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RFC 7959

Block-Wise Transfers in the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)

Pages: 37
Proposed Standard
Updates:  7252
Updated by:  8323
Part 1 of 2 – Pages 1 to 18
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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                        C. Bormann
Request for Comments: 7959                       Universitaet Bremen TZI
Updates: 7252                                             Z. Shelby, Ed.
Category: Standards Track                                            ARM
ISSN: 2070-1721                                              August 2016

  Block-Wise Transfers in the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)


The Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is a RESTful transfer protocol for constrained nodes and networks. Basic CoAP messages work well for small payloads from sensors and actuators; however, applications will need to transfer larger payloads occasionally -- for instance, for firmware updates. In contrast to HTTP, where TCP does the grunt work of segmenting and resequencing, CoAP is based on datagram transports such as UDP or Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS). These transports only offer fragmentation, which is even more problematic in constrained nodes and networks, limiting the maximum size of resource representations that can practically be transferred. Instead of relying on IP fragmentation, this specification extends basic CoAP with a pair of "Block" options for transferring multiple blocks of information from a resource representation in multiple request-response pairs. In many important cases, the Block options enable a server to be truly stateless: the server can handle each block transfer separately, with no need for a connection setup or other server-side memory of previous block transfers. Essentially, the Block options provide a minimal way to transfer larger representations in a block-wise fashion. A CoAP implementation that does not support these options generally is limited in the size of the representations that can be exchanged, so there is an expectation that the Block options will be widely used in CoAP implementations. Therefore, this specification updates RFC 7252.
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Status of This Memo

   This is an Internet Standards Track document.

   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).  Further information on
   Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841.

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

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2016 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 2. Block-Wise Transfers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2.1. The Block2 and Block1 Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 2.2. Structure of a Block Option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 2.3. Block Options in Requests and Responses . . . . . . . . . 10 2.4. Using the Block2 Option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 2.5. Using the Block1 Option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 2.6. Combining Block-Wise Transfers with the Observe Option . 15 2.7. Combining Block1 and Block2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 2.8. Combining Block2 with Multicast . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 2.9. Response Codes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 2.9.1. 2.31 Continue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 2.9.2. 4.08 Request Entity Incomplete . . . . . . . . . . . 17 2.9.3. 4.13 Request Entity Too Large . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 2.10. Caching Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 3. Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 3.1. Block2 Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 3.2. Block1 Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 3.3. Combining Block1 and Block2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 3.4. Combining Observe and Block2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 4. The Size2 and Size1 Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 5. HTTP-Mapping Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 6. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 7. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 7.1. Mitigating Resource Exhaustion Attacks . . . . . . . . . 33 7.2. Mitigating Amplification Attacks . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 8. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 8.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 8.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
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1. Introduction

The work on Constrained RESTful Environments (CoRE) aims at realizing the Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture in a suitable form for the most constrained nodes (such as microcontrollers with limited RAM and ROM [RFC7228]) and networks (such as IPv6 over Low- Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPANs) [RFC4944]) [RFC7252]. The CoAP protocol is intended to provide RESTful [REST] services not unlike HTTP [RFC7230], while reducing the complexity of implementation as well as the size of packets exchanged in order to make these services useful in a highly constrained network of highly constrained nodes. This objective requires restraint in a number of sometimes conflicting ways: o reducing implementation complexity in order to minimize code size, o reducing message sizes in order to minimize the number of fragments needed for each message (to maximize the probability of delivery of the message), the amount of transmission power needed, and the loading of the limited-bandwidth channel, o reducing requirements on the environment such as stable storage, good sources of randomness, or user-interaction capabilities. Because CoAP is based on datagram transports such as UDP or Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS), the maximum size of resource representations that can be transferred without too much fragmentation is limited. In addition, not all resource representations will fit into a single link-layer packet of a constrained network, which may cause adaptation layer fragmentation even if IP-layer fragmentation is not required. Using fragmentation (either at the adaptation layer or at the IP layer) for the transport of larger representations would be possible up to the maximum size of the underlying datagram protocol (such as UDP), but the fragmentation/reassembly process burdens the lower layers with conversation state that is better managed in the application layer. The present specification defines a pair of CoAP options to enable block-wise access to resource representations. The Block options provide a minimal way to transfer larger resource representations in a block-wise fashion. The overriding objective is to avoid the need for creating conversation state at the server for block-wise GET requests. (It is impossible to fully avoid creating conversation state for POST/PUT, if the creation/replacement of resources is to be atomic; where that property is not needed, there is no need to create server conversation state in this case, either.)
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   Block-wise transfers are realized as combinations of exchanges, each
   of which is performed according to the CoAP base protocol [RFC7252].
   Each exchange in such a combination is governed by the specifications
   in [RFC7252], including the congestion control specifications
   (Section 4.7 of [RFC7252]) and the security considerations
   (Section 11 of [RFC7252]; additional security considerations then
   apply to the transfers as a whole, see Section 7).  The present
   specification minimizes the constraints it adds to those base
   exchanges; however, not all variants of using CoAP are very useful
   inside a block-wise transfer (e.g., using Non-confirmable requests
   within block-wise transfers outside the use case of Section 2.8 would
   escalate the overall non-delivery probability).  To be perfectly
   clear, the present specification also does not remove any of the
   constraints posed by the base specification it is strictly layered on
   top of.  For example, back-to-back packets are limited by the
   congestion control described in Section 4.7 of [RFC7252] (NSTART as a
   limit for initiating exchanges, PROBING_RATE as a limit for sending
   with no response); block-wise transfers cannot send/solicit more
   traffic than a client could be sending to / soliciting from the same
   server without the block-wise mode.

