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RFC 1812

 
 
 

Requirements for IP Version 4 Routers

Part 4 of 8, p. 63 to 84
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5. INTERNET LAYER - FORWARDING

5.1 INTRODUCTION

   This section describes the process of forwarding packets.

5.2 FORWARDING WALK-THROUGH

   There is no separate specification of the forwarding function in IP.
   Instead, forwarding is covered by the protocol specifications for the
   internet layer protocols ([INTERNET:1], [INTERNET:2], [INTERNET:3],
   [INTERNET:8], and [ROUTE:11]).

5.2.1 Forwarding Algorithm

   Since none of the primary protocol documents describe the forwarding
   algorithm in any detail, we present it here.  This is just a general
   outline, and omits important details, such as handling of congestion,
   that are dealt with in later sections.

   It is not required that an implementation follow exactly the
   algorithms given in sections [5.2.1.1], [5.2.1.2], and [5.2.1.3].
   Much of the challenge of writing router software is to maximize the
   rate at which the router can forward packets while still achieving
   the same effect of the algorithm.  Details of how to do that are
   beyond the scope of this document, in part because they are heavily
   dependent on the architecture of the router.  Instead, we merely
   point out the order dependencies among the steps:

   (1) A router MUST verify the IP header, as described in section
        [5.2.2], before performing any actions based on the contents of
        the header.  This allows the router to detect and discard bad
        packets before the expenditure of other resources.

   (2) Processing of certain IP options requires that the router insert
        its IP address into the option.  As noted in Section [5.2.4],
        the address inserted MUST be the address of the logical
        interface on which the packet is sent or the router's router-id
        if the packet is sent over an unnumbered interface.  Thus,
        processing of these options cannot be completed until after the
        output interface is chosen.

   (3) The router cannot check and decrement the TTL before checking
        whether the packet should be delivered to the router itself, for
        reasons mentioned in Section [4.2.2.9].

   (4) More generally, when a packet is delivered locally to the router,
        its IP header MUST NOT be modified in any way (except that a

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        router may be required to insert a timestamp into any Timestamp
        options in the IP header).  Thus, before the router determines
        whether the packet is to be delivered locally to the router, it
        cannot update the IP header in any way that it is not prepared
        to undo.

5.2.1.1 General

   This section covers the general forwarding algorithm.  This algorithm
   applies to all forms of packets to be forwarded: unicast, multicast,
   and broadcast.


   (1) The router receives the IP packet (plus additional information
        about it, as described in Section [3.1]) from the Link Layer.

   (2) The router validates the IP header, as described in Section
        [5.2.2].  Note that IP reassembly is not done, except on IP
        fragments to be queued for local delivery in step (4).

   (3) The router performs most of the processing of any IP options.  As
        described in Section [5.2.4], some IP options require additional
        processing after the routing decision has been made.

   (4) The router examines the destination IP address of the IP
        datagram, as described in Section [5.2.3], to determine how it
        should continue to process the IP datagram.  There are three
        possibilities:

        o The IP datagram is destined for the router, and should be
           queued for local delivery, doing reassembly if needed.

        o The IP datagram is not destined for the router, and should be
           queued for forwarding.

        o The IP datagram should be queued for forwarding, but (a copy)
           must also be queued for local delivery.

5.2.1.2 Unicast

   Since the local delivery case is well covered by [INTRO:2], the
   following assumes that the IP datagram was queued for forwarding.  If
   the destination is an IP unicast address:

   (5) The forwarder determines the next hop IP address for the packet,
        usually by looking up the packet's destination in the router's
        routing table.  This procedure is described in more detail in
        Section [5.2.4].  This procedure also decides which network

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        interface should be used to send the packet.

   (6) The forwarder verifies that forwarding the packet is permitted.
        The source and destination addresses should be valid, as
        described in Section [5.3.7] and Section [5.3.4] If the router
        supports administrative constraints on forwarding, such as those
        described in Section [5.3.9], those constraints must be
        satisfied.

   (7) The forwarder decrements (by at least one) and checks the
        packet's TTL, as described in Section [5.3.1].

   (8) The forwarder performs any IP option processing that could not be
        completed in step 3.

   (9) The forwarder performs any necessary IP fragmentation, as
        described in Section [4.2.2.7].  Since this step occurs after
        outbound interface selection (step 5), all fragments of the same
        datagram will be transmitted out the same interface.

   (10) The forwarder determines the Link Layer address of the packet's
        next hop.  The mechanisms for doing this are Link Layer-
        dependent (see chapter 3).

   (11) The forwarder encapsulates the IP datagram (or each of the
        fragments thereof) in an appropriate Link Layer frame and queues
        it for output on the interface selected in step 5.

   (12) The forwarder sends an ICMP redirect if necessary, as described
        in Section [4.3.3.2].

5.2.1.3 Multicast

   If the destination is an IP multicast, the following steps are taken.

