Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) D. Anipko, Ed.
Request for Comments: 7556 Unaffiliated
Category: Informational June 2015
Multiple Provisioning Domain Architecture
This document is a product of the work of the Multiple Interfaces
Architecture Design team. It outlines a solution framework for some
of the issues experienced by nodes that can be attached to multiple
networks simultaneously. The framework defines the concept of a
Provisioning Domain (PvD), which is a consistent set of network
configuration information. PvD-aware nodes learn PvD-specific
information from the networks they are attached to and/or other
sources. PvDs are used to enable separation and configuration
consistency in the presence of multiple concurrent connections.
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.
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Nodes attached to multiple networks may encounter problems from
conflicting configuration between the networks or attempts to
simultaneously use more than one network. While various techniques
are currently used to tackle these problems [RFC6419], in many cases
issues may still appear. The Multiple Interfaces Problem Statement
document [RFC6418] describes the general landscape and discusses many
of the specific issues and scenario details.
Problems, enumerated in [RFC6418], can be grouped into 3 categories:
1. Lack of consistent and distinctive management of configuration
elements associated with different networks.
2. Inappropriate mixed use of configuration elements associated with
different networks during a particular network activity or
3. Use of a particular network that is not consistent with the
intended use of the network, or the intent of the communicating
parties, leading to connectivity failure and/or other undesired
An example of (1) is a single, node-scoped list of DNS server IP
addresses learned from different networks leading to failures or
delays in resolution of names from particular namespaces; an example
of (2) is an attempt to resolve the name of an HTTP proxy server
learned from network A using a DNS server learned from network B; and
an example of (3) is the use of an employer-provided VPN connection
for peer-to-peer connectivity unrelated to employment activities.
This architecture provides solutions to these categories of problems,
1. Introducing the formal notion of PvDs, including identity for
PvDs, and describing mechanisms for nodes to learn the intended
associations between acquired network configuration information
2. Introducing a reference model for PvD-aware nodes that prevents
the inadvertent mixed use of configuration information that may
belong to different PvDs.
3. Providing recommendations on PvD selection based on PvD identity
and connectivity tests for common scenarios.
2. Definitions and Types of PvDs
A consistent set of network configuration information.
Classically, all of the configuration information available on a
single interface is provided by a single source (such as a network
administrator) and can therefore be treated as a single
provisioning domain. In modern IPv6 networks, multihoming can
result in more than one provisioning domain being present on a
single link. In some scenarios, it is also possible for elements
of the same PvD to be present on multiple links.
Typical examples of information in a provisioning domain learned
from the network are:
* Source address prefixes for use by connections within the
* IP address(es) of the DNS server(s)
* Name of the HTTP proxy server (if available)
* DNS suffixes associated with the network
* Default gateway address
A node that supports the association of network configuration
information into PvDs and the use of these PvDs to serve requests
for network connections in ways consistent with the
recommendations of this architecture.
An application that contains code and/or application-specific
configuration information explicitly aware of the notion of PvD
and/or specific types of PvD elements or properties.
2.1. Explicit PvDs
A node may receive explicit information from the network and/or other
sources conveying the presence of PvDs and the association of
particular network information with a particular PvD. PvDs that are
constructed based on such information are referred to as "explicit"
in this document.
Protocol changes or extensions will likely be required to support
explicit PvDs through IETF-defined mechanisms. As an example, one
could think of one or more DHCP options carrying PvD identity and/or
A different approach could be the introduction of a DHCP option that
only carries the identity of a PvD. Here, the associations between
network information elements with the identity is implemented by the
respective protocols, for example, with a Router Discovery [RFC4861]
option associating an address range with a PvD. Additional
discussion can be found in Section 3.
Other examples of a delivery mechanism for PvDs are key exchange or
tunneling protocols, such as the Internet Key Exchange Protocol
version 2 (IKEv2) [RFC7296] that allows the transport of host
Specific, existing, or new features of networking protocols that
enable the delivery of PvD identity and association with various
network information elements will be defined in companion design
Link-specific and/or vendor-proprietary mechanisms for the discovery
of PvD information (differing from IETF-defined mechanisms) can be
used by nodes either separate from or in conjunction with IETF-
defined mechanisms, providing they allow the discovery of the
necessary elements of the PvD(s).
