resolves hostnames that end in `.local` and provides a way to advertise and
discovery service.

MdnsLite is intended for environments like on Nerves devices that do not already
have an `mDNS` service. If you're running on desktop Linux or on MacOS, you
already have `mDNS` support and do not need MdnsLite.

Features of MdnsLite:

* Advertise `<hostname>.local` and aliases for ease of finding devices
* Static (application config) and dynamic service registration
* Support for multi-homed devices. For example, mDNS responses sent on a network
  interface have the expected IP addresses for that interface.
* DNS bridging so that Erlang's built-in DNS resolver can look up `.local` names
  via mDNS.
* Caching of results and advertisements seen on the network
* Integration with
  [VintageNet]( and Erlang's
  `:inet` application for network interface monitoring
* Easy inspection of mDNS record tables to help debug service discovery issues

MdnsLite is included in [NervesPack]( so you
might already have it!

## Configuration

A typical configuration in the `config.exs` file looks like:

config :mdns_lite,
  # Advertise `hostname.local` on the LAN
  hosts: [:hostname],
  services: [
    # Advertise an HTTP server running on port 80
      id: :web_service,
      protocol: "http",
      transport: "tcp",
      port: 80,
    # Advertise an SSH daemon on port 22
      id: :ssh_daemon,
      protocol: "ssh",
      transport: "tcp",
      port: 22,

The `services` section lists the services that the host offers, such as
providing an HTTP server. Specifying a `protocol`, `transport` and `port` is
usually the easiest way. The `protocol` and `transport` get combined to form the
service type that's actually advertised on the network. For example, a "tcp"
transport and "ssh" protocol will end up as `"_ssh._tcp"` in the advertisement.
If you need something custom, specify `:type` directly. Optional fields include
`:id`, `:weight`, `:priority`, and `:txt_payload`. An `:id` is needed to remove
the service advertisement at runtime. A `:txt_payload` is a list of
`"<key>=<value>"` string that will be advertised in a TXT DNS record
corresponding to the service.

See [`MdnsLite.Options`]( for
information about all application environment options.

It's possible to change the advertised hostnames and services at runtime. For
example, to change the list of advertised hostnames, run:

iex> MdnsLite.set_host([:hostname, "nerves"])

Here's how to add and remove a service at runtime:

iex> MdnsLite.add_mdns_service(%{
    id: :my_web_server,
    protocol: "http",
    transport: "tcp",
    port: 80,
iex> MdnsLite.remove_mdns_service(:my_web_server)

## Client

`MdnsLite.gethostbyname/1` uses mDNS to resolve hostnames. Here's an example:

iex> MdnsLite.gethostbyname("my-laptop.local")
{:ok, {172, 31, 112, 98}}

If you just want mDNS to "just work" with Erlang, you'll need to enable
MdnsLite's DNS Bridge feature and configure Erlang's DNS resolver to use it. See
the DNS Bridge section for details.

Service discovery docs TBD...

## DNS Bridge configuration

`MdnsLite` can start a DNS server to respond to `.local` queries. This enables
code that has no knowledge of mDNS to resolve mDNS queries. For example,
Erlang/OTP's built-in DNS resolver doesn't know about mDNS. It's used to resolve
hosts for Erlang distribution and pretty much any code using `:gen_tcp` and
`:gen_udp`. `MdnsLite`'s DNS bridge feature makes `.local` hostname lookups work
for all of this. No code modifications required.

Note that this feature is useful on Nerves devices. Erlang/OTP can use the
system name resolver on desktop Linux and MacOS. The system name resolver should
already be hooked up to an mDNS resolver there.

To set this up, you'll need to enable the DNS bridge on `MdnsLite` and then set
up the DNS resolver to use it first. Here are the options for the application

config :mdns_lite,
  dns_bridge_enabled: true,
  dns_bridge_ip: {127, 0, 0, 53},
  dns_bridge_port: 53,
  dns_bridge_recursive: true

config :vintage_net,
  additional_name_servers: [{127, 0, 0, 53}]

The choice of running the DNS bridge on is mostly arbitrary. This
is the default.

There is an issue on Nerves and Linux that you may hit if the `:mdns_lite`
application is not running. The Erlang DNS resolver calls `connect` to the IP
address of the DNS server and then calls `connect` again to the next one. The
second `connect` call fails when the first one is a `127.0.0.x` address. See
[Issue 5092](

## Debugging

`MdnsLite` maintains a table of records that it advertises and a cache per
network interface. The table of records that it advertises is based solely off
its configuration. Review it by running:

iex> MdnsLite.Info.dump_records
<interface_ipv4> type PTR, class IN, ttl 120, nerves-2e6d.local
<interface_ipv6> type PTR, class IN, ttl 120, nerves-2e6d.local
_epmd._tcp.local: type PTR, class IN, ttl 120, nerves-2e6d._epmd._tcp.local
_services._dns-sd._udp.local: type PTR, class IN, ttl 120, _epmd._tcp.local
_services._dns-sd._udp.local: type PTR, class IN, ttl 120, _sftp-ssh._tcp.local
_services._dns-sd._udp.local: type PTR, class IN, ttl 120, _ssh._tcp.local
_sftp-ssh._tcp.local: type PTR, class IN, ttl 120, nerves-2e6d._sftp-ssh._tcp.local
_ssh._tcp.local: type PTR, class IN, ttl 120, nerves-2e6d._ssh._tcp.local
nerves-2e6d._epmd._tcp.local: type SRV, class IN, ttl 120, priority 0, weight 0, port 4369, nerves-2e6d.local.
nerves-2e6d._epmd._tcp.local: type TXT, class IN, ttl 120,
nerves-2e6d._sftp-ssh._tcp.local: type SRV, class IN, ttl 120, priority 0, weight 0, port 22, nerves-2e6d.local.
nerves-2e6d._sftp-ssh._tcp.local: type TXT, class IN, ttl 120,
nerves-2e6d._ssh._tcp.local: type SRV, class IN, ttl 120, priority 0, weight 0, port 22, nerves-2e6d.local.
nerves-2e6d._ssh._tcp.local: type TXT, class IN, ttl 120,
nerves-2e6d.local: type A, class IN, ttl 120, addr <interface_ipv4>
nerves-2e6d.local: type AAAA, class IN, ttl 120, addr <interface_ipv6>

Note that some addresses have not been filled in. They depend on which network
interface receives the query. The idea is that if a computer is looking for you
on the Ethernet interface, you should give records with that Ethernet's
interface rather than, say, the IP address of the WiFi interface.

`MdnsLite`'s cache is filled with records that it sees advertised. It's
basically the same, but can be quite large depending on the mDNS activity on a
link. It looks like this:

iex> MdnsLite.Info.dump_caches

## In memory

[Peter Marks]( wrote and maintained the original
version of `mdns_lite`.

## License

Copyright (C) 2019-21 SmartRent

    Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
    you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
    You may obtain a copy of the License at [](

    Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
    distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
    WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
    See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
    limitations under the License.