The IPv4 family of protocols is the foundation for networking and connectivity in the digital home. Internet Protocol (IP) also provides underlying network communications for devices on the Internet. IP is based on industry standard specifications, implemented and supported in a wide range of devices with more than two decades of deployment in government, academic and commercial environments. There are several advantages to using IP in the digital home:
IP allows applications running over different media to communicate transparently. For example, a PC or an advanced set top box may stream media content to a television in the master bedroom through an Ethernet cable to an 802.11 Access Point and then wirelessly to the television. With IP, the media server and the television are unaware that the media content travels over two separate physical media. For direct peer-to-peer communications of a mobile device transmitting to a stationary device, IP provides the unifying framework to make applications independent of the actual transport technology.
IP can connect every device in the home to the Internet. Since IP is the protocol of the Internet, any device in the digital home can be potentially connected to any other Internet-connected device in the world.
IP connectivity is inexpensive. Because it is ubiquitous, economies of scale and competition combine to make physical media implementations of IP available at lower cost than other technologies.
As of the publication of the 2011 Guidelines, [CZ1] DLNA now supports connectivity through the following IP based technologies: Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 (a,b,g,n), Bluetooth, HPNA, MOCA and Wi-Fi Direct.
Recognizing these advantages, the DLNA Networked Device Interoperability Guidelines are intended to facilitate simple, interoperable connectivity, while meeting the consumers’ needs today and in the future.
The Internet Engineering Task Force is standardizing IPv6 as an improved version of IP and is actively pursuing a range of transition techniques for a smooth migration from IPv4 to IPv6. Many of these techniques will be applicable to home devices and residential gateways.
IPv6 provides built-in auto-configuration and enhanced support for mobility and security. IPv6 also provides a much larger network address space allowing more devices to be transparently interconnected. IPv6 is gaining acceptance in the CE, PC and mobile device industries as the long-term solution to the shortage of IPv4 addresses while maintaining end-to-end transparency. In the near term, support of IPv4 is essential for interoperability of devices on the home network. In the longer term, IPv6 support will become more important. The future transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will be handled in the DLNA Networked Device Interoperability Guidelines in a manner that enables devices based either on IPv4 or IPv6 to work well together.