In all cases, nodes must by default ensure that the lifetime of all
dynamically discovered PvD configuration is appropriately limited by
relevant events. For example, if an interface media state change is
indicated, previously discovered information relevant to that
interface may no longer be valid and thus needs to be confirmed or
It is expected that the way a node makes use of PvD information is
generally independent of the specific mechanism/protocol that the
information was received by.
In some network topologies, network infrastructure elements may need
to advertise multiple PvDs. Generally, the details of how this is
performed will be defined in companion design documents.
2.2. Implicit PvDs and Incremental Adoption of Explicit PvDs
For the foreseeable future, there will be networks that do not
advertise explicit PvD information, because deployment of new
features in networking protocols is a relatively slow process.
When connected to networks that don't advertise explicit PvD
information, a PvD-aware node shall automatically create separate
PvDs for received configuration. Such PvDs are referred to in this
document as "implicit".
Through the use of implicit PvDs, PvD-aware nodes may still provide
benefits to their users (when compared to non-PvD-aware nodes) by
following the best practices described in Section 5.
PvD-aware nodes shall treat network information from different
interfaces, which is not identified as belonging explicitly to some
PvD, as belonging to separate PvDs, one per interface.
Implicit PvDs can also occur in a mixed mode, i.e., where of multiple
networks that are available on an attached link, only some advertise
PvD information. In this case, the PvD-aware node shall create
explicit PvDs from information explicitly labeled as belonging to
PvDs. It shall associate configuration information not labeled with
an explicit PvD with an implicit PvD(s) created for that interface.
2.3. Relationship between PvDs and Interfaces
By default, implicit PvDs are limited to the network configuration
information received on a single interface, and by default, one such
PvD is formed for each interface. If additional information is
available to the host (through mechanisms out of scope of this
document), the host may form implicit PvDs with different
granularity. For example, PvDs spanning multiple interfaces such as
a home network with a router that has multiple internal interfaces or
multiple PvDs on a single interface such as a network that has
multiple uplink connections.
In the simplest case, explicit PvDs will be scoped for configuration
related only to a specific interface. However, there is no
requirement in this architecture for such a limitation. Explicit
PvDs may include information related to more than one interface if
the node learns the presence of the same PvD on those interfaces and
the authentication of the PvD ID meets the level required by the node
policy (authentication of a PvD ID may be also required in scenarios
involving only one connected interface and/or PvD; for additional
discussion of PvD Trust, see Section 7).
This architecture supports such scenarios. Hence, no hierarchical
relationship exists between interfaces and PvDs: it is possible for
multiple PvDs to be simultaneously accessible over one interface, as
well as a single PvD to be simultaneously accessible over multiple
2.4. PvD Identity/Naming
For explicit PvDs, the PvD ID is a value that is or has a high
probability of being globally unique and is received as part of PvD
information. It shall be possible to generate a human-readable form
of the PvD ID to present to the end user, either based on the PvD ID
itself or using metadata associated with the ID. For implicit PvDs,
the node assigns a locally generated ID with a high probability of
being globally unique to each implicit PvD.
We say that a PvD ID should be, or should have a high probability of
being, globally unique. The purpose of this is to make it unlikely
that any individual node will ever accidentally see the same PvD name
twice if it is not actually referring to the same PvD. Protection
against deliberate attacks involving name clashes requires that the
name be authenticated (see Section 7.2.1).
A PvD-aware node may use these IDs to select a PvD with a matching ID
for special-purpose connection requests in accordance with node
policy, as chosen by advanced applications, or to present a human-
readable representation of the IDs to the end user for selection of
A single network provider may operate multiple networks, including
networks at different locations. In such cases, the provider may
chose whether to advertise single or multiple PvD identities at all
or some of those networks as it suits their business needs. This
architecture does not impose any specific requirements in this
When multiple nodes are connected to the same link with one or more
explicit PvDs available, this architecture assumes that the
information about all available PvDs is made available by the
networks to all the connected nodes. At the same time, connected
nodes may have different heuristics, policies, and/or other settings,
including their configured sets of trusted PvDs. This may lead to
different PvDs actually being used by different nodes for their
Possible extensions whereby networks advertise different sets of PvDs
to different connected nodes are out of scope of this document.