   In some cases, the present specification will RECOMMEND that a client
   perform a sequence of block-wise transfers "without undue delay".
   This cannot be phrased as an interoperability requirement, but is an
   expectation on implementation quality.  Conversely, the expectation
   is that servers will not have to go out of their way to accommodate
   clients that take considerable time to finish a block-wise transfer.
   For example, for a block-wise GET, if the resource changes while this
   proceeds, the entity-tag (ETag) for a further block obtained may be
   different.  To avoid this happening all the time for a fast-changing
   resource, a server MAY try to keep a cache around for a specific
   client for a short amount of time.  The expectation here is that the
   lifetime for such a cache can be kept short, on the order of a few
   expected round-trip times, counting from the previous block

   In summary, this specification adds a pair of Block options to CoAP
   that can be used for block-wise transfers.  Benefits of using these
   options include:

   o  Transfers larger than what can be accommodated in constrained-
      network link-layer packets can be performed in smaller blocks.

   o  No hard-to-manage conversation state is created at the adaptation
      layer or IP layer for fragmentation.

   o  The transfer of each block is acknowledged, enabling individual
      retransmission if required.
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   o  Both sides have a say in the block size that actually will be

   o  The resulting exchanges are easy to understand using packet
      analyzer tools, and thus quite accessible to debugging.

   o  If needed, the Block options can also be used (without changes) to
      provide random access to power-of-two sized blocks within a
      resource representation.

   A CoAP implementation that does not support these options generally
   is limited in the size of the representations that can be exchanged,
   see Section 4.6 of [RFC7252].  Even though the options are Critical,
   a server may decide to start using them in an unsolicited way in a
   response.  No effort was expended to provide a capability indication
   mechanism supporting that decision: since the block-wise transfer
   mechanisms are so fundamental to the use of CoAP for representations
   larger than about a kilobyte, there is an expectation that they are
   very widely implemented.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC
   2119, BCP 14 [RFC2119] and indicate requirement levels for compliant
   CoAP implementations.

   In this document, the term "byte" is used in its now customary sense
   as a synonym for "octet".

   Where bit arithmetic is explained, this document uses the notation
   familiar from the programming language C, except that the operator
   "**" stands for exponentiation.

2. Block-Wise Transfers

As discussed in the introduction, there are good reasons to limit the size of datagrams in constrained networks: o by the maximum datagram size (~ 64 KiB for UDP) o by the desire to avoid IP fragmentation (MTU of 1280 for IPv6) o by the desire to avoid adaptation-layer fragmentation (60-80 bytes for 6LoWPAN [RFC4919]) When a resource representation is larger than can be comfortably transferred in the payload of a single CoAP datagram, a Block option can be used to indicate a block-wise transfer. As payloads can be
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   sent both with requests and with responses, this specification
   provides two separate options for each direction of payload transfer.
   In naming these options (for block-wise transfers as well as in
   Section 4), we use the number 1 ("Block1", "Size1") to refer to the
   transfer of the resource representation that pertains to the request,
   and the number 2 ("Block2", "Size2") to refer to the transfer of the
   resource representation for the response.