   Note that the main differences between the forwarding of IP unicasts
   and the forwarding of IP multicasts are

   o IP multicasts are usually forwarded based on both the datagram's
      source and destination IP addresses,

   o IP multicast uses an expanding ring search,

   o IP multicasts are forwarded as Link Level multicasts, and

   o ICMP errors are never sent in response to IP multicast datagrams.

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   Note that the forwarding of IP multicasts is still somewhat
   experimental.  As a result, the algorithm presented below is not
   mandatory, and is provided as an example only.

   (5a) Based on the IP source and destination addresses found in the
        datagram header, the router determines whether the datagram has
        been received on the proper interface for forwarding.  If not,
        the datagram is dropped silently.  The method for determining
        the proper receiving interface depends on the multicast routing
        algorithm(s) in use.  In one of the simplest algorithms, reverse
        path forwarding (RPF), the proper interface is the one that
        would be used to forward unicasts back to the datagram source.

   (6a) Based on the IP source and destination addresses found in the
        datagram header, the router determines the datagram's outgoing
        interfaces.  To implement IP multicast's expanding ring search
        (see [INTERNET:4]) a minimum TTL value is specified for each
        outgoing interface.  A copy of the multicast datagram is
        forwarded out each outgoing interface whose minimum TTL value is
        less than or equal to the TTL value in the datagram header, by
        separately applying the remaining steps on each such interface.

   (7a) The router decrements the packet's TTL by one.

   (8a) The forwarder performs any IP option processing that could not
        be completed in step (3).

   (9a) The forwarder performs any necessary IP fragmentation, as
        described in Section [4.2.2.7].

   (10a) The forwarder determines the Link Layer address to use in the
        Link Level encapsulation.  The mechanisms for doing this are
        Link Layer-dependent.  On LANs a Link Level multicast or
        broadcast is selected, as an algorithmic translation of the
        datagrams' IP multicast address.  See the various IP-over-xxx
        specifications for more details.

   (11a) The forwarder encapsulates the packet (or each of the fragments
        thereof) in an appropriate Link Layer frame and queues it for
        output on the appropriate interface.

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5.2.2 IP Header Validation

   Before a router can process any IP packet, it MUST perform a the
   following basic validity checks on the packet's IP header to ensure
   that the header is meaningful.  If the packet fails any of the
   following tests, it MUST be silently discarded, and the error SHOULD
   be logged.

   (1) The packet length reported by the Link Layer must be large enough
        to hold the minimum length legal IP datagram (20 bytes).

   (2) The IP checksum must be correct.

   (3) The IP version number must be 4.  If the version number is not 4
        then the packet may be another version of IP, such as IPng or
        ST-II.

   (4) The IP header length field must be large enough to hold the
        minimum length legal IP datagram (20 bytes = 5 words).

   (5) The IP total length field must be large enough to hold the IP
        datagram header, whose length is specified in the IP header
        length field.

   A router MUST NOT have a configuration option that allows disabling
   any of these tests.

   If the packet passes the second and third tests, the IP header length
   field is at least 4, and both the IP total length field and the
   packet length reported by the Link Layer are at least 16 then,
   despite the above rule, the router MAY respond with an ICMP Parameter
   Problem message, whose pointer points at the IP header length field
   (if it failed the fourth test) or the IP total length field (if it
   failed the fifth test).  However, it still MUST discard the packet
   and still SHOULD log the error.

   These rules (and this entire document) apply only to version 4 of the
   Internet Protocol.  These rules should not be construed as
   prohibiting routers from supporting other versions of IP.
   Furthermore, if a router can truly classify a packet as being some
   other version of IP then it ought not treat that packet as an error
   packet within the context of this memo.

   IMPLEMENTATION
      It is desirable for purposes of error reporting, though not always
      entirely possible, to determine why a header was invalid.  There
      are four possible reasons:

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      o The Link Layer truncated the IP header

      o The datagram is using a version of IP other than the standard
         one (version 4).

      o The IP header has been corrupted in transit.

      o The sender generated an illegal IP header.

      It is probably desirable to perform the checks in the order
      listed, since we believe that this ordering is most likely to
      correctly categorize the cause of the error.  For purposes of
      error reporting, it may also be desirable to check if a packet
      that fails these tests has an IP version number indicating IPng or
      ST-II; these should be handled according to their respective
      specifications.

   Additionally, the router SHOULD verify that the packet length
   reported by the Link Layer is at least as large as the IP total
   length recorded in the packet's IP header.  If it appears that the
   packet has been truncated, the packet MUST be discarded, the error
   SHOULD be logged, and the router SHOULD respond with an ICMP
   Parameter Problem message whose pointer points at the IP total length
   field.

