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RFC 8311

Relaxing Restrictions on Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) Experimentation

Pages: 20
Proposed Standard
Errata
Updates:  31684341434256226679

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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                          D. Black
Request for Comments: 8311                                      Dell EMC
Updates: 3168, 4341, 4342, 5622, 6679                       January 2018
Category: Standards Track
ISSN: 2070-1721


                        Relaxing Restrictions on
         Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) Experimentation

Abstract

This memo updates RFC 3168, which specifies Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) as an alternative to packet drops for indicating network congestion to endpoints. It relaxes restrictions in RFC 3168 that hinder experimentation towards benefits beyond just removal of loss. This memo summarizes the anticipated areas of experimentation and updates RFC 3168 to enable experimentation in these areas. An Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream is required to take advantage of any of these enabling updates. In addition, this memo makes related updates to the ECN specifications for RTP in RFC 6679 and for the Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP) in RFCs 4341, 4342, and 5622. This memo also records the conclusion of the ECN nonce experiment in RFC 3540 and provides the rationale for reclassification of RFC 3540 from Experimental to Historic; this reclassification enables new experimental use of the ECT(1) codepoint. 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 https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8311.
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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2018 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
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   Contributions published or made publicly available before November
   10, 2008.  The person(s) controlling the copyright in some of this
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   Without obtaining an adequate license from the person(s) controlling
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   than English.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1.1. ECN Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 1.2. Requirements Language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 2. ECN Experimentation: Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.1. Effective Congestion Control is Required . . . . . . . . 6 2.2. Network Considerations for ECN Experimentation . . . . . 6 2.3. Operational and Management Considerations . . . . . . . . 7 3. ECN Nonce and RFC 3540 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 4. Updates to RFC 3168 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 4.1. Congestion Response Differences . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 4.2. Congestion Marking Differences . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 4.3. TCP Control Packets and Retransmissions . . . . . . . . . 13 5. ECN for RTP Updates to RFC 6679 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 6. ECN for DCCP Updates to RFCs 4341, 4342, and 5622 . . . . . . 16 7. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 8. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 9. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 9.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 9.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

1. Introduction

This memo updates RFC 3168 [RFC3168], which specifies Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) as an alternative to packet drops for indicating network congestion to endpoints. It relaxes restrictions in RFC 3168 that hinder experimentation towards benefits beyond just removal of loss. This memo summarizes the proposed areas of experimentation and updates RFC 3168 to enable experimentation in these areas. An Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream [RFC4844] is required to take advantage of any of these enabling updates. Putting all of these updates into a single document enables experimentation to proceed without requiring a standards process exception for each Experimental RFC that needs changes to RFC 3168, a Proposed Standard RFC. There is no need for this memo to update RFC 3168 to simplify standardization of protocols and mechanisms that are documented in Standards Track RFCs, as any Standards Track RFC can update RFC 3168 directly without either relying on updates in this memo or using a standards process exception.
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   In addition, this memo makes related updates to the ECN specification
   for RTP [RFC6679] and for three DCCP profiles ([RFC4341], [RFC4342],
   and [RFC5622]) for the same reason.  Each experiment is still
   required to be documented in one or more separate RFCs, but use of
   Experimental RFCs for this purpose does not require a process
   exception to modify any of these Proposed Standard RFCs when the
   modification falls within the bounds established by this memo (RFC
   5622 is an Experimental RFC; it is modified by this memo for
   consistency with modifications to the other two DCCP RFCs).

   Some of the anticipated experimentation includes use of the ECT(1)
   codepoint that was dedicated to the ECN nonce experiment in RFC 3540
   [RFC3540].  This memo records the conclusion of the ECN nonce
   experiment and provides the explanation for reclassification of RFC
   3540 from Experimental to Historic in order to enable new
   experimental use of the ECT(1) codepoint.

1.1. ECN Terminology

ECT: ECN-Capable Transport. One of the two codepoints, ECT(0) or ECT(1), in the ECN field [RFC3168] of the IP header (v4 or v6). An ECN-capable sender sets one of these to indicate that both transport endpoints support ECN. Not-ECT: The ECN codepoint set by senders that indicates that the transport is not ECN capable. CE: Congestion Experienced. The ECN codepoint that an intermediate node sets to indicate congestion. A node sets an increasing proportion of ECT packets to Congestion Experienced (CE) as the level of congestion increases.