   In the following, the term "payload" will be used for the actual
   content of a single CoAP message, i.e., a single block being
   transferred, while the term "body" will be used for the entire
   resource representation that is being transferred in a block-wise
   fashion.  The Content-Format Option applies to the body, not to the
   payload; in particular, the boundaries between the blocks may be in
   places that are not separating whole units in terms of the structure,
   encoding, or content-coding used by the Content-Format.  (Similarly,
   the ETag Option defined in Section 5.10.6 of [RFC7252] applies to the
   whole representation of the resource, and thus to the body of the

   In most cases, all blocks being transferred for a body (except for
   the last one) will be of the same size.  (If the first request uses a
   bigger block size than the receiver prefers, subsequent requests will
   use the preferred block size.)  The block size is not fixed by the
   protocol.  To keep the implementation as simple as possible, the
   Block options support only a small range of power-of-two block sizes,
   from 2**4 (16) to 2**10 (1024) bytes.  As bodies often will not
   evenly divide into the power-of-two block size chosen, the size need
   not be reached in the final block (but even for the final block, the
   chosen power-of-two size will still be indicated in the block size
   field of the Block option).

2.1. The Block2 and Block1 Options

+-----+---+---+---+---+--------+--------+--------+---------+ | No. | C | U | N | R | Name | Format | Length | Default | +-----+---+---+---+---+--------+--------+--------+---------+ | 23 | C | U | - | - | Block2 | uint | 0-3 | (none) | | | | | | | | | | | | 27 | C | U | - | - | Block1 | uint | 0-3 | (none) | +-----+---+---+---+---+--------+--------+--------+---------+ Table 1: Block Option Numbers Both Block1 and Block2 Options can be present in both the request and response messages. In either case, the Block1 Option pertains to the request payload, and the Block2 Option pertains to the response payload.
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   Hence, for the methods defined in [RFC7252], Block1 is useful with
   the payload-bearing POST and PUT requests and their responses.
   Block2 is useful with GET, POST, and PUT requests and their payload-
   bearing responses (2.01, 2.02, 2.04, and 2.05 -- see Section 5.5 of

   Where Block1 is present in a request or Block2 in a response (i.e.,
   in that message to the payload of which it pertains) it indicates a
   block-wise transfer and describes how this specific block-wise
   payload forms part of the entire body being transferred ("descriptive
   usage").  Where it is present in the opposite direction, it provides
   additional control on how that payload will be formed or was
   processed ("control usage").

   Implementation of either Block option is intended to be optional.
   However, when it is present in a CoAP message, it MUST be processed
   (or the message rejected); therefore, it is identified as a Critical
   option.  Either Block option MUST NOT occur more than once in a
   single message.

2.2. Structure of a Block Option

Three items of information may need to be transferred in a Block (Block1 or Block2) option: o the size of the block (SZX); o whether more blocks are following (M); o the relative number of the block (NUM) within a sequence of blocks with the given size. The value of the Block option is a variable-size (0 to 3 byte) unsigned integer (uint, see Section 3.2 of [RFC7252]). This integer value encodes these three fields, see Figure 1. (Due to the CoAP uint-encoding rules, when all of NUM, M, and SZX happen to be zero, a zero-byte integer will be sent.)
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           0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
          |  NUM  |M| SZX |

           0                   1
           0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5
          |          NUM          |M| SZX |

           0                   1                   2
           0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3
          |                   NUM                 |M| SZX |

                       Figure 1: Block Option Value

   The block size is encoded using a three-bit unsigned integer (0 for
   2**4 bytes to 6 for 2**10 bytes), which we call the "SZX" ("size
   exponent"); the actual block size is then "2**(SZX + 4)".  SZX is
   transferred in the three least significant bits of the option value
   (i.e., "val & 7" where "val" is the value of the option).

   The fourth least significant bit, the M or "more" bit ("val & 8"),
   indicates whether more blocks are following or if the current block-
   wise transfer is the last block being transferred.

   The option value divided by sixteen (the NUM field) is the sequence
   number of the block currently being transferred, starting from zero.
   The current transfer is, therefore, about the "size" bytes starting
   at byte "NUM << (SZX + 4)".

   Implementation note:  As an implementation convenience, "(val & ~0xF)
      << (val & 7)", i.e., the option value with the last 4 bits masked
      out, shifted to the left by the value of SZX, gives the byte
      position of the first byte of the block being transferred.