   DISCUSSION
      Because any higher layer protocol that concerns itself with data
      corruption will detect truncation of the packet data when it
      reaches its final destination, it is not absolutely necessary for
      routers to perform the check suggested above to maintain protocol
      correctness.  However, by making this check a router can simplify
      considerably the task of determining which hop in the path is
      truncating the packets.  It will also reduce the expenditure of
      resources down-stream from the router in that down-stream systems
      will not need to deal with the packet.

   Finally, if the destination address in the IP header is not one of
   the addresses of the router, the router SHOULD verify that the packet
   does not contain a Strict Source and Record Route option.  If a
   packet fails this test (if it contains a strict source route option),
   the router SHOULD log the error and SHOULD respond with an ICMP
   Parameter Problem error with the pointer pointing at the offending
   packet's IP destination address.

   DISCUSSION
      Some people might suggest that the router should respond with a
      Bad Source Route message instead of a Parameter Problem message.
      However, when a packet fails this test, it usually indicates a

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      protocol error by the previous hop router, whereas Bad Source
      Route would suggest that the source host had requested a
      nonexistent or broken path through the network.

5.2.3 Local Delivery Decision

   When a router receives an IP packet, it must decide whether the
   packet is addressed to the router (and should be delivered locally)
   or the packet is addressed to another system (and should be handled
   by the forwarder).  There is also a hybrid case, where certain IP
   broadcasts and IP multicasts are both delivered locally and
   forwarded.  A router MUST determine which of the these three cases
   applies using the following rules.


   o An unexpired source route option is one whose pointer value does
      not point past the last entry in the source route.  If the packet
      contains an unexpired source route option, the pointer in the
      option is advanced until either the pointer does point past the
      last address in the option or else the next address is not one of
      the router's own addresses.  In the latter (normal) case, the
      packet is forwarded (and not delivered locally) regardless of the
      rules below.

   o The packet is delivered locally and not considered for forwarding
      in the following cases:

      - The packet's destination address exactly matches one of the
         router's IP addresses,

      - The packet's destination address is a limited broadcast address
         ({-1, -1}), or

      - The packet's destination is an IP multicast address which is
         never forwarded (such as 224.0.0.1 or 224.0.0.2) and (at least)
         one of the logical interfaces associated with the physical
         interface on which the packet arrived is a member of the
         destination multicast group.

   o The packet is passed to the forwarder AND delivered locally in the
      following cases:

      - The packet's destination address is an IP broadcast address that
         addresses at least one of the router's logical interfaces but
         does not address any of the logical interfaces associated with
         the physical interface on which the packet arrived

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      - The packet's destination is an IP multicast address which is
         permitted to be forwarded (unlike 224.0.0.1 and 224.0.0.2) and
         (at least) one of the logical interfaces associated with the
         physical interface on which the packet arrived is a member of
         the destination multicast group.

   o The packet is delivered locally if the packet's destination address
      is an IP broadcast address (other than a limited broadcast
      address) that addresses at least one of the logical interfaces
      associated with the physical interface on which the packet
      arrived.  The packet is ALSO passed to the forwarder unless the
      link on which the packet arrived uses an IP encapsulation that
      does not encapsulate broadcasts differently than unicasts (e.g.,
      by using different Link Layer destination addresses).

   o The packet is passed to the forwarder in all other cases.

   DISCUSSION
      The purpose of the requirement in the last sentence of the fourth
      bullet is to deal with a directed broadcast to another network
      prefix on the same physical cable.  Normally, this works as
      expected: the sender sends the broadcast to the router as a Link
      Layer unicast.  The router notes that it arrived as a unicast, and
      therefore must be destined for a different network prefix than the
      sender sent it on.  Therefore, the router can safely send it as a
      Link Layer broadcast out the same (physical) interface over which
      it arrived.  However, if the router can't tell whether the packet
      was received as a Link Layer unicast, the sentence ensures that
      the router does the safe but wrong thing rather than the unsafe
      but right thing.

   IMPLEMENTATION
      As described in Section [5.3.4], packets received as Link Layer
      broadcasts are generally not forwarded.  It may be advantageous to
      avoid passing to the forwarder packets it would later discard
      because of the rules in that section.

      Some Link Layers (either because of the hardware or because of
      special code in the drivers) can deliver to the router copies of
      all Link Layer broadcasts and multicasts it transmits.  Use of
      this feature can simplify the implementation of cases where a
      packet has to both be passed to the forwarder and delivered
      locally, since forwarding the packet will automatically cause the
      router to receive a copy of the packet that it can then deliver
      locally.  One must use care in these circumstances to prevent
      treating a received loop-back packet as a normal packet that was
      received (and then being subject to the rules of forwarding,
      etc.).

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      Even without such a Link Layer, it is of course hardly necessary
      to make a copy of an entire packet to queue it both for forwarding
      and for local delivery, though care must be taken with fragments,
      since reassembly is performed on locally delivered packets but not
      on forwarded packets.  One simple scheme is to associate a flag
      with each packet on the router's output queue that indicates
      whether it should be queued for local delivery after it has been
      sent.