2.5. The Relationship to Dual-Stack Networks
When applied to dual-stack networks, the PvD definition allows for
multiple PvDs to be created whereby each PvD contains information
relevant to only one address family, or for a single PvD containing
information for multiple address families. This architecture
requires that accompanying design documents describing PvD-related
protocol changes must support PvDs containing information from
multiple address families. PvD-aware nodes must be capable of
creating and using both single-family and multi-family PvDs.
For explicit PvDs, the choice of either of these approaches is a
policy decision for the network administrator and/or the node user/
administrator. Since some of the IP configuration information that
can be learned from the network can be applicable to multiple address
families (for instance, DHCPv6 Address Selection Policy Option
[RFC7078]), it is likely that dual-stack networks will deploy single
PvDs for both address families.
By default for implicit PvDs, PvD-aware nodes shall include multiple
IP families into a single implicit PvD created for an interface. At
the time of writing, in dual-stack networks it appears to be common
practice for the configuration of both address families to be
provided by a single source.
A PvD-aware node that provides an API to use, enumerate, and inspect
PvDs and/or their properties shall provide the ability to filter PvDs
and/or their properties by address family.
3. Conveying PvD Information
DHCPv6 and Router Advertisements (RAs) are the two most common
methods of configuring hosts. To support the architecture described
in this document, these protocols would need to be extended to convey
explicit PvD information. The following sections describe topics
that must be considered before finalizing a mechanism to augment
DHCPv6 and RAs with PvD information.
3.1. Separate Messages or One Message?
When information related to several PvDs is available from the same
configuration source, there are two possible ways of distributing
this information: One way is to send information from each different
provisioning domain in separate messages. The second method is
combining the information from multiple PvDs into a single message.
The latter method has the advantage of being more efficient but could
have problems with authentication and authorization, as well as
potential issues with accommodating information not tagged with any
3.2. Securing PvD Information
DHCPv6 [RFC3315] and RAs [RFC3971] both provide some form of
authentication to ensure the identity of the source as well as the
integrity of the secured message content. While this is useful,
determining authenticity does not tell a node whether the
configuration source is actually allowed to provide information from
a given PvD. To resolve this, there must be a mechanism for the PvD
owner to attach some form of authorization token or signature to the
configuration information that is delivered.
3.3. Backward Compatibility
The extensions to RAs and DHCPv6 should be defined in such a manner
that unmodified hosts (i.e., hosts not aware of PvDs) will continue
to function as well as they did prior to PvD information being added.
This could imply that some information may need to be duplicated in
order to be conveyed to legacy hosts. Similarly, PvD-aware hosts
need to be able to correctly utilize legacy configuration sources
that do not provide PvD information. There are also several
initiatives that are aimed at adding some form of additional
information to prefixes [DHCPv6-CLASS-BASED-PREFIX]
[IPv6-PREFIX-PROPERTIES], and any new mechanism should try to
consider coexistence with such deployed mechanisms.
3.4. Retracting/Updating PvD Information
After PvD information is provisioned to a host, it may become
outdated or superseded by updated information before the hosts would
normally request updates. To resolve this requires that the
mechanism be able to update and/or withdraw all (or some subset) of
the information related to a given PvD. For efficiency reasons,
there should be a way to specify that all information from the PvD
needs to be reconfigured instead of individually updating each item
associated with the PvD.
3.5. Conveying Configuration Information Using IKEv2
IKEv2 [RFC7296] [RFC5739] is another widely used method of
configuring host IP information. For IKEv2, the provisioning domain
could be implicitly learned from the Identification - Responder (IDr)
payloads that the IKEv2 initiator and responder inject during their
IKEv2 exchange. The IP configuration may depend on the named IDr.
Another possibility could be adding a specific provisioning domain
identifying payload extensions to IKEv2. All of the considerations
for DHCPv6 and the RAs listed above potentially apply to IKEv2 as
4. Example Network Configurations
4.1. A Mobile Node
Consider a mobile node with two network interfaces: one to the mobile
network, the other to the Wi-Fi network. When the mobile node is
only connected to the mobile network, it will typically have one PvD,
implicit or explicit. When the mobile node discovers and connects to
a Wi-Fi network, it will have zero or more (typically one) additional
Some existing OS implementations only allow one active network
connection. In this case, only the PvD(s) associated with the active
interface can be used at any given time.