   More specifically, within the option value of a Block1 or Block2
   Option, the meaning of the option fields is defined as follows:

   NUM:  Block Number, indicating the block number being requested or
      provided.  Block number 0 indicates the first block of a body
      (i.e., starting with the first byte of the body).
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   M: More Flag ("not last block").  For descriptive usage, this flag,
      if unset, indicates that the payload in this message is the last
      block in the body; when set, it indicates that there are one or
      more additional blocks available.  When a Block2 Option is used in
      a request to retrieve a specific block number ("control usage"),
      the M bit MUST be sent as zero and ignored on reception.  (In a
      Block1 Option in a response, the M flag is used to indicate
      atomicity, see below.)

   SZX:  Block Size.  The block size is represented as a three-bit
      unsigned integer indicating the size of a block to the power of
      two.  Thus, block size = 2**(SZX + 4).  The allowed values of SZX
      are 0 to 6, i.e., the minimum block size is 2**(0+4) = 16 and the
      maximum is 2**(6+4) = 1024.  The value 7 for SZX (which would
      indicate a block size of 2048) is reserved, i.e., MUST NOT be sent
      and MUST lead to a 4.00 Bad Request response code upon reception
      in a request.

   There is no default value for the Block1 and Block2 Options.  Absence
   of one of these options is equivalent to an option value of 0 with
   respect to the value of NUM and M that could be given in the option,
   i.e., it indicates that the current block is the first and only block
   of the transfer (block number 0, M bit not set).  However, in
   contrast to the explicit value 0, which would indicate an SZX of 0
   and thus a size value of 16 bytes, there is no specific explicit size
   implied by the absence of the option -- the size is left unspecified.
   (As for any uint, the explicit value 0 is efficiently indicated by a
   zero-length option; this, therefore, is different in semantics from
   the absence of the option.)

2.3. Block Options in Requests and Responses

The Block options are used in one of three roles: o In descriptive usage, i.e., a Block2 Option in a response (such as a 2.05 response for GET), or a Block1 Option in a request (a PUT or POST): * The NUM field in the option value describes what block number is contained in the payload of this message. * The M bit indicates whether further blocks need to be transferred to complete the transfer of that body. * The block size implied by SZX MUST match the size of the payload in bytes, if the M bit is set. (SZX does not govern the payload size if M is unset). For Block2, if the request suggested a larger value of SZX, the next request MUST move SZX
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         down to the size given in the response.  (The effect is that,
         if the server uses the smaller of (1) its preferred block size
         and (2) the block size requested, all blocks for a body use the
         same block size.)

   o  A Block2 Option in control usage in a request (e.g., GET):

      *  The NUM field in the Block2 Option gives the block number of
         the payload that is being requested to be returned in the

      *  In this case, the M bit has no function and MUST be set to

      *  The block size given (SZX) suggests a block size (in the case
         of block number 0) or repeats the block size of previous blocks
         received (in the case of a non-zero block number).

   o  A Block1 Option in control usage in a response (e.g., a 2.xx
      response for a PUT or POST request):

      *  The NUM field of the Block1 Option indicates what block number
         is being acknowledged.

      *  If the M bit was set in the request, the server can choose
         whether to act on each block separately, with no memory, or
         whether to handle the request for the entire body atomically,
         or any mix of the two.

         +  If the M bit is also set in the response, it indicates that
            this response does not carry the final response code to the
            request, i.e., the server collects further blocks from the
            same endpoint and plans to implement the request atomically
            (e.g., acts only upon reception of the last block of
            payload).  In this case, the response MUST NOT carry a
            Block2 Option.

         +  Conversely, if the M bit is unset even though it was set in
            the request, it indicates the block-wise request was enacted
            now specifically for this block, and the response carries
            the final response to this request (and to any previous ones
            with the M bit set in the response's Block1 Option in this
            sequence of block-wise transfers); the client is still
            expected to continue sending further blocks, the request
            method for which may or may not also be enacted per-block.
            (Note that the resource is now in a partially updated state;
            this approach is only appropriate where exposing such an
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            intermediate state is acceptable.  The client can reduce the
            window by quickly continuing to update the resource, or, in
            case of failure, restarting the update.)