5.2.4 Determining the Next Hop Address

   When a router is going to forward a packet, it must determine whether
   it can send it directly to its destination, or whether it needs to
   pass it through another router.  If the latter, it needs to determine
   which router to use.  This section explains how these determinations
   are made.

   This section makes use of the following definitions:

   o LSRR - IP Loose Source and Record Route option

   o SSRR - IP Strict Source and Record Route option

   o Source Route Option - an LSRR or an SSRR

   o Ultimate Destination Address - where the packet is being sent to:
      the last address in the source route of a source-routed packet, or
      the destination address in the IP header of a non-source-routed
      packet

   o Adjacent - reachable without going through any IP routers

   o Next Hop Address - the IP address of the adjacent host or router to
      which the packet should be sent next

   o IP Destination Address - the ultimate destination address, except
      in source routed packets, where it is the next address specified
      in the source route

   o Immediate Destination - the node, System, router, end-system, or
      whatever that is addressed by the IP Destination Address.

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5.2.4.1 IP Destination Address

   If:

   o the destination address in the IP header is one of the addresses of
      the router,

   o the packet contains a Source Route Option, and

   o the pointer in the Source Route Option does not point past the end
      of the option,

   then the next IP Destination Address is the address pointed at by the
   pointer in that option.  If:

   o the destination address in the IP header is one of the addresses of
      the router,

   o the packet contains a Source Route Option, and

   o the pointer in the Source Route Option points past the end of the
      option,

   then the message is addressed to the system analyzing the message.

   A router MUST use the IP Destination Address, not the Ultimate
   Destination Address (the last address in the source route option),
   when determining how to handle a packet.

   It is an error for more than one source route option to appear in a
   datagram.  If it receives such a datagram, it SHOULD discard the
   packet and reply with an ICMP Parameter Problem message whose pointer
   points at the beginning of the second source route option.

5.2.4.2 Local/Remote Decision

   After it has been determined that the IP packet needs to be forwarded
   according to the rules specified in Section [5.2.3], the following
   algorithm MUST be used to determine if the Immediate Destination is
   directly accessible (see [INTERNET:2]).

   (1) For each network interface that has not been assigned any IP
       address (the unnumbered lines as described in Section [2.2.7]),
       compare the router-id of the other end of the line to the IP
       Destination Address.  If they are exactly equal, the packet can
       be transmitted through this interface.

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   DISCUSSION
      In other words, the router or host at the remote end of the line
      is the destination of the packet or is the next step in the source
      route of a source routed packet.

   (2) If no network interface has been selected in the first step, for
       each IP address assigned to the router:

   (a) isolate the network prefix used by the interface.

   IMPLEMENTATION
      The result of this operation will usually have been computed and
      saved during initialization.

   (b) Isolate the corresponding set of bits from the IP Destination
      Address of the packet.

   (c) Compare the resulting network prefixes.  If they are equal to
      each other, the packet can be transmitted through the
      corresponding network interface.

   (3) If the destination was neither the router-id of a neighbor on an
       unnumbered interface nor a member of a directly connected network
       prefix, the IP Destination is accessible only through some other
       router.  The selection of the router and the next hop IP address
       is described in Section [5.2.4.3].  In the case of a host that is
       not also a router, this may be the configured default router.

   Ongoing work in the IETF [ARCH:9, NRHP] considers some cases such as
   when multiple IP (sub)networks are overlaid on the same link layer
   network.  Barring policy restrictions, hosts and routers using a
   common link layer network can directly communicate even if they are
   not in the same IP (sub)network, if there is adequate information
   present.  The Next Hop Routing Protocol (NHRP) enables IP entities to
   determine the "optimal" link layer address to be used to traverse
   such a link layer network towards a remote destination.

   (4) If the selected "next hop" is reachable through an interface
   configured to use NHRP, then the following additional steps apply:

     (a) Compare the IP Destination Address to the destination addresses
        in the NHRP cache.  If the address is in the cache, then send
        the datagram to the corresponding cached link layer address.
     (b) If the address is not in the cache, then construct an NHRP
        request packet containing the IP Destination Address.  This
        message is sent to the NHRP server configured for that
        interface.  This may be a logically separate process or entity
        in the router itself.

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     (c) The NHRP server will respond with the proper link layer address
        to use to transmit the datagram and subsequent datagrams to the
        same destination.  The system MAY transmit the datagram(s) to
        the traditional "next hop" router while awaiting the NHRP reply.

5.2.4.3 Next Hop Address

   EDITORS+COMMENTS
      The router applies the algorithm in the previous section to
      determine if the IP Destination Address is adjacent.  If so, the
      next hop address is the same as the IP Destination Address.
      Otherwise, the packet must be forwarded through another router to
      reach its Immediate Destination.  The selection of this router is
      the topic of this section.

