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An Overview of Automatic Network Configuration for IPv4 Appliances

Chalon, Denis; Durand, Yves; Richard, Bruno

HPL-2001-235

Keyword(s): appliance; configuration; IPv4; discovery

Abstract: In the near future, appliances will be able to cooperate to provide useful services to consumers. Thus, common appliances such as Set-top boxes, PDAs, car positioning devices will require network connectivity. But still, the unacceptable complexity of network configuration hinders the acceptance of the market. The only way to overcome this is to rely on fully automated configuration mechanisms. This document aims at providing a detailed view about auto configuration issues in IPv4 networks to software developers and architects who may not necessarily be networking experts. We restrict our analysis to appliance networks, and thus we focus on specific issues like the absence of central servers for functions such as Domain Name Service or routing. This work is a foundation for the effort at HP Labs Grenoble to implement an "appliance ecosystem" [18] from existing technologies. Thus, even if IPv6 resolves most of the existing hurdles of auto configuration, we focus here on the mechanisms that are common to both IPv4 and IPv6, in order to provide a solution suitable for the transition time between both.

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