      *  Finally, the SZX block size given in a control Block1 Option
         indicates the largest block size preferred by the server for
         transfers toward the resource that is the same or smaller than
         the one used in the initial exchange; the client SHOULD use
         this block size or a smaller one in all further requests in the
         transfer sequence, even if that means changing the block size
         (and possibly scaling the block number accordingly) from now

   Using one or both Block options, a single REST operation can be split
   into multiple CoAP message exchanges.  As specified in [RFC7252],
   each of these message exchanges uses their own CoAP Message ID.

   The Content-Format Option sent with the requests or responses MUST
   reflect the Content-Format of the entire body.  If blocks of a
   response body arrive with different Content-Format Options, it is up
   to the client how to handle this error (it will typically abort any
   ongoing block-wise transfer).  If blocks of a request arrive at a
   server with mismatching Content-Format Options, the server MUST NOT
   assemble them into a single request; this usually leads to a 4.08
   (Request Entity Incomplete, Section 2.9.2) error response on the
   mismatching block.

2.4. Using the Block2 Option

When a request is answered with a response carrying a Block2 Option with the M bit set, the requester may retrieve additional blocks of the resource representation by sending further requests with the same options as the initial request and a Block2 Option giving the block number and block size desired. In a request, the client MUST set the M bit of a Block2 Option to zero and the server MUST ignore it on reception. To influence the block size used in a response, the requester MAY also use the Block2 Option on the initial request, giving the desired size, a block number of zero and an M bit of zero. A server MUST use the block size indicated or a smaller size. Any further block-wise requests for blocks beyond the first one MUST indicate the same block size that was used by the server in the response for the first request that gave a desired size using a Block2 Option. Once the Block2 Option is used by the requester and a first response has been received with a possibly adjusted block size, all further requests in a single block-wise transfer will ultimately converge on
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   using the same size, except that there may not be enough content to
   fill the last block (the one returned with the M bit not set).  (Note
   that the client may start using the Block2 Option in a second request
   after a first request without a Block2 Option resulted in a Block2
   Option in the response.)  The server uses the block size indicated in
   the request option or a smaller size, but the requester MUST take
   note of the actual block size used in the response it receives to its
   initial request and proceed to use it in subsequent requests.  The
   server behavior MUST ensure that this client behavior results in the
   same block size for all responses in a sequence (except for the last
   one with the M bit not set, and possibly the first one if the initial
   request did not contain a Block2 Option).

   Block-wise transfers can be used to GET resources whose
   representations are entirely static (not changing over time at all,
   such as in a schema describing a device), or for dynamically changing
   resources.  In the latter case, the Block2 Option SHOULD be used in
   conjunction with the ETag Option ([RFC7252], Section 5.10.6), to
   ensure that the blocks being reassembled are from the same version of
   the representation: The server SHOULD include an ETag Option in each
   response.  If an ETag Option is available, the client, when
   reassembling the representation from the blocks being exchanged, MUST
   compare ETag Options.  If the ETag Options do not match in a GET
   transfer, the requester has the option of attempting to retrieve
   fresh values for the blocks it retrieved first.  To minimize the
   resulting inefficiency, the server MAY cache the current value of a
   representation for an ongoing sequence of requests.  (The server may
   identify the sequence by the combination of the requesting endpoint
   and the URI being the same in each block-wise request.)  Note well
   that this specification makes no requirement for the server to
   establish any state; however, servers that offer quickly changing
   resources may thereby make it impossible for a client to ever
   retrieve a consistent set of blocks.  Clients that want to retrieve
   all blocks of a resource SHOULD strive to do so without undue delay.
   Servers can fully expect to be free to discard any cached state after
   a period of EXCHANGE_LIFETIME ([RFC7252], Section 4.8.2) after the
   last access to the state, however, there is no requirement to always
   keep the state for as long.

   The Block2 Option provides no way for a single endpoint to perform
   multiple concurrently proceeding block-wise response payload transfer
   (e.g., GET) operations to the same resource.  This is rarely a
   requirement, but as a workaround, a client may vary the cache key
   (e.g., by using one of several URIs accessing resources with the same
   semantics, or by varying a proxy-safe elective option).
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2.5. Using the Block1 Option