      If the packet contains an SSRR, the router MUST discard the packet
      and reply with an ICMP Bad Source Route error.  Otherwise, the
      router looks up the IP Destination Address in its routing table to
      determine an appropriate next hop address.

   DISCUSSION
      Per the IP specification, a Strict Source Route must specify a
      sequence of nodes through which the packet must traverse; the
      packet must go from one node of the source route to the next,
      traversing intermediate networks only.  Thus, if the router is not
      adjacent to the next step of the source route, the source route
      can not be fulfilled.  Therefore, the router rejects such with an
      ICMP Bad Source Route error.

   The goal of the next-hop selection process is to examine the entries
   in the router's Forwarding Information Base (FIB) and select the best
   route (if there is one) for the packet from those available in the
   FIB.

   Conceptually, any route lookup algorithm starts out with a set of
   candidate routes that consists of the entire contents of the FIB.
   The algorithm consists of a series of steps that discard routes from
   the set.  These steps are referred to as Pruning Rules.  Normally,
   when the algorithm terminates there is exactly one route remaining in
   the set.  If the set ever becomes empty, the packet is discarded
   because the destination is unreachable.  It is also possible for the
   algorithm to terminate when more than one route remains in the set.
   In this case, the router may arbitrarily discard all but one of them,
   or may perform "load-splitting" by choosing whichever of the routes
   has been least recently used.

   With the exception of rule 3 (Weak TOS), a router MUST use the
   following Pruning Rules when selecting a next hop for a packet.  If a

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   router does consider TOS when making next-hop decisions, the Rule 3
   must be applied in the order indicated below.  These rules MUST be
   (conceptually) applied to the FIB in the order that they are
   presented.  (For some historical perspective, additional pruning
   rules, and other common algorithms in use, see Appendix E.)

   DISCUSSION
      Rule 3 is optional in that Section [5.3.2] says that a router only
      SHOULD consider TOS when making forwarding decisions.


      (1) Basic Match
           This rule discards any routes to destinations other than the
           IP Destination Address of the packet.  For example, if a
           packet's IP Destination Address is 10.144.2.5, this step
           would discard a route to net 128.12.0.0/16 but would retain
           any routes to the network prefixes 10.0.0.0/8 and
           10.144.0.0/16, and any default routes.

           More precisely, we assume that each route has a destination
           attribute, called route.dest and a corresponding prefix
           length, called route.length, to specify which bits of
           route.dest are significant.  The IP Destination Address of
           the packet being forwarded is ip.dest.  This rule discards
           all routes from the set of candidates except those for which
           the most significant route.length bits of route.dest and
           ip.dest are equal.

           For example, if a packet's IP Destination Address is
           10.144.2.5 and there are network prefixes 10.144.1.0/24,
           10.144.2.0/24, and 10.144.3.0/24, this rule would keep only
           10.144.2.0/24; it is the only route whose prefix has the same
           value as the corresponding bits in the IP Destination Address
           of the packet.

      (2) Longest Match
           Longest Match is a refinement of Basic Match, described
           above.  After performing Basic Match pruning, the algorithm
           examines the remaining routes to determine which among them
           have the largest route.length values.  All except these are
           discarded.

           For example, if a packet's IP Destination Address is
           10.144.2.5 and there are network prefixes 10.144.2.0/24,
           10.144.0.0/16, and 10.0.0.0/8, then this rule would keep only
           the first (10.144.2.0/24) because its prefix length is
           longest.

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      (3) Weak TOS
           Each route has a type of service attribute, called route.tos,
           whose possible values are assumed to be identical to those
           used in the TOS field of the IP header.  Routing protocols
           that distribute TOS information fill in route.tos
           appropriately in routes they add to the FIB; routes from
           other routing protocols are treated as if they have the
           default TOS (0000).  The TOS field in the IP header of the
           packet being routed is called ip.tos.

           The set of candidate routes is examined to determine if it
           contains any routes for which route.tos = ip.tos.  If so, all
           routes except those for which route.tos = ip.tos are
           discarded.  If not, all routes except those for which
           route.tos = 0000 are discarded from the set of candidate
           routes.

           Additional discussion of routing based on Weak TOS may be
           found in [ROUTE:11].

   DISCUSSION
      The effect of this rule is to select only those routes that have a
      TOS that matches the TOS requested in the packet.  If no such
      routes exist then routes with the default TOS are considered.
      Routes with a non-default TOS that is not the TOS requested in the
      packet are never used, even if such routes are the only available
      routes that go to the packet's destination.

     (4) Best Metric
          Each route has a metric attribute, called route.metric, and a
          routing domain identifier, called route.domain.  Each member
          of the set of candidate routes is compared with each other
          member of the set.  If route.domain is equal for the two
          routes and route.metric is strictly inferior for one when
          compared with the other, then the one with the inferior metric
          is discarded from the set.  The determination of inferior is
          usually by a simple arithmetic comparison, though some
          protocols may have structured metrics requiring more complex
          comparisons.

