4.6. Option Formats Neighbor Discovery messages include zero or more options, some of which may appear multiple times in the same message. All options are of the form: 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 | Length | ... | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ ~ ... ~ +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Fields: Type 8-bit identifier of the type of option. The options defined in this document are: Option Name Type Source Link-Layer Address 1 Target Link-Layer Address 2 Prefix Information 3 Redirected Header 4 MTU 5 Length 8-bit unsigned integer. The length of the option in units of 8 octets. The value 0 is invalid. Nodes MUST silently discard an ND packet that contains an option with length zero.
4.6.1. Source/Target Link-layer Address 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 | Length | Link-Layer Address ... +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Fields: Type 1 for Source Link-layer Address 2 for Target Link-layer Address Length The length of the option in units of 8 octets. For example, the length for IEEE 802 addresses is 1 [IPv6-ETHER]. Link-Layer Address The variable length link-layer address. The content and format of this field (including byte and bit ordering) is expected to be specified in specific documents that describe how IPv6 operates over different link layers. For instance, [IPv6- ETHER]. Description The Source Link-Layer Address option contains the link-layer address of the sender of the packet. It is used in the Neighbor Solicitation, Router Solicitation, and Router Advertisement packets. The Target Link-Layer Address option contains the link-layer address of the target. It is used in Neighbor Advertisement and Redirect packets. These options MUST be silently ignored for other Neighbor Discovery messages.
4.6.2. Prefix Information 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 | Length | Prefix Length |L|A| Reserved1 | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Valid Lifetime | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Preferred Lifetime | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Reserved2 | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | | + + | | + Prefix + | | + + | | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Fields: Type 3 Length 4 Prefix Length 8-bit unsigned integer. The number of leading bits in the Prefix that are valid. The value ranges from 0 to 128. L 1-bit on-link flag. When set, indicates that this prefix can be used for on-link determination. When not set the advertisement makes no statement about on-link or off-link properties of the prefix. For instance, the prefix might be used for address configuration with some of the addresses belonging to the prefix being on-link and others being off-link. A 1-bit autonomous address-configuration flag. When set indicates that this prefix can be used for autonomous address configuration as specified in [ADDRCONF]. Reserved1 6-bit unused field. It MUST be initialized to zero by the sender and MUST be ignored by the receiver.
Valid Lifetime 32-bit unsigned integer. The length of time in seconds (relative to the time the packet is sent) that the prefix is valid for the purpose of on-link determination. A value of all one bits (0xffffffff) represents infinity. The Valid Lifetime is also used by [ADDRCONF]. Preferred Lifetime 32-bit unsigned integer. The length of time in seconds (relative to the time the packet is sent) that addresses generated from the prefix via stateless address autoconfiguration remain preferred [ADDRCONF]. A value of all one bits (0xffffffff) represents infinity. See [ADDRCONF]. Reserved2 This field is unused. It MUST be initialized to zero by the sender and MUST be ignored by the receiver. Prefix An IP address or a prefix of an IP address. The Prefix Length field contains the number of valid leading bits in the prefix. The bits in the prefix after the prefix length are reserved and MUST be initialized to zero by the sender and ignored by the receiver. A router SHOULD NOT send a prefix option for the link-local prefix and a host SHOULD ignore such a prefix option. Description The Prefix Information option provide hosts with on- link prefixes and prefixes for Address Autoconfiguration. The Prefix Information option appears in Router Advertisement packets and MUST be silently ignored for other messages.
4.6.3. Redirected Header 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 | Length | Reserved | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Reserved | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | | ~ IP header + data ~ | | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Fields: Type 4 Length The length of the option in units of 8 octets. Reserved These fields are unused. They MUST be initialized to zero by the sender and MUST be ignored by the receiver. IP header + data The original packet truncated to ensure that the size of the redirect message does not exceed 576 octets. Description The Redirected Header option is used in Redirect messages and contains all or part of the packet that is being redirected. This option MUST be silently ignored for other Neighbor Discovery messages. 4.6.4. MTU 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 | Length | Reserved | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | MTU | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
Fields: Type 5 Length 1 Reserved This field is unused. It MUST be initialized to zero by the sender and MUST be ignored by the receiver. MTU 32-bit unsigned integer. The recommended MTU for the link. Description The MTU option is used in Router Advertisement messages to insure that all nodes on a link use the same MTU value in those cases where the link MTU is not well known. This option MUST be silently ignored for other Neighbor Discovery messages. In configurations in which heterogeneous technologies are bridged together, the maximum supported MTU may differ from one segment to another. If the bridges do not generate ICMP Packet Too Big messages, communicating nodes will be unable to use Path MTU to dynamically determine the appropriate MTU on a per- neighbor basis. In such cases, routers use the MTU option to specify an MTU value supported by all segments. 5. CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF A HOST This section describes a conceptual model of one possible data structure organization that hosts (and to some extent routers) will maintain in interacting with neighboring nodes. The described organization is provided to facilitate the explanation of how the Neighbor Discovery protocol should behave. This document does not mandate that implementations adhere to this model as long as their external behavior is consistent with that described in this document. This model is only concerned with the aspects of host behavior directly related to Neighbor Discovery. In particular, it does not concern itself with such issues as source address selection or the selecting of an outgoing interface on a multihomed host.