1.2. Requirements Language

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.
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2. ECN Experimentation: Overview

Three areas of ECN experimentation are covered by this memo; the cited documents should be consulted for the detailed goals and rationale of each proposed experiment: Congestion Response Differences: An ECN congestion indication communicates a higher likelihood than a dropped packet that a short queue exists at the network bottleneck node [TCP-ABE]. This difference suggests that for congestion indicated by ECN, a different sender congestion response (e.g., sender backs off by a smaller amount) may be appropriate by comparison to the sender response to congestion indicated by loss. Two examples of proposed sender congestion response changes are described in [TCP-ABE] and [ECN-L4S] -- the proposal in the latter document couples the sender congestion response change to Congestion Marking Differences functionality (see next paragraph). These changes are at variance with the requirement in RFC 3168 that a sender's congestion control response to ECN congestion indications be the same as to drops. IETF approval, e.g., via an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream, is required for any sender congestion response used in this area of experimentation. See Section 4.1 for further discussion. Congestion Marking Differences: Congestion marking at network nodes can be configured to maintain very shallow queues in conjunction with a different sender response to congestion indications (CE marks), e.g., as proposed in [ECN-L4S]. The traffic involved needs to be identified by the senders to the network nodes in order to avoid damage to other network traffic whose senders do not expect the more frequent congestion marking used to maintain very shallow queues. Use of different ECN codepoints, specifically ECT(0) and ECT(1), is a promising means of traffic identification for this purpose, but that technique is at variance with the requirement in RFC 3168 that traffic marked as ECT(0) not receive different treatment in the network by comparison to traffic marked as ECT(1). IETF approval, e.g., via an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream, is required for any differences in congestion marking or sender congestion response used in this area of experimentation. See Section 4.2 for further discussion.
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   TCP Control Packets and Retransmissions:  RFC 3168 limits the use of
      ECN with TCP to data packets, excluding retransmissions.  With the
      successful deployment of ECN in large portions of the Internet,
      there is interest in extending the benefits of ECN to TCP control
      packets (e.g., SYNs) and retransmitted packets, e.g., as proposed
      in [ECN-TCP].  This is at variance with RFC 3168's prohibition of
      ECN for TCP control packets and retransmitted packets.  See
      Section 4.3 for further discussion.

   The scope of this memo is limited to these three areas of
   experimentation.  This memo expresses no view on the likely outcomes
   of the proposed experiments and does not specify the experiments in
   detail.  Additional experiments in these areas are possible, e.g., on
   use of ECN to support deployment of a protocol similar to Data Center
   TCP (DCTCP) [RFC8257] beyond DCTCP's current applicability that is
   limited to data center environments.  The purpose of this memo is to
   remove constraints in Standards Track RFCs that stand in the way of
   these areas of experimentation.

2.1. Effective Congestion Control is Required

Congestion control remains an important aspect of the Internet architecture [RFC2914]. Any Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream that takes advantage of this memo's updates to any RFC is required to discuss the congestion control implications of the experiment(s) in order to provide assurance that deployment of the experiment(s) does not pose a congestion-based threat to the operation of the Internet.

2.2. Network Considerations for ECN Experimentation

ECN functionality [RFC3168] is becoming widely deployed in the Internet and is being designed into additional protocols such as Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) [ECN-TRILL]. ECN experiments are expected to coexist with deployed ECN functionality, with the responsibility for that coexistence falling primarily upon designers of experimental changes to ECN. In addition, protocol designers and implementers, as well as network operators, may desire to anticipate and/or support ECN experiments. The following guidelines will help avoid conflicts with the areas of ECN experimentation enabled by this memo: 1. Forwarding behavior as described in RFC 3168 remains the preferred approach for routers that are not involved in ECN experiments, in particular continuing to treat the ECT(0) and ECT(1) codepoints as equivalent, as specified in Section 4.2 below.
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   2.  Network nodes that forward packets SHOULD NOT assume that the ECN
       CE codepoint indicates that the packet would have been dropped if
       ECN were not in use.  This is because Congestion Response
       Differences experiments employ different congestion responses to
       dropped packets by comparison to receipt of CE-marked packets
       (see Section 4.1 below), so CE-marked packets SHOULD NOT be
       arbitrarily dropped.  A corresponding difference in congestion
       responses already occurs when the ECN field is used for
       Pre-Congestion Notification (PCN) [RFC6660].