     (5) Vendor Policy
          Vendor Policy is sort of a catch-all to make up for the fact
          that the previously listed rules are often inadequate to
          choose from the possible routes.  Vendor Policy pruning rules
          are extremely vendor-specific.  See section [5.2.4.4].

     This algorithm has two distinct disadvantages.  Presumably, a
     router implementor might develop techniques to deal with these

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     disadvantages and make them a part of the Vendor Policy pruning
     rule.

     (1) IS-IS and OSPF route classes are not directly handled.

     (2) Path properties other than type of service (e.g., MTU) are
          ignored.

     It is also worth noting a deficiency in the way that TOS is
     supported: routing protocols that support TOS are implicitly
     preferred when forwarding packets that have non-zero TOS values.

     The Basic Match and Longest Match pruning rules generalize the
     treatment of a number of particular types of routes.  These routes
     are selected in the following, decreasing, order of preference:

     (1) Host Route: This is a route to a specific end system.

     (2) Hierarchical Network Prefix Routes: This is a route to a
          particular network prefix.  Note that the FIB may contain
          several routes to network prefixes that subsume each other
          (one prefix is the other prefix with additional bits).  These
          are selected in order of decreasing prefix length.

     (5) Default Route: This is a route to all networks for which there
          are no explicit routes.  It is by definition the route whose
          prefix length is zero.

     If, after application of the pruning rules, the set of routes is
     empty (i.e., no routes were found), the packet MUST be discarded
     and an appropriate ICMP error generated (ICMP Bad Source Route if
     the IP Destination Address came from a source route option;
     otherwise, whichever of ICMP Destination Host Unreachable or
     Destination Network Unreachable is appropriate, as described in
     Section [4.3.3.1]).

5.2.4.4 Administrative Preference

     One suggested mechanism for the Vendor Policy Pruning Rule is to
     use administrative preference, which is a simple prioritization
     algorithm.  The idea is to manually prioritize the routes that one
     might need to select among.

     Each route has associated with it a preference value, based on
     various attributes of the route (specific mechanisms for assignment
     of preference values are suggested below).  This preference value
     is an integer in the range [0..255], with zero being the most
     preferred and 254 being the least preferred.  255 is a special

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     value that means that the route should never be used.  The first
     step in the Vendor Policy pruning rule discards all but the most
     preferable routes (and always discards routes whose preference
     value is 255).

     This policy is not safe in that it can easily be misused to create
     routing loops.  Since no protocol ensures that the preferences
     configured for a router is consistent with the preferences
     configured in its neighbors, network managers must exercise care in
     configuring preferences.

     o Address Match
        It is useful to be able to assign a single preference value to
        all routes (learned from the same routing domain) to any of a
        specified set of destinations, where the set of destinations is
        all destinations that match a specified network prefix.

     o Route Class
        For routing protocols which maintain the distinction, it is
        useful to be able to assign a single preference value to all
        routes (learned from the same routing domain) which have a
        particular route class (intra-area, inter-area, external with
        internal metrics, or external with external metrics).

     o Interface
        It is useful to be able to assign a single preference value to
        all routes (learned from a particular routing domain) that would
        cause packets to be routed out a particular logical interface on
        the router (logical interfaces generally map one-to-one onto the
        router's network interfaces, except that any network interface
        that has multiple IP addresses will have multiple logical
        interfaces associated with it).

     o Source router
        It is useful to be able to assign a single preference value to
        all routes (learned from the same routing domain) that were
        learned from any of a set of routers, where the set of routers
        are those whose updates have a source address that match a
        specified network prefix.

     o Originating AS
        For routing protocols which provide the information, it is
        useful to be able to assign a single preference value to all
        routes (learned from a particular routing domain) which
        originated in another particular routing domain.  For BGP
        routes, the originating AS is the first AS listed in the route's
        AS_PATH attribute.  For OSPF external routes, the originating AS
        may be considered to be the low order 16 bits of the route's

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        external route tag if the tag's Automatic bit is set and the
        tag's Path Length is not equal to 3.

     o External route tag
        It is useful to be able to assign a single preference value to
        all OSPF external routes (learned from the same routing domain)
        whose external route tags match any of a list of specified
        values.  Because the external route tag may contain a structured
        value, it may be useful to provide the ability to match
        particular subfields of the tag.

     o AS path
        It may be useful to be able to assign a single preference value
        to all BGP routes (learned from the same routing domain) whose
        AS path "matches" any of a set of specified values.  It is not
        yet clear exactly what kinds of matches are most useful.  A
        simple option would be to allow matching of all routes for which
        a particular AS number appears (or alternatively, does not
        appear) anywhere in the route's AS_PATH attribute.  A more
        general but somewhat more difficult alternative would be to
        allow matching all routes for which the AS path matches a
        specified regular expression.