5.1. Conceptual Data Structures Hosts will need to maintain the following pieces of information for each interface: Neighbor Cache - A set of entries about individual neighbors to which traffic has been sent recently. Entries are keyed on the neighbor's on-link unicast IP address and contain such information as its link-layer address, a flag indicating whether the neighbor is a router or a host (called IsRouter in this document), a pointer to any queued packets waiting for address resolution to complete, etc. A Neighbor Cache entry also contains information used by the Neighbor Unreachability Detection algorithm, including the reachability state, the number of unanswered probes, and the time the next Neighbor Unreachability Detection event is scheduled to take place. Destination Cache - A set of entries about destinations to which traffic has been sent recently. The Destination Cache includes both on-link and off-link destinations and provides a level of indirection into the Neighbor Cache; the Destination Cache maps a destination IP address to the IP address of the next-hop neighbor. This cache is updated with information learned from Redirect messages. Implementations may find it convenient to store additional information not directly related to Neighbor Discovery in Destination Cache entries, such as the Path MTU (PMTU) and round trip timers maintained by transport protocols. Prefix List - A list of the prefixes that define a set of addresses that are on-link. Prefix List entries are created from information received in Router Advertisements. Each entry has an associated invalidation timer value (extracted from the advertisement) used to expire prefixes when they become invalid. A special "infinity" timer value specifies that a prefix remains valid forever, unless a new (finite) value is received in a subsequent advertisement. The link-local prefix is considered to be on the prefix list with an infinite invalidation timer
regardless of whether routers are advertising a prefix for it. Received Router Advertisements SHOULD NOT modify the invalidation timer for the link-local prefix. Default Router List - A list of routers to which packets may be sent. Router list entries point to entries in the Neighbor Cache; the algorithm for selecting a default router favors routers known to be reachable over those whose reachability is suspect. Each entry also has an associated invalidation timer value (extracted from Router Advertisements) used to delete entries that are no longer advertised. Note that the above conceptual data structures can be implemented using a variety of techniques. One possible implementation is to use a single longest-match routing table for all of the above data structures. Regardless of the specific implementation, it is critical that the Neighbor Cache entry for a router is shared by all Destination Cache entries using that router in order to prevent redundant Neighbor Unreachability Detection probes. Note also that other protocols (e.g. IPv6 Mobility) might add additional conceptual data structures. An implementation is at liberty to implement such data structures in any way it pleases. For example, an implementation could merge all conceptual data structures into a single routing table. The Neighbor Cache contains information maintained by the Neighbor Unreachability Detection algorithm. A key piece of information is a neighbor's reachability state, which is one of five possible values. The following definitions are informal; precise definitions can be found in Section 7.3.2. INCOMPLETE Address resolution is in progress and the link-layer address of the neighbor has not yet been determined. REACHABLE Roughly speaking, the neighbor is known to have been reachable recently (within tens of seconds ago). STALE The neighbor is no longer known to be reachable but until traffic is sent to the neighbor, no attempt should be made to verify its reachability. DELAY The neighbor is no longer known to be reachable, and traffic has recently be sent to the neighbor. Rather
than probe the neighbor immediately, however, delay sending probes for a short while in order to give upper layer protocols a chance to provide reachability confirmation. PROBE The neighbor is no longer known to be reachable, and unicast Neighbor Solicitation probes are being sent to verify reachability. 5.2. Conceptual Sending Algorithm When sending a packet to a destination, a node uses a combination of the Destination Cache, the Prefix List, and the Default Router List to determine the IP address of the appropriate next hop, an operation known as "next-hop determination". Once the IP address of the next hop is known, the Neighbor Cache is consulted for link-layer information about that neighbor. Next-hop determination for a given unicast destination operates as follows. The sender performs a longest prefix match against the Prefix List to determine whether the packet's destination is on- or off-link. If the destination is on-link, the next-hop address is the same as the packet's destination address. Otherwise, the sender selects a router from the Default Router List (following the rules described in Section 6.3.6). If the Default Router List is empty, the sender assumes that the destination is on-link. For efficiency reasons, next-hop determination is not performed on every packet that is sent. Instead, the results of next-hop determination computations are saved in the Destination Cache (which also contains updates learned from Redirect messages). When the sending node has a packet to send, it first examines the Destination Cache. If no entry exists for the destination, next-hop determination is invoked to create a Destination Cache entry. Once the IP address of the next-hop node is known, the sender examines the Neighbor Cache for link-layer information about that neighbor. If no entry exists, the sender creates one, sets its state to INCOMPLETE, initiates Address Resolution, and then queues the data packet pending completion of address resolution. For multicast- capable interfaces Address Resolution consists of sending a Neighbor Solicitation message and waiting for a Neighbor Advertisement. When a Neighbor Advertisement response is received, the link-layer addresses is entered in the Neighbor Cache entry and the queued packet is transmitted. The address resolution mechanism is described in detail in Section 7.2.