As an example, the mobile network can explicitly deliver PvD
information through the Packet Data Protocol (PDP) context activation
process. Then, the PvD-aware mobile node will treat the mobile
network as an explicit PvD. Conversely, the legacy Wi-Fi network may
not explicitly communicate PvD information to the mobile node. The
PvD-aware mobile node will associate network configuration for the
Wi-Fi network with an implicit PvD in this case.
The following diagram illustrates the use of different PvDs in this
<----------- Wi-Fi 'Internet' PvD -------->
| +-----+ | +-----+ _ __ _ _
| |Wi-Fi| | | | ( ` ) ( ` )_
| |-IF + |----+ |---------------------------( `)
| | | | |Wi-Fi| ( ) ( Internet )
| +-----+ | | AP | ( ) ( )
| | | | ( Service ) ( )
| | +-----+ ( Provider's ) ( )
| | ( Networks - ( )
| +----+ | `_ ) ( )
| |CELL| | ( ) ( )
| |-IF +--|-------------------------------------( )
| | | | (_ __) (_ _)
| +----+ | `- -- `- __ _) -
<------- Mobile 'Internet' PvD ----------->
Figure 1: An Example of PvD Use with Wi-Fi and Mobile Interfaces
4.2. A Node with a VPN Connection
If the node has established a VPN connection, zero or more (typically
one) additional PvD(s) will be created. These may be implicit or
explicit. The routing to IP addresses reachable within this PvD will
be set up via the VPN connection, and the routing of packets to
addresses outside the scope of this PvD will remain unaffected. If a
node already has N connected PvDs, after the VPN session has been
established typically there will be N+1 connected PvDs.
The following diagram illustrates the use of different PvDs in this
<----------- 'Internet' PvD ------>
| +----+ | +----+ _ __ _ _
| |Phy | | | | ( ` ) ( ` )_
| |-IF +-|----+ |--------------------( `)
| | | | | | ( ) (_ Internet _)
| +----+ | | | ( ) `- __ _) -
| | |Home| ( Service ) ||
| | |Gate| ( Provider's ) ||
| | |-way| ( Network - ||
| +----+ | | | `_ ) +---------+ +------------+
| |VPN | | | | ( ) | VPN | | |
| |-IF +-|----+ |---------------------+ Gateway |--+ Private |
| | | | | | (_ __) | | | Services |
| +----+ | +----+ `- -- +---------+ +------------+
<-------------- Explicit 'VPN' PvD ----->
Figure 2: An Example of PvD Use with VPN4.3. A Home Network and a Network Operator with Multiple PvDs
An operator may use separate PvDs for individual services that they
offer to their customers. These may be used so that services can be
designed and provisioned to be completely independent of each other,
allowing for complete flexibility in combinations of services that
are offered to customers.
From the perspective of the home network and the node, this model is
functionally very similar to being multihomed to multiple upstream
operators: Each of the different services offered by the service
provider is its own PvD with associated PvD information. In this
case, the operator may provide a generic/default PvD (explicit or
implicit), which provides Internet access to the customer.
Additional services would then be provisioned as explicit PvDs for
The following diagram illustrates this, using video-on-demand as a
<------ Implicit 'Internet' PvD ------>
+----+ +-----+ _ __ _ _
| | | | ( ` ) ( ` )_
| PC +-----+ |-------------------------( `)
| | | | ( ) (_ Internet _)
+----+ | | ( ) `- __ _) -
|Home | ( Service )
|Gate-| ( Provider's )
|way | ( Network -
+-----+ | | `_ ) +-----------+
| Set-| | | ( ) |ISP Video- |
| Top +----+ |--------------------------+on-Demand |
| Box | | | (_ __) | Service |
+-----+ +-----+ `- -- +-----------+
<-- Explicit 'Video-on-Demand' PvD -->
Figure 3: An Example of PvD Use with Wi-Fi and Mobile Interfaces
In this case, the number of PvDs that a single operator could
provision is based on the number of independently provisioned
services that they offer. Some examples may include:
o Real-time packet voice
o Streaming video
o Interactive video (n-way video conferencing)
o Interactive gaming
o Best effort / Internet access
5. Reference Model for the PvD-Aware Node
5.1. Constructions and Maintenance of Separate PvDs
It is assumed that normally, the configuration information contained
in a single PvD shall be sufficient for a node to fulfill a network
connection request by an application, and hence there should be no
need to attempt to merge information across different PvDs.