In a request with a request payload (e.g., PUT or POST), the Block1 Option refers to the payload in the request (descriptive usage). In response to a request with a payload (e.g., a PUT or POST transfer), the block size given in the Block1 Option indicates the block size preference of the server for this resource (control usage). Obviously, at this point the first block has already been transferred by the client without benefit of this knowledge. Still, the client SHOULD heed the preference indicated and, for all further blocks, use the block size preferred by the server or a smaller one. Note that any reduction in the block size may mean that the second request starts with a block number larger than one, as the first request already transferred multiple blocks as counted in the smaller size. To counter the effects of adaptation-layer fragmentation on packet- delivery probability, a client may want to give up retransmitting a request with a relatively large payload even before MAX_RETRANSMIT has been reached, and try restating the request as a block-wise transfer with a smaller payload. Note that this new attempt is then a new message-layer transaction and requires a new Message ID. (Because of the uncertainty about whether the request or the acknowledgement was lost, this strategy is useful mostly for idempotent requests.) In a block-wise transfer of a request payload (e.g., a PUT or POST) that is intended to be implemented in an atomic fashion at the server, the actual creation/replacement takes place at the time the final block, i.e., a block with the M bit unset in the Block1 Option, is received. In this case, all success responses to non-final blocks carry the response code 2.31 (Continue, Section 2.9.1). If not all previous blocks are available at the server at the time of processing the final block, the transfer fails and error code 4.08 (Request Entity Incomplete, Section 2.9.2) MUST be returned. A server MAY also return a 4.08 error code for any (final or non-final) Block1 transfer that is not in sequence; therefore, clients that do not have specific mechanisms to handle this case SHOULD always start with block zero and send the following blocks in order. One reason that a client might encounter a 4.08 error code is that the server has already timed out and discarded the partial request body being assembled. Clients SHOULD strive to send all blocks of a request without undue delay. Servers can fully expect to be free to discard any partial request body when a period of EXCHANGE_LIFETIME
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   ([RFC7252], Section 4.8.2) has elapsed after the most recent block
   was transferred; however, there is no requirement on a server to
   always keep the partial request body for as long.

   The error code 4.13 (Request Entity Too Large) can be returned at any
   time by a server that does not currently have the resources to store
   blocks for a block-wise request payload transfer that it would intend
   to implement in an atomic fashion.  (Note that a 4.13 response to a
   request that does not employ Block1 is a hint for the client to try
   sending Block1, and a 4.13 response with a smaller SZX in its Block1
   Option than requested is a hint to try a smaller SZX.)

   A block-wise transfer of a request payload that is implemented in a
   stateless fashion at the server is likely to leave the resource being
   operated on in an inconsistent state while the transfer is still
   ongoing or when the client does not complete the transfer.  This
   characteristic is closer to that of remote file systems than to that
   of HTTP, where state is always kept on the server during a transfer.
   Techniques well known from shared file access (e.g., client-specific
   temporary resources) can be used to mitigate this difference from

   The Block1 Option provides no way for a single endpoint to perform
   multiple concurrently proceeding block-wise request payload transfer
   (e.g., PUT or POST) operations to the same resource.  Starting a new
   block-wise sequence of requests to the same resource (before an old
   sequence from the same endpoint was finished) simply overwrites the
   context the server may still be keeping.  (This is probably exactly
   what one wants in this case -- the client may simply have restarted
   and lost its knowledge of the previous sequence.)

2.6. Combining Block-Wise Transfers with the Observe Option

The Observe option provides a way for a client to be notified about changes over time of a resource [RFC7641]. Resources observed by clients may be larger than can be comfortably processed or transferred in one CoAP message. The following rules apply to the combination of block-wise transfers with notifications. Observation relationships always apply to an entire resource; the Block2 Option does not provide a way to observe a single block of a resource. As with basic GET transfers, the client can indicate its desired block size in a Block2 Option in the GET request establishing or renewing the observation relationship. If the server supports block- wise transfers, it SHOULD take note of the block size and apply it as a maximum size to all notifications/responses resulting from the GET
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   request (until the client is removed from the list of observers or
   the entry in that list is updated by the server receiving a new GET
   request for the resource from the client).

   When sending a 2.05 (Content) notification, the server only sends the
   first block of the representation.  The client retrieves the rest of
   the representation as if it had caused this first response by a GET
   request, i.e., by using additional GET requests with Block2 Options
   containing NUM values greater than zero.  (This results in the
   transfer of the entire representation, even if only some of the
   blocks have changed with respect to a previous notification.)

   As with other dynamically changing resources, to ensure that the
   blocks being reassembled are from the same version of the
   representation, the server SHOULD include an ETag Option in each
   response, and the reassembling client MUST compare the ETag Options
   (Section 2.4).  Even more so than for the general case of Block2,
   clients that want to retrieve all blocks of a resource they have been
   notified about with a first block SHOULD strive to do so without
   undue delay.