For multicast packets the next-hop is always the (multicast) destination address and is considered to be on-link. The procedure for determining the link-layer address corresponding to a given IP multicast address can be found in a separate document that covers operating IP over a particular link type (e.g., [IPv6-ETHER]). Each time a Neighbor Cache entry is accessed while transmitting a unicast packet, the sender checks Neighbor Unreachability Detection related information according to the Neighbor Unreachability Detection algorithm (Section 7.3). This unreachability check might result in the sender transmitting a unicast Neighbor Solicitation to verify that the neighbor is still reachable. Next-hop determination is done the first time traffic is sent to a destination. As long as subsequent communication to that destination proceeds successfully, the Destination Cache entry continues to be used. If at some point communication ceases to proceed, as determined by the Neighbor Unreachability Detection algorithm, next- hop determination may need to be performed again. For example, traffic through a failed router should be switched to a working router. Likewise, it may be possible to reroute traffic destined for a mobile node to a "mobility agent". Note that when a node redoes next-hop determination there is no need to discard the complete Destination Cache entry. In fact, it is generally beneficial to retain such cached information as the PMTU and round trip timer values that may also be kept in the Destination Cache entry. Routers and multihomed hosts have multiple interfaces. The remainder of this document assumes that all sent and received Neighbor Discovery messages refer to the interface of appropriate context. For example, when responding to a Router Solicitation, the corresponding Router Advertisement is sent out the interface on which the solicitation was received. 5.3. Garbage Collection and Timeout Requirements The conceptual data structures described above use different mechanisms for discarding potentially stale or unused information. From the perspective of correctness there is no need to periodically purge Destination and Neighbor Cache entries. Although stale information can potentially remain in the cache indefinitely, the Neighbor Unreachability Detection algorithm ensures that stale information is purged quickly if it is actually being used.
To limit the storage needed for the Destination and Neighbor Caches, a node may need to garbage-collect old entries. However, care must be taken to insure that sufficient space is always present to hold the working set of active entries. A small cache may result in an excessive number of Neighbor Discovery messages if entries are discarded and rebuilt in quick succession. Any LRU-based policy that only reclaims entries that have not been used in some time (e.g., ten minutes or more) should be adequate for garbage-collecting unused entries. A node should retain entries in the Default Router List and the Prefix List until their lifetimes expire. However, a node may garbage collect entries prematurely if it is low on memory. If not all routers are kept on the Default Router list, a node should retain at least two entries in the Default Router List (and preferably more) in order to maintain robust connectivity for off-link destinations. When removing an entry from the Prefix List there is no need to purge any entries from the Destination or Neighbor Caches. Neighbor Unreachability Detection will efficiently purge any entries in these caches that have become invalid. When removing an entry from the Default Router List, however, any entries in the Destination Cache that go through that router must perform next-hop determination again to select a new default router. 6. ROUTER AND PREFIX DISCOVERY This section describes router and host behavior related to the Router Discovery portion of Neighbor Discovery. Router Discovery is used to locate neighboring routers as well as learn prefixes and configuration parameters related to address autoconfiguration. Prefix Discovery is the process through which hosts learn the ranges of IP addresses that reside on-link and can be reached directly without going through a router. Routers send Router Advertisements that indicate whether the sender is willing to be a default router. Router Advertisements also contain Prefix Information options that list the set of prefixes that identify on-link IP addresses. Stateless Address Autoconfiguration must also obtain subnet prefixes as part of configuring addresses. Although the prefixes used for address autoconfiguration are logically distinct from those used for on-link determination, autoconfiguration information is piggybacked on Router Discovery messages to reduce network traffic. Indeed, the same prefixes can be advertised for on-link determination and address autoconfiguration by specifying the appropriate flags in the Prefix Information options. See [ADDRCONF] for details on how autoconfiguration information is processed.
6.1. Message Validation 6.1.1. Validation of Router Solicitation Messages Hosts MUST silently discard any received Router Solicitation Messages. A router MUST silently discard any received Router Solicitation messages that do not satisfy all of the following validity checks: - The IP Hop Limit field has a value of 255, i.e., the packet could not possibly have been forwarded by a router. - If the message includes an IP Authentication Header, the message authenticates correctly. - ICMP Checksum is valid. - ICMP Code is 0. - ICMP length (derived from the IP length) is 8 or more octets. - All included options have a length that is greater than zero. The contents of the Reserved field, and of any unrecognized options, MUST be ignored. Future, backward-compatible changes to the protocol may specify the contents of the Reserved field or add new options; backward-incompatible changes may use different Code values. The contents of any defined options that are not specified to be used with Router Solicitation messages MUST be ignored and the packet processed as normal. The only defined option that may appear is the Source Link-Layer Address option. A solicitation that passes the validity checks is called a "valid solicitation". 6.1.2. Validation of Router Advertisement Messages A node MUST silently discard any received Router Advertisement messages that do not satisfy all of the following validity checks: - IP Source Address is a link-local address. Routers must use their link-local address as the source for Router Advertisement and Redirect messages so that hosts can uniquely identify routers. - The IP Hop Limit field has a value of 255, i.e., the packet could not possibly have been forwarded by a router.