5.2.4.5 Load Splitting

     At the end of the Next-hop selection process, multiple routes may
     still remain.  A router has several options when this occurs.  It
     may arbitrarily discard some of the routes.  It may reduce the
     number of candidate routes by comparing metrics of routes from
     routing domains that are not considered equivalent.  It may retain
     more than one route and employ a load-splitting mechanism to divide
     traffic among them.  Perhaps the only thing that can be said about
     the relative merits of the options is that load-splitting is useful
     in some situations but not in others, so a wise implementor who
     implements load-splitting will also provide a way for the network
     manager to disable it.

5.2.5 Unused IP Header Bits: RFC-791 Section 3.1

     The IP header contains several reserved bits, in the Type of
     Service field and in the Flags field.  Routers MUST NOT drop
     packets merely because one or more of these reserved bits has a
     non-zero value.

     Routers MUST ignore and MUST pass through unchanged the values of
     these reserved bits.  If a router fragments a packet, it MUST copy
     these bits into each fragment.

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   DISCUSSION
      Future revisions to the IP protocol may make use of these unused
      bits.  These rules are intended to ensure that these revisions can
      be deployed without having to simultaneously upgrade all routers
      in the Internet.

5.2.6 Fragmentation and Reassembly: RFC-791 Section 3.2

   As was discussed in Section [4.2.2.7], a router MUST support IP
   fragmentation.

   A router MUST NOT reassemble any datagram before forwarding it.

   DISCUSSION
      A few people have suggested that there might be some topologies
      where reassembly of transit datagrams by routers might improve
      performance.  The fact that fragments may take different paths to
      the destination precludes safe use of such a feature.

      Nothing in this section should be construed to control or limit
      fragmentation or reassembly performed as a link layer function by
      the router.

      Similarly, if an IP datagram is encapsulated in another IP
      datagram (e.g., it is tunnelled), that datagram is in turn
      fragmented, the fragments must be reassembled in order to forward
      the original datagram.  This section does not preclude this.

5.2.7 Internet Control Message Protocol - ICMP

   General requirements for ICMP were discussed in Section [4.3].  This
   section discusses ICMP messages that are sent only by routers.

5.2.7.1 Destination Unreachable

   The ICMP Destination Unreachable message is sent by a router in
   response to a packet which it cannot forward because the destination
   (or next hop) is unreachable or a service is unavailable.  Examples
   of such cases include a message addressed to a host which is not
   there and therefore does not respond to ARP requests, and messages
   addressed to network prefixes for which the router has no valid
   route.

   A router MUST be able to generate ICMP Destination Unreachable
   messages and SHOULD choose a response code that most closely matches
   the reason the message is being generated.

   The following codes are defined in [INTERNET:8] and [INTRO:2]:

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   0 = Network Unreachable - generated by a router if a forwarding path
        (route) to the destination network is not available;

   1 = Host Unreachable - generated by a router if a forwarding path
        (route) to the destination host on a directly connected network
        is not available (does not respond to ARP);

   2 = Protocol Unreachable - generated if the transport protocol
        designated in a datagram is not supported in the transport layer
        of the final destination;

   3 = Port Unreachable - generated if the designated transport protocol
        (e.g., UDP) is unable to demultiplex the datagram in the
        transport layer of the final destination but has no protocol
        mechanism to inform the sender;

   4 = Fragmentation Needed and DF Set - generated if a router needs to
        fragment a datagram but cannot since the DF flag is set;

   5 = Source Route Failed - generated if a router cannot forward a
        packet to the next hop in a source route option;

   6 = Destination Network Unknown - This code SHOULD NOT be generated
        since it would imply on the part of the router that the
        destination network does not exist (net unreachable code 0
        SHOULD be used in place of code 6);

   7 = Destination Host Unknown - generated only when a router can
        determine (from link layer advice) that the destination host
        does not exist;

   11 = Network Unreachable For Type Of Service - generated by a router
        if a forwarding path (route) to the destination network with the
        requested or default TOS is not available;

   12 = Host Unreachable For Type Of Service - generated if a router
        cannot forward a packet because its route(s) to the destination
        do not match either the TOS requested in the datagram or the
        default TOS (0).

   The following additional codes are hereby defined:

   13 = Communication Administratively Prohibited - generated if a
        router cannot forward a packet due to administrative filtering;

   14 = Host Precedence Violation.  Sent by the first hop router to a
        host to indicate that a requested precedence is not permitted
        for the particular combination of source/destination host or

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        network, upper layer protocol, and source/destination port;

   15 = Precedence cutoff in effect.  The network operators have imposed
        a minimum level of precedence required for operation, the
        datagram was sent with a precedence below this level;

   NOTE: [INTRO:2] defined Code 8 for source host isolated.  Routers
   SHOULD NOT generate Code 8; whichever of Codes 0 (Network
   Unreachable) and 1 (Host Unreachable) is appropriate SHOULD be used
   instead.  [INTRO:2] also defined Code 9 for communication with
   destination network administratively prohibited and Code 10 for
   communication with destination host administratively prohibited.
   These codes were intended for use by end-to-end encryption devices
   used by U.S military agencies.  Routers SHOULD use the newly defined
   Code 13 (Communication Administratively Prohibited) if they
   administratively filter packets.