   3.  A network node MUST NOT originate traffic marked with ECT(1)
       unless the network node is participating in a Congestion Marking
       Differences experiment that uses ECT(1), as specified in
       Section 4.2 below.

   Some ECN experiments use ECN with packets where ECN has not been used
   previously, specifically TCP control packets and retransmissions; see
   Section 4.3 below.  The new middlebox behavior requirements in that
   section are of particular importance.  In general, any system or
   protocol that inspects or monitors network traffic SHOULD be prepared
   to encounter ECN usage on packets and traffic that currently do not
   use ECN.

   ECN field handling requirements for tunnel encapsulation and
   decapsulation are specified in [RFC6040], which is in the process of
   being updated by [ECN-SHIM].  Related guidance for encapsulations
   whose outer headers are not IP headers can be found in [ECN-ENCAP].
   These requirements and guidance apply to all traffic, including
   traffic that is part of any ECN experiment.

2.3. Operational and Management Considerations

Changes in network traffic behavior that result from ECN experimentation are likely to impact network operations and management. Designers of ECN experiments are expected to anticipate possible impacts and consider how they may be dealt with. Specific topics to consider include possible network management changes or extensions, monitoring of the experimental deployment, collection of data for evaluation of the experiment, and possible interactions with other protocols, particularly protocols that encapsulate network traffic. For further discussion, see [RFC5706]; the questions in Appendix A of RFC 5706 provide a concise survey of some important aspects to consider.
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3. ECN Nonce and RFC 3540

As specified in RFC 3168, ECN uses two ECN-Capable Transport (ECT) codepoints, ECT(0) and ECT(1), to indicate that a packet supports ECN. RFC 3168 assigned the second codepoint, ECT(1), to support ECN nonce functionality that discourages receivers from exploiting ECN to improve their throughput at the expense of other network users. That ECN nonce functionality is fully specified in RFC 3540 [RFC3540]. This section explains why RFC 3540 has been reclassified from Experimental to Historic and makes associated updates to RFC 3168. While the ECN nonce works as specified, and has been deployed in limited environments, widespread usage in the Internet has not materialized. A study of the ECN behavior of the top one million web servers using 2014 data [Trammell15] found that after ECN was negotiated, none of the 581,711 IPv4 servers tested were using both ECT codepoints, which would have been a possible sign of ECN nonce usage. Of the 17,028 IPv6 servers tested, four set both ECT(0) and ECT(1) on data packets. This might have been evidence of use of the ECN nonce by these four servers, but it might equally have been due to erroneous re-marking of the ECN field by a middlebox or router. With the emergence of new experimental functionality that depends on use of the ECT(1) codepoint for other purposes, continuing to reserve that codepoint for the ECN nonce experiment is no longer justified. In addition, other approaches to discouraging receivers from exploiting ECN have emerged; see Appendix B.1 of [ECN-L4S]. Therefore, in support of ECN experimentation with the ECT(1) codepoint, this memo: o Declares that the ECN nonce experiment [RFC3540] has concluded and notes the absence of widespread deployment. o Updates RFC 3168 [RFC3168] to remove discussion of the ECN nonce and use of ECT(1) for that nonce. The four primary updates to RFC 3168 that remove discussion of the ECN nonce and use of ECT(1) for that nonce are as follows: 1. The removal of the paragraph in Section 5 that immediately follows Figure 1; this paragraph discusses the ECN nonce as the motivation for two ECT codepoints. 2. The removal of Section 11.2, "A Discussion of the ECN nonce", in its entirety.
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   3.  The removal of the last paragraph of Section 12, which states
       that ECT(1) may be used as part of the implementation of the ECN
       nonce.

   4.  The removal of the first two paragraphs of Section 20.2, which
       discuss the ECN nonce and alternatives.  No changes are made to
       the rest of Section 20.2, which discusses alternative uses for
       the fourth ECN codepoint.

   In addition, other less-substantive changes to RFC 3168 are required
   to remove all other mentions of the ECN nonce and to remove
   implications that ECT(1) is intended for use by the ECN nonce; these
   specific text updates are omitted for brevity.

4. Updates to RFC 3168

The following subsections specify updates to RFC 3168 to enable the three areas of experimentation summarized in Section 2.