- If the message includes an IP Authentication Header, the message authenticates correctly. - ICMP Checksum is valid. - ICMP Code is 0. - ICMP length (derived from the IP length) is 16 or more octets. - All included options have a length that is greater than zero. The contents of the Reserved field, and of any unrecognized options, MUST be ignored. Future, backward-compatible changes to the protocol may specify the contents of the Reserved field or add new options; backward-incompatible changes may use different Code values. The contents of any defined options that are not specified to be used with Router Advertisement messages MUST be ignored and the packet processed as normal. The only defined options that may appear are the Source Link-Layer Address, Prefix Information and MTU options. An advertisement that passes the validity checks is called a "valid advertisement". 6.2. Router Specification 6.2.1. Router Configuration Variables A router MUST allow for the following conceptual variables to be configured by system management. The specific variable names are used for demonstration purposes only, and an implementation is not required to have them, so long as its external behavior is consistent with that described in this document. Default values are specified to simplify configuration in common cases. The default values for some of the variables listed below may be overridden by specific documents that describe how IPv6 operates over different link layers. This rule simplifies the configuration of Neighbor Discovery over link types with widely differing performance characteristics. For each multicast interface: AdvSendAdvertisements A flag indicating whether or not the router sends periodic Router Advertisements and responds to Router Solicitations.
Default: FALSE Note that AdvSendAdvertisements MUST be false by default so that a node will not accidentally start acting as a router unless it is explicitly configured by system management to send Router Advertisements. MaxRtrAdvInterval The maximum time allowed between sending unsolicited multicast Router Advertisements from the interface, in seconds. MUST be no less than 4 seconds and no greater than 1800 seconds. Default: 600 seconds MinRtrAdvInterval The minimum time allowed between sending unsolicited multicast Router Advertisements from the interface, in seconds. MUST be no less than 3 seconds and no greater than .75 * MaxRtrAdvInterval. Default: 0.33 * MaxRtrAdvInterval AdvManagedFlag The true/false value to be placed in the "Managed address configuration" flag field in the Router Advertisement. See [ADDRCONF]. Default: FALSE AdvOtherConfigFlag The true/false value to be placed in the "Other stateful configuration" flag field in the Router Advertisement. See [ADDRCONF]. Default: FALSE AdvLinkMTU The value to be placed in MTU options sent by the router. A value of zero indicates that no MTU options are sent. Default: 0 AdvReachableTime The value to be placed in the Reachable Time field in the Router Advertisement messages sent by the router. The value zero means unspecified (by this
router). MUST be no greater than 3,600,000 milliseconds (1 hour). Default: 0 AdvRetransTimer The value to be placed in the Retrans Timer field in the Router Advertisement messages sent by the router. The value zero means unspecified (by this router). Default: 0 AdvCurHopLimit The default value to be placed in the Cur Hop Limit field in the Router Advertisement messages sent by the router. The value should be set to that current diameter of the Internet. The value zero means unspecified (by this router). Default: The value specified in the "Assigned Numbers" RFC [ASSIGNED] that was in effect at the time of implementation. AdvDefaultLifetime The value to be placed in the Router Lifetime field of Router Advertisements sent from the interface, in seconds. MUST be either zero or between MaxRtrAdvInterval and 9000 seconds. A value of zero indicates that the router is not to be used as a default router. Default: 3 * MaxRtrAdvInterval AdvPrefixList A list of prefixes to be placed in Prefix Information options in Router Advertisement messages sent from the interface. Default: all prefixes that the router advertises via routing protocols as being on-link for the interface from which the advertisement is sent. The link- local prefix SHOULD NOT be included in the list of advertised prefixes. Each prefix has an associated: AdvValidLifetime
The value to be placed in the Valid Lifetime in the Prefix Information option, in seconds. The designated value of all 1's (0xffffffff) represents infinity. Default: infinity. AdvOnLinkFlag The value to be placed in the on-link flag ("L-bit") field in the Prefix Information option. Default: TRUE Automatic address configuration [ADDRCONF] defines additional information associated with each the prefixes: AdvPreferredLifetime The value to be placed in the Preferred Lifetime in the Prefix Information option, in seconds. The designated value of all 1's (0xffffffff) represents infinity. See [ADDRCONF]. Default: 604800 seconds (7 days) AdvAutonomousFlag The value to be placed in the Autonomous Flag field in the Prefix Information option. See [ADDRCONF]. Default: TRUE The above variables contain information that is placed in outgoing Router Advertisement messages. Hosts use the received information to initialize a set of analogous variables that control their external behavior (see Section 6.3.2). Some of these host variables (e.g., CurHopLimit, RetransTimer, and ReachableTime) apply to all nodes including routers. In practice, these variables may not actually be present on routers, since their contents can be derived from the variables described above. However, external router behavior MUST be the same as host behavior with respect to these variables. In particular, this includes the occasional randomization of the ReachableTime value as described in Section 6.3.2. Protocol constants are defined in Section 10.