Nevertheless, even when a PvD lacks some necessary configuration
information, merging of information associated with a different
PvD(s) shall not be done automatically as this will typically lead to
the issues described in [RFC6418].
A node may use other sources, for example: node local policy, user
input, or other mechanisms not defined by the IETF for any of the
o Construction of a PvD in its entirety (analogous to statically
configuring IP on an interface)
o Supplementing some or all learned PvDs with particular
o Merging of information from different PvDs (if this is explicitly
allowed by policy)
As an example, a node administrator could configure the node to use a
specific DNS resolver on a particular interface, or for a particular
named PvD. In the case of a per-interface DNS resolver, this might
override or augment the DNS resolver configuration for PvDs that are
discovered on that interface. Such creation/augmentation of a PvD(s)
could be static or dynamic. The specific mechanism(s) for
implementing this is outside the scope of this document. Such a
merging or overriding of DNS resolver configuration might be contrary
to the policy that applies to a special-purpose connection, such as,
for example, those discussed in Sections 5.2.1 and 5.2.4. In such
cases, either the special-purpose connection should not be used or
the merging/overriding should not be performed.
5.2. Consistent Use of PvDs for Network Connections
PvDs enable PvD-aware nodes to consistently use the correct set of
configuration elements to serve specific network requests from
beginning to end. This section provides examples of such use.
5.2.1. Name Resolution
When a PvD-aware node needs to resolve the name of the destination
for use by a connection request, the node could use one or multiple
PvDs for a given name lookup.
The node shall choose a single PvD if, for example, the node policy
required the use of a particular PvD for a specific purpose (e.g., to
download a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) message using a
specific Access Point Name (APN) over a cellular connection or to
direct traffic of enterprise applications to a VPN connection to the
enterprise network). To make this selection, the node could use a
match between the PvD DNS suffix and a Fully Qualified Domain Name
(FQDN) that is being resolved or a match of the PvD ID, as determined
by the node policy.
The node may pick multiple PvDs if, for example, the PvDs are for
general purpose Internet connectivity, and the node is attempting to
maximize the probability of connectivity similar to the Happy
Eyeballs [RFC6555] approach. In this case, the node could perform
DNS lookups in parallel, or in sequence. Alternatively, the node may
use only one PvD for the lookup, based on the PvD connectivity
properties, user configuration of preferred Internet PvD, etc.
If an application implements an API that provides a way of explicitly
specifying the desired interface or PvD, that interface or PvD should
be used for name resolution (and the subsequent connection attempt),
provided that the host's configuration permits this.
In either case, by default a node uses information obtained via a
name service lookup to establish connections only within the same PvD
as the lookup results were obtained.
For clarification, when it is written that the name service lookup
results were obtained "from a PvD", it should be understood to mean
that the name service query was issued against a name service that is
configured for use in a particular PvD. In that sense, the results
are "from" that particular PvD.
Some nodes may support transports and/or APIs that provide an
abstraction of a single connection, aggregating multiple underlying
connections. Multipath TCP (MPTCP) [RFC6182] is an example of such a
transport protocol. For connections provided by such transports/
APIs, a PvD-aware node may use different PvDs for servicing that
logical connection, provided that all operations on the underlying
connections are performed consistently within their corresponding
5.2.2. Next-Hop and Source Address Selection
For the purpose of this example, let us assume that the preceding
name lookup succeeded in a particular PvD. For each obtained
destination address, the node shall perform a next-hop lookup among
routers associated with that PvD. As an example, the node could
determine such associations via matching the source address prefixes
/ specific routes advertised by the router against known PvDs or by
receiving an explicit PvD affiliation advertised through a new Router
Discovery [RFC4861] option.
For each destination, once the best next hop is found, the node
selects the best source address according to rules defined in
[RFC6724], but with the constraint that the source address must
belong to a range associated with the used PvD. If needed, the node
would use the prefix policy from the same PvD for selecting the best
source address from multiple candidates.
When destination/source pairs are identified, they are sorted using
the [RFC6724] destination sorting rules and prefix policy table from
the used PvD.
5.2.3. Listening Applications
Consider a host connected to several PvDs, running an application
that opens a listening socket / transport API object. The
application is authorized by the host policy to use a subset of
connected PvDs that may or may not be equal to the complete set of
the connected PvDs. As an example, in the case where there are
different PvDs on the Wi-Fi and cellular interfaces, for general
Internet traffic the host could use only one, preferred PvD at a time
(and accordingly, advertise to remote peers the host name and
addresses associated with that PvD), or it could use one PvD as the
default for outgoing connections, while still allowing use of the
other PvDs simultaneously.