4.1. Congestion Response Differences

RFC 3168 specifies that senders respond identically to packet drops and ECN congestion indications. ECN congestion indications are predominately originated by Active Queue Management (AQM) mechanisms in intermediate buffers. AQM mechanisms are usually configured to maintain shorter queue lengths than non-AQM-based mechanisms, particularly non-AQM drop-based mechanisms such as tail-drop, as AQM mechanisms indicate congestion before the queue overflows. While the occurrence of loss does not easily enable the receiver to determine if AQM is used, the receipt of an ECN CE mark conveys a strong likelihood that AQM was used to manage the bottleneck queue. Hence, an ECN congestion indication communicates a higher likelihood than a dropped packet that a short queue exists at the network bottleneck node [TCP-ABE]. This difference suggests that for congestion indicated by ECN, a different sender congestion response (e.g., sender backs off by a smaller amount) may be appropriate by comparison to the sender response to congestion indicated by loss. However, Section 5 of RFC 3168 specifies that: Upon the receipt by an ECN-Capable transport of a single CE packet, the congestion control algorithms followed at the end- systems MUST be essentially the same as the congestion control response to a *single* dropped packet. This memo updates this text from RFC 3168 to allow the congestion control response (including the TCP Sender's congestion control response) to a CE-marked packet to differ from the response to a dropped packet, provided that the changes from RFC 3168 are
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   documented in an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream.  The
   specific change to RFC 3168 is to insert the words "unless otherwise
   specified by an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream" at the
   end of the sentence quoted above.

   RFC 4774 [RFC4774] quotes the above text from RFC 3168 as background,
   but it does not impose requirements based on that text.  Therefore,
   no update to RFC 4774 is required to enable this area of
   experimentation.

   Section 6.1.2 of RFC 3168 specifies that:

      If the sender receives an ECN-Echo (ECE) ACK packet (that is, an
      ACK packet with the ECN-Echo flag set in the TCP header), then the
      sender knows that congestion was encountered in the network on the
      path from the sender to the receiver.  The indication of
      congestion should be treated just as a congestion loss in
      non-ECN-Capable TCP.  That is, the TCP source halves the
      congestion window "cwnd" and reduces the slow start threshold
      "ssthresh".

   This memo also updates this text from RFC 3168 to allow the
   congestion control response (including the TCP Sender's congestion
   control response) to a CE-marked packet to differ from the response
   to a dropped packet, provided that the changes from RFC 3168 are
   documented in an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream.  The
   specific change to RFC 3168 is to insert the words "Unless otherwise
   specified by an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream" at the
   beginning of the second sentence quoted above.

4.2. Congestion Marking Differences

Taken to its limit, an AQM algorithm that uses ECN congestion indications can be configured to maintain very shallow queues, thereby reducing network latency by comparison to maintaining a larger queue. Significantly more aggressive sender responses to ECN are needed to make effective use of such very shallow queues; "Datacenter TCP (DCTCP)" [RFC8257] provides an example. In this case, separate network node treatments are essential, both to prevent the aggressive low-latency traffic from starving conventional traffic (if present) and to prevent any conventional traffic disruption to any lower-latency service that uses the very shallow queues. Use of different ECN codepoints is a promising means of identifying these two classes of traffic to network nodes; hence, this area of experimentation is based on the use of the ECT(1) codepoint to request ECN congestion marking behavior in the network that differs from ECT(0). It is essential that any such change in ECN congestion marking behavior be counterbalanced by use of a different IETF-
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   approved congestion response to CE marks at the sender, e.g., as
   proposed in [ECN-L4S].

   Section 5 of RFC 3168 specifies that "Routers treat the ECT(0) and
   ECT(1) codepoints as equivalent."

   This memo updates RFC 3168 to allow routers to treat the ECT(0) and
   ECT(1) codepoints differently, provided that the changes from RFC
   3168 are documented in an Experimental RFC in the IETF document
   stream.  The specific change to RFC 3168 is to insert the words
   "unless otherwise specified by an Experimental RFC in the IETF
   document stream" at the end of the above sentence.

   When an AQM is configured to use ECN congestion indications to
   maintain a very shallow queue, congestion indications are marked on
   packets that would not have been dropped if ECN was not in use.
   Section 5 of RFC 3168 specifies that:

      For a router, the CE codepoint of an ECN-Capable packet SHOULD
      only be set if the router would otherwise have dropped the packet
      as an indication of congestion to the end nodes.  When the
      router's buffer is not yet full and the router is prepared to drop
      a packet to inform end nodes of incipient congestion, the router
      should first check to see if the ECT codepoint is set in that
      packet's IP header.  If so, then instead of dropping the packet,
      the router MAY instead set the CE codepoint in the IP header.