6.2.2. Becoming An Advertising Interface The term "advertising interface" refers to any functioning and enabled multicast interface that has at least one unicast IP address assigned to it and whose corresponding AdvSendAdvertisements flag is TRUE. A router MUST NOT send Router Advertisements out any interface that is not an advertising interface. An interface may become an advertising interface at times other than system startup. For example: - changing the AdvSendAdvertisements flag on an enabled interface from FALSE to TRUE, or - administratively enabling the interface, if it had been administratively disabled, and its AdvSendAdvertisements flag is TRUE, or - enabling IP forwarding capability (i.e., changing the system from being a host to being a router), when the interface's AdvSendAdvertisements flag is TRUE. A router MUST join the all-routers multicast address on an advertising interface. Routers respond to Router Solicitations sent to the all-routers address and verify the consistency of Router Advertisements sent by neighboring routers. 6.2.3. Router Advertisement Message Content A router sends periodic as well as solicited Router Advertisements out its advertising interfaces. Outgoing Router Advertisements are filled with the following values consistent with the message format given in Section 4.2: - In the Router Lifetime field: the interface's configured AdvDefaultLifetime. - In the M and O flags: the interface's configured AdvManagedFlag and AdvOtherConfigFlag, respectively. See [ADDRCONF]. - In the Cur Hop Limit field: the interface's configured CurHopLimit. - In the Reachable Time field: the interface's configured AdvReachableTime. - In the Retrans Timer field: the interface's configured AdvRetransTimer.
- In the options: o Source Link-Layer Address option: link-layer address of the sending interface. This option MAY be omitted to facilitate in-bound load balancing over replicated interfaces. o MTU option: the interface's configured AdvLinkMTU value if the value is non-zero. If AdvLinkMTU is zero the MTU option is not sent. o Prefix Information options: one Prefix Information option for each prefix listed in AdvPrefixList with the option fields set from the information in the AdvPrefixList entry as follows: - In the "on-link" flag: the entry's AdvOnLinkFlag. - In the Valid Lifetime field: the entry's AdvValidLifetime. - In the "Autonomous address configuration" flag: the entry's AdvAutonomousFlag. - In the Preferred Lifetime field: the entry's AdvPreferredLifetime. A router might want to send Router Advertisements without advertising itself as a default router. For instance, a router might advertise prefixes for address autoconfiguration while not wishing to forward packets. Such a router sets the Router Lifetime field in outgoing advertisements to zero. A router MAY choose not to include some or all options when sending unsolicited Router Advertisements. For example, if prefix lifetimes are much longer than AdvDefaultLifetime, including them every few advertisements may be sufficient. However, when responding to a Router Solicitation or while sending the first few initial unsolicited advertisements, a router SHOULD include all options so that all information (e.g., prefixes) is propagated quickly during system initialization. If including all options causes the size of an advertisement to exceed the link MTU, multiple advertisements can be sent, each containing a subset of the options.
6.2.4. Sending Unsolicited Router Advertisements A host MUST NOT send Router Advertisement messages at any time. Unsolicited Router Advertisements are not strictly periodic: the interval between subsequent transmissions is randomized to reduce the probability of synchronization with the advertisements from other routers on the same link [SYNC]. Each advertising interface has its own timer. Whenever a multicast advertisement is sent from an interface, the timer is reset to a uniformly-distributed random value between the interface's configured MinRtrAdvInterval and MaxRtrAdvInterval; expiration of the timer causes the next advertisement to be sent and a new random value to be chosen. For the first few advertisements (up to MAX_INITIAL_RTR_ADVERTISEMENTS) sent from an interface when it becomes an advertising interface, if the randomly chosen interval is greater than MAX_INITIAL_RTR_ADVERT_INTERVAL, the timer SHOULD be set to MAX_INITIAL_RTR_ADVERT_INTERVAL instead. Using a smaller interval for the initial advertisements increases the likelihood of a router being discovered quickly when it first becomes available, in the presence of possible packet loss. The information contained in Router Advertisements may change through actions of system management. For instance, the lifetime of advertised prefixes may change, new prefixes could be added, a router could cease to be a router (i.e., switch from being a router to being a host), etc. In such cases, the router MAY transmit up to MAX_INITIAL_RTR_ADVERTISEMENTS unsolicited advertisements, using the same rules as when an interface becomes an advertising interface. 6.2.5. Ceasing To Be An Advertising Interface An interface may cease to be an advertising interface, through actions of system management such as: - changing the AdvSendAdvertisements flag of an enabled interface from TRUE to FALSE, or - administratively disabling the interface, or - shutting down the system. In such cases the router SHOULD transmit one or more (but not more than MAX_FINAL_RTR_ADVERTISEMENTS) final multicast Router Advertisements on the interface with a Router Lifetime field of zero. In the case of a router becoming a host, the system SHOULD also depart from the all-routers IP multicast group on all interfaces on
