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RFC 6801

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Pseudo Content Delivery Protocol (CDP) for Protecting Multiple Source Flows in the Forward Error Correction (FEC) Framework


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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                          U. Kozat
Request for Comments: 6801                            DOCOMO Innovations
Category: Informational                                         A. Begen
ISSN: 2070-1721                                                    Cisco
                                                           November 2012

               Pseudo Content Delivery Protocol (CDP) for
                Protecting Multiple Source Flows in the
                Forward Error Correction (FEC) Framework


   This document provides a pseudo Content Delivery Protocol (CDP) to
   protect multiple source flows with one or more repair flows based on
   the Forward Error Correction (FEC) Framework and the Session
   Description Protocol (SDP) elements defined for the framework.  The
   purpose of the document is not to provide a full-fledged protocol but
   to show how the defined framework and SDP elements can be combined
   together to implement a CDP.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not all documents
   approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Page 2 
Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2012 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
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   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

   This document may contain material from IETF Documents or IETF
   Contributions published or made publicly available before November
   10, 2008.  The person(s) controlling the copyright in some of this
   material may not have granted the IETF Trust the right to allow
   modifications of such material outside the IETF Standards Process.
   Without obtaining an adequate license from the person(s) controlling
   the copyright in such materials, this document may not be modified
   outside the IETF Standards Process, and derivative works of it may
   not be created outside the IETF Standards Process, except to format
   it for publication as an RFC or to translate it into languages other
   than English.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................3
   2. Definitions/Abbreviations .......................................3
   3. Construction of a Repair Flow from Multiple Source Flows ........3
      3.1. Example: Two Source Flows Protected by a Single
           Repair Flow ................................................6
   4. Reconstruction of Source Flows from Repair Flow(s) ..............9
      4.1. Example: Multiple Source Flows Protected by a
           Single Repair Flow .........................................9
   5. Security Considerations ........................................10
   6. Acknowledgments ................................................10
   7. Normative References ...........................................11

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1.  Introduction

   The Forward Error Correction (FEC) Framework (described in [RFC6363])
   and SDP Elements for FEC Framework (described in [RFC6364]) together
   define mechanisms sufficient enough to build an actual Content
   Delivery Protocol (CDP) with FEC protection.  Methods to convey FEC
   Framework Configuration Information (described in [RFC6695]), on the
   other hand, provide the signaling protocols that may be used as part
   of CDP to communicate FEC-Scheme-Specific Information from FEC sender
   to a single as well as multiple FEC receivers.  This document
   provides a guideline on how the mechanisms defined in [RFC6363] and
   [RFC6364] can be sufficiently used to design a CDP over a non-trivial
   scenario, namely, protection of multiple source flows with one or
   more repair flows.

   In particular, we provide clarifications and descriptions on how:

   o  source and repair flows may be uniquely identified,

   o  source blocks may be generated from one or more source flows,

   o  repair flows may be paired with the source flows,

   o  the receiver explicitly and implicitly identifies individual
      flows, and

   o  source blocks are regenerated at the receiver and the missing
      source symbols in a source block are recovered.

2.  Definitions/Abbreviations

   This document uses all the definitions and abbreviations from Section
   2 of [RFC6363] minus the RFC 2119 requirements language.

3.  Construction of a Repair Flow from Multiple Source Flows

   At the sender side, CDP constructs the source blocks (SBs) by
   multiplexing transport payloads from multiple flows (see Figures 1
   and 2).  According to the FEC Framework, each source block is FEC-
   protected separately.  Each source block is given to the specific FEC
   encoder used within the CDP as input and as the outputs Explicit
   Source FEC Payload ID, Repair FEC Payload ID, and Repair Payloads
   corresponding to that source block are generated.  Note that the
   Explicit Source FEC Payload ID is optional, and if the CDP has an
   implicit means of constructing the source block at the sender/
   receiver (e.g., by using any existing sequence numbers in the
   payload), the Explicit Source FEC Payload ID might not be output.

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   s_1 --------> |            |
    .   Source   | Source     |      +--------+ +--------+ +--------+
    .   Flows    | Block      |==> ..|SB_(j+1)| |  SB_j  | |SB_(j-1)| ..
   s_n --------> | Generation |      +--------+ +--------+ +--------+

            Figure 1: Source Block Generation for a FEC Scheme

   Figure 2 shows the structure of a source block.  A CDP must clearly
   specify which payload corresponds to which source flow and the length
   of each payload.