   This memo updates RFC 3168 to allow congestion indications that are
   not equivalent to drops, provided that the changes from RFC 3168 are
   documented in an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream.  The
   specific change is to change "For a router" to "Unless otherwise
   specified by an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream" at the
   beginning of the first sentence of the above paragraph.

   A larger update to RFC 3168 is necessary to enable sender usage of
   ECT(1) to request network congestion marking behavior that maintains
   very shallow queues at network nodes.  When using loss as a
   congestion signal, the number of signals provided should be reduced
   to a minimum; hence, only the presence or absence of congestion is
   communicated.  In contrast, ECN can provide a richer signal, e.g., to
   indicate the current level of congestion, without the disadvantage of
   a larger number of packet losses.  A proposed experiment in this
   area, Low Latency Low Loss Scalable throughput (L4S) [ECN-L4S],
   significantly increases the CE marking probability for traffic marked
   as ECT(1) in a fashion that would interact badly with existing sender
   congestion response functionality because that functionality assumes
   that the network marks ECT packets as frequently as it would drop
   Not-ECT packets.  If network traffic that uses such a conventional
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   sender congestion response were to encounter L4S's increased marking
   probability (and hence rate) at a network bottleneck queue, the
   resulting traffic throughput is likely to be much less than intended
   for the level of congestion at the bottleneck queue.

   This memo updates RFC 3168 to remove that interaction for ECT(1).
   The specific update to Section 5 of RFC 3168 is to replace the
   following two paragraphs:

      Senders are free to use either the ECT(0) or the ECT(1) codepoint
      to indicate ECT, on a packet-by-packet basis.

      The use of both the two codepoints for ECT, ECT(0) and ECT(1), is
      motivated primarily by the desire to allow mechanisms for the data
      sender to verify that network elements are not erasing the CE
      codepoint, and that data receivers are properly reporting to the
      sender the receipt of packets with the CE codepoint set, as
      required by the transport protocol.  Guidelines for the senders
      and receivers to differentiate between the ECT(0) and ECT(1)
      codepoints will be addressed in separate documents, for each
      transport protocol.  In particular, this document does not address
      mechanisms for TCP end-nodes to differentiate between the ECT(0)
      and ECT(1) codepoints.  Protocols and senders that only require a
      single ECT codepoint SHOULD use ECT(0).

   with this paragraph:

      Protocols and senders MUST use the ECT(0) codepoint to indicate
      ECT unless otherwise specified by an Experimental RFC in the IETF
      document stream.  Protocols and senders MUST NOT use the ECT(1)
      codepoint to indicate ECT unless otherwise specified by an
      Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream.  Guidelines for
      senders and receivers to differentiate between the ECT(0) and
      ECT(1) codepoints will be addressed in separate documents, for
      each transport protocol.  In particular, this document does not
      address mechanisms for TCP end-nodes to differentiate between the
      ECT(0) and ECT(1) codepoints.

   Congestion Marking Differences experiments SHOULD modify the network
   behavior for traffic marked as ECT(1) rather than ECT(0) if network
   behavior for only one ECT codepoint is modified.  Congestion Marking
   Differences experiments MUST NOT modify the network behavior for
   traffic marked as ECT(0) in a fashion that requires changes to the
   sender congestion response to obtain desired network behavior.  If a
   Congestion Marking Differences experiment modifies the network
   behavior for traffic marked as ECT(1), e.g., CE-marking behavior, in
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   a fashion that requires changes to the sender congestion response to
   obtain desired network behavior, then the Experimental RFC in the
   IETF document stream for that experiment MUST specify:

   o  The sender congestion response to CE marking in the network, and

   o  Router behavior changes, or the absence thereof, in forwarding CE-
      marked packets that are part of the experiment.

   In addition, this memo updates RFC 3168 to remove discussion of the
   ECN nonce, as noted in Section 3 above.

