icmpv6

16 Years with IPv6

By Torbjörn Eklöv

In 2001, I attended a RIPE training in Copenhagen where they showed us the estimated timeline predicting when IPv4 address space would reach depletion. They mentioned the “new and fancy” IPv6 protocol. When I returned from the training, I started to lab with 6Bone and moved over to SIXXS after a while. At this time, we only had one auth DNS and one mailserver with IPv6 capabilities, and only about one mail per month was delivered via IPv6. There was no pressing need for IPv6 this early, except that my employees and I could learn it and make mistakes without any disturbance for us or our customers. The only real content over IPv6 at this time was the the dancing turtle.

In 2007 we received native IPv6 from our ISP (AS16117) and it has worked well since then. My company, Interlan, has been an early adopter of IPv6 for many years and all our internal network and public services are dual-stacked. We work in the middle of the Internet industry as an ISP with hosting and consulting for enterprises. Our opinion is that the Internet can’t scale any longer and be secure and stable with IPv4 and more and more NAT44, NAT444, etc.

Here is my advice to anyone who wants to enable IPv6 in their network with a static configuration from an ISP:

  • Make sure the ISP is ready with the setup (e.g. Ping from the inside interface from the firewall to make sure the routing is correct).
  • Create every firewall policy in advance.
  • Manually configure servers that need static addresses and let the others use dynamic addresses. In a Windows AD environment it’s almost only the DC, DNS and mailservers who need static addresses. The rest can use dynamic address assignment.
  • When the set-up above is ready and you need it, add some AAAA RR in the DNS to activate IPv6 on public services like a webserver.

You will find out that it isn’t hard to make it work if you know your IPv4.

Today, it is extremely important to enable IPv6 correctly. Global IPv6 is about to reach 20% according to Google’s measurement, and you can’t afford to not be connected to the whole Internet. Hosts, firewall, DNS, etc. must all be done correctly.

In Sweden, we unfortunately have a common problem with broken IPv6 from authorities who think they set it up correctly, but IPv6 doesn’t work properly. Even if we have only 4.57% IPv6 in Sweden, that is a huge problem for citizens trying to reach those authorities. The best solution for that kind of problem is to enable IPv6 all the way in the internal network, not only the public servers. Internal users are the best monitors.

Photo Source

When you have enabled IPv6:

  • Don’t be surprised when you see that more than 50% of your Internet traffic will be IPv6.
  • Remember to have the same security functions for IPv6 as for IPv4. Antivirus, webbfilter, IPS, App control should work for IPv6 as well.
  • Test your firewall rules, so ICMPv6 PTB can be sent to your webserver.
  • Disable IPv4 on your workstation and connect to your website to see where there are IPv4 dependencies.

But do you really need dual stack in your enterprise? Can’t you use NAT64 instead of NAT44? I wrote an earlier blog here about that. I run default native IPv6 with NAT64 in my office now, and it works consistently, and for a “normal user” there should be no problems at all.

The post 16 Years with IPv6 appeared first on Team ARIN.

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RFC 1885 – Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMPv6) for IPv6 (OBSOLETE)

 
Network Working Group             A. Conta, Digital Equipment Corporation
Request for Comments: 1885 S. Deering, Xerox PARC
Category: Standards Track December 1995

Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMPv6)
for the Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)
Specification

Status of this Memo

This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Abstract

This document specifies a set of Internet Control Message Protocol
(ICMP) messages for use with version 6 of the Internet Protocol
(IPv6). The Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) messages
specified in STD 5, RFC 1112 have been merged into ICMP, for IPv6,
and are included in this document.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction........................................3

2. ICMPv6 (ICMP for IPv6)..............................3

2.1 Message General Format.......................3

2.2 Message Source Address Determination.........4

2.3 Message Checksum Calculation.................5

2.4 Message Processing Rules.....................5

3. ICMPv6 Error Messages...............................8

3.1 Destination Unreachable Message..............8

3.2 Packet Too Big Message......................10

3.3 Time Exceeded Message.......................11

3.4 Parameter Problem Message...................12

4. ICMPv6 Informational Messages......................14

4.1 Echo Request Message........................14

4.2 Echo Reply Message..........................15

4.3 Group Membership Messages...................17

5. References.........................................19

6. Acknowledgements...................................19

7. Security Considerations............................19

Authors' Addresses....................................20

1. Introduction

The Internet Protocol, version 6 (IPv6) is a new version of IP. IPv6
uses the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) as defined for IPv4
[RFC-792], with a number of changes. The Internet Group Membership
Protocol (IGMP) specified for IPv4 [RFC-1112] has also been revised
and has been absorbed into ICMP for IPv6. The resulting protocol is
called ICMPv6, and has an IPv6 Next Header value of 58.

This document describes the format of a set of control messages used
in ICMPv6. It does not describe the procedures for using these
messages to achieve functions like Path MTU discovery or multicast
group membership maintenance; such procedures are described in other
documents (e.g., [RFC-1112, RFC-1191]). Other documents may also
introduce additional ICMPv6 message types, such as Neighbor Discovery
messages [IPv6-DISC], subject to the general rules for ICMPv6
messages given in section 2 of this document.

Terminology defined in the IPv6 specification [IPv6] and the IPv6
Routing and Addressing specification [IPv6-ADDR] applies to this
document as well.

2. ICMPv6 (ICMP for IPv6)

ICMPv6 is used by IPv6 nodes to report errors encountered in
processing packets, and to perform other internet-layer functions,
such as diagnostics (ICMPv6 "ping") and multicast membership
reporting. ICMPv6 is an integral part of IPv6 and MUST be fully
implemented by every IPv6 node.

2.1 Message General Format

ICMPv6 messages are grouped into two classes: error messages and
informational messages. Error messages are identified as such by
having a zero in the high-order bit of their message Type field
values. Thus, error messages have message Types from 0 to 127;
informational messages have message Types from 128 to 255.

This document defines the message formats for the following ICMPv6
messages:

ICMPv6 error messages:

1 Destination Unreachable (see section 3.1)
2 Packet Too Big (see section 3.2)
3 Time Exceeded (see section 3.3)
4 Parameter Problem (see section 3.4)

ICMPv6 informational messages:

128 Echo Request (see section 4.1)
129 Echo Reply (see section 4.2)
130 Group Membership Query (see section 4.3)
131 Group Membership Report (see section 4.3)
132 Group Membership Reduction (see section 4.3)

Every ICMPv6 message is preceded by an IPv6 header and zero or more
IPv6 extension headers. The ICMPv6 header is identified by a Next
Header value of 58 in the immediately preceding header. (NOTE: this
is different than the value used to identify ICMP for IPv4.)

The ICMPv6 messages have the following general format:

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ Message Body +
| |

The type field indicates the type of the message. Its value
determines the format of the remaining data.

The code field depends on the message type. It is used to create an
additional level of message granularity.

The checksum field is used to detect data corruption in the ICMPv6
message and parts of the IPv6 header.

2.2 Message Source Address Determination

A node that sends an ICMPv6 message has to determine both the Source
and Destination IPv6 Addresses in the IPv6 header before calculating
the checksum. If the node has more than one unicast address, it must
choose the Source Address of the message as follows:

(a) If the message is a response to a message sent to one of the
node's unicast addresses, the Source Address of the reply must
be that same address.

(b) If the message is a response to a message sent to a multicast or
anycast group in which the node is a member, the Source Address
of the reply must be a unicast address belonging to the
interface on which the multicast or anycast packet was received.

(c) If the message is a response to a message sent to an address
that does not belong to the node, the Source Address should be
that unicast address belonging to the node that will be most
helpful in diagnosing the error. For example, if the message is
a response to a packet forwarding action that cannot complete
successfully, the Source Address should be a unicast address
belonging to the interface on which the packet forwarding
failed.

(d) Otherwise, the node's routing table must be examined to
determine which interface will be used to transmit the message
to its destination, and a unicast address belonging to that
interface must be used as the Source Address of the message.

2.3 Message Checksum Calculation

The checksum is the 16-bit one's complement of the one's complement
sum of the entire ICMPv6 message starting with the ICMPv6 message
type field, prepended with a "pseudo-header" of IPv6 header fields,
as specified in [IPv6, section 8.1]. The Next Header value used in
the pseudo-header is 58. (NOTE: the inclusion of a pseudo-header in
the ICMPv6 checksum is a change from IPv4; see [IPv6] for the
rationale for this change.)

For computing the checksum, the checksum field is set to zero.

2.4 Message Processing Rules

Implementations MUST observe the following rules when processing
ICMPv6 messages (from [RFC-1122]):

(a) If an ICMPv6 error message of unknown type is received, it MUST
be passed to the upper layer.

(b) If an ICMPv6 informational message of unknown type is received,
it MUST be silently discarded.

(c) Every ICMPv6 error message (type < 128) includes as much of the
IPv6 offending (invoking) packet (the packet that caused the
error) as will fit without making the error message packet
exceed 576 octets.

(d) In those cases where the internet-layer protocol is required to
pass an ICMPv6 error message to the upper-layer protocol, the
upper-layer protocol type is extracted from the original packet
(contained in the body of the ICMPv6 error message) and used to
select the appropriate upper-layer protocol entity to handle the
error.

If the original packet had an unusually large amount of
extension headers, it is possible that the upper-layer protocol
type may not be present in the ICMPv6 message, due to truncation
of the original packet to meet the 576-octet limit. In that
case, the error message is silently dropped after any IPv6-layer
processing.

(e) An ICMPv6 error message MUST NOT be sent as a result of
receiving:

(e.1) an ICMPv6 error message, or

(e.2) a packet destined to an IPv6 multicast address (there are
two exceptions to this rule: (1) the Packet Too Big
Message - Section 3.2 - to allow Path MTU discovery to
work for IPv6 multicast, and (2) the Parameter Problem
Message, Code 2 - Section 3.4 - reporting an unrecognized
IPv6 option that has the Option Type highest-order two
bits set to 10), or

(e.3) a packet sent as a link-layer multicast, (the exception
from e.2 applies to this case too), or

(e.4) a packet sent as a link-layer broadcast, (the exception
from e.2 applies to this case too), or

(e.5) a packet whose source address does not uniquely identify
a single node -- e.g., the IPv6 Unspecified Address, an
IPv6 multicast address, or an address known by the ICMP
message sender to be an IPv6 anycast address.

(f) Finally, to each sender of an erroneous data packet, an IPv6
node MUST limit the rate of ICMPv6 error messages sent, in order
to limit the bandwidth and forwarding costs incurred by the
error messages when a generator of erroneous packets does not
respond to those error messages by ceasing its transmissions.

There are a variety of ways of implementing the rate-limiting
function, for example:

(f.1) Timer-based - for example, limiting the rate of
transmission of error messages to a given source, or to
any source, to at most once every T milliseconds.

(f.2) Bandwidth-based - for example, limiting the rate at
which error messages are sent from a particular interface
to some fraction F of the attached link's bandwidth.

The limit parameters (e.g., T or F in the above examples) MUST
be configurable for the node, with a conservative default value
(e.g., T = 1 second, NOT 0 seconds, or F = 2 percent, NOT 100
percent).

The following sections describe the message formats for the above
ICMPv6 messages.

3. ICMPv6 Error Messages

3.1 Destination Unreachable Message

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Unused |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| As much of invoking packet |
+ as will fit without the ICMPv6 packet +
| exceeding 576 octets |

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

Copied from the Source Address field of the invoking
packet.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 1

Code 0 - no route to destination
1 - communication with destination
administratively prohibited
2 - not a neighbor
3 - address unreachable
4 - port unreachable

Unused This field is unused for all code values.
It must be initialized to zero by the sender
and ignored by the receiver.
Description

A Destination Unreachable message SHOULD be generated by a router, or
by the IPv6 layer in the originating node, in response to a packet
that cannot be delivered to its destination address for reasons other
than congestion. (An ICMPv6 message MUST NOT be generated if a
packet is dropped due to congestion.)

If the reason for the failure to deliver is lack of a matching entry
in the forwarding node's routing table, the Code field is set to 0
(NOTE: this error can occur only in nodes that do not hold a "default
route" in their routing tables).