which the router supports IP multicast (whether or not they had been advertising interfaces). In addition, the host MUST insure that subsequent Neighbor Advertisement messages sent from the interface have the Router flag set to zero. Note that system management may disable a router's IP forwarding capability (i.e., changing the system from being a router to being a host), a step that does not necessarily imply that the router's interfaces stop being advertising interfaces. In such cases, subsequent Router Advertisements MUST set the Router Lifetime field to zero. 6.2.6. Processing Router Solicitations A host MUST silently discard any received Router Solicitation messages. In addition to sending periodic, unsolicited advertisements, a router sends advertisements in response to valid solicitations received on an advertising interface. A router MAY choose to unicast the response directly to the soliciting host's address (if the solicitation's source address is not the unspecified address), but the usual case is to multicast the response to the all-nodes group. In the latter case, the interface's interval timer is reset to a new random value, as if an unsolicited advertisement had just been sent (see Section 6.2.4). In all cases, Router Advertisements sent in response to a Router Solicitation MUST be delayed by a random time between 0 and MAX_RA_DELAY_TIME seconds. (If a single advertisement is sent in response to multiple solicitations, the delay is relative to the first solicitation.) In addition, consecutive Router Advertisements sent to the all-nodes multicast address MUST be rate limited to no more than one advertisement every MIN_DELAY_BETWEEN_RAS seconds. A router might process Router Solicitations as follows: - Upon receipt of a Router Solicitation, compute a random delay within the range 0 through MAX_RA_DELAY_TIME. If the computed value corresponds to a time later than the time the next multicast Router Advertisement is scheduled to be sent, ignore the random delay and send the advertisement at the already-scheduled time. - If the router sent a multicast Router Advertisement (solicited or unsolicited) within the last MIN_DELAY_BETWEEN_RAS seconds, schedule the advertisement to be sent at a time corresponding to MIN_DELAY_BETWEEN_RAS plus the random value after the previous advertisement was sent. This ensures that the multicast Router
Advertisements are rate limited. - Otherwise, schedule the sending of a Router Advertisement at the time given by the random value. Note that a router is permitted to send multicast Router Advertisements more frequently than indicated by the MinRtrAdvInterval configuration variable so long as the more frequent advertisements are responses to Router Solicitations. In all cases, however, unsolicited multicast advertisements MUST NOT be sent more frequently than indicated by MinRtrAdvInterval. When a router receives a Router Solicitation and the Source Address is not the unspecified address, it records that the source of the packet is a neighbor by creating or updating the Neighbor Cache entry. If the solicitation contains a Source Link-Layer Address option, and the router has a Neighbor Cache entry for the neighbor, the link-layer address SHOULD be updated in the Neighbor Cache. If a Neighbor Cache entry is created for the source its reachability state MUST be set to STALE as specified in Section 7.3.3. If a cache entry already exists and is updated with a different link-layer address the reachability state MUST also be set to STALE. In either case the entry's IsRouter flag SHOULD be set to false. If the Source Address is the unspecified address the router MUST NOT create or update the Neighbor Cache entry. 6.2.7. Router Advertisement Consistency Routers SHOULD inspect valid Router Advertisements sent by other routers and verify that the routers are advertising consistent information on a link. Detected inconsistencies indicate that one or more routers might be misconfigured and SHOULD be logged to system or network management. The minimum set of information to check includes: - Cur Hop Limit values (except for the unspecified value of zero). - Values of the M or O flags. - Reachable Time values (except for the unspecified value of zero). - Retrans Timer values (except for the unspecified value of zero). - Values in the MTU options. - Preferred and Valid Lifetimes for the same prefix.
Note that it is not an error for different routers to advertise different sets of prefixes. Also, some routers might leave some fields as unspecified, i.e., with the value zero, while other routers specify values. The logging of errors SHOULD be restricted to conflicting information that causes hosts to switch from one value to another with each received advertisement. Any other action on reception of Router Advertisement messages by a router is beyond the scope of this document. 6.2.8. Link-local Address Change The link-local address on a router SHOULD change rarely, if ever. Nodes receiving Neighbor Discovery messages use the source address to identify the sender. If multiple packets from the same router contain different source addresses, nodes will assume they come from different routers, leading to undesirable behavior. For example, a node will ignore Redirect messages that are believed to have been sent by a router other than the current first-hop router. Thus the source address used in Router Advertisements sent by a particular router must be identical to the target address in a Redirect message when redirecting to that router. Using the link-local address to uniquely identify routers on the link has the benefit that the address a router is known by should not change when a site renumbers. If a router changes the link-local address for one of its interfaces, it SHOULD inform hosts of this change. The router SHOULD multicast a few Router Advertisements from the old link-local address with the Router Lifetime field set to zero and also multicast a few Router Advertisements from the new link-local address. The overall effect should be the same as if one interface ceases being an advertising interface, and a different one starts being an advertising interface. 6.3. Host Specification 6.3.1. Host Configuration Variables None. 6.3.2. Host Variables A host maintains certain Neighbor Discovery related variables in addition to the data structures defined in Section 5.1. The specific variable names are used for demonstration purposes only, and an implementation is not required to have them, so long as its external behavior is consistent with that described in this document.
