Using JmDNS for service advertisement and discovery on android.

While working on the Ambient Dynamix project, I needed to search for android devices running the Dynamix framework from a python based application running on the desktop. Starting API 16, android provides the NSDManager class to advertise and search for services. However, to be able to support pre android 16 devices, I used the JmDNS library. (The one on the soureforge page is an older version)

To get an idea of what DNS Service discovery is and how it works, check out this and this.

Here’s the sample code with comments for explanation.

public class DnssdDiscovery extends Activity { lock;
	android.os.Handler handler = new android.os.Handler();
	private String LOGTAG = getClass().getSimpleName();

	public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

	protected void onStart() {

	private String type = "_dynamix._tcp.local.";
	private JmDNS jmdns = null;
	private ServiceListener listener = null;
	private ServiceInfo serviceInfo;

	private void setUp() {

		new Thread(new Runnable() {

			public void run() { wifi = ( getSystemService(android.content.Context.WIFI_SERVICE);
				/*Allows an application to receive 
				Wifi Multicast packets. Normally the Wifi stack 
				filters out packets not explicitly addressed to 
				this device. Acquiring a MulticastLock will cause 
				the stack to receive packets addressed to multicast
				addresses. Processing these extra packets can 
				cause a noticable battery drain and should be 
				disabled when not needed. */
				lock = wifi.createMulticastLock(getClass().getSimpleName());
				/*Controls whether this is a reference-counted or 
				non-reference- counted MulticastLock. 
				Reference-counted MulticastLocks keep track of the 
				number of calls to acquire() and release(), and 
				only stop the reception of multicast packets when 
				every call to acquire() has been balanced with a 
				call to release(). Non-reference- counted 
				MulticastLocks allow the reception of multicast 
				packets whenever acquire() is called and stop 
				accepting multicast packets whenever release() is 
				try {
					InetAddress addr = getLocalIpAddress();
					String hostname = addr.getHostName();
					Log.d(LOGTAG, "Addr : " + addr);
					Log.d(LOGTAG, "Hostname : " + hostname);
					jmdns = JmDNS.create(addr, hostname);
					listener = new ServiceListener() {

						 * Note:This event is only the service added event. The
						 * service info associated with this event does not
						 * include resolution information.
						public void serviceAdded(ServiceEvent event) {
							 * Request service information.
                                                         * The information about the service is requested and the
							 * ServiceListener.resolveService method is called
							 * as soon as it is available.
							event.getName(), 1000);

						 * A service has been resolved. Its details are now
						 * available in the ServiceInfo record.
						public void serviceResolved(ServiceEvent ev) {
							Log.d(LOGTAG, "Service resolved: " + ev.getInfo().getQualifiedName() + " port:" + ev.getInfo().getPort());
							Log.d(LOGTAG, "Service Type : " + ev.getInfo().getType());

						public void serviceRemoved(ServiceEvent ev) {
							Log.d(LOGTAG, "Service removed: " + ev.getName());

					jmdns.addServiceListener(type, listener);

					 * Advertising a JmDNS Service 

                                         * Construct a service description for registering with JmDNS. 
					 * Parameters: 
					 * type : fully qualified service type name, such as _dynamix._tcp.local
					 * name : unqualified service instance name, such as DynamixInstance 
					 * port : the local port on which the service runs text string describing the service
					 * text : text describing the service
					serviceInfo = ServiceInfo.create(type,
						"DynamixInstance", 7433,
						"Service Advertisement for Ambient Dynamix");

					/*A Key value map that can be advertised with the service*/
					Log.d(LOGTAG, "Service Type : " + serviceInfo.getType());
					Log.d(LOGTAG, "Service Registration thread complete");
				} catch (IOException e) {


	protected void onStop() {
		//Unregister services
		if (jmdns != null) {
			if (listener != null) {
				jmdns.removeServiceListener(type, listener);
				listener = null;
			try {
			} catch (IOException e) {
			jmdns = null;
		//Release the lock

	private InetAddress getLocalIpAddress() {
		WifiManager wifiManager = (WifiManager) getSystemService(Context.WIFI_SERVICE);
		WifiInfo wifiInfo = wifiManager.getConnectionInfo();
		int ipAddress = wifiInfo.getIpAddress();
		InetAddress address = null;
		try {
			address = InetAddress.getByName(String.format(Locale.ENGLISH,
				"%d.%d.%d.%d", (ipAddress & 0xff), (ipAddress >> 8 & 0xff), (ipAddress >> 16 & 0xff), (ipAddress >> 24 & 0xff)));
		} catch (UnknownHostException e) {
		return address;

	private Map <String, String> getDeviceDetailsMap() {
		Map <String, String> info = new HashMap <String, String> ();
		info.put("device_name", "my_device_name");
		return info;

Don’t forget to include the following permissions in the Android Manifest.

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_WIFI_STATE" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CHANGE_WIFI_MULTICAST_STATE" />

Will follow up with a post on how to discover these services from your desktop using python. Cheers!

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