Understanding Universal Plug and Play
Understanding Universal Plug and Play

Perhaps you’ve heard of the term “Universal Plug and Play” or “UPnP”, but you weren’t sure exactly what it means or if it’s a good service to use. Some people appreciate the convenience UPnP offers by eliminating the need for extensive setups. While others fear that convenience comes with the price of losing cybersecurity. Get a better understanding of this service with Nutmeg Technologies.

What is UPnP?

Universal Plug and Play is a network protocol service that allows devices to discover each other and automatically connect to one another. UPnP provides an automated way for adding and connecting new hardware to a local network. You may find a UPnP used for anything from linking a wireless speaker to a mobile device to using a mobile device to control an OIT system (smart lighting, smart locks, etc.)

How does UPnP work?

UPnP allows for other devices to automatically open and close ports to connect with the LAN network. This process occurs on the router and can permit web traffic to pass through an internal network from an external source. Although the process appears simple and instantaneous to the user, there is a lot going on in the background that you’re likely unaware of. Below are six phases that UPnP undergoes when allowing one device to connect to another:

  1. Addressing – Requests IP address for the new device (it must have a unique IP address to join the network).
  2. Discovery – Uses Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) to present its details (device type, identifier and pointer) to network control points.
  3. Description – The device sends a detailed description about its capabilities (model name, serial number, vendor information, etc.)
  4. Control – The network sends messages for intended actions on services.
  5. Event Notification – A control point registers itself as a service to get notifications for device state changes.
  6. Presentation –  The device may provide a presentation URL in the description phase, in which case, the control point can retrieve a page from this URL and load it into a web browser.

Is UPnP safe?

When UPnP allows devices to connect, the established network is safe. However, Universal Plug and Play poses a risk when it comes to outside devices as it may allow a device infected with malware to connect to another device. No human authentication is required to establish a connection, which makes this a greater risk. Although convenient, it may be wise to stay wary of connection services like UPnP that don’t require extensive security measures.

Nutmeg Technologies is a woman owned, full-service IT managed service provider based out of Enfield, CT. As your technology partner, we want you to stay focused on growing your business and help you communicate better. Our process has proven to be successful in pairing strategies with scalable technology to fit the needs of your business and support your growth. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your business.