If the reason for the failure to deliver is administrative
prohibition, e.g., a "firewall filter", the Code field is set to 1.

If the reason for the failure to deliver is that the next destination
address in the Routing header is not a neighbor of the processing
node but the "strict" bit is set for that address, then the Code
field is set to 2.

If there is any other reason for the failure to deliver, e.g.,
inability to resolve the IPv6 destination address into a
corresponding link address, or a link-specific problem of some sort,
then the Code field is set to 3.

A destination node SHOULD send a Destination Unreachable message with
Code 4 in response to a packet for which the transport protocol
(e.g., UDP) has no listener, if that transport protocol has no
alternative means to inform the sender.

Upper layer notification

A node receiving the ICMPv6 Destination Unreachable message MUST
notify the upper-layer protocol.

3.2 Packet Too Big Message

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| MTU |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| As much of invoking packet |
+ as will fit without the ICMPv6 packet +
| exceeding 576 octets |

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

Copied from the Source Address field of the invoking
packet.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 2

Code 0

MTU The Maximum Transmission Unit of the next-hop link.

Description

A Packet Too Big MUST be sent by a router in response to a packet
that it cannot forward because the packet is larger than the MTU of
the outgoing link. The information in this message is used as part
of the Path MTU Discovery process [RFC-1191].

Sending a Packet Too Big Message makes an exception to one of the
rules of when to send an ICMPv6 error message, in that unlike other
messages, it is sent in response to a packet received with an IPv6
multicast destination address, or a link-layer multicast or link-
layer broadcast address.

Upper layer notification

An incoming Packet Too Big message MUST be passed to the upper-layer
protocol.

3.3 Time Exceeded Message

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Unused |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| As much of invoking packet |
+ as will fit without the ICMPv6 packet +
| exceeding 576 octets |

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address
Copied from the Source Address field of the invoking
packet.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 3

Code 0 - hop limit exceeded in transit

1 - fragment reassembly time exceeded

Unused This field is unused for all code values.
It must be initialized to zero by the sender
and ignored by the receiver.

Description

If a router receives a packet with a Hop Limit of zero, or a router
decrements a packet's Hop Limit to zero, it MUST discard the packet
and send an ICMPv6 Time Exceeded message with Code 0 to the source of
the packet. This indicates either a routing loop or too small an
initial Hop Limit value.

The router sending an ICMPv6 Time Exceeded message with Code 0 SHOULD
consider the receiving interface of the packet as the interface on
which the packet forwarding failed in following rule (d) for
selecting the Source Address of the message.

Upper layer notification

An incoming Time Exceeded message MUST be passed to the upper-layer
protocol.

3.4 Parameter Problem Message

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Pointer |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| As much of invoking packet |
+ as will fit without the ICMPv6 packet +
| exceeding 576 octets |

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

Copied from the Source Address field of the invoking
packet.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 4

Code 0 - erroneous header field encountered

1 - unrecognized Next Header type encountered

2 - unrecognized IPv6 option encountered

Pointer Identifies the octet offset within the
invoking packet where the error was detected.

The pointer will point beyond the end of the ICMPv6
packet if the field in error is beyond what can fit
in the 576-byte limit of an ICMPv6 error message.

Description

If an IPv6 node processing a packet finds a problem with a field in
the IPv6 header or extension headers such that it cannot complete
processing the packet, it MUST discard the packet and SHOULD send an
ICMPv6 Parameter Problem message to the packet's source, indicating
the type and location of the problem.

The pointer identifies the octet of the original packet's header
where the error was detected. For example, an ICMPv6 message with
Type field = 4, Code field = 1, and Pointer field = 40 would indicate

that the IPv6 extension header following the IPv6 header of the
original packet holds an unrecognized Next Header field value.

Upper layer notification

A node receiving this ICMPv6 message MUST notify the upper-layer
protocol.

4. ICMPv6 Informational Messages

4.1 Echo Request Message

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Identifier | Sequence Number |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Data ...
+-+-+-+-+-

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

Any legal IPv6 address.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 128

Code 0

Identifier An identifier to aid in matching Echo Replies
to this Echo Request. May be zero.

Sequence Number

A sequence number to aid in matching Echo Replies
to this Echo Request. May be zero.

Data Zero or more octets of arbitrary data.

Description

Every node MUST implement an ICMPv6 Echo responder function that
receives Echo Requests and sends corresponding Echo Replies. A node
SHOULD also implement an application-layer interface for sending Echo
Requests and receiving Echo Replies, for diagnostic purposes.

Upper layer notification

A node receiving this ICMPv6 message MAY notify the upper-layer
protocol.

4.2 Echo Reply Message

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Identifier | Sequence Number |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Data ...
+-+-+-+-+-

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

Copied from the Source Address field of the invoking
Echo Request packet.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 129

Code 0

Identifier The identifier from the invoking Echo Request message.

Sequence The sequence number from the invoking Echo Request
Number message.

Data The data from the invoking Echo Request message.

Description

Every node MUST implement an ICMPv6 Echo responder function that
receives Echo Requests and sends corresponding Echo Replies. A node
SHOULD also implement an application-layer interface for sending Echo
Requests and receiving Echo Replies, for diagnostic purposes.

The source address of an Echo Reply sent in response to a unicast
Echo Request message MUST be the same as the destination address of
that Echo Request message.

An Echo Reply SHOULD be sent in response to an Echo Request message
sent to an IPv6 multicast address. The source address of the reply
MUST be a unicast address belonging to the interface on which the
multicast Echo Request message was received.

The data received in the ICMPv6 Echo Request message MUST be returned
entirely and unmodified in the ICMPv6 Echo Reply message, unless the
Echo Reply would exceed the MTU of the path back to the Echo
requester, in which case the data is truncated to fit that path MTU.

Upper layer notification

Echo Reply messages MUST be passed to the ICMPv6 user interface,
unless the corresponding Echo Request originated in the IP layer.

4.3 Group Membership Messages

The ICMPv6 Group Membership Messages have the following format:

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Maximum Response Delay | Unused |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ +
| Multicast |
+ +
| Address |
+ +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

In a Group Membership Query message, the multicast
address of the group being queried, or the Link-Local
All-Nodes multicast address.

In a Group Membership Report or a Group Membership
Reduction message, the multicast address of the
group being reported or terminated.

Hop Limit 1

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 130 - Group Membership Query
131 - Group Membership Report
132 - Group Membership Reduction

Code 0

Maximum Response Delay

In Query messages, the maximum time that responding
Report messages may be delayed, in milliseconds.

In Report and Reduction messages, this field is
is initialized to zero by the sender and ignored by
receivers.

Unused Initialized to zero by the sender; ignored by receivers.

Multicast Address

The address of the multicast group about which the
message is being sent. In Query messages, the Multicast
Address field may be zero, implying a query for all
groups.

Description

The ICMPv6 Group Membership messages are used to convey information
about multicast group membership from nodes to their neighboring
routers. The details of their usage is given in [RFC-1112].

5. References

[IPv6] Deering, S., and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version
6, Specification", RFC 1883, Xerox PARC, Ipsilon
Networks, December 1995.

[IPv6-ADDR] Hinden, R., and S. Deering, Editors, "IP Version 6
Addressing Architecture", RFC 1884, Ipsilon Networks,
Xerox PARC, December 1995.

[IPv6-DISC] Narten, T., Nordmark, E., and W. Simpson, "Neighbor
Discovery for IP Version 6 (IPv6)", Work in Progress.

[RFC-792] Postel, J., "Internet Control Message Protocol", STD 5,
RFC 792, USC/Information Sciences Institute, September
1981.

[RFC-1112] Deering, S., "Host Extensions for IP Multicasting", STD
5, RFC 1112, Stanford University, August 1989.

[RFC-1122] Braden, R., "Requirements for Internet Hosts -
Communication Layers", STD 3, RFC 1122, USC/Information
Sciences Institute, October 1989.

[RFC-1191] Mogul, J., and S. Deering, "Path MTU Discovery", RFC
1191, DECWRL, Stanford University, November 1990.

6. Acknowledgements

The document is derived from previous ICMP drafts of the SIPP and
IPng working group.

The IPng working group and particularly Robert Elz, Jim Bound, Bill
Simpson, Thomas Narten, Charlie Lynn, Bill Fink, and Scott Bradner
(in chronological order) provided extensive review information and
feedback.

7. Security Considerations

Security issues are not discussed in this memo.

Authors' Addresses:

Alex Conta Stephen Deering
Digital Equipment Corporation Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
110 Spitbrook Rd 3333 Coyote Hill Road
Nashua, NH 03062 Palo Alto, CA 94304

Phone: +1-603-881-0744 Phone: +1-415-812-4839
EMail: conta@zk3.dec.com EMail: deering@parc.xerox.com


RFC 2463 – Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMPv6)

 
Network Working Group                                           A. Conta
Request for Comments: 2463 Lucent
Obsoletes: 1885 S. Deering
Category: Standards Track Cisco Systems
December 1998

Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMPv6)
for the Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)
Specification

Status of this Memo

This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998). All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

This document specifies a set of Internet Control Message Protocol
(ICMP) messages for use with version 6 of the Internet Protocol
(IPv6).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction........................................2
2. ICMPv6 (ICMP for IPv6)..............................2
2.1 Message General Format.......................2
2.2 Message Source Address Determination.........3
2.3 Message Checksum Calculation.................4
2.4 Message Processing Rules.....................4
3. ICMPv6 Error Messages...............................6
3.1 Destination Unreachable Message..............6
3.2 Packet Too Big Message...................... 8
3.3 Time Exceeded Message....................... 9
3.4 Parameter Problem Message...................10
4. ICMPv6 Informational Messages......................11
4.1 Echo Request Message........................11
4.2 Echo Reply Message..........................12
5. Security Considerations............................13
6. References.........................................14
7. Acknowledgments....................................15
8. Authors' Addresses.................................16
Appendix A - Changes since RFC 1885...................17
Full Copyright Statement..............................18

1. Introduction


The Internet Protocol, version 6 (IPv6) is a new version of IP. IPv6
uses the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) as defined for IPv4
[RFC-792], with a number of changes. The resulting protocol is
called ICMPv6, and has an IPv6 Next Header value of 58.

This document describes the format of a set of control messages used
in ICMPv6. It does not describe the procedures for using these
messages to achieve functions like Path MTU discovery; such
procedures are described in other documents (e.g., [PMTU]). Other
documents may also introduce additional ICMPv6 message types, such as
Neighbor Discovery messages [IPv6-DISC], subject to the general rules
for ICMPv6 messages given in section 2 of this document.

Terminology defined in the IPv6 specification [IPv6] and the IPv6
Routing and Addressing specification [IPv6-ADDR] applies to this
document as well.

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

2. ICMPv6 (ICMP for IPv6)


ICMPv6 is used by IPv6 nodes to report errors encountered in
processing packets, and to perform other internet-layer functions,
such as diagnostics (ICMPv6 "ping"). ICMPv6 is an integral part of
IPv6 and MUST be fully implemented by every IPv6 node.

2.1 Message General Format


ICMPv6 messages are grouped into two classes: error messages and
informational messages. Error messages are identified as such by
having a zero in the high-order bit of their message Type field
values. Thus, error messages have message Types from 0 to 127;
informational messages have message Types from 128 to 255.

This document defines the message formats for the following ICMPv6
messages:

ICMPv6 error messages:

1 Destination Unreachable (see section 3.1)
2 Packet Too Big (see section 3.2)
3 Time Exceeded (see section 3.3)
4 Parameter Problem (see section 3.4)

ICMPv6 informational messages:

128 Echo Request (see section 4.1)
129 Echo Reply (see section 4.2)

Every ICMPv6 message is preceded by an IPv6 header and zero or more
IPv6 extension headers. The ICMPv6 header is identified by a Next
Header value of 58 in the immediately preceding header. (NOTE: this
is different than the value used to identify ICMP for IPv4.)

The ICMPv6 messages have the following general format:

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ Message Body +
| |

The type field indicates the type of the message. Its value
determines the format of the remaining data.

The code field depends on the message type. It is used to create an
additional level of message granularity.

The checksum field is used to detect data corruption in the ICMPv6
message and parts of the IPv6 header.