4.3. TCP Control Packets and Retransmissions

With the successful use of ECN for traffic in large portions of the Internet, there is interest in extending the benefits of ECN to TCP control packets (e.g., SYNs) and retransmitted packets, e.g., as proposed by ECN++ [ECN-TCP]. RFC 3168 prohibits use of ECN for TCP control packets and retransmitted packets in a number of places: o Section 5.2: "To ensure the reliable delivery of the congestion indication of the CE codepoint, an ECT codepoint MUST NOT be set in a packet unless the loss of that packet in the network would be detected by the end nodes and interpreted as an indication of congestion." o Section 6.1.1: "A host MUST NOT set ECT on SYN or SYN-ACK packets" o Section 6.1.4: "...pure acknowledgement packets (e.g., packets that do not contain any accompanying data) MUST be sent with the not-ECT codepoint." o Section 6.1.5: "This document specifies ECN-capable TCP implementations MUST NOT set either ECT codepoint (ECT(0) or ECT(1)) in the IP header for retransmitted data packets, and that the TCP data receiver SHOULD ignore the ECN field on arriving data packets that are outside of the receiver's current window." o Section 6.1.6: "...the TCP data sender MUST NOT set either an ECT codepoint or the CWR bit on window probe packets. This memo updates RFC 3168 to allow the use of ECT codepoints on SYN and SYN-ACK packets, pure acknowledgement packets, window probe packets, and retransmissions of packets that were originally sent with an ECT codepoint, provided that the changes from RFC 3168 are documented in an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream. The
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   specific change to RFC 3168 is to insert the words "unless otherwise
   specified by an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream" at the
   end of each sentence quoted above.

   In addition, beyond requiring TCP senders not to set ECT on TCP
   control packets and retransmitted packets, RFC 3168 is silent on
   whether it is appropriate for a network element, e.g., a firewall, to
   discard such a packet as invalid.  For this area of ECN
   experimentation to be useful, middleboxes ought not to do that;
   therefore, RFC 3168 is updated by adding the following text to the
   end of Section 6.1.1.1 on Middlebox Issues:

      Unless otherwise specified by an Experimental RFC in the IETF
      document stream, middleboxes SHOULD NOT discard TCP control
      packets and retransmitted TCP packets solely because the ECN field
      in the IP header does not contain Not-ECT.  An exception to this
      requirement occurs in responding to an attack that uses ECN
      codepoints other than Not-ECT.  For example, as part of the
      response, it may be appropriate to drop ECT-marked TCP SYN packets
      with higher probability than TCP SYN packets marked with Not-ECT.
      Any such exceptional discarding of TCP control packets and
      retransmitted TCP packets in response to an attack MUST NOT be
      done routinely in the absence of an attack and SHOULD only be done
      if it is determined that the use of ECN is contributing to the
      attack.

5. ECN for RTP Updates to RFC 6679

RFC 6679 [RFC6679] specifies use of ECN for RTP traffic; it allows use of both the ECT(0) and ECT(1) codepoints and provides the following guidance on use of these codepoints in Section 7.3.1: The sender SHOULD mark packets as ECT(0) unless the receiver expresses a preference for ECT(1) or for a random ECT value using the "ect" parameter in the "a=ecn-capable-rtp:" attribute. The Congestion Marking Differences area of experimentation increases the potential consequences of using ECT(1) instead of ECT(0); hence, the above guidance is updated by adding the following two sentences: Random ECT values MUST NOT be used, as that may expose RTP to differences in network treatment of traffic marked with ECT(1) and ECT(0) and differences in associated endpoint congestion responses. In addition, ECT(0) MUST be used unless otherwise specified in an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream.
Top   ToC   RFC8311 - Page 15
   Section 7.3.3 of RFC 6679 specifies RTP's response to receipt of
   CE-marked packets as being identical to the response to dropped
   packets:

      The reception of RTP packets with ECN-CE marks in the IP header is
      a notification that congestion is being experienced.  The default
      reaction on the reception of these ECN-CE-marked packets MUST be
      to provide the congestion control algorithm with a congestion
      notification that triggers the algorithm to react as if packet
      loss had occurred.  There should be no difference in congestion
      response if ECN-CE marks or packet drops are detected.

   In support of Congestion Response Differences experimentation, this
   memo updates this text in a fashion similar to RFC 3168 to allow the
   RTP congestion control response to a CE-marked packet to differ from
   the response to a dropped packet, provided that the changes from RFC
   6679 are documented in an Experimental RFC in the IETF document
   stream.  The specific change to RFC 6679 is to insert the words
   "Unless otherwise specified by an Experimental RFC in the IETF
   document stream" and reformat the last two sentences to be subject to
   that condition; that is:

      The reception of RTP packets with ECN-CE marks in the IP header is
      a notification that congestion is being experienced.  Unless
      otherwise specified by an Experimental RFC in the IETF document
      stream:

      *  The default reaction on the reception of these ECN-CE-marked
         packets MUST be to provide the congestion control algorithm
         with a congestion notification that triggers the algorithm to
         react as if packet loss had occurred.