   See Section 3.4 for examples.

2.7. Combining Block1 and Block2

In PUT and particularly in POST exchanges, both the request body and the response body may be large enough to require the use of block- wise transfers. First, the Block1 transfer of the request body proceeds as usual. In the exchange of the last slice of this block- wise transfer, the response carries the first slice of the Block2 transfer (NUM is zero). To continue this Block2 transfer, the client continues to send requests similar to the requests in the Block1 phase, but leaves out the Block1 Options and includes a Block2 request option with non-zero NUM. Block2 transfers that retrieve the response body for a request that used Block1 MUST be performed in sequential order.

2.8. Combining Block2 with Multicast

A client can use the Block2 Option in a multicast GET request with NUM = 0 to aid in limiting the size of the response. Similarly, a response to a multicast GET request can use a Block2 Option with NUM = 0 if the representation is large, or to further limit the size of the response.
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   In both cases, the client retrieves any further blocks using unicast
   exchanges; in the unicast requests, the client SHOULD heed any block
   size preferences indicated by the server in the response to the
   multicast request.

   Other uses of the Block options in conjunction with multicast
   messages are for further study.

2.9. Response Codes

Beyond the response codes defined in [RFC7252], this specification defines two response codes and extends the meaning of one.

2.9.1. 2.31 Continue

This new success status code indicates that the transfer of this block of the request body was successful and that the server encourages sending further blocks, but that a final outcome of the whole block-wise request cannot yet be determined. No payload is returned with this response code.

2.9.2. 4.08 Request Entity Incomplete

This new client error status code indicates that the server has not received the blocks of the request body that it needs to proceed. The client has not sent all blocks, not sent them in the order required by the server, or has sent them long enough ago that the server has already discarded them. (Note that one reason for not having the necessary blocks at hand may be a Content-Format mismatch, see Section 2.3. Implementation note: A server can reject a Block1 transfer with this code when NUM != 0 and a different Content-Format is indicated than expected from the current state of the resource. If it implements the transfer in a stateless fashion, it can match up the Content-Format of the block against that of the existing resource. If it implements the transfer in an atomic fashion, it can match up the block against the partially reassembled piece of representation that is going to replace the state of the resource.)

2.9.3. 4.13 Request Entity Too Large

In Section of [RFC7252], the response code 4.13 (Request Entity Too Large) is defined to be like HTTP 413 "Request Entity Too Large". [RFC7252] also recommends that this response SHOULD include a Size1 Option (Section 4) to indicate the maximum size of request entity the server is able and willing to handle, unless the server is not in a position to make this information available.
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   The present specification allows the server to return this response
   code at any time during a Block1 transfer to indicate that it does
   not currently have the resources to store blocks for a transfer that
   it would intend to implement in an atomic fashion.  It also allows
   the server to return a 4.13 response to a request that does not
   employ Block1 as a hint for the client to try sending Block1.
   Finally, a 4.13 response to a request with a Block1 Option (control
   usage, see Section 2.3) where the response carries a smaller SZX in
   its Block1 Option is a hint to try that smaller SZX.

2.10. Caching Considerations

This specification attempts to leave a variety of implementation strategies open for caches, in particular those in caching proxies. For example, a cache is free to cache blocks individually, but also could wait to obtain the complete representation before it serves parts of it. Partial caching may be more efficient in a cross-proxy (equivalent to a streaming HTTP proxy). A cached block (partial cached response) can be used in place of a complete response to satisfy a block-wise request that is presented to a cache. Note that different blocks can have different Max-Age values, as they are transferred at different times. A response with a block updates the freshness of the complete representation. Individual blocks can be validated, and validating a single block validates the complete representation. A response with a Block1 Option in control usage with the M bit set invalidates cached responses for the target URI. A cache or proxy that combines responses (e.g., to split blocks in a request or increase the block size in a response, or a cross-proxy) may need to combine 2.31 and 2.01/2.04 responses; a stateless server may be responding with 2.01 only on the first Block1 block transferred, which dominates any 2.04 responses for later blocks. If-None-Match only works correctly on Block1 requests with (NUM=0) and MUST NOT be used on Block1 requests with NUM != 0.

(page 18 continued on part 2)

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