         <------------------ Source Block (SB) ------------------->

         +-------...-----+-------...-----+-      -+-------...-----+
         |   Payload_1   |   Payload_2   |  . . . |   Payload_n   |
         +-------...-----+-------...-----+-      -+-------...-----+
         \______  _______|______  _______|        |______  _______|
                \/              \/                       \/
            FID_1,Len_1     FID_2,Len_2              FID_n,Len_n

                   Figure 2: Structure of a Source Block

   The Flow ID (FID) value provides a unique shorthand identifier for
   the source flows.  FID is specified and associated with the possibly
   wildcarded tuple of {source IP address, source port, destination IP
   address, destination port, transport protocol} in the SDP
   description.  When wildcarded, certain fields in the tuple are not
   needed for distinguishing the source flows.  The tuple is carried in
   the IP and transport headers of the source packets.  Since FID is
   utilized by the CDP and FEC scheme to distinguish between the source
   packets, the tuple must have a one-to-one mapping to a valid FID.
   This point will be clearer in the specific example given later in
   this section.  The length of FID must be a priori fixed and known to
   both the receiver and sender.  Alternatively, it might be specified
   in the FEC-Scheme-Specific Information field in the SDP element

   The payload length (Len) information is needed to figure out how many
   bits, bytes, or symbols (depending on the FEC scheme) from a
   particular source flow are included in the source block.  If the
   payload is not an integer multiple of the specified symbol length,
   the remaining portion is padded with zeros (see Figures 3 and 4).

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         +--------+ +--------+ +--------+        |      | -------> r_1
      .. |SB_(j+1)| |  SB_j  | |SB_(j-1)| .. ==> | FEC  |  Repair   .
         +--------+ +--------+ +--------+        |Scheme|  Flows    .
                                                 |      | -------> r_k

             Figure 3: Repair Flow Generation by a FEC Scheme

        <------------------ Source Block (SB) ------------------->
        |          |          |          |              |          |
        +-------...-----+-------...-----+-      -+-------...-----+ |
        |   Payload_1   |   Payload_2   |  . . . |   Payload_n   |0|
        +-------...-----+-------...-----+-      -+-------...-----+ |
        |          |          |          |              |          |
        | Symbol_1 | Symbol_2 | Symbol_3 |      . . .   | Symbol_m |
        |<-------->|<-------->|<-------->|              |<-------->|

        Symbol_1,..,Symbol_m => | FEC  | => Symbol_u,..,Symbol_1
                                | Enc. |

                 Figure 4: Repair Flow Payload Generation

   FEC schemes typically expect a source block of certain size, say, m
   symbols.  Therefore, the FEC encoder divides each source block into m
   symbols (with some padding if the source block is shorter than the
   expected m symbols) and generates u repair symbols, which are
   functions of the m symbols in the original source block.  The repair
   symbols are grouped by the FEC scheme into repair payloads with each
   repair payload assigned a Repair FEC Payload ID in order to associate
   each repair payload with a particular source block at the receiver.
   If the payloads in a given source block have sequence numbers that
   can uniquely specify their location in the source block, an Explicit
   Source FEC Payload ID may not be generated for these payloads.
   Otherwise, Explicit Source FEC Payload IDs are generated for each
   payload and indicate the order the payloads appear in the source

   Note that FID and length information are not actually transmitted
   with the source payloads since both information can be gathered by
   other means as it will be clear in the next sections.

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3.1.  Example: Two Source Flows Protected by a Single Repair Flow

   In this section, we present an example of source flow and repair flow
   generation by the CDP.  We have two source flows with flow IDs of 0
   and 1 to be protected by a single repair flow (see Figure 5).  The
   first source flow is multicast to, and the second source
   flow is multicast to  Both flows use the port number

                SOURCE FLOWS
                S1: Source Flow |         | INSTANCE #1
                                |---------| R3: Repair Flow
                S2: Source Flow |

          Figure 5: Example: Two Source Flows and One Repair Flow

   The SDP description below states that the source flow defined by the
   tuple {*,*,,30000} is identified with FID=0 and the source
   flow defined by the tuple {*,*,,30000} is identified with
   FID=1 (via the 'id' parameter of the "fec-source-flow" attribute).
   The SDP description also states that the repair flow is to be
   received at the multicast address of and at port 30000.