Another example is a host with an established VPN connection. Here,
security policy could be used to permit or deny an application's
access to the VPN PvD and other PvDs.
For non-PvD-aware applications, the operating system has policies
that determine the authorized set of PvDs and the preferred outgoing
PvD. For PvD-aware applications, both the authorized set of PvDs and
the default outgoing PvD can be determined as the common subset
produced between the OS policies and the set of PvD IDs or
characteristics provided by the application.
Application input could be provided on a per-application, per-
transport-API-object, or per-transport-API-call basis. The API for
application input may have an option for specifying whether the input
should be treated as a preference instead of a requirement.
126.96.36.199. Processing of Incoming Traffic
Unicast IP packets are received on a specific IP address associated
with a PvD. For multicast packets, the host can derive the PvD
association from other configuration information, such as an explicit
PvD property or local policy.
The node OS or middleware may apply more advanced techniques for
determining the resultant PvD and/or authorization of the incoming
traffic. Those techniques are outside the scope of this document.
If the determined receiving PvD of a packet is not in the allowed
subset of PvDs for the particular application/transport API object,
the packet should be handled in the same way as if there were no
188.8.131.52.1. Connection-Oriented APIs
For connection-oriented APIs, when the initial incoming packet is
received, the packet PvD is remembered for the established connection
and used for the handling of outgoing traffic for that connection.
While typically connection-oriented APIs use a connection-oriented
transport protocol, such as TCP, it is possible to have a connection-
oriented API that uses a generally connectionless transport protocol,
such as UDP.
For APIs/protocols that support multiple IP traffic flows associated
with a single transport API connection object (for example, Multipath
TCP), the processing rules may be adjusted accordingly.
184.108.40.206.2. Connectionless APIs
For connectionless APIs, the host should provide an API that
PvD-aware applications can use to query the PvD associated with the
packet. For outgoing traffic on this transport API object, the OS
should use the selected outgoing PvDs, determined as described in
Sections 5.2.1 and 5.2.2.
5.2.4. Enforcement of Security Policies
By themselves, PvDs do not define, and cannot be used for
communication of, security policies. When implemented in a network,
this architecture provides the host with information about connected
networks. The actual behavior of the host then depends on the host's
policies (provisioned through mechanisms out of scope of this
document), applied by taking received PvD information into account.
In some scenarios, e.g., a VPN, such policies could require the host
to use only a particular VPN PvD for some/all of the application's
traffic (VPN 'disable split tunneling' also known as 'force
tunneling' behavior) or apply such restrictions only to selected
applications and allow the simultaneous use of the VPN PvD together
with the other connected PvDs by the other or all applications (VPN
'split tunneling' behavior).
5.3. Connectivity Tests
Although some PvDs may appear as valid candidates for PvD selection
(e.g., good link quality, consistent connection parameters, etc.),
they may provide limited or no connectivity to the desired network or
the Internet. For example, some PvDs provide limited IP connectivity
(e.g., scoped to the link or to the access network) but require the
node to authenticate through a web portal to get full access to the
Internet. This may be more likely to happen for PvDs that are not
trusted by a given PvD-aware node.
An attempt to use such a PvD may lead to limited network connectivity
or application connection failures. To prevent the latter, a PvD-
aware node may perform a connectivity test for the PvD before using
it to serve application network connection requests. In current
implementations, some nodes already implement this, e.g., by trying
to reach a dedicated web server (see [RFC6419]).
Section 5.2 describes how a PvD-aware node shall maintain and use
multiple PvDs separately. The PvD-aware node shall perform a
connectivity test and, only after validation of the PvD, consider
using it to serve application connections requests. Ongoing
connectivity tests are also required, since during the IP session,
the end-to-end connectivity could be disrupted for various reasons
(e.g., L2 problems and IP QoS issues); hence, a connectivity
monitoring function is needed to check the connectivity status and
remove the PvD from the set of usable PvDs if necessary.
