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RFC 7514

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Really Explicit Congestion Notification (RECN)

 


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Independent Submission                                         M. Luckie
Request for Comments: 7514                                         CAIDA
Category: Experimental                                      1 April 2015
ISSN: 2070-1721


             Really Explicit Congestion Notification (RECN)

Abstract

   This document proposes a new ICMP message that a router or host may
   use to advise a host to reduce the rate at which it sends, in cases
   where the host ignores other signals provided by packet loss and
   Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN).

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for examination, experimental implementation, and
   evaluation.

   This document defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
   community.  This is a contribution to the RFC Series, independently
   of any other RFC stream.  The RFC Editor has chosen to publish this
   document at its discretion and makes no statement about its value for
   implementation or deployment.  Documents approved for publication by
   the RFC Editor are not 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
   http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7514.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2015 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
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Requirements Language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  RECN Message Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     2.1.  Advice to Implementers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.2.  Relationship to ICMP Source Quench  . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5

1.  Introduction

   The deployment of Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) [RFC3168]
   remains stalled.  While most operating systems support ECN, it is
   currently disabled by default because of fears that enabling ECN will
   break transport protocols.  This document proposes a new ICMP message
   that a router or host may use to advise a host to reduce the rate at
   which it sends, in cases where the host ignores other signals such as
   packet loss and ECN.  We call this message the "Really Explicit
   Congestion Notification" (RECN) message because it delivers a less
   subtle indication of congestion than packet loss and ECN.

1.1.  Requirements Language

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

2.  RECN Message Format

    0                   1                   2                   3
    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |     Type      |     Code      |          Checksum             |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |                      Explicit Notification                    |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |           As much of the invoking packet as possible          |
   +           without the ICMP packet exceeding 576 bytes         |
   |               in IPv4 or the minimum MTU in IPv6              |

   Type

      IPv4: 4

      IPv6: 201

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   Code

      0

   Checksum

      The checksum is the 16-bit ones's complement of the one's
      complement sum of the ICMP message starting with the ICMP type
      field.  When an RECN message is encapsulated in an IPv6 packet,
      the computation includes a "pseudo-header" of IPv6 header fields
      as specified in Section 8.1 of [RFC2460].  For computing the
      checksum, the checksum field is first set to zero.

   Explicit Notification

      A 4-byte value that conveys an explicit notification in the ASCII
      format defined in [RFC20].  This field MUST NOT be set to zero.

   Description

      An RECN message SHOULD be sent by a router in response to a host
      that is generating traffic at a rate persistently unfair to other
      competing flows and that has not reacted to previous packet losses
      or ECN marks.

      The contents of an RECN message MUST be conveyed to the user
      responsible for the traffic.  Precisely how this is accomplished
      will depend on the capabilities of the host.  If text-to-speech
      capabilities are available, the contents should be converted to
      sound form and audibly rendered.  If the system is currently
      muted, a pop-up message will suffice.

2.1.  Advice to Implementers

   As the Explicit Notification field is only 4 bytes, it is not
   required that the word be null terminated.  A client implementation
   should be careful not to use more than those 4 bytes.  If a router
   chooses a word less than 4 bytes in size, it should null-terminate
   that word.

   A router should not necessarily send an RECN message every time it
   discards a packet due to congestion.  Rather, a router should send
   these messages whenever it discards a burst of packets from a single
   sender.  For every packet a router discards in a single burst, it
   should send an RECN message.  A router may form short sentences
   composed of different 4-byte words, and a host should play these
   sentences back to the user.  A router may escalate the content in the
   Explicit Notification field if it determines that a sender has not

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   adjusted its transmission rate in response to previous RECN messages.
   There is no upper bound on the intensity of the escalation, either in
   content or sentence length.

2.2.  Relationship to ICMP Source Quench

   The RECN message was inspired by the ICMP Source Quench message,
   which is now deprecated [RFC6633].  Because the RECN message uses a
   similar approach, an RECN message uses the same ICMP type when
   encapsulated in IPv4 as was used by the ICMP Source Quench message.

3.  IANA Considerations

   This is an Experimental RFC; the experiment will conclude two years
   after the publication of this RFC.  During the experiment,
   implementers are free to use words of their own choosing (up to four
   letters) in RECN messages.  If RECN becomes a Standard of any kind, a
   list of allowed words will be maintained in an IANA registry.  There
   are no IANA actions required at this time.

4.  Security Considerations

   ICMP messages may be used in various attacks [RFC5927].  An attacker
   may use the RECN message to cause a host to reduce their transmission
   rate for no reason.  To prevent such an attack, a host must ensure
   the quoted message corresponds to an active flow on the system, and
   an attacker MUST set the security flag defined in [RFC3514] to 1 when
   the RECN message is carried in an IPv4 packet.

5.  Normative References

   [RFC20]    Cerf, V., "ASCII format for network interchange", STD 80,
              RFC 20, October 1969,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc20>.

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>.

   [RFC2460]  Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6
              (IPv6) Specification", RFC 2460, December 1998,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2460>.

   [RFC3168]  Ramakrishnan, K., Floyd, S., and D. Black, "The Addition
              of Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) to IP", RFC
              3168, September 2001,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3168>.

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   [RFC3514]  Bellovin, S., "The Security Flag in the IPv4 Header", RFC
              3514, April 2003,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3514>.

   [RFC5927]  Gont, F., "ICMP Attacks against TCP", RFC 5927, July 2010,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5927>.

   [RFC6633]  Gont, F., "Deprecation of ICMP Source Quench Messages",
              RFC 6633, May 2012,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6633>.

Author's Address

   Matthew Luckie
   CAIDA
   University of California, San Diego
   9500 Gilman Drive
   La Jolla, CA  92093-0505
   United States

   EMail: mjl@caida.org