        o=ali 1122334455 1122334466 IN IP4
        s=FEC Framework Examples
        t=0 0
        a=group:FEC-FR S1 S2 R3
        m=video 30000 RTP/AVP 100
        c=IN IP4
        a=rtpmap:100 MP2T/90000
        a=fec-source-flow: id=0
        m=video 30000 RTP/AVP 101
        c=IN IP4
        a=rtpmap:101 MP2T/90000
        a=fec-source-flow: id=1
        m=application 30000 UDP/FEC
        c=IN IP4
        a=fec-repair-flow: encoding-id=0; ss-fssi=n:7,k:5

   Figure 6 shows the first and the second source blocks (SB_1 and SB_2)
   generated from these two source flows.  In this example, SB_1 is of
   length 10000 bytes.  Suppose that the FEC scheme uses a symbol length

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   of 512 bytes.  Then, SB_1 can be divided into 20 symbols after
   padding the source block for 240 bytes.  Assume that the FEC scheme
   is rate-2/3 erasure code; hence, it generates 10 repair symbols from
   20 original symbols for SB_1.  On the other hand, SB_2 is 7000 bytes
   long and can be divided into 14 symbols after padding 168 bytes.
   Using the same encoder, suppose that seven repair symbols are
   generated for SB_2.

                   <-------- Source Block 1 -------->
                   | $1 $2 $3 $4| #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 | 0..00
                   \__________________  __________________/
                         @1 @2 @3 @4 @5 @6 @7 @8 @9 @10

                   <---- Source Block 2 ---->
                   | $5 $6 $7 $8 $9 | #7 #8 |0..00
                   \______________  _____________/
                     @11 @12 @13 @14 @15 @16 @17

                 $: 1000-byte payload from source flow 1
                 #: 1000-byte payload from source flow 2
                 @: Repair symbol

               Figure 6: Source Block with Two Source Flows

   The information on the unit of payload length, FEC scheme, symbol
   size, and coding rates can be specified in the FEC-Scheme-Specific
   Information (FSSI) field of the SDP element.  If the values of the
   payload lengths from each source flow and the order of appearance of
   source flows in every source block are fixed during the session,
   these values may be also provided in the FSSI field.  To carry FSSI
   information to the FEC receivers, one may use the signaling methods
   described in [RFC6695].  In our example, we will consider the case
   where the ordering is fixed and known both at the sender and the
   receiver, but the payload lengths will be variable from one source
   block to another.  We assume that the payload of a source flow with
   an FID smaller than another flow's FID precedes other payloads in a
   source block.

   The FEC scheme gets the source blocks as input and generates the
   parity blocks for each source block to protect the whole source
   block.  In the example, the repair payloads for SB_1 consist of 512-

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   byte symbols, denoted by @1 to @10.  Similarly, @11 to @17
   constitutes the repair payloads for SB_2.  The FEC scheme outputs the
   repair payloads along with the Repair FEC Payload IDs.  In our
   example, Repair FEC Payload ID provides information on the source
   block sequence number and the order the repair symbols are generated.
   For instance, @3 is the third FEC repair symbol for SB_1, and the
   three tuple {@3,SB_1,3} can uniquely deliver this information.  In
   our example, the FEC scheme also provides Explicit Source FEC Payload
   IDs that carry information to indicate which source symbols
   correspond to which source block sequence number and the relative
   position in the source block.  For instance, the two tuple {SB_2,2}
   can be attached to $6 as the Explicit Source FEC Payload ID to
   indicate that $6 is protected together with packets belonging to
   SB_2, and $6 is the second payload in SB_2.

   The source packets are generated from the source symbols by
   concatenating consecutive symbols in one packet.  There should not be
   any fragmentation of a source symbol; e.g., symbols #7 and #8 can be
   concatenated in one transport payload of 2000 bytes (the
   implementation should make sure that the size of the resulting source
   packet -- payload plus the overhead -- is not larger than the path
   MTU), but one portion of symbol #7 should not be put in one source
   packet and the remaining portion in another source packet.  The
   simplest implementation is to place each source symbol in a different
   source packet as shown in Figure 7.

                   |      IP header {}       |
                   |      Transport header {30000}      |
                   |   Original Transport Payload {$6}  |
                   |   Source FEC Payload ID  {SB_2,2}  |

               Figure 7: Example of a Source Packet for IPv4

   The repair packets are generated from the repair symbols belonging to
   the same source block by grouping consecutive symbols in one packet.
   There should not be any fragmentation of a repair symbol; e.g.,
   symbols @4, @5, and @6 can be concatenated in one transport payload
   of 1536 bytes, but @6 should not be divided into smaller sub-symbols
   and spread over multiple repair packets.  The Repair FEC Payload ID
   must carry sufficient information for the decoding process.  In our
   example, for instance, indicating source block sequence number,
   length of each source payload, and the order that the first parity
   symbol in the repair packet among all the parity symbols generated