There may be cases where a connectivity test for PvD selection may
not be appropriate and should be complemented, or replaced, by PvD
selection based on other factors. For example, this could be
realized by leveraging some 3GPP and IEEE mechanisms, which would
allow the exposure of some PvD characteristics to the node (e.g.,
3GPP Access Network Discovery and Selection Function (ANDSF)
[TS23402], Access Network Query Protocol (ANQP) [IEEE802.11u]).
5.4. Relationship to Interface Management and Connection Managers
Current devices such as mobile handsets make use of proprietary
mechanisms and custom applications to manage connectivity in
environments with multiple interfaces and multiple sets of network
configuration. These mechanisms or applications are commonly known
as connection managers [RFC6419].
Connection managers sometimes rely on policy servers to allow a node
that is connected to multiple networks to perform network selection.
They can also make use of routing guidance from the network (e.g.,
3GPP ANDSF [TS23402]). Although connection managers solve some
connectivity problems, they rarely address network selection problems
in a comprehensive manner. With proprietary solutions, it is
challenging to present coherent behavior to the end user of the
device, as different platforms present different behaviors even when
connected to the same network, with the same type of interface, and
for the same purpose. The architecture described in this document
should improve the host's behavior by providing the hosts with tools
and guidance to make informed network selection decisions.
6. PvD Support in APIs
For all levels of PvD support in APIs described in this chapter, it
is expected that the notifications about changes in the set of
available PvDs are exposed as part of the API surface.
Applications are not PvD aware in any manner and only submit
connection requests. The node performs PvD selection implicitly,
without any application participation, based purely on node-specific
administrative policies and/or choices made by the user from a user
interface provided by the operating environment, not by the
As an example, PvD selection can be done at the name service lookup
step by using the relevant configuration elements, such as those
described in [RFC6731]. As another example, PvD selection could be
made based on application identity or type (i.e., a node could always
use a particular PvD for a Voice over IP (VoIP) application).
Applications indirectly participate in PvD selection by specifying
hard requirements and soft preferences. As an example, a real-time
communication application intending to use the connection for the
exchange of real-time audio/video data may indicate a preference or a
requirement for connection quality, which could affect PvD selection
(different PvDs could correspond to Internet connections with
different loss rates and latencies).
Another example is the connection of an infrequently executed
background activity, which checks for application updates and
performs large downloads when updates are available. For such
connections, a cheaper or zero-cost PvD may be preferable, even if
such a connection has a higher relative loss rate or lower bandwidth.
The node performs PvD selection based on applications' inputs and
policies and/or user preferences. Some/all properties of the
resultant PvD may be exposed to applications.
PvDs are directly exposed to applications for enumeration and
selection. Node polices and/or user choices may still override the
applications' preferences and limit which PvD(s) can be enumerated
and/or used by the application, irrespective of any preferences that
the application may have specified. Depending on the implementation,
such restrictions (imposed by node policy and/or user choice) may or
may not be visible to the application.
7. PvD Trust for PvD-Aware Node
7.1. Untrusted PvDs
Implicit and explicit PvDs for which no trust relationship exists are
considered untrusted. Only PvDs that meet the requirements in
Section 7.2 are trusted; any other PvD is untrusted.
In order to avoid the various forms of misinformation that could
occur when PvDs are untrusted, nodes that implement PvD separation
cannot assume that two explicit PvDs with the same identifier are
actually the same PvD. A node that makes this assumption will be
vulnerable to attacks where, for example, an open Wi-Fi hotspot might
assert that it was part of another PvD and thereby attempt to draw
traffic intended for that PvD onto its own network.
Since implicit PvD identifiers are synthesized by the node, this
issue cannot arise with implicit PvDs.
Mechanisms exist (for example, [RFC6731]) whereby a PvD can provide
configuration information that asserts special knowledge about the
reachability of resources through that PvD. Such assertions cannot
be validated unless the node has a trust relationship with the PvD;
therefore, assertions of this type must be ignored by nodes that
receive them from untrusted PvDs. Failure to ignore such assertions
could result in traffic being diverted from legitimate destinations
to spoofed destinations.
7.2. Trusted PvDs
Trusted PvDs are PvDs for which two conditions apply: First, a trust
relationship must exist between the node that is using the PvD
configuration and the source that provided that configuration; this
is the authorization portion of the trust relationship. Second,
there must be some way to validate the trust relationship. This is
the authentication portion of the trust relationship. Two mechanisms
for validating the trust relationship are defined.
