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AirPort and Time Capsule with Dynamic DNS

Dyn is experimenting with Zero Configuration Networking capabilities, including support for dynamic DNS updates from Apple networking devices.

Note: as of version 6.1 of the Airport Utility and 7.6.1 router firmware, the Apple Airport Extreme and Time Capsule routers no longer offer the ability to configure wide-area bonjour. This has effectively caused these Apple routers to no longer support sending updates to Dyn Standard DNS. If you are attempting to set up earlier versions of the Airport Utility and firmware, you can use these instructions, but this is an experimental feature, we cannot provide technical support for this setup. If you need assistance, check out the Dyn Community.

Getting Started

First, let’s make sure you have all of the requirements for dynamic DNS in the AirPort in place:

  1. A domain name of your own (e.g., example.com)… if you don’t have one, register one now.
  2. Dyn Standard DNS service, fully configured for your domain… if you don’t have it, purchase now.
  3. An Apple AirPort Extreme, Apple AirPort Express, or Apple Time Capsule device.
  4. A computer running the AirPort Utility (v5.4.2 to v5.5.3).

Note on Apple Bonjour: If you’re looking to make Wide Area Bonjour, DNS Service Discovery, and NAT-PMP work with Dyn, you may be interested in this article instead. The tutorial below is only for configuring the dynamic DNS client in the AirPort devices to use Dyn.

Note on DynDNS Free and DynDNS Pro: We currently do not support the AirPort or Time Capsule devices on our DynDNS Free and Pro services. You must use Dyn Standard DNS with your own domain name for this to work properly. If you intend to use our DynDNS Free or Pro services with an AirPort or Time Capsule, you must use one of our Dyn Update Clients.

Setup Your Dyn Standard DNS Zone for updates

The AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express and Time Capsule devices do NOT use the Dyn HTTP Update API [IETF Draft] to dynamically update DNS servers. Instead, these devices use the DNS Update [RFC 2136] protocol combined with TSIG security [RFC 2845].

Your Dyn Standard DNS zone requires a couple of special records to enable these devices to find where and how to update Dyn with your information.

  1. Enable the Expert Interface in Dyn Standard DNS
    • Under Zone Level Services, select the Dyn Standard DNS zone for which you wish to enable for updates.
    • In the upper-right corner of the zone page, you will see a button labeled Preferences. Please click this to view your zone’s settings.
    • On the Preferences page, you will see a button labeled Enable Expert Interface in the lower-right hand corner. Please click this to change your interface type from Standard to Expert (you can change this back at any time).
    • You should be returned to the configuration page for your Dyn Standard DNS service. Your records will be displayed as shown at left, in a format closer to the layout of records in BIND.

  2. Create a SRV record within the Dyn Standard DNS zone so that your Apple devices can discover where to send their updates. Set the values to the following:
    Host TTL Type Data
    _dns-update._udp
    60
    SRV
    0 5 53 update.dyndns.com.

    This record instructs Apple dynamic update devices where to find the target host and port for Dyn’s update services. The record is required because the devices by default will attempt to perform their dynamic updates at your zone’s name server (e.g., ns1.mydyndns.org) on port 53, but Dyn operates its TSIG server at update.dyndns.com on port 53. Further details are available at the registry of DNS-SD service types.

  3. Create five PTR records within the Dyn Standard DNS zone. While these are not strictly required for dynamic updates, they are required if you wish to use the Wide Area Bonjour and DNS Service Discovery features built into Apple products in the future. Set the values as follows (example shown at left), but be sure to use your zone name as the value for Data:
    Host TTL Type Data
    b._dns-sd._udp
    60
    PTR
    your-custom-zone.com.
    lb._dns-sd._udp
    60
    PTR
    your-custom-zone.com.
    db._dns-sd._udp
    60
    PTR
    your-custom-zone.com.
    r._dns-sd._udp
    60
    PTR
    your-custom-zone.com.
    dr._dns-sd._udp
    60
    PTR
    your-custom-zone.com.

    These records tell Wide Area Bonjour clients how to browse your zone for services (‘b’ for browse, ‘lb’ for legacy browse, and ‘db’ for default browse) and register their own services (‘r’ for register and ‘dr’ for default register). For more details on the usage and meaning of each record, see the DNS Service Discovery web site.

  4. When you’re finished, you will have six additional records in your Dyn Standard DNS zone as shown below.

Setup Your Dynamic Global Hostname in the AirPort or Time Capsule

Now that your Dyn Standard DNS zone is configured to receive dynamic updates from Apple devices, you can use the Apple AirPort Utility (v5.4.2 to v5.5.3) to configure dynamic DNS in the Apple device.

If you’re running Windows, you may have to download and install the AirPort Utility, here: support.apple.com/kb/DL1391, before continuing with setup.

If you’re running Mac OS X, AirPort Utility is pre-installed in “/Applications/Utilities/AirPort Utility”.

  1. Open the AirPort Utility, select your AirPort device at left, and go into Manual Setup.
  2. Select AirPort at top, and then Base Station.
  3. Under the location for configuration the name of your device, click Edit.
  4. Locate the Hostname, User, and Password fields. This is where we will populate the settings from Dyn, and enable your dynamic global hostname (just a fancy term for a hostname that supports dynamic DNS updates, and is visible to the global Internet).
  5. Populate the Hostname field with your full hostname from your Dyn Standard DNS service. This would typically be “your-computer-name.your-custom-dns-zone.com”. The User and Password fields are NOT the Dyn account username and password! Instead, they refer to a special type of authentication for dynamic DNS updates called Transaction Signature, or TSIG.Retrieve your TSIG information from your TSIG account settings page, and populate the information in the User and Password fields as shown in the diagram, and then click OK.
  6. Click Update. Don’t forget to click Update!
  7. Wait for your AirPort to reboot, and your Dyn authentication information should be successfully stored.

Community Support

Once your setup is complete, your global dynamic hostname will start updating at Dyn. If you need further assistance, you can reach out to the experts in the Dyn Community.

Bonjour, the Bonjour logo, and the Bonjour symbol are trademarks of Apple Inc.

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