These variables have default values that are overridden by information received in Router Advertisement messages. The default values are used when there is no router on the link or when all received Router Advertisements have left a particular value unspecified. The default values in this specification may be overridden by specific documents that describe how IP operates over different link layers. This rule allows Neighbor Discovery to operate over links with widely varying performance characteristics. For each interface: LinkMTU The MTU of the link. Default: The valued defined in the specific document that describes how IPv6 operates over the particular link layer (e.g., [IPv6-ETHER]). CurHopLimit The default hop limit to be used when sending (unicast) IP packets. Default: The value specified in the "Assigned Numbers" RFC [ASSIGNED] that was in effect at the time of implementation. BaseReachableTime A base value used for computing the random ReachableTime value. Default: REACHABLE_TIME milliseconds. ReachableTime The time a neighbor is considered reachable after receiving a reachability confirmation. This value should be a uniformly-distributed random value between MIN_RANDOM_FACTOR and MAX_RANDOM_FACTOR times BaseReachableTime milliseconds. A new random value should be calculated when BaseReachableTime changes (due to Router Advertisements) or at least every few hours even if no Router Advertisements are received. RetransTimer The time between retransmissions of Neighbor Solicitation messages to a neighbor when resolving the address or when probing the reachability of a neighbor.
Default: RETRANS_TIMER milliseconds 6.3.3. Interface Initialization The host joins the all-nodes multicast address on all multicast- capable interfaces. 6.3.4. Processing Received Router Advertisements When multiple routers are present, the information advertised collectively by all routers may be a superset of the information contained in a single Router Advertisement. Moreover, information may also be obtained through other dynamic means, such as stateful autoconfiguration. Hosts accept the union of all received information; the receipt of a Router Advertisement MUST NOT invalidate all information received in a previous advertisement or from another source. However, when received information for a specific parameter (e.g., Link MTU) or option (e.g., Lifetime on a specific Prefix) differs from information received earlier, and the parameter/option can only have one value, the most recently-received information is considered authoritative. Some Router Advertisement fields (e.g., Cur Hop Limit, Reachable Time and Retrans Timer) may contain a value denoting unspecified. In such cases, the parameter should be ignored and the host should continue using whatever value it is already using. In particular, a host MUST NOT interpret the unspecified value as meaning change back to the default value that was in use before the first Router Advertisement was received. This rule prevents hosts from continually changing an internal variable when one router advertises a specific value, but other routers advertise the unspecified value. On receipt of a valid Router Advertisement, a host extracts the source address of the packet and does the following: - If the address is not already present in the host's Default Router List, and the advertisement's Router Lifetime is non-zero, create a new entry in the list, and initialize its invalidation timer value from the advertisement's Router Lifetime field. - If the address is already present in the host's Default Router List as a result of a previously-received advertisement, reset its invalidation timer to the Router Lifetime value in the newly- received advertisement. - If the address is already present in the host's Default Router List and the received Router Lifetime value is zero, immediately time- out the entry as specified in Section 6.3.5.
To limit the storage needed for the Default Router List, a host MAY choose not to store all of the router addresses discovered via advertisements. However, a host MUST retain at least two router addresses and SHOULD retain more. Default router selections are made whenever communication to a destination appears to be failing. Thus, the more routers on the list, the more likely an alternative working router can be found quickly (e.g., without having to wait for the next advertisement to arrive). If the received Cur Hop Limit value is non-zero the host SHOULD set its CurHopLimit variable to the received value. If the received Reachable Time value is non-zero the host SHOULD set its BaseReachableTime variable to the received value. If the new value differs from the previous value, the host SHOULD recompute a new random ReachableTime value. ReachableTime is computed as a uniformly-distributed random value between MIN_RANDOM_FACTOR and MAX_RANDOM_FACTOR times the BaseReachableTime. Using a random component eliminates the possibility Neighbor Unreachability Detection messages synchronize with each other. In most cases, the advertised Reachable Time value will be the same in consecutive Router Advertisements and a host's BaseReachableTime rarely changes. In such cases, an implementation SHOULD insure that a new random value gets recomputed at least once every few hours. The RetransTimer variable SHOULD be copied from the Retrans Timer field, if the received value is non-zero. After extracting information from the fixed part of the Router Advertisement message, the advertisement is scanned for valid options. If the advertisement contains a Source Link-Layer Address option the link-layer address SHOULD be recorded in the Neighbor Cache entry for the router (creating an entry if necessary) and the IsRouter flag in the Neighbor Cache entry MUST be set to true. The IsRouter flag is used by Neighbor Unreachability Detection to determine when a router changes to being a host (i.e., no longer capable of forwarding packets). If a Neighbor Cache entry is created for the router its reachability state MUST be set to STALE as specified in Section 7.3.3. If a cache entry already exists and is updated with a different link-layer address the reachability state MUST also be set to STALE. If the MTU option is present, hosts SHOULD copy the option's value into LinkMTU if the value does not exceed the default LinkMTU value specified in the link type specific document (e.g., [IPv6-ETHER]).
