What is UPnP?

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What is UPnP?
UPnP or Universal Plug and Play is a collection of open format protocols, which is not OS limited that is intended for the purpose of trouble-free network connectivity. The architecture of the protocol permits device-to-device connection of networked electronic appliance, computers, and other wireless devices.

Specifically, UPnP was designed for home users. UPnP’s intention is to do away with the difficulty of the acceptance of technology at home. Electronic consumers, especially those who use network-capable devices experienced buying expensive gadgets, which later on reveals to have compatibility issues with other devices. The only remedy aside from returning the gadget was to work on conversions. However, this was before the introduction of the UPnP.

UPnP is often mistaken to be directly related to the earlier technology, which is known as the plug and play. However, the concept is somehow patterned to the plug and play technology. UPnP is meant for a seamless discovery of each devices present on the network and automatically establish operative network services.

The official history of UPnP can be dated back in 2008 when the International Organization for Standardization published it. As mentioned earlier, the development of UPnP was outlined with the earlier plug and play implementation. However, the earlier plug and play was built exclusive of formal protocol.

From then on, manufacturers, producers and developers of consumer products followed the standard set by the UPnP protocol. Today, majority of devices out in the market are UPnP compliant and are enabled to detect other compatible devices. Moreover, such devices can obtain an IP address and join a network. The process can be pictured as devices communicating with each other broadcasting their identities and capabilities before being accepted to join in the network.

Some of the specific examples on the importance of UPnP on the use of network-capable devices are:

  • Personal computers and laptops
  • Networked printers
  • Digital cameras
  • Storage devices
    Wi-Fi access points
  • Mobile devices

The abovementioned devices automatically set up functional configurations among other devices.

With the introduction of the UPnP technology, even the average users without much technical knowledge can setup devices for networking. The architecture eliminated compatibility issues among other devices. Websites owners were also able to use this technology in integrating hardware access to their website. This had given a huge relief to web programmers.

However, just like any other high-technology protocol, nothing seemed to be perfect. UPnP also has its own negative aspect when technology people talk about its own internal security. By default, UPnP’s authentication protocol is disabled. All commands being  accepted by the network will have no verification for authenticity while this UPnP authentication feature is turned off.

This means dubious websites can take over the control of network devices. This can compromise the complete network’s security. Worst, these security holes may lead to the entry of malicious programs such as spyware, viruses, root-kits and worms. These malicious programs can disable or destroy the entire network. Overall, UPnP is still considered a useful protocol. The best thing to do with the security issue is to be just careful when surfing the web and avoid those suspicious websites.

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