   Routers MAY have a configuration option that causes Code 13
   (Communication Administratively Prohibited) messages not to be
   generated.  When this option is enabled, no ICMP error message is
   sent in response to a packet that is dropped because its forwarding
   is administratively prohibited.

   Similarly, routers MAY have a configuration option that causes Code
   14 (Host Precedence Violation) and Code 15 (Precedence Cutoff in
   Effect) messages not to be generated.  When this option is enabled,
   no ICMP error message is sent in response to a packet that is dropped
   because of a precedence violation.

   Routers MUST use Host Unreachable or Destination Host Unknown codes
   whenever other hosts on the same destination network might be
   reachable; otherwise, the source host may erroneously conclude that
   all hosts on the network are unreachable, and that may not be the
   case.

   [INTERNET:14] describes a slight modification the form of Destination
   Unreachable messages containing Code 4 (Fragmentation needed and DF
   set).  A router MUST use this modified form when originating Code 4
   Destination Unreachable messages.

5.2.7.2 Redirect

   The ICMP Redirect message is generated to inform a local host the it
   should use a different next hop router for a certain class of
   traffic.

   Routers MUST NOT generate the Redirect for Network or Redirect for
   Network and Type of Service messages (Codes 0 and 2) specified in

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   [INTERNET:8].  Routers MUST be able to generate the Redirect for Host
   message (Code 1) and SHOULD be able to generate the Redirect for Type
   of Service and Host message (Code 3) specified in [INTERNET:8].

   DISCUSSION
      If the directly connected network is not subnetted (in the
      classical sense), a router can normally generate a network
      Redirect that applies to all hosts on a specified remote network.
      Using a network rather than a host Redirect may economize slightly
      on network traffic and on host routing table storage.  However,
      the savings are not significant, and subnets create an ambiguity
      about the subnet mask to be used to interpret a network Redirect.
      In a CIDR environment, it is difficult to specify precisely the
      cases in which network Redirects can be used.  Therefore, routers
      must send only host (or host and type of service) Redirects.

   A Code 3 (Redirect for Host and Type of Service) message is generated
   when the packet provoking the redirect has a destination for which
   the path chosen by the router would depend (in part) on the TOS
   requested.

   Routers that can generate Code 3 redirects (Host and Type of Service)
   MUST have a configuration option (which defaults to on) to enable
   Code 1 (Host) redirects to be substituted for Code 3 redirects.  A
   router MUST send a Code 1 Redirect in place of a Code 3 Redirect if
   it has been configured to do so.

   If a router is not able to generate Code 3 Redirects then it MUST
   generate Code 1 Redirects in situations where a Code 3 Redirect is
   called for.

   Routers MUST NOT generate a Redirect Message unless all the following
   conditions are met:

   o The packet is being forwarded out the same physical interface that
      it was received from,

   o The IP source address in the packet is on the same Logical IP
      (sub)network as the next-hop IP address, and

   o The packet does not contain an IP source route option.

   The source address used in the ICMP Redirect MUST belong to the same
   logical (sub)net as the destination address.

   A router using a routing protocol (other than static routes) MUST NOT
   consider paths learned from ICMP Redirects when forwarding a packet.
   If a router is not using a routing protocol, a router MAY have a

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   configuration that, if set, allows the router to consider routes
   learned through ICMP Redirects when forwarding packets.

   DISCUSSION
      ICMP Redirect is a mechanism for routers to convey routing
      information to hosts.  Routers use other mechanisms to learn
      routing information, and therefore have no reason to obey
      redirects.  Believing a redirect which contradicted the router's
      other information would likely create routing loops.

      On the other hand, when a router is not acting as a router, it
      MUST comply with the behavior required of a host.

5.2.7.3 Time Exceeded

   A router MUST generate a Time Exceeded message Code 0 (In Transit)
   when it discards a packet due to an expired TTL field.  A router MAY
   have a per-interface option to disable origination of these messages
   on that interface, but that option MUST default to allowing the
   messages to be originated.

5.2.8 INTERNET GROUP MANAGEMENT PROTOCOL - IGMP

   IGMP [INTERNET:4] is a protocol used between hosts and multicast
   routers on a single physical network to establish hosts' membership
   in particular multicast groups.  Multicast routers use this
   information, in conjunction with a multicast routing protocol, to
   support IP multicast forwarding across the Internet.

   A router SHOULD implement the multicast router part of IGMP.


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