2.2 Message Source Address Determination


A node that sends an ICMPv6 message has to determine both the Source
and Destination IPv6 Addresses in the IPv6 header before calculating
the checksum. If the node has more than one unicast address, it must
choose the Source Address of the message as follows:

(a) If the message is a response to a message sent to one of the
node's unicast addresses, the Source Address of the reply must
be that same address.

(b) If the message is a response to a message sent to a multicast or
anycast group in which the node is a member, the Source Address
of the reply must be a unicast address belonging to the
interface on which the multicast or anycast packet was received.

(c) If the message is a response to a message sent to an address
that does not belong to the node, the Source Address should be
that unicast address belonging to the node that will be most
helpful in diagnosing the error. For example, if the message is
a response to a packet forwarding action that cannot complete
successfully, the Source Address should be a unicast address
belonging to the interface on which the packet forwarding
failed.

(d) Otherwise, the node's routing table must be examined to
determine which interface will be used to transmit the message
to its destination, and a unicast address belonging to that
interface must be used as the Source Address of the message.

2.3 Message Checksum Calculation


The checksum is the 16-bit one's complement of the one's complement
sum of the entire ICMPv6 message starting with the ICMPv6 message
type field, prepended with a "pseudo-header" of IPv6 header fields,
as specified in [IPv6, section 8.1]. The Next Header value used in
the pseudo-header is 58. (NOTE: the inclusion of a pseudo-header in
the ICMPv6 checksum is a change from IPv4; see [IPv6] for the
rationale for this change.)

For computing the checksum, the checksum field is set to zero.

2.4 Message Processing Rules


Implementations MUST observe the following rules when processing
ICMPv6 messages (from [RFC-1122]):

(a) If an ICMPv6 error message of unknown type is received, it MUST
be passed to the upper layer.

(b) If an ICMPv6 informational message of unknown type is received,
it MUST be silently discarded.

(c) Every ICMPv6 error message (type < 128) includes as much of the
IPv6 offending (invoking) packet (the packet that caused the
error) as will fit without making the error message packet
exceed the minimum IPv6 MTU [IPv6].

(d) In those cases where the internet-layer protocol is required to
pass an ICMPv6 error message to the upper-layer process, the
upper-layer protocol type is extracted from the original packet
(contained in the body of the ICMPv6 error message) and used to
select the appropriate upper-layer process to handle the error.

If the original packet had an unusually large amount of
extension headers, it is possible that the upper-layer protocol
type may not be present in the ICMPv6 message, due to truncation
of the original packet to meet the minimum IPv6 MTU [IPv6]
limit. In that case, the error message is silently dropped
after any IPv6-layer processing.

(e) An ICMPv6 error message MUST NOT be sent as a result of
receiving:

(e.1) an ICMPv6 error message, or

(e.2) a packet destined to an IPv6 multicast address (there are
two exceptions to this rule: (1) the Packet Too Big
Message - Section 3.2 - to allow Path MTU discovery to
work for IPv6 multicast, and (2) the Parameter Problem
Message, Code 2 - Section 3.4 - reporting an unrecognized
IPv6 option that has the Option Type highest-order two
bits set to 10), or

(e.3) a packet sent as a link-layer multicast, (the exception
from e.2 applies to this case too), or

(e.4) a packet sent as a link-layer broadcast, (the exception
from e.2 applies to this case too), or

(e.5) a packet whose source address does not uniquely identify
a single node -- e.g., the IPv6 Unspecified Address, an
IPv6 multicast address, or an address known by the ICMP
message sender to be an IPv6 anycast address.

(f) Finally, in order to limit the bandwidth and forwarding costs
incurred sending ICMPv6 error messages, an IPv6 node MUST limit
the rate of ICMPv6 error messages it sends. This situation may
occur when a source sending a stream of erroneous packets fails
to heed the resulting ICMPv6 error messages. There are a
variety of ways of implementing the rate-limiting function, for
example:

(f.1) Timer-based - for example, limiting the rate of
transmission of error messages to a given source, or to
any source, to at most once every T milliseconds.

(f.2) Bandwidth-based - for example, limiting the rate at which
error messages are sent from a particular interface to
some fraction F of the attached link's bandwidth.

The limit parameters (e.g., T or F in the above examples) MUST
be configurable for the node, with a conservative default value
(e.g., T = 1 second, NOT 0 seconds, or F = 2 percent, NOT 100
percent).

The following sections describe the message formats for the above
ICMPv6 messages.

3. ICMPv6 Error Messages


3.1 Destination Unreachable Message


0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Unused |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| As much of invoking packet |
+ as will fit without the ICMPv6 packet +
| exceeding the minimum IPv6 MTU [IPv6] |

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

Copied from the Source Address field of the invoking
packet.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 1

Code 0 - no route to destination
1 - communication with destination
administratively prohibited
2 - (not assigned)
3 - address unreachable
4 - port unreachable

Unused This field is unused for all code values.
It must be initialized to zero by the sender
and ignored by the receiver.

Description

A Destination Unreachable message SHOULD be generated by a router, or
by the IPv6 layer in the originating node, in response to a packet
that cannot be delivered to its destination address for reasons other
than congestion. (An ICMPv6 message MUST NOT be generated if a
packet is dropped due to congestion.)

If the reason for the failure to deliver is lack of a matching entry
in the forwarding node's routing table, the Code field is set to 0
(NOTE: this error can occur only in nodes that do not hold a "default
route" in their routing tables).

If the reason for the failure to deliver is administrative
prohibition, e.g., a "firewall filter", the Code field is set to 1.

If there is any other reason for the failure to deliver, e.g.,
inability to resolve the IPv6 destination address into a
corresponding link address, or a link-specific problem of some sort,
then the Code field is set to 3.

A destination node SHOULD send a Destination Unreachable message with
Code 4 in response to a packet for which the transport protocol
(e.g., UDP) has no listener, if that transport protocol has no
alternative means to inform the sender.

Upper layer notification

A node receiving the ICMPv6 Destination Unreachable message MUST
notify the upper-layer process.

3.2 Packet Too Big Message


0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| MTU |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| As much of invoking packet |
+ as will fit without the ICMPv6 packet +
| exceeding the minimum IPv6 MTU [IPv6] |

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

Copied from the Source Address field of the invoking
packet.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 2

Code Set to 0 (zero) by the sender and ignored by the
receiver

MTU The Maximum Transmission Unit of the next-hop link.

Description

A Packet Too Big MUST be sent by a router in response to a packet
that it cannot forward because the packet is larger than the MTU of
the outgoing link. The information in this message is used as part
of the Path MTU Discovery process [PMTU].

Sending a Packet Too Big Message makes an exception to one of the
rules of when to send an ICMPv6 error message, in that unlike other
messages, it is sent in response to a packet received with an IPv6
multicast destination address, or a link-layer multicast or link-
layer broadcast address.

Upper layer notification

An incoming Packet Too Big message MUST be passed to the upper-layer
process.

3.3 Time Exceeded Message


0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Unused |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| As much of invoking packet |
+ as will fit without the ICMPv6 packet +
| exceeding the minimum IPv6 MTU [IPv6] |

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address
Copied from the Source Address field of the invoking
packet.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 3

Code 0 - hop limit exceeded in transit

1 - fragment reassembly time exceeded

Unused This field is unused for all code values.
It must be initialized to zero by the sender
and ignored by the receiver.

Description

If a router receives a packet with a Hop Limit of zero, or a router
decrements a packet's Hop Limit to zero, it MUST discard the packet
and send an ICMPv6 Time Exceeded message with Code 0 to the source of
the packet. This indicates either a routing loop or too small an
initial Hop Limit value.

The rules for selecting the Source Address of this message are
defined in section 2.2.

Upper layer notification

An incoming Time Exceeded message MUST be passed to the upper-layer
process.

3.4 Parameter Problem Message


0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Pointer |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| As much of invoking packet |
+ as will fit without the ICMPv6 packet +
| exceeding the minimum IPv6 MTU [IPv6] |

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

Copied from the Source Address field of the invoking
packet.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 4

Code 0 - erroneous header field encountered

1 - unrecognized Next Header type encountered

2 - unrecognized IPv6 option encountered

Pointer Identifies the octet offset within the
invoking packet where the error was detected.

The pointer will point beyond the end of the ICMPv6
packet if the field in error is beyond what can fit
in the maximum size of an ICMPv6 error message.

Description

If an IPv6 node processing a packet finds a problem with a field in
the IPv6 header or extension headers such that it cannot complete
processing the packet, it MUST discard the packet and SHOULD send an
ICMPv6 Parameter Problem message to the packet's source, indicating
the type and location of the problem.

The pointer identifies the octet of the original packet's header
where the error was detected. For example, an ICMPv6 message with
Type field = 4, Code field = 1, and Pointer field = 40 would indicate

that the IPv6 extension header following the IPv6 header of the
original packet holds an unrecognized Next Header field value.

Upper layer notification

A node receiving this ICMPv6 message MUST notify the upper-layer
process.

4. ICMPv6 Informational Messages


4.1 Echo Request Message


0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Identifier | Sequence Number |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Data ...
+-+-+-+-+-

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

Any legal IPv6 address.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 128

Code 0

Identifier An identifier to aid in matching Echo Replies
to this Echo Request. May be zero.

Sequence Number

A sequence number to aid in matching Echo Replies
to this Echo Request. May be zero.

Data Zero or more octets of arbitrary data.

Description

Every node MUST implement an ICMPv6 Echo responder function that
receives Echo Requests and sends corresponding Echo Replies. A node
SHOULD also implement an application-layer interface for sending Echo
Requests and receiving Echo Replies, for diagnostic purposes.

Upper layer notification

Echo Request messages MAY be passed to processes receiving ICMP
messages.

4.2 Echo Reply Message


0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Code | Checksum |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Identifier | Sequence Number |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Data ...
+-+-+-+-+-

IPv6 Fields:

Destination Address

Copied from the Source Address field of the invoking
Echo Request packet.

ICMPv6 Fields:

Type 129

Code 0

Identifier The identifier from the invoking Echo Request message.

Sequence The sequence number from the invoking Echo Request
Number message.

Data The data from the invoking Echo Request message.

Description

Every node MUST implement an ICMPv6 Echo responder function that
receives Echo Requests and sends corresponding Echo Replies. A node
SHOULD also implement an application-layer interface for sending Echo
Requests and receiving Echo Replies, for diagnostic purposes.

The source address of an Echo Reply sent in response to a unicast
Echo Request message MUST be the same as the destination address of
that Echo Request message.

An Echo Reply SHOULD be sent in response to an Echo Request message
sent to an IPv6 multicast address. The source address of the reply
MUST be a unicast address belonging to the interface on which the
multicast Echo Request message was received.

The data received in the ICMPv6 Echo Request message MUST be returned
entirely and unmodified in the ICMPv6 Echo Reply message.

Upper layer notification

Echo Reply messages MUST be passed to the process that originated an
Echo Request message. It may be passed to processes that did not
originate the Echo Request message.

5. Security Considerations


5.1 Authentication and Encryption of ICMP messages


ICMP protocol packet exchanges can be authenticated using the IP
Authentication Header [IPv6-AUTH]. A node SHOULD include an
Authentication Header when sending ICMP messages if a security
association for use with the IP Authentication Header exists for the
destination address. The security associations may have been created
through manual configuration or through the operation of some key
management protocol.

Received Authentication Headers in ICMP packets MUST be verified for
correctness and packets with incorrect authentication MUST be ignored
and discarded.

It SHOULD be possible for the system administrator to configure a
node to ignore any ICMP messages that are not authenticated using
either the Authentication Header or Encapsulating Security Payload.
Such a switch SHOULD default to allowing unauthenticated messages.

Confidentiality issues are addressed by the IP Security Architecture
and the IP Encapsulating Security Payload documents [IPv6-SA, IPv6-
ESP].

5.2 ICMP Attacks


ICMP messages may be subject to various attacks. A complete
discussion can be found in the IP Security Architecture [IPv6-SA]. A
brief discussion of such attacks and their prevention is as follows:

1. ICMP messages may be subject to actions intended to cause the
receiver believe the message came from a different source than the
message originator. The protection against this attack can be
achieved by applying the IPv6 Authentication mechanism [IPv6-Auth]
to the ICMP message.