      *  There should be no difference in congestion response if ECN-CE
         marks or packet drops are detected.

   The second sentence of the immediately following paragraph in
   Section 7.3.3 of RFC 6679 requires a related update:

      Other reactions to ECN-CE may be specified in the future,
      following IETF Review.  Detailed designs of such alternative
      reactions MUST be specified in a Standards Track RFC and be
      reviewed to ensure they are safe for deployment under any
      restrictions specified.

   The update is to change "Standards Track RFC" to "Standards Track RFC
   or Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream" for consistency with
   the first update.
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6. ECN for DCCP Updates to RFCs 4341, 4342, and 5622

The specifications of the three DCCP Congestion Control IDs (CCIDs), 2 [RFC4341], 3 [RFC4342], and 4 [RFC5622], contain broadly the same wording as follows: each DCCP-Data and DCCP-DataAck packet is sent as ECN Capable with either the ECT(0) or the ECT(1) codepoint set. This memo updates these sentences in each of the three RFCs as follows: each DCCP-Data and DCCP-DataAck packet is sent as ECN Capable. Unless otherwise specified by an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream, such DCCP senders MUST set the ECT(0) codepoint. In support of Congestion Marking Differences experimentation (as noted in Section 3), this memo also updates all three of these RFCs to remove discussion of the ECN nonce. The specific text updates are omitted for brevity.

7. IANA Considerations

To reflect the reclassification of RFC 3540 as Historic, IANA has updated the "Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Header Flags" registry <https://www.iana.org/assignments/tcp-header-flags> to remove the registration of bit 7 as the NS (Nonce Sum) bit and add an annotation to the registry to state that bit 7 was used by Historic RFC 3540 as the NS (Nonce Sum) bit but is now Reserved.

8. Security Considerations

As a process memo that only relaxes restrictions on experimentation, there are no protocol security considerations, as security considerations for any experiments that take advantage of the relaxed restrictions are discussed in the documents that propose the experiments. However, effective congestion control is crucial to the continued operation of the Internet; hence, this memo places the responsibility for not breaking Internet congestion control on the experiments and the experimenters who propose them. This responsibility includes the requirement to discuss congestion control implications in an Experimental RFC in the IETF document stream for each experiment, as stated in Section 2.1; review of that discussion by the IETF community and the IESG prior to RFC publication is intended to provide assurance that each experiment does not break Internet congestion control.
Top   ToC   RFC8311 - Page 17
   See Appendix C.1 of [ECN-L4S] for discussion of alternatives to the
   ECN nonce.

9. References

9.1. Normative References

[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>. [RFC2914] Floyd, S., "Congestion Control Principles", BCP 41, RFC 2914, DOI 10.17487/RFC2914, September 2000, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2914>. [RFC3168] Ramakrishnan, K., Floyd, S., and D. Black, "The Addition of Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) to IP", RFC 3168, DOI 10.17487/RFC3168, September 2001, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3168>. [RFC3540] Spring, N., Wetherall, D., and D. Ely, "Robust Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) Signaling with Nonces", RFC 3540, DOI 10.17487/RFC3540, June 2003, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3540>. [RFC4341] Floyd, S. and E. Kohler, "Profile for Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP) Congestion Control ID 2: TCP-like Congestion Control", RFC 4341, DOI 10.17487/RFC4341, March 2006, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4341>. [RFC4342] Floyd, S., Kohler, E., and J. Padhye, "Profile for Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP) Congestion Control ID 3: TCP-Friendly Rate Control (TFRC)", RFC 4342, DOI 10.17487/RFC4342, March 2006, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4342>. [RFC5622] Floyd, S. and E. Kohler, "Profile for Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP) Congestion ID 4: TCP-Friendly Rate Control for Small Packets (TFRC-SP)", RFC 5622, DOI 10.17487/RFC5622, August 2009, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5622>. [RFC6679] Westerlund, M., Johansson, I., Perkins, C., O'Hanlon, P., and K. Carlberg, "Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) for RTP over UDP", RFC 6679, DOI 10.17487/RFC6679, August 2012, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6679>.
Top   ToC   RFC8311 - Page 18
   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.