Prefix Information options that have the "on-link" (L) flag set indicate a prefix identifying a range of addresses that should be considered on-link. Note, however, that a Prefix Information option with the on-link flag set to zero conveys no information concerning on-link determination and MUST NOT be interpreted to mean that addresses covered by the prefix are off-link. The default behavior (see Section 5.2) when no information is known about an address is to send the packets to a default router and the reception of a Prefix Information option with the "on-link " (L) flag set to zero does not change this behavior. The reasons for an address being treated as on-link is specified in the definition of "on-link" in Section 2.1. Prefixes with the on-link flag set to zero would normally have the autonomous flag set and be used by [ADDRCONF]. For each Prefix Information option with the on-link flag set, a host does the following: - If the prefix is the link-local prefix, silently ignore the Prefix Information option. - If the prefix is not already present in the Prefix List, and the Prefix Information option's Valid Lifetime field is non-zero, create a new entry for the prefix and initialize its invalidation timer to the Valid Lifetime value in the Prefix Information option. - If the prefix is already present in the host's Prefix List as the result of a previously-received advertisement, reset its invalidation timer to the Valid Lifetime value in the Prefix Information option. If the new Lifetime value is zero, time-out the prefix immediately (see Section 6.3.5). - If the Prefix Information option's Valid Lifetime field is zero, and the prefix is not present in the host's Prefix List, silently ignore the option. Note: Implementations can choose to process the on-link aspects of the prefixes separately from the address autoconfiguration aspects of the prefixes by, e.g., passing a copy of each valid Router Advertisement message to both an "on-link" and an "addrconf" function. Each function can then operate independently on the prefixes that have the appropriate flag set. 6.3.5. Timing out Prefixes and Default Routers Whenever the invalidation timer expires for a Prefix List entry, that entry is discarded. No existing Destination Cache entries need be updated, however. Should a reachability problem arise with an existing Neighbor Cache entry, Neighbor Unreachability Detection will
perform any needed recovery. Whenever the Lifetime of an entry in the Default Router List expires, that entry is discarded. When removing a router from the Default Router list, the node MUST update the Destination Cache in such a way that all entries using the router perform next-hop determination again rather than continue sending traffic to the (deleted) router. 6.3.6. Default Router Selection The algorithm for selecting a router depends in part on whether or not a router is known to be reachable. The exact details of how a node keeps track of a neighbor's reachability state are covered in Section 7.3. The algorithm for selecting a default router is invoked during next-hop determination when no Destination Cache entry exists for an off-link destination or when communication through an existing router appears to be failing. Under normal conditions, a router would be selected the first time traffic is sent to a destination, with subsequent traffic for that destination using the same router as indicated in the Destination Cache modulo any changes to the Destination Cache caused by Redirect messages. The policy for selecting routers from the Default Router List is as follows: 1) Routers that are reachable or probably reachable (i.e., in any state other than INCOMPLETE) SHOULD be preferred over routers whose reachability is unknown or suspect (i.e., in the INCOMPLETE state, or for which no Neighbor Cache entry exists). An implementation may choose to always return the same router or cycle through the router list in a round-robin fashion as long as it always returns a reachable or a probably reachable router when one is available. 2) When no routers on the list are known to be reachable or probably reachable, routers SHOULD be selected in a round-robin fashion, so that subsequent requests for a default router do not return the same router until all other routers have been selected. Cycling through the router list in this case ensures that all available routers are actively probed by the Neighbor Unreachability Detection algorithm. A request for a default router is made in conjunction with the sending of a packet to a router, and the selected router will be probed for reachability as a side effect. 3) If the Default Router List is empty, assume that all destinations are on-link as specified in Section 5.2.
6.3.7. Sending Router Solicitations When an interface becomes enabled, a host may be unwilling to wait for the next unsolicited Router Advertisement to locate default routers or learn prefixes. To obtain Router Advertisements quickly, a host SHOULD transmit up to MAX_RTR_SOLICITATIONS Router Solicitation messages each separated by at least RTR_SOLICITATION_INTERVAL seconds. Router Solicitations may be sent after any of the following events: - The interface is initialized at system startup time. - The interface is reinitialized after a temporary interface failure or after being temporarily disabled by system management. - The system changes from being a router to being a host, by having its IP forwarding capability turned off by system management. - The host attaches to a link for the first time. - The host re-attaches to a link after being detached for some time. A host sends Router Solicitations to the all-routers multicast address. The IP source address is set to either one of the interface's unicast addresses or the unspecified address. The Source Link-Layer Address option SHOULD be set to the host's link-layer address, if the IP source address is a unicast address. Before a host sends an initial solicitation, it SHOULD delay the transmission for a random amount of time between 0 and MAX_RTR_SOLICITATION_DELAY. This serves to alleviate congestion when many hosts start up on a link at the same time, such as might happen after recovery from a power failure. If a host has already performed a random delay since the interface became (re)enabled (e.g., as part of Duplicate Address Detection [ADDRCONF]) there is no need to delay again before sending the first Router Solicitation message. Once the host sends a Router Solicitation, and receives a valid Router Advertisement with a non-zero Router Lifetime, the host MUST desist from sending additional solicitations on that interface, until the next time one of the above events occurs. Moreover, a host SHOULD send at least one solicitation in the case where an advertisement is received prior to having sent a solicitation. Unsolicited Router Advertisements may be incomplete (see Section 6.2.3); solicited advertisements are expected to contain complete information.
If a host sends MAX_RTR_SOLICITATIONS solicitations, and receives no Router Advertisements after having waited MAX_RTR_SOLICITATION_DELAY seconds after sending the last solicitation, the host concludes that there are no routers on the link for the purpose of [ADDRCONF]. However, the host continues to receive and process Router Advertisements messages in the event that routers appear on the link.