2. ICMP messages may be subject to actions intended to cause the
message or the reply to it go to a destination different than the
message originator's intention. The ICMP checksum calculation
provides a protection mechanism against changes by a malicious
interceptor in the destination and source address of the IP packet
carrying that message, provided the ICMP checksum field is
protected against change by authentication [IPv6-Auth] or
encryption [IPv6-ESP] of the ICMP message.

3. ICMP messages may be subject to changes in the message fields, or
payload. The authentication [IPv6-Auth] or encryption [IPv6-ESP]
of the ICMP message is a protection against such actions.

4. ICMP messages may be used as attempts to perform denial of service
attacks by sending back to back erroneous IP packets. An
implementation that correctly followed section 2.4, paragraph (f)
of this specifications, would be protected by the ICMP error rate
limiting mechanism.

6. References


[IPv6] Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version
6, (IPv6) Specification", RFC 2460, December 1998.

[IPv6-ADDR] Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IP Version 6 Addressing
Architecture", RFC 2373, July 1998.

[IPv6-DISC] Narten, T., Nordmark, E. and W. Simpson, "Neighbor
Discovery for IP Version 6 (IPv6)", RFC 2461, December
1998.

[RFC-792] Postel, J., "Internet Control Message Protocol", STD 5,
RFC 792, September 1981.

[RFC-1122] Braden, R., "Requirements for Internet Hosts -
Communication Layers", STD 5, RFC 1122, August 1989.

[PMTU] McCann, J., Deering, S. and J. Mogul, "Path MTU
Discovery for IP version 6", RFC 1981, August 1996.

[RFC-2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

[IPv6-SA] Kent, S. and R. Atkinson, "Security Architecture for the
Internet Protocol", RFC 2401, November 1998.

[IPv6-Auth] Kent, S. and R. Atkinson, "IP Authentication Header",
RFC 2402, November 1998.

[IPv6-ESP] Kent, S. and R. Atkinson, "IP Encapsulating Security
Protocol (ESP)", RFC 2406, November 1998.

7. Acknowledgments


The document is derived from previous ICMP drafts of the SIPP and
IPng working group.

The IPng working group and particularly Robert Elz, Jim Bound, Bill
Simpson, Thomas Narten, Charlie Lynn, Bill Fink, Scott Bradner,
Dimitri Haskin, and Bob Hinden (in chronological order) provided
extensive review information and feedback.

8. Authors' Addresses


Alex Conta
Lucent Technologies Inc.
300 Baker Ave, Suite 100
Concord, MA 01742
USA

Phone: +1 978 287-2842
EMail: aconta@lucent.com

Stephen Deering
Cisco Systems, Inc.
170 West Tasman Drive
San Jose, CA 95134-1706
USA

Phone: +1 408 527-8213
EMail: deering@cisco.com

Appendix A - Changes from RFC 1885


Version 2-02

- Excluded mentioning informational replies from paragraph (f.2) of
section 2.4.
- In "Upper layer notification" sections changed "upper-layer
protocol" and "User Interface" to "process".
- Changed section 5.2, item 2 and 3 to also refer to AH
authentication.
- Removed item 5. from section 5.2 on denial of service attacks.
- Updated phone numbers and Email addresses in the "Authors'
Addresses" section.

Version 2-01

- Replaced all references to "576 octets" as the maximum for an ICMP
message size with "minimum IPv6 MTU" as defined by the base IPv6
specification.
- Removed rate control from informational messages.
- Added requirement that receivers ignore Code value in Packet Too
Big message.
- Removed "Not a Neighbor" (code 2) from destination unreachable
message.
- Fixed typos and update references.

Version 2-00

- Applied rate control to informational messages
- Removed section 2.4 on Group Management ICMP messages
- Removed references to IGMP in Abstract and Section 1.
- Updated references to other IPv6 documents
- Removed references to RFC-1112 in Abstract, and Section 1, and to
RFC-1191 in section 1, and section 3.2
- Added security section
- Added Appendix A - changes

Full Copyright Statement


Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998). All Rights Reserved.

This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
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or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this
document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
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TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING
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MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.


RFC 1981 – Path MTU Discovery for IP version 6

 
Network Working Group                                          J. McCann
Request for Comments: 1981 Digital Equipment Corporation
Category: Standards Track S. Deering
Xerox PARC
J. Mogul
Digital Equipment Corporation
August 1996

Path MTU Discovery for IP version 6

Status of this Memo

This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Abstract

This document describes Path MTU Discovery for IP version 6. It is
largely derived from RFC 1191, which describes Path MTU Discovery for
IP version 4.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction.................................................2
2. Terminology..................................................2
3. Protocol overview............................................3
4. Protocol Requirements........................................4
5. Implementation Issues........................................5
5.1. Layering...................................................5
5.2. Storing PMTU information...................................6
5.3. Purging stale PMTU information.............................8
5.4. TCP layer actions..........................................9
5.5. Issues for other transport protocols......................11
5.6. Management interface......................................12
6. Security Considerations.....................................12
Acknowledgements...............................................13
Appendix A - Comparison to RFC 1191............................14
References.....................................................14
Authors' Addresses.............................................15

1. Introduction

When one IPv6 node has a large amount of data to send to another
node, the data is transmitted in a series of IPv6 packets. It is
usually preferable that these packets be of the largest size that can
successfully traverse the path from the source node to the
destination node. This packet size is referred to as the Path MTU
(PMTU), and it is equal to the minimum link MTU of all the links in a
path. IPv6 defines a standard mechanism for a node to discover the
PMTU of an arbitrary path.

IPv6 nodes SHOULD implement Path MTU Discovery in order to discover
and take advantage of paths with PMTU greater than the IPv6 minimum
link MTU [IPv6-SPEC]. A minimal IPv6 implementation (e.g., in a boot
ROM) may choose to omit implementation of Path MTU Discovery.

Nodes not implementing Path MTU Discovery use the IPv6 minimum link
MTU defined in [IPv6-SPEC] as the maximum packet size. In most
cases, this will result in the use of smaller packets than necessary,
because most paths have a PMTU greater than the IPv6 minimum link
MTU. A node sending packets much smaller than the Path MTU allows is
wasting network resources and probably getting suboptimal throughput.

2. Terminology

node - a device that implements IPv6.

router - a node that forwards IPv6 packets not explicitly
addressed to itself.

host - any node that is not a router.

upper layer - a protocol layer immediately above IPv6. Examples are
transport protocols such as TCP and UDP, control
protocols such as ICMP, routing protocols such as OSPF,
and internet or lower-layer protocols being "tunneled"
over (i.e., encapsulated in) IPv6 such as IPX,
AppleTalk, or IPv6 itself.

link - a communication facility or medium over which nodes can
communicate at the link layer, i.e., the layer
immediately below IPv6. Examples are Ethernets (simple
or bridged); PPP links; X.25, Frame Relay, or ATM
networks; and internet (or higher) layer "tunnels",
such as tunnels over IPv4 or IPv6 itself.

interface - a node's attachment to a link.

address - an IPv6-layer identifier for an interface or a set of
interfaces.

packet - an IPv6 header plus payload.

link MTU - the maximum transmission unit, i.e., maximum packet
size in octets, that can be conveyed in one piece over
a link.

path - the set of links traversed by a packet between a source
node and a destination node

path MTU - the minimum link MTU of all the links in a path between
a source node and a destination node.

PMTU - path MTU

Path MTU
Discovery - process by which a node learns the PMTU of a path

flow - a sequence of packets sent from a particular source
to a particular (unicast or multicast) destination for
which the source desires special handling by the
intervening routers.

flow id - a combination of a source address and a non-zero
flow label.

3. Protocol overview

This memo describes a technique to dynamically discover the PMTU of a
path. The basic idea is that a source node initially assumes that
the PMTU of a path is the (known) MTU of the first hop in the path.
If any of the packets sent on that path are too large to be forwarded
by some node along the path, that node will discard them and return
ICMPv6 Packet Too Big messages [ICMPv6]. Upon receipt of such a
message, the source node reduces its assumed PMTU for the path based
on the MTU of the constricting hop as reported in the Packet Too Big
message.

The Path MTU Discovery process ends when the node's estimate of the
PMTU is less than or equal to the actual PMTU. Note that several
iterations of the packet-sent/Packet-Too-Big-message-received cycle
may occur before the Path MTU Discovery process ends, as there may be
links with smaller MTUs further along the path.

Alternatively, the node may elect to end the discovery process by
ceasing to send packets larger than the IPv6 minimum link MTU.

The PMTU of a path may change over time, due to changes in the
routing topology. Reductions of the PMTU are detected by Packet Too
Big messages. To detect increases in a path's PMTU, a node
periodically increases its assumed PMTU. This will almost always
result in packets being discarded and Packet Too Big messages being
generated, because in most cases the PMTU of the path will not have
changed. Therefore, attempts to detect increases in a path's PMTU
should be done infrequently.

Path MTU Discovery supports multicast as well as unicast
destinations. In the case of a multicast destination, copies of a
packet may traverse many different paths to many different nodes.
Each path may have a different PMTU, and a single multicast packet
may result in multiple Packet Too Big messages, each reporting a
different next-hop MTU. The minimum PMTU value across the set of
paths in use determines the size of subsequent packets sent to the
multicast destination.

Note that Path MTU Discovery must be performed even in cases where a
node "thinks" a destination is attached to the same link as itself.
In a situation such as when a neighboring router acts as proxy [ND]
for some destination, the destination can to appear to be directly
connected but is in fact more than one hop away.

4. Protocol Requirements

As discussed in section 1, IPv6 nodes are not required to implement
Path MTU Discovery. The requirements in this section apply only to
those implementations that include Path MTU Discovery.

When a node receives a Packet Too Big message, it MUST reduce its
estimate of the PMTU for the relevant path, based on the value of the
MTU field in the message. The precise behavior of a node in this
circumstance is not specified, since different applications may have
different requirements, and since different implementation
architectures may favor different strategies.

After receiving a Packet Too Big message, a node MUST attempt to
avoid eliciting more such messages in the near future. The node MUST
reduce the size of the packets it is sending along the path. Using a
PMTU estimate larger than the IPv6 minimum link MTU may continue to
elicit Packet Too Big messages. Since each of these messages (and
the dropped packets they respond to) consume network resources, the
node MUST force the Path MTU Discovery process to end.

Nodes using Path MTU Discovery MUST detect decreases in PMTU as fast
as possible. Nodes MAY detect increases in PMTU, but because doing
so requires sending packets larger than the current estimated PMTU,

and because the likelihood is that the PMTU will not have increased,
this MUST be done at infrequent intervals. An attempt to detect an
increase (by sending a packet larger than the current estimate) MUST
NOT be done less than 5 minutes after a Packet Too Big message has
been received for the given path. The recommended setting for this
timer is twice its minimum value (10 minutes).

A node MUST NOT reduce its estimate of the Path MTU below the IPv6
minimum link MTU.

Note: A node may receive a Packet Too Big message reporting a
next-hop MTU that is less than the IPv6 minimum link MTU. In that
case, the node is not required to reduce the size of subsequent
packets sent on the path to less than the IPv6 minimun link MTU,
but rather must include a Fragment header in those packets [IPv6-
SPEC].

A node MUST NOT increase its estimate of the Path MTU in response to
the contents of a Packet Too Big message. A message purporting to
announce an increase in the Path MTU might be a stale packet that has
been floating around in the network, a false packet injected as part
of a denial-of-service attack, or the result of having multiple paths
to the destination, each with a different PMTU.

5. Implementation Issues

This section discusses a number of issues related to the
implementation of Path MTU Discovery. This is not a specification,
but rather a set of notes provided as an aid for implementors.

The issues include:

- What layer or layers implement Path MTU Discovery?

- How is the PMTU information cached?

- How is stale PMTU information removed?

- What must transport and higher layers do?

5.1. Layering

In the IP architecture, the choice of what size packet to send is
made by a protocol at a layer above IP. This memo refers to such a
protocol as a "packetization protocol". Packetization protocols are
usually transport protocols (for example, TCP) but can also be
higher-layer protocols (for example, protocols built on top of UDP).