It shall be possible to validate the trust relationship for all
advertised elements of a trusted PvD, irrespective of whether the PvD
elements are communicated as a whole, e.g., in a single DHCP option,
or separately, e.g., in supplementary RA options. The feasibility of
mechanisms to implement a trust relationship for all PvD elements
will be determined in the respective companion design documents.
7.2.1. Authenticated PvDs
One way to validate the trust relationship between a node and the
source of a PvD is through the combination of cryptographic
authentication and an identifier configured on the node.
If authentication is done using a public key mechanism such as PKI
certificate chain validation or DNS-Based Authentication of Named
Entities (DANE), authentication by itself is not enough since
theoretically any PvD could be authenticated in this way. In
addition to authentication, the node would need configuration to
trust the identifier being authenticated. Validating the
authenticated PvD name against a list of PvD names configured as
trusted on the node would constitute the authorization step in this
7.2.2. PvDs Trusted by Attachment
In some cases, a trust relationship may be validated by some means
other than those described in Section 7.2.1 simply by virtue of the
connection through which the PvD was obtained. For instance, a
handset connected to a mobile network may know through the mobile
network infrastructure that it is connected to a trusted PvD.
Whatever mechanism was used to validate that connection constitutes
the authentication portion of the PvD trust relationship.
Presumably, such a handset would be configured from the factory (or
else through mobile operator or user preference settings) to trust
the PvD, and this would constitute the authorization portion of this
type of trust relationship.
8. Security Considerations
There are at least three different forms of attacks that can be
performed using configuration sources that support multiple
Tampering with provided configuration information: An attacker may
attempt to modify information provided inside the PvD container
option. These attacks can easily be prevented by using message
integrity features provided by the underlying protocol used to
carry the configuration information. For example, SEcure Neighbor
Discovery (SEND) [RFC3971] would detect any form of tampering with
the RA contents and the DHCPv6 [RFC3315] AUTH option that would
detect any form of tampering with the DHCPv6 message contents.
This attack can also be performed by a compromised configuration
source by modifying information inside a specific PvD, in which
case the mitigations proposed in the next subsection may be
Rogue configuration source: A compromised configuration source, such
as a router or a DHCPv6 server, may advertise information about
PvDs that it is not authorized to advertise. For example, a
coffee shop WLAN may advertise configuration information
purporting to be from an enterprise and may try to attract
enterprise-related traffic. This may also occur accidentally if
two sites choose the same identifier (e.g., "linsky").
In order to detect and prevent this, the client must be able to
authenticate the identifier provided by the network. This means
that the client must have configuration information that maps the
PvD identifier to an identity and must be able to authenticate
In addition, the network must provide information the client can
use to authenticate the identity. This could take the form of a
PKI-based or DNSSEC-based trust anchor, or a key remembered from a
previous leap-of-faith authentication of the identifier.
Because the PvD-specific information may come to the network
infrastructure with which the client is actually communicating
from some upstream provider, it is necessary in this case that the
PvD container and its contents be relayed to the client unchanged,
leaving the upstream provider's signature intact.
Replay attacks: A compromised configuration source or an on-link
attacker may try to capture advertised configuration information
and replay it on a different link, or at a future point in time.
This can be avoided by including a replay protection mechanism
such as a timestamp or a nonce inside the PvD container to ensure
the validity of the provided information.
The authors would like to thank (in no specific order) Ian Farrer,
Markus Stenberg, and Mikael Abrahamsson for their review and
The following individuals contributed to this document (listed in no
specific order): Alper Yegin (email@example.com), Aaron Yi Ding
(firstname.lastname@example.org), Zhen Cao (email@example.com), Dapeng Liu
(firstname.lastname@example.org), Dave Thaler (email@example.com),
Dmitry Anipko (firstname.lastname@example.org), Hui Deng
(email@example.com), Jouni Korhonen (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Juan Carlos Zuniga (JuanCarlos.Zuniga@InterDigital.com), Konstantinos
Pentikousis (email@example.com), Marc Blanchet
(firstname.lastname@example.org), Margaret Wasserman
(email@example.com), Pierrick Seite (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Suresh Krishnan (email@example.com), Teemu Savolainen
(firstname.lastname@example.org), Ted Lemon (email@example.com), and
Tim Chown (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dmitry Anipko (editor)
Phone: +1 425 442 6356