9.2. Informative References

[ECN-ENCAP] Briscoe, B., Kaippallimalil, J., and P. Thaler, "Guidelines for Adding Congestion Notification to Protocols that Encapsulate IP", Work in Progress, draft-ietf-tsvwg-ecn-encap-guidelines-09, July 2017. [ECN-EXPERIMENT] Khademi, N., Welzl, M., Armitage, G., and G. Fairhurst, "Updating the Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) Specification to Allow IETF Experimentation", Work in Progress, draft-khademi-tsvwg-ecn-response-01, July 2016. [ECN-L4S] Schepper, K. and B. Briscoe, "Identifying Modified Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) Semantics for Ultra-Low Queuing Delay", Work in Progress, draft-ietf-tsvwg-ecn-l4s-id-01, October 2017. [ECN-SHIM] Briscoe, B., "Propagating Explicit Congestion Notification Across IP Tunnel Headers Separated by a Shim", Work in Progress, draft-ietf-tsvwg-rfc6040update-shim-05, November 2017. [ECN-TCP] Bagnulo, M. and B. Briscoe, "ECN++: Adding Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) to TCP Control Packets", Work in Progress, draft-ietf-tcpm-generalized-ecn-02, October 2017. [ECN-TRILL] Eastlake, D. and B. Briscoe, "TRILL: ECN (Explicit Congestion Notification) Support", Work in Progress, draft-ietf-trill-ecn-support-04, November 2017. [RFC4774] Floyd, S., "Specifying Alternate Semantics for the Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) Field", BCP 124, RFC 4774, DOI 10.17487/RFC4774, November 2006, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4774>. [RFC4844] Daigle, L., Ed. and Internet Architecture Board, "The RFC Series and RFC Editor", RFC 4844, DOI 10.17487/RFC4844, July 2007, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4844>.
Top   ToC   RFC8311 - Page 19
   [RFC5706]  Harrington, D., "Guidelines for Considering Operations and
              Management of New Protocols and Protocol Extensions",
              RFC 5706, DOI 10.17487/RFC5706, November 2009,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5706>.

   [RFC6040]  Briscoe, B., "Tunnelling of Explicit Congestion
              Notification", RFC 6040, DOI 10.17487/RFC6040, November
              2010, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6040>.

   [RFC6660]  Briscoe, B., Moncaster, T., and M. Menth, "Encoding Three
              Pre-Congestion Notification (PCN) States in the IP Header
              Using a Single Diffserv Codepoint (DSCP)", RFC 6660,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6660, July 2012,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6660>.

   [RFC8257]  Bensley, S., Thaler, D., Balasubramanian, P., Eggert, L.,
              and G. Judd, "Data Center TCP (DCTCP): TCP Congestion
              Control for Data Centers", RFC 8257, DOI 10.17487/RFC8257,
              October 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8257>.

   [TCP-ABE]  Khademi, N., Welzl, M., Armitage, G., and G. Fairhurst,
              "TCP Alternative Backoff with ECN (ABE)", Work in
              Progress, draft-ietf-tcpm-alternativebackoff-ecn-05,
              December 2017.

   [Trammell15]
              Trammell, B., Kuehlewind, M., Boppart, D., Learmonth, I.,
              Fairhurst, G., and R. Scheffenegger, "Enabling Internet-
              Wide Deployment of Explicit Congestion Notification", In
              Conference Proceedings of Passive and Active Measurement
              (PAM), pp. 193-205, March 2015,
              <https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15509-8_15>.
Top   ToC   RFC8311 - Page 20

Acknowledgements

The content of this specification, including the specific portions of RFC 3168 that are updated, draws heavily from [ECN-EXPERIMENT], whose authors are gratefully acknowledged. The authors of the documents describing the experiments have motivated the production of this memo -- their interest in innovation is welcome and heartily acknowledged. Colin Perkins suggested updating RFC 6679 on RTP and provided guidance on where to make the updates. This specification improved as a result of comments from a number of reviewers, including Ben Campbell, Brian Carpenter, Benoit Claise, Spencer Dawkins, Gorry Fairhurst, Sue Hares, Ingemar Johansson, Naeem Khademi, Mirja Kuehlewind, Karen Nielsen, Hilarie Orman, Eric Rescorla, Adam Roach, and Michael Welzl. Bob Briscoe's thorough review of multiple draft versions of this memo resulted in numerous improvements including addition of the updates to the DCCP RFCs.

Author's Address

David Black Dell EMC 176 South Street Hopkinton, MA 01748 United States of America Email: david.black@dell.com