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   for the same source block is sufficient.  The exact header format of
   Repair FEC Payload ID may be specified in the FSSI field of the SDP
   element.  In Figure 8, for instance, the repair symbols @4, @5, and
   @6 are concatenated together.  The Payload ID {SB_1,4,4,6} states
   that the repair symbols protect SB_1, the first repair symbol in the
   payload is generated as the fourth symbol and the source block
   consists of two source flows carrying four and six packets from each.

                   |      IP header {}       |
                   |      Transport header {30000}      |
                   | Repair FEC Payload ID {SB_1,4,4,6} |
                   |      Repair Symbols {@4,@5,@6}     |

               Figure 8: Example of a Repair Packet for IPv4

4.  Reconstruction of Source Flows from Repair Flow(s)

   Here we provide an example for reconstructing multiple source flows
   from a single repair flow.

4.1.  Example: Multiple Source Flows Protected by a Single Repair Flow

   At the receiver, source flows 1 and 2 are received at
   {,30000} and {,30000}, while the repair flow is
   received at {,30000}.  The CDP can map these tuples to the
   flow IDs using the SDP elements.  Accordingly, the payloads received
   at {,30000} and {,30000} are mapped to flow IDs
   0 and 1, respectively.

   The CDP passes the flow IDs and received payloads along with the
   Explicit Source FEC Payload ID to the FEC scheme defined in the SDP
   description.  The CDP also passes the received repair packet payloads
   and Repair FEC Payload ID to the FEC scheme.  The FEC scheme can
   construct the original source block with missing packets by using the
   information given in the FEC Payload IDs.  The FEC Repair Payload ID
   provides the information that SB_1 has packets from two flows with
   four packets from the first one and six packets from the second one.
   Flow IDs state that the packets from source flow 0 precede the
   packets from source flow 1.  Explicit Source FEC Payload IDs, on the
   other hand, provide the information about which source payload
   appears in what order.  Therefore, the FEC scheme can depict a source
   block with exact locations of the missing packets.  Figure 9 depicts
   the case for SB_1.  Since the original source block with missing

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   packets can be constructed at the decoder and the FEC scheme knows
   the coding rate (e.g., it might be carried in the FSSI field in the
   SDP description), a proper decoding operation can start as soon as
   the repair symbols are provided to the FEC scheme.

            <-------- Source Block 1 -------->
            | $1 $2 X  X | #1 X  #3 #4 #5 #6 |

            O: Symbols received from the source flow 1 for SB_1
            #: Symbols received from the source flow 2 for SB_1
            X: Lost source symbols

                    Figure 9: Source Block Regeneration

   When the FEC scheme can recover any missing symbol while more repair
   symbols are arriving, it provides the recovered blocks along with the
   source flow IDs of the recovered blocks as outputs to the CDP.  The
   receiver knows how long to wait to repair the remaining missing
   packets (e.g., specified by the 'repair-window' attribute in the SDP
   description).  After the associated timer expires, the CDP hands over
   whatever could be recovered from the source flow to the application
   layer and continues with processing the next source block.

5.  Security Considerations

   For the general security considerations related to the FEC Framework,
   refer to [RFC6363].  For the security considerations related to the
   SDP elements in the FEC Framework, refer to [RFC6364].  There are no
   additional security considerations that apply to this document.

6.  Acknowledgments

   The authors would like to thank the FEC Framework design team for
   their inputs, suggestions, and contributions.

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7.  Normative References

   [RFC6363]  Watson, M., Begen, A., and V. Roca, "Forward Error
              Correction (FEC) Framework", RFC 6363, October 2011.

   [RFC6364]  Begen, A., "Session Description Protocol Elements for the
              Forward Error Correction (FEC) Framework", RFC 6364,
              October 2011.

   [RFC6695]  Asati, R., "Methods to Convey Forward Error Correction
              (FEC) Framework Configuration Information", RFC 6695,
              August 2012.

Authors' Addresses

   Ulas C. Kozat
   DOCOMO Innovations
   3240 Hillview Avenue
   Palo Alto, CA  94304-1201

   Phone: +1 650 496 4739

   Ali Begen
   181 Bay Street
   Toronto, ON  M5J 2T3