Implementing Path MTU Discovery in the packetization layers
simplifies some of the inter-layer issues, but has several drawbacks:
the implementation may have to be redone for each packetization
protocol, it becomes hard to share PMTU information between different
packetization layers, and the connection-oriented state maintained by
some packetization layers may not easily extend to save PMTU
information for long periods.

It is therefore suggested that the IP layer store PMTU information
and that the ICMP layer process received Packet Too Big messages.
The packetization layers may respond to changes in the PMTU, by
changing the size of the messages they send. To support this
layering, packetization layers require a way to learn of changes in
the value of MMS_S, the "maximum send transport-message size". The
MMS_S is derived from the Path MTU by subtracting the size of the
IPv6 header plus space reserved by the IP layer for additional
headers (if any).

It is possible that a packetization layer, perhaps a UDP application
outside the kernel, is unable to change the size of messages it
sends. This may result in a packet size that exceeds the Path MTU.
To accommodate such situations, IPv6 defines a mechanism that allows
large payloads to be divided into fragments, with each fragment sent
in a separate packet (see [IPv6-SPEC] section "Fragment Header").
However, packetization layers are encouraged to avoid sending
messages that will require fragmentation (for the case against
fragmentation, see [FRAG]).

5.2. Storing PMTU information

Ideally, a PMTU value should be associated with a specific path
traversed by packets exchanged between the source and destination
nodes. However, in most cases a node will not have enough
information to completely and accurately identify such a path.
Rather, a node must associate a PMTU value with some local
representation of a path. It is left to the implementation to select
the local representation of a path.

In the case of a multicast destination address, copies of a packet
may traverse many different paths to reach many different nodes. The
local representation of the "path" to a multicast destination must in
fact represent a potentially large set of paths.

Minimally, an implementation could maintain a single PMTU value to be
used for all packets originated from the node. This PMTU value would
be the minimum PMTU learned across the set of all paths in use by the
node. This approach is likely to result in the use of smaller
packets than is necessary for many paths.

An implementation could use the destination address as the local
representation of a path. The PMTU value associated with a
destination would be the minimum PMTU learned across the set of all
paths in use to that destination. The set of paths in use to a
particular destination is expected to be small, in many cases
consisting of a single path. This approach will result in the use of
optimally sized packets on a per-destination basis. This approach
integrates nicely with the conceptual model of a host as described in
[ND]: a PMTU value could be stored with the corresponding entry in
the destination cache.

If flows [IPv6-SPEC] are in use, an implementation could use the flow
id as the local representation of a path. Packets sent to a
particular destination but belonging to different flows may use
different paths, with the choice of path depending on the flow id.
This approach will result in the use of optimally sized packets on a
per-flow basis, providing finer granularity than PMTU values
maintained on a per-destination basis.

For source routed packets (i.e. packets containing an IPv6 Routing
header [IPv6-SPEC]), the source route may further qualify the local
representation of a path. In particular, a packet containing a type
0 Routing header in which all bits in the Strict/Loose Bit Map are
equal to 1 contains a complete path specification. An implementation
could use source route information in the local representation of a
path.

Note: Some paths may be further distinguished by different
security classifications. The details of such classifications are
beyond the scope of this memo.

Initially, the PMTU value for a path is assumed to be the (known) MTU
of the first-hop link.

When a Packet Too Big message is received, the node determines which
path the message applies to based on the contents of the Packet Too
Big message. For example, if the destination address is used as the
local representation of a path, the destination address from the
original packet would be used to determine which path the message
applies to.

Note: if the original packet contained a Routing header, the
Routing header should be used to determine the location of the
destination address within the original packet. If Segments Left
is equal to zero, the destination address is in the Destination
Address field in the IPv6 header. If Segments Left is greater
than zero, the destination address is the last address
(Address[n]) in the Routing header.

The node then uses the value in the MTU field in the Packet Too Big
message as a tentative PMTU value, and compares the tentative PMTU to
the existing PMTU. If the tentative PMTU is less than the existing
PMTU estimate, the tentative PMTU replaces the existing PMTU as the
PMTU value for the path.

The packetization layers must be notified about decreases in the
PMTU. Any packetization layer instance (for example, a TCP
connection) that is actively using the path must be notified if the
PMTU estimate is decreased.

Note: even if the Packet Too Big message contains an Original
Packet Header that refers to a UDP packet, the TCP layer must be
notified if any of its connections use the given path.

Also, the instance that sent the packet that elicited the Packet Too
Big message should be notified that its packet has been dropped, even
if the PMTU estimate has not changed, so that it may retransmit the
dropped data.

Note: An implementation can avoid the use of an asynchronous
notification mechanism for PMTU decreases by postponing
notification until the next attempt to send a packet larger than
the PMTU estimate. In this approach, when an attempt is made to
SEND a packet that is larger than the PMTU estimate, the SEND
function should fail and return a suitable error indication. This
approach may be more suitable to a connectionless packetization
layer (such as one using UDP), which (in some implementations) may
be hard to "notify" from the ICMP layer. In this case, the normal
timeout-based retransmission mechanisms would be used to recover
from the dropped packets.

It is important to understand that the notification of the
packetization layer instances using the path about the change in the
PMTU is distinct from the notification of a specific instance that a
packet has been dropped. The latter should be done as soon as
practical (i.e., asynchronously from the point of view of the
packetization layer instance), while the former may be delayed until
a packetization layer instance wants to create a packet.
Retransmission should be done for only for those packets that are
known to be dropped, as indicated by a Packet Too Big message.

5.3. Purging stale PMTU information

Internetwork topology is dynamic; routes change over time. While the
local representation of a path may remain constant, the actual
path(s) in use may change. Thus, PMTU information cached by a node
can become stale.

If the stale PMTU value is too large, this will be discovered almost
immediately once a large enough packet is sent on the path. No such
mechanism exists for realizing that a stale PMTU value is too small,
so an implementation should "age" cached values. When a PMTU value
has not been decreased for a while (on the order of 10 minutes), the
PMTU estimate should be set to the MTU of the first-hop link, and the
packetization layers should be notified of the change. This will
cause the complete Path MTU Discovery process to take place again.

Note: an implementation should provide a means for changing the
timeout duration, including setting it to "infinity". For
example, nodes attached to an FDDI link which is then attached to
the rest of the Internet via a small MTU serial line are never
going to discover a new non-local PMTU, so they should not have to
put up with dropped packets every 10 minutes.

An upper layer must not retransmit data in response to an increase in
the PMTU estimate, since this increase never comes in response to an
indication of a dropped packet.

One approach to implementing PMTU aging is to associate a timestamp
field with a PMTU value. This field is initialized to a "reserved"
value, indicating that the PMTU is equal to the MTU of the first hop
link. Whenever the PMTU is decreased in response to a Packet Too Big
message, the timestamp is set to the current time.

Once a minute, a timer-driven procedure runs through all cached PMTU
values, and for each PMTU whose timestamp is not "reserved" and is
older than the timeout interval:

- The PMTU estimate is set to the MTU of the first hop link.

- The timestamp is set to the "reserved" value.

- Packetization layers using this path are notified of the increase.

5.4. TCP layer actions

The TCP layer must track the PMTU for the path(s) in use by a
connection; it should not send segments that would result in packets
larger than the PMTU. A simple implementation could ask the IP layer
for this value each time it created a new segment, but this could be
inefficient. Moreover, TCP implementations that follow the "slow-
start" congestion-avoidance algorithm [CONG] typically calculate and
cache several other values derived from the PMTU. It may be simpler
to receive asynchronous notification when the PMTU changes, so that
these variables may be updated.

A TCP implementation must also store the MSS value received from its
peer, and must not send any segment larger than this MSS, regardless
of the PMTU. In 4.xBSD-derived implementations, this may require
adding an additional field to the TCP state record.

The value sent in the TCP MSS option is independent of the PMTU.
This MSS option value is used by the other end of the connection,
which may be using an unrelated PMTU value. See [IPv6-SPEC] sections
"Packet Size Issues" and "Maximum Upper-Layer Payload Size" for
information on selecting a value for the TCP MSS option.

When a Packet Too Big message is received, it implies that a packet
was dropped by the node that sent the ICMP message. It is sufficient
to treat this as any other dropped segment, and wait until the
retransmission timer expires to cause retransmission of the segment.
If the Path MTU Discovery process requires several steps to find the
PMTU of the full path, this could delay the connection by many
round-trip times.

Alternatively, the retransmission could be done in immediate response
to a notification that the Path MTU has changed, but only for the
specific connection specified by the Packet Too Big message. The
packet size used in the retransmission should be no larger than the
new PMTU.

Note: A packetization layer must not retransmit in response to
every Packet Too Big message, since a burst of several oversized
segments will give rise to several such messages and hence several
retransmissions of the same data. If the new estimated PMTU is
still wrong, the process repeats, and there is an exponential
growth in the number of superfluous segments sent.

This means that the TCP layer must be able to recognize when a
Packet Too Big notification actually decreases the PMTU that it
has already used to send a packet on the given connection, and
should ignore any other notifications.

Many TCP implementations incorporate "congestion avoidance" and
"slow-start" algorithms to improve performance [CONG]. Unlike a
retransmission caused by a TCP retransmission timeout, a
retransmission caused by a Packet Too Big message should not change
the congestion window. It should, however, trigger the slow-start
mechanism (i.e., only one segment should be retransmitted until
acknowledgements begin to arrive again).

TCP performance can be reduced if the sender's maximum window size is
not an exact multiple of the segment size in use (this is not the
congestion window size, which is always a multiple of the segment

size). In many systems (such as those derived from 4.2BSD), the
segment size is often set to 1024 octets, and the maximum window size
(the "send space") is usually a multiple of 1024 octets, so the
proper relationship holds by default. If Path MTU Discovery is used,
however, the segment size may not be a submultiple of the send space,
and it may change during a connection; this means that the TCP layer
may need to change the transmission window size when Path MTU
Discovery changes the PMTU value. The maximum window size should be
set to the greatest multiple of the segment size that is less than or
equal to the sender's buffer space size.

5.5. Issues for other transport protocols

Some transport protocols (such as ISO TP4 [ISOTP]) are not allowed to
repacketize when doing a retransmission. That is, once an attempt is
made to transmit a segment of a certain size, the transport cannot
split the contents of the segment into smaller segments for
retransmission. In such a case, the original segment can be
fragmented by the IP layer during retransmission. Subsequent
segments, when transmitted for the first time, should be no larger
than allowed by the Path MTU.

The Sun Network File System (NFS) uses a Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
protocol [RPC] that, when used over UDP, in many cases will generate
payloads that must be fragmented even for the first-hop link. This
might improve performance in certain cases, but it is known to cause
reliability and performance problems, especially when the client and
server are separated by routers.

It is recommended that NFS implementations use Path MTU Discovery
whenever routers are involved. Most NFS implementations allow the
RPC datagram size to be changed at mount-time (indirectly, by
changing the effective file system block size), but might require
some modification to support changes later on.

Also, since a single NFS operation cannot be split across several UDP
datagrams, certain operations (primarily, those operating on file
names and directories) require a minimum payload size that if sent in
a single packet would exceed the PMTU. NFS implementations should
not reduce the payload size below this threshold, even if Path MTU
Discovery suggests a lower value. In this case the payload will be
fragmented by the IP layer.

5.6. Management interface

It is suggested that an implementation provide a way for a system
utility program to:

- Specify that Path MTU Discovery not be done on a given path.

- Change the PMTU value associated with a given path.

The former can be accomplished by associating a flag with the path;
when a packet is sent on a path with this flag set, the IP layer does
not send packets larger than the IPv6 minimum link MTU.

These features might be used to work around an anomalous situation,
or by a routing protocol implementation that is able to obtain Path
MTU values.

The implementation should also provide a way to change the timeout
period for aging stale PMTU information.

6. Security Considerations

This Path MTU Discovery mechanism makes possible two denial-of-
service attacks, both based on a malicious party sending false Packet
Too Big messages to a node.

In the first attack, the false message indicates a PMTU much smaller
than reality. This should not entirely stop data flow, since the
victim node should never set its PMTU estimate below the IPv6 minimum
link MTU. It will, however, result in suboptimal performance.

In the second attack, the false message indicates a PMTU larger than
reality. If believed, this could cause temporary blockage as the
victim sends packets that will be dropped by some router. Within one
round-trip time, the node would discover its mistake (receiving
Packet Too Big messages from that router), but frequent repetition of
this attack could cause lots of packets to be dropped. A node,
however, should never raise its estimate of the PMTU based on a
Packet Too Big message, so should not be vulnerable to this attack.

A malicious party could also cause problems if it could stop a victim
from receiving legitimate Packet Too Big messages, but in this case
there are simpler denial-of-service attacks available.

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the authors of and contributors to
[RFC-1191], from which the majority of this document was derived. We
would also like to acknowledge the members of the IPng working group
for their careful review and constructive criticisms.

Appendix A - Comparison to RFC 1191

This document is based in large part on RFC 1191, which describes
Path MTU Discovery for IPv4. Certain portions of RFC 1191 were not
needed in this document:

router specification - Packet Too Big messages and corresponding
router behavior are defined in [ICMPv6]

Don't Fragment bit - there is no DF bit in IPv6 packets

TCP MSS discussion - selecting a value to send in the TCP MSS
option is discussed in [IPv6-SPEC]

old-style messages - all Packet Too Big messages report the
MTU of the constricting link

MTU plateau tables - not needed because there are no old-style
messages

References

[CONG] Van Jacobson. Congestion Avoidance and Control. Proc.
SIGCOMM '88 Symposium on Communications Architectures and
Protocols, pages 314-329. Stanford, CA, August, 1988.

[FRAG] C. Kent and J. Mogul. Fragmentation Considered Harmful.
In Proc. SIGCOMM '87 Workshop on Frontiers in Computer
Communications Technology. August, 1987.

[ICMPv6] Conta, A., and S. Deering, "Internet Control Message
Protocol (ICMPv6) for the Internet Protocol Version 6
(IPv6) Specification", RFC 1885, December 1995.

[IPv6-SPEC] Deering, S., and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version
6 (IPv6) Specification", RFC 1883, December 1995.

[ISOTP] ISO. ISO Transport Protocol Specification: ISO DP 8073.
RFC 905, SRI Network Information Center, April, 1984.

[ND] Narten, T., Nordmark, E., and W. Simpson, "Neighbor
Discovery for IP Version 6 (IPv6)", Work in Progress.

[RFC-1191] Mogul, J., and S. Deering, "Path MTU Discovery",
RFC 1191, November 1990.

[RPC] Sun Microsystems, Inc., "RPC: Remote Procedure Call
Protocol", RFC 1057, SRI Network Information Center,
June, 1988.

Authors' Addresses

Jack McCann
Digital Equipment Corporation
110 Spitbrook Road, ZKO3-3/U14
Nashua, NH 03062
Phone: +1 603 881 2608

Fax: +1 603 881 0120
Email: mccann@zk3.dec.com

Stephen E. Deering
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
3333 Coyote Hill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: +1 415 812 4839

Fax: +1 415 812 4471
EMail: deering@parc.xerox.com

Jeffrey Mogul
Digital Equipment Corporation Western Research Laboratory
250 University Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Phone: +1 415 617 3304

EMail: mogul@pa.dec.com


RFC 1883 – Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6) Specification (OBSOLETE)


Network Working Group S. Deering, Xerox PARC
Request for Comments: 1883 R. Hinden, Ipsilon Networks
Category: Standards Track December 1995

Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6)
Specification

Status of this Memo

This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Abstract

This document specifies version 6 of the Internet Protocol (IPv6),
also sometimes referred to as IP Next Generation or IPng.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction..................................................3

2. Terminology...................................................4

3. IPv6 Header Format............................................5

4. IPv6 Extension Headers........................................6
4.1 Extension Header Order...................................8
4.2 Options..................................................9
4.3 Hop-by-Hop Options Header...............................11
4.4 Routing Header..........................................13
4.5 Fragment Header.........................................19
4.6 Destination Options Header..............................24
4.7 No Next Header..........................................25

5. Packet Size Issues...........................................26

6. Flow Labels..................................................28

7. Priority.....................................................30

8. Upper-Layer Protocol Issues..................................31
8.1 Upper-Layer Checksums...................................31
8.2 Maximum Packet Lifetime.................................32
8.3 Maximum Upper-Layer Payload Size........................32

Appendix A. Formatting Guidelines for Options...................33

Security Considerations.........................................36

Acknowledgments.................................................36

Authors' Addresses..............................................36

References......................................................37

1. Introduction

IP version 6 (IPv6) is a new version of the Internet Protocol,
designed as a successor to IP version 4 (IPv4) RFC-791. The
changes from IPv4 to IPv6 fall primarily into the following
categories:

o Expanded Addressing Capabilities

IPv6 increases the IP address size from 32 bits to 128 bits, to
support more levels of addressing hierarchy, a much greater
number of addressable nodes, and simpler auto-configuration of
addresses. The scalability of multicast routing is improved by
adding a "scope" field to multicast addresses. And a new type
of address called an "anycast address" is defined, used to send
a packet to any one of a group of nodes.

o Header Format Simplification

Some IPv4 header fields have been dropped or made optional, to
reduce the common-case processing cost of packet handling and
to limit the bandwidth cost of the IPv6 header.

o Improved Support for Extensions and Options

Changes in the way IP header options are encoded allows for
more efficient forwarding, less stringent limits on the length
of options, and greater flexibility for introducing new options
in the future.

o Flow Labeling Capability

A new capability is added to enable the labeling of packets
belonging to particular traffic "flows" for which the sender
requests special handling, such as non-default quality of
service or "real-time" service.

o Authentication and Privacy Capabilities

Extensions to support authentication, data integrity, and
(optional) data confidentiality are specified for IPv6.

This document specifies the basic IPv6 header and the initially-
defined IPv6 extension headers and options. It also discusses packet
size issues, the semantics of flow labels and priority, and the
effects of IPv6 on upper-layer protocols. The format and semantics
of IPv6 addresses are specified separately in RFC-1884. The IPv6
version of ICMP, which all IPv6 implementations are required to
include, is specified in RFC-1885.

2. Terminology

node - a device that implements IPv6.

router - a node that forwards IPv6 packets not explicitly
addressed to itself. [See Note below].

host - any node that is not a router. [See Note below].

upper layer - a protocol layer immediately above IPv6. Examples are
transport protocols such as TCP and UDP, control
protocols such as ICMP, routing protocols such as OSPF,
and internet or lower-layer protocols being "tunneled"
over (i.e., encapsulated in) IPv6 such as IPX,
AppleTalk, or IPv6 itself.

link - a communication facility or medium over which nodes can
communicate at the link layer, i.e., the layer
immediately below IPv6. Examples are Ethernets (simple
or bridged); PPP links; X.25, Frame Relay, or ATM
networks; and internet (or higher) layer "tunnels",
such as tunnels over IPv4 or IPv6 itself.

neighbors - nodes attached to the same link.

interface - a node's attachment to a link.

address - an IPv6-layer identifier for an interface or a set of
interfaces.

packet - an IPv6 header plus payload.

link MTU - the maximum transmission unit, i.e., maximum packet
size in octets, that can be conveyed in one piece over
a link.

path MTU - the minimum link MTU of all the links in a path between
a source node and a destination node.

Note: it is possible, though unusual, for a device with multiple
interfaces to be configured to forward non-self-destined packets
arriving from some set (fewer than all) of its interfaces, and to
discard non-self-destined packets arriving from its other interfaces.
Such a device must obey the protocol requirements for routers when
receiving packets from, and interacting with neighbors over, the
former (forwarding) interfaces. It must obey the protocol
requirements for hosts when receiving packets from, and interacting
with neighbors over, the latter (non-forwarding) interfaces.

3. IPv6 Header Format

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|Version| Prio. | Flow Label |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Payload Length | Next Header | Hop Limit |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ +
| |
+ Source Address +
| |
+ +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ +
| |
+ Destination Address +
| |
+ +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Version 4-bit Internet Protocol version number = 6.

Prio. 4-bit priority value. See section 7.

Flow Label 24-bit flow label. See section 6.

Payload Length 16-bit unsigned integer. Length of payload,
i.e., the rest of the packet following the
IPv6 header, in octets. If zero, indicates that
the payload length is carried in a Jumbo Payload
hop-by-hop option.

Next Header 8-bit selector. Identifies the type of header
immediately following the IPv6 header. Uses
the same values as the IPv4 Protocol field
RFC-1700 et seq.].

Hop Limit 8-bit unsigned integer. Decremented by 1 by
each node that forwards the packet. The packet
is discarded if Hop Limit is decremented to
zero.

Source Address 128-bit address of the originator of the
packet. See RFC-1884.

Destination Address 128-bit address of the intended recipient
of the packet (possibly not the ultimate
recipient, if a Routing header is present).
See RFC-1884 and section 4.4.

4. IPv6 Extension Headers

In IPv6, optional internet-layer information is encoded in separate
headers that may be placed between the IPv6 header and the upper-
layer header in a packet. There are a small number of such extension
headers, each identified by a distinct Next Header value. As
illustrated in these examples, an IPv6 packet may carry zero, one, or
more extension headers, each identified by the Next Header field of
the preceding header:

+---------------+------------------------
| IPv6 header | TCP header + data
| |
| Next Header = |
| TCP |
+---------------+------------------------

+---------------+----------------+------------------------
| IPv6 header | Routing header | TCP header + data
| | |
| Next Header = | Next Header = |
| Routing | TCP |
+---------------+----------------+------------------------

+---------------+----------------+-----------------+-----------------
| IPv6 header | Routing header | Fragment header | fragment of TCP
| | | | header + data
| Next Header = | Next Header = | Next Header = |
| Routing | Fragment | TCP |
+---------------+----------------+-----------------+-----------------

With one exception, extension headers are not examined or processed
by any node along a packet's delivery path, until the packet reaches
the node (or each of the set of nodes, in the case of multicast)
identified in the Destination Address field of the IPv6 header.
There, normal demultiplexing on the Next Header field of the IPv6
header invokes the module to process the first extension header, or
the upper-layer header if no extension header is present. The
contents and semantics of each extension header determine whether or

not to proceed to the next header. Therefore, extension headers must
be processed strictly in the order they appear in the packet; a
receiver must not, for example, scan through a packet looking for a
particular kind of extension header and process that header prior to
processing all preceding ones.

The exception referred to in the preceding paragraph is the Hop-by-
Hop Options header, which carries information that must be examined
and processed by every node along a packet's delivery path, including
the source and destination nodes. The Hop-by-Hop Options header,
when present, must immediately follow the IPv6 header. Its presence
is indicated by the value zero in the Next Header field of the IPv6
header.

If, as a result of processing a header, a node is required to proceed
to the next header but the Next Header value in the current header is
unrecognized by the node, it should discard the packet and send an
ICMP Parameter Problem message to the source of the packet, with an
ICMP Code value of 2 ("unrecognized Next Header type encountered")
and the ICMP Pointer field containing the offset of the unrecognized
value within the original packet. The same action should be taken if
a node encounters a Next Header value of zero in any header other
than an IPv6 header.

Each extension header is an integer multiple of 8 octets long, in
order to retain 8-octet alignment for subsequent headers. Multi-
octet fields within each extension header are aligned on their
natural boundaries, i.e., fields of width n octets are placed at an
integer multiple of n octets from the start of the header, for n = 1,
2, 4, or 8.

A full implementation of IPv6 includes implementation of the
following extension headers:

Hop-by-Hop Options
Routing (Type 0)
Fragment
Destination Options
Authentication
Encapsulating Security Payload

The first four are specified in this document; the last two are
specified in RFC-1827, respectively.

4.1 Extension Header Order

When more than one extension header is used in the same packet, it is
recommended that those headers appear in the following order:

IPv6 header
Hop-by-Hop Options header
Destination Options header (note 1)
Routing header
Fragment header
Authentication header (note 2)
Encapsulating Security Payload header (note 2)
Destination Options header (note 3)
upper-layer header

note 1: for options to be processed by the first destination
that appears in the IPv6 Destination Address field
plus subsequent destinations listed in the Routing
header.

note 2: additional recommendations regarding the relative
order of the Authentication and Encapsulating
Security Payload headers are given in RFC-1827.

note 3: for options to be processed only by the final
destination of the packet.

Each extension header should occur at most once, except for the
Destination Options header which should occur at most twice (once
before a Routing header and once before the upper-layer header).

If the upper-layer header is another IPv6 header (in the case of IPv6
being tunneled over or encapsulated in IPv6), it may be followed by
its own extensions headers, which are separately subject to the same
ordering recommendations.

If and when other extension headers are defined, their ordering
constraints relative to the above listed headers must be specified.

IPv6 nodes must accept and attempt to process extension headers in
any order and occurring any number of times in the same packet,
except for the Hop-by-Hop Options header which is restricted to
appear immediately after an IPv6 header only. Nonetheless, it is
strongly advised that sources of IPv6 packets adhere to the above
recommended order until and unless subsequent specifications revise
that recommendation.

4.2 Options

Two of the currently-defined extension headers -- the Hop-by-Hop
Options header and the Destination Options header -- carry a variable
number of type-length-value (TLV) encoded "options", of the following
format:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+- - - - - - - - -
| Option Type | Opt Data Len | Option Data
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+- - - - - - - - -

Option Type 8-bit identifier of the type of option.

Opt Data Len 8-bit unsigned integer. Length of the Option
Data field of this option, in octets.

Option Data Variable-length field. Option-Type-specific
data.

The sequence of options within a header must be processed strictly in
the order they appear in the header; a receiver must not, for
example, scan through the header looking for a particular kind of
option and process that option prior to processing all preceding
ones.

The Option Type identifiers are internally encoded such that their
highest-order two bits specify the action that must be taken if the
processing IPv6 node does not recognize the Option Type:

00 - skip over this option and continue processing the header.

01 - discard the packet.

10 - discard the packet and, regardless of whether or not the
packets's Destination Address was a multicast address, send
an ICMP Parameter Problem, Code 2, message to the packet's
Source Address, pointing to the unrecognized Option Type.

11 - discard the packet and, only if the packet's Destination
Address was not a multicast address, send an ICMP Parameter
Problem, Code 2, message to the packet's Source Address,
pointing to the unrecognized Option Type.

The third-highest-order bit of the Option Type specifies whether or
not the Option Data of that option can change en-route to the
packet's final destination. When an Authentication header is present
in the packet, for any option whose data may change en-route, its
entire Option Data field must be treated as zero-valued octets when
computing or verifying the packet's authenticating value.

0 - Option Data does not change en-route

1 - Option Data may change en-route

Individual options may have specific alignment requirements, to
ensure that multi-octet values within Option Data fields fall on
natural boundaries. The alignment requirement of an option is
specified using the notation xn+y, meaning the Option Type must
appear at an integer multiple of x octets from the start of the
header, plus y octets. For example:

2n means any 2-octet offset from the start of the header.
8n+2 means any 8-octet offset from the start of the header,
plus 2 octets.

There are two padding options which are used when necessary to align
subsequent options and to pad out the containing header to a multiple
of 8 octets in length. These padding options must be recognized by
all IPv6 implementations:

Pad1 option (alignment requirement: none)

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 0 |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

NOTE! the format of the Pad1 option is a special case -- it does
not have length and value fields.

The Pad1 option is used to insert one octet of padding into the
Options area of a header. If more than one octet of padding is
required, the PadN option, described next, should be used,
rather than multiple Pad1 options.

PadN option (alignment requirement: none)

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+- - - - - - - - -
| 1 | Opt Data Len | Option Data
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+- - - - - - - - -

The PadN option is used to insert two or more octets of padding
into the Options area of a header. For N octets of padding,
the Opt Data Len field contains the value N-2, and the Option
Data consists of N-2 zero-valued octets.

Appendix A contains formatting guidelines for designing new options.

4.3 Hop-by-Hop Options Header

The Hop-by-Hop Options header is used to carry optional information
that must be examined by every node along a packet's delivery path.
The Hop-by-Hop Options header is identified by a Next Header value of
0 in the IPv6 header, and has the following format:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Next Header | Hdr Ext Len | |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ +
| |
. .
. Options .
. .
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Next Header 8-bit selector. Identifies the type of header
immediately following the Hop-by-Hop Options
header. Uses the same values as the IPv4
Protocol field RFC-1700 et seq.].

Hdr Ext Len 8-bit unsigned integer. Length of the
Hop-by-Hop Options header in 8-octet units,
not including the first 8 octets.

Options Variable-length field, of length such that the
complete Hop-by-Hop Options header is an integer
multiple of 8 octets long. Contains one or
more TLV-encoded options, as described in
section 4.2.

In addition to the Pad1 and PadN options specified in section 4.2,
the following hop-by-hop option is defined:

Jumbo Payload option (alignment requirement: 4n + 2)

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 194 |Opt Data Len=4 |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Jumbo Payload Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

The Jumbo Payload option is used to send IPv6 packets with
payloads longer than 65,535 octets. The Jumbo Payload Length is
the length of the packet in octets, excluding the IPv6 header but
including the Hop-by-Hop Options header; it must be greater than
65,535. If a packet is received with a Jumbo Payload option
containing a Jumbo Payload Length less than or equal to 65,535,

an ICMP Parameter Problem message, Code 0, should be sent to the
packet's source, pointing to the high-order octet of the invalid
Jumbo Payload Length field.

The Payload Length field in the IPv6 header must be set to zero
in every packet that carries the Jumbo Payload option. If a
packet is received with a valid Jumbo Payload option present and
a non-zero IPv6 Payload Length field, an ICMP Parameter Problem
message, Code 0, should be sent to the packet's source, pointing
to the Option Type field of the Jumbo Payload option.

The Jumbo Payload option must not be used in a packet that
carries a Fragment header. If a Fragment header is encountered
in a packet that contains a valid Jumbo Payload option, an ICMP
Parameter Problem message, Code 0, should be sent to the packet's
source, pointing to the first octet of the Fragment header.

An implementation that does not support the Jumbo Payload option
cannot have interfaces to links whose link MTU is greater than
65,575 (40 octets of IPv6 header plus 65,535 octets of payload).

4.4 Routing Header

The Routing header is used by an IPv6 source to list one or more
intermediate nodes to be "visited" on the way to a packet's
destination. This function is very similar to IPv4's Source Route
options. The Routing header is identified by a Next Header value of
43 in the immediately preceding header, and has the following format:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Next Header | Hdr Ext Len | Routing Type | Segments Left |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
. .
. type-specific data .
. .
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Next Header 8-bit selector. Identifies the type of header
immediately following the Routing header.
Uses the same values as the IPv4 Protocol field
RFC-1700 et seq.].

Hdr Ext Len 8-bit unsigned integer. Length of the
Routing header in 8-octet units, not including
the first 8 octets.

Routing Type 8-bit identifier of a particular Routing
header variant.

Segments Left 8-bit unsigned integer. Number of route
segments remaining, i.e., number of explicitly
listed intermediate nodes still to be visited
before reaching the final destination.

type-specific data Variable-length field, of format determined by
the Routing Type, and of length such that the
complete Routing header is an integer multiple
of 8 octets long.

If, while processing a received packet, a node encounters a Routing
header with an unrecognized Routing Type value, the required behavior
of the node depends on the value of the Segments Left field, as
follows:

If Segments Left is zero, the node must ignore the Routing header
and proceed to process the next header in the packet, whose type
is identified by the Next Header field in the Routing header.

If Segments Left is non-zero, the node must discard the packet and
send an ICMP Parameter Problem, Code 0, message to the packet's
Source Address, pointing to the unrecognized Routing Type.

The Type 0 Routing header has the following format:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Next Header | Hdr Ext Len | Routing Type=0| Segments Left |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Reserved | Strict/Loose Bit Map |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ +
| |
+ Address[1] +
| |
+ +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ +
| |
+ Address[2] +
| |
+ +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
. . .
. . .
. . .
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ +
| |
+ Address[n] +
| |
+ +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Next Header 8-bit selector. Identifies the type of header
immediately following the Routing header.
Uses the same values as the IPv4 Protocol field
RFC-1700 et seq.].

Hdr Ext Len 8-bit unsigned integer. Length of the
Routing header in 8-octet units, not including
the first 8 octets. For the Type 0 Routing
header, Hdr Ext Len is equal to two times the
number of addresses in the header, and must
be an even number less than or equal to 46.

Routing Type 0.

Segments Left 8-bit unsigned integer. Number of route
segments remaining, i.e., number of explicitly
listed intermediate nodes still to be visited
before reaching the final destination.
Maximum legal value = 23.

Reserved 8-bit reserved field. Initialized to zero for
transmission; ignored on reception.

Strict/Loose Bit Map
24-bit bit-map, numbered 0 to 23, left-to-right.
Indicates, for each segment of the route, whether
or not the next destination address must be a
neighbor of the preceding address: 1 means strict
(must be a neighbor), 0 means loose (need not be
a neighbor).

Address[1..n] Vector of 128-bit addresses, numbered 1 to n.

Multicast addresses must not appear in a Routing header of Type 0, or
in the IPv6 Destination Address field of a packet carrying a Routing
header of Type 0.

If bit number 0 of the Strict/Loose Bit Map has value 1, the
Destination Address field of the IPv6 header in the original packet
must identify a neighbor of the originating node. If bit number 0
has value 0, the originator may use any legal, non-multicast address
as the initial Destination Address.

Bits numbered greater than n, where n is the number of addresses in
the Routing header, must be set to 0 by the originator and ignored by
receivers.

A Routing header is not examined or processed until it reaches the
node identified in the Destination Address field of the IPv6 header.
In that node, dispatching on the Next Header field of the immediately
preceding header causes the Routing header module to be invoked,
which, in the case of Routing Type 0, performs the following
algorithm:

if Segments Left = 0 {
proceed to process the next header in the packet, whose type is
identified by the Next Header field in the Routing header
}
else if Hdr Ext Len is odd or greater than 46 {
send an ICMP Parameter Problem, Code 0, message to the Source
Address, pointing to the Hdr Ext Len field, and discard the
packet
}
else {
compute n, the number of addresses in the Routing header, by
dividing Hdr Ext Len by 2

if Segments Left is greater than n {
send an ICMP Parameter Problem, Code 0, message to the Source
Address, pointing to the Segments Left field, and discard the
packet
}
else {
decrement Segments Left by 1;
compute i, the index of the next address to be visited in
the address vector, by subtracting Segments Left from n

if Address [i] or the IPv6 Destination Address is multicast {
discard the packet
}
else {
swap the IPv6 Destination Address and Address[i]

if bit i of the Strict/Loose Bit map has value 1 and the
new Destination Address is not the address of a neighbor
of this node {
send an ICMP Destination Unreachable -- Not a Neighbor
message to the Source Address and discard the packet
}
else if the IPv6 Hop Limit is less than or equal to 1 {
send an ICMP Time Exceeded -- Hop Limit Exceeded in
Transit message to the Source Address and discard the
packet
}
else {
decrement the Hop Limit by 1

resubmit the packet to the IPv6 module for transmission
to the new destination
}
}
}
}

As an example of the effects of the above algorithm, consider the
case of a source node S sending a packet to destination node D, using
a Routing header to cause the packet to be routed via intermediate
nodes I1, I2, and I3. The values of the relevant IPv6 header and
Routing header fields on each segment of the delivery path would be
as follows:

As the packet travels from S to I1:

Source Address = S Hdr Ext Len = 6
Destination Address = I1 Segments Left = 3
Address[1] = I2
(if bit 0 of the Bit Map is 1, Address[2] = I3
S and I1 must be neighbors; Address[3] = D
this is checked by S)

As the packet travels from I1 to I2:

Source Address = S Hdr Ext Len = 6
Destination Address = I2 Segments Left = 2
Address[1] = I1
(if bit 1 of the Bit Map is 1, Address[2] = I3
I1 and I2 must be neighbors; Address[3] = D
this is checked by I1)

As the packet travels from I2 to I3:

Source Address = S Hdr Ext Len = 6
Destination Address = I3 Segments Left = 1
Address[1] = I1
(if bit 2 of the Bit Map is 1, Address[2] = I2
I2 and I3 must be neighbors; Address[3] = D
this is checked by I2)

As the packet travels from I3 to D:

Source Address = S Hdr Ext Len = 6
Destination Address = D Segments Left = 0
Address[1] = I1
(if bit 3 of the Bit Map is 1, Address[2] = I2
I3 and D must be neighbors; Address[3] = I3
this is checked by I3)

4.5 Fragment Header

The Fragment header is used by an IPv6 source to send packets larger
than would fit in the path MTU to their destinations. (Note: unlike
IPv4, fragmentation in IPv6 is performed only by source nodes, not by
routers along a packet's delivery path -- see section 5.) The
Fragment header is identified by a Next Header value of 44 in the
immediately preceding header, and has the following format:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Next Header | Reserved | Fragment Offset |Res|M|
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Identification |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Next Header 8-bit selector. Identifies the initial header
type of the Fragmentable Part of the original
packet (defined below). Uses the same values
as the IPv4 Protocol field RFC-1700 et seq.].

Reserved 8-bit reserved field. Initialized to zero for
transmission; ignored on reception.

Fragment Offset 13-bit unsigned integer. The offset, in 8-octet
units, of the data following this header,
relative to the start of the Fragmentable Part
of the original packet.

Res 2-bit reserved field. Initialized to zero for
transmission; ignored on reception.

M flag 1 = more fragments; 0 = last fragment.

Identification 32 bits. See description below.

In order to send a packet that is too large to fit in the MTU of the
path to its destination, a source node may divide the packet into
fragments and send each fragment as a separate packet, to be
reassembled at the receiver.

For every packet that is to be fragmented, the source node generates
an Identification value. The Identification must be different than
that of any other fragmented packet sent recently* with the same
Source Address and Destination Address. If a Routing header is
present, the Destination Address of concern is that of the final
destination.

* "recently" means within the maximum likely lifetime of a packet,
including transit time from source to destination and time spent

awaiting reassembly with other fragments of the same packet.
However, it is not required that a source node know the maximum
packet lifetime. Rather, it is assumed that the requirement can
be met by maintaining the Identification value as a simple, 32-
bit, "wrap-around" counter, incremented each time a packet must
be fragmented. It is an implementation choice whether to
maintain a single counter for the node or multiple counters,
e.g., one for each of the node's possible source addresses, or
one for each active (source address, destination address)
combination.

The initial, large, unfragmented packet is referred to as the
"original packet", and it is considered to consist of two parts, as
illustrated:

original packet:

+------------------+----------------------//-----------------------+
| Unfragmentable | Fragmentable |
| Part | Part |
+------------------+----------------------//-----------------------+

The Unfragmentable Part consists of the IPv6 header plus any
extension headers that must be processed by nodes en route to the
destination, that is, all headers up to and including the Routing
header if present, else the Hop-by-Hop Options header if present,
else no extension headers.

The Fragmentable Part consists of the rest of the packet, that is,
any extension headers that need be processed only by the final
destination node(s), plus the upper-layer header and data.

The Fragmentable Part of the original packet is divided into
fragments, each, except possibly the last ("rightmost") one, being an
integer multiple of 8 octets long. The fragments are transmitted in
separate "fragment packets" as illustrated:

original packet:

+------------------+--------------+--------------+--//--+----------+
| Unfragmentable | first | second | | last |
| Part | fragment | fragment | .... | fragment |
+------------------+--------------+--------------+--//--+----------+

fragment packets:

+------------------+--------+--------------+
| Unfragmentable |Fragment| first |
| Part | Header | fragment |
+------------------+--------+--------------+

+------------------+--------+--------------+
| Unfragmentable |Fragment| second |
| Part | Header | fragment |
+------------------+--------+--------------+
o
o
o
+------------------+--------+----------+
| Unfragmentable |Fragment| last |
| Part | Header | fragment |
+------------------+--------+----------+

Each fragment packet is composed of:

(1) The Unfragmentable Part of the original packet, with the
Payload Length of the original IPv6 header changed to contain
the length of this fragment packet only (excluding the length
of the IPv6 header itself), and the Next Header field of the
last header of the Unfragmentable Part changed to 44.

(2) A Fragment header containing:

The Next Header value that identifies the first header of
the Fragmentable Part of the original packet.

A Fragment Offset containing the offset of the fragment,
in 8-octet units, relative to the start of the
Fragmentable Part of the original packet. The Fragment
Offset of the first ("leftmost") fragment is 0.

An M flag value of 0 if the fragment is the last
("rightmost") one, else an M flag value of 1.

The Identification value generated for the original
packet.

(3) The fragment itself.

The lengths of the fragments must be chosen such that the resulting
fragment packets fit within the MTU of the path to the packets'
destination(s).

At the destination, fragment packets are reassembled into their
original, unfragmented form, as illustrated:

reassembled original packet:

+------------------+----------------------//------------------------+
| Unfragmentable | Fragmentable |
| Part | Part |
+------------------+----------------------//------------------------+

The following rules govern reassembly:

An original packet is reassembled only from fragment packets that
have the same Source Address, Destination Address, and Fragment
Identification.

The Unfragmentable Part of the reassembled packet consists of all
headers up to, but not including, the Fragment header of the first
fragment packet (that is, the packet whose Fragment Offset is
zero), with the following two changes:

The Next Header field of the last header of the Unfragmentable
Part is obtained from the Next Header field of the first
fragment's Fragment header.

The Payload Length of the reassembled packet is computed from
the length of the Unfragmentable Part and the length and offset
of the last fragment. For example, a formula for computing the
Payload Length of the reassembled original packet is:

PL.orig = PL.first - FL.first - 8 + (8 * FO.last) + FL.last

where
PL.orig = Payload Length field of reassembled packet.
PL.first = Payload Length field of first fragment packet.
FL.first = length of fragment following Fragment header of
first fragment packet.
FO.last = Fragment Offset field of Fragment header of
last fragment packet.
FL.last = length of fragment following Fragment header of
last fragment packet.

The Fragmentable Part of the reassembled packet is constructed
from the fragments following the Fragment headers in each of the
fragment packets. The length of each fragment is computed by
subtracting from the packet's Payload Length the length of the
headers between the IPv6 header and fragment itself; its relative
position in Fragmentable Part is computed from its Fragment Offset
value.

The Fragment header is not present in the final, reassembled
packet.

The following error conditions may arise when reassembling fragmented
packets:

If insufficient fragments are received to complete reassembly of a
packet within 60 seconds of the reception of the first-arriving
fragment of that packet, reassembly of that packet must be
abandoned and all the fragments that have been received for that
packet must be discarded. If the first fragment (i.e., the one
with a Fragment Offset of zero) has been received, an ICMP Time
Exceeded -- Fragment Reassembly Time Exceeded message should be
sent to the source of that fragment.

If the length of a fragment, as derived from the fragment packet's
Payload Length field, is not a multiple of 8 octets and the M flag
of that fragment is 1, then that fragment must be discarded and an
ICMP Parameter Problem, Code 0, message should be sent to the
source of the fragment, pointing to the Payload Length field of
the fragment packet.

If the length and offset of a fragment are such that the Payload
Length of the packet reassembled from that fragment would exceed
65,535 octets, then that fragment must be discarded and an ICMP
Parameter Problem, Code 0, message should be sent to the source of
the fragment, pointing to the Fragment Offset field of the
fragment packet.

The following conditions are not expected to occur, but are not
considered errors if they do:

The number and content of the headers preceding the Fragment
header of different fragments of the same original packet may
differ. Whatever headers are present, preceding the Fragment
header in each fragment packet, are processed when the packets
arrive, prior to queueing the fragments for reassembly. Only
those headers in the Offset zero fragment packet are retained in
the reassembled packet.

The Next Header values in the Fragment headers of different
fragments of the same original packet may differ. Only the value
from the Offset zero fragment packet is used for reassembly.

4.6 Destination Options Header

The Destination Options header is used to carry optional information
that need be examined only by a packet's destination node(s). The
Destination Options header is identified by a Next Header value of 60
in the immediately preceding header, and has the following format:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Next Header | Hdr Ext Len | |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ +
| |
. .
. Options .
. .
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Next Header 8-bit selector. Identifies the type of header
immediately following the Destination Options
header. Uses the same values as the IPv4
Protocol field RFC-1700 et seq.].

Hdr Ext Len 8-bit unsigned integer. Length of the
Destination Options header in 8-octet units,
not including the first 8 octets.

Options Variable-length field, of length such that the
complete Destination Options header is an
integer multiple of 8 octets long. Contains
one or more TLV-encoded options, as described
in section 4.2.

The only destination options defined in this document are the Pad1
and PadN options specified in section 4.2.

Note that there are two possible ways to encode optional destination
information in an IPv6 packet: either as an option in the Destination
Options header, or as a separate extension header. The Fragment
header and the Authentication header are examples of the latter
approach. Which approach can be used depends on what action is
desired of a destination node that does not understand the optional
information:

o if the desired action is for the destination node to discard
the packet and, only if the packet's Destination Address is not
a multicast address, send an ICMP Unrecognized Type message to
the packet's Source Address, then the information may be
encoded either as a separate header or as an option in the

Destination Options header whose Option Type has the value 11
in its highest-order two bits. The choice may depend on such
factors as which takes fewer octets, or which yields better
alignment or more efficient parsing.

o if any other action is desired, the information must be encoded
as an option in the Destination Options header whose Option
Type has the value 00, 01, or 10 in its highest-order two bits,
specifying the desired action (see section 4.2).

4.7 No Next Header

The value 59 in the Next Header field of an IPv6 header or any
extension header indicates that there is nothing following that
header. If the Payload Length field of the IPv6 header indicates the
presence of octets past the end of a header whose Next Header field
contains 59, those octets must be ignored, and passed on unchanged if
the packet is forwarded.

5. Packet Size Issues

IPv6 requires that every link in the internet have an MTU of 576
octets or greater. On any link that cannot convey a 576-octet packet
in one piece, link-specific fragmentation and reassembly must be
provided at a layer below IPv6.

From each link to which a node is directly attached, the node must
be able to accept packets as large as that link's MTU. Links that
have a configurable MTU (for example, PPP links RFC-1661) must be
configured to have an MTU of at least 576 octets; it is recommended
that a larger MTU be configured, to accommodate possible
encapsulations (i.e., tunneling) without incurring fragmentation.

It is strongly recommended that IPv6 nodes implement Path MTU
Discovery RFC-1191, in order to discover and take advantage of
paths with MTU greater than 576 octets. However, a minimal IPv6
implementation (e.g., in a boot ROM) may simply restrict itself to
sending packets no larger than 576 octets, and omit implementation of
Path MTU Discovery.

In order to send a packet larger than a path's MTU, a node may use
the IPv6 Fragment header to fragment the packet at the source and
have it reassembled at the destination(s). However, the use of such
fragmentation is discouraged in any application that is able to
adjust its packets to fit the measured path MTU (i.e., down to 576
octets).

A node must be able to accept a fragmented packet that, after
reassembly, is as large as 1500 octets, including the IPv6 header. A
node is permitted to accept fragmented packets that reassemble to
more than 1500 octets. However, a node must not send fragments that
reassemble to a size greater than 1500 octets unless it has explicit
knowledge that the destination(s) can reassemble a packet of that
size.

In response to an IPv6 packet that is sent to an IPv4 destination
(i.e., a packet that undergoes translation from IPv6 to IPv4), the
originating IPv6 node may receive an ICMP Packet Too Big message
reporting a Next-Hop MTU less than 576. In that case, the IPv6 node
is not required to reduce the size of subsequent packets to less than
576, but must include a Fragment header in those packets so that the
IPv6-to-IPv4 translating router can obtain a suitable Identification
value to use in resulting IPv4 fragments. Note that this means the
payload may have to be reduced to 528 octets (576 minus 40 for the
IPv6 header and 8 for the Fragment header), and smaller still if
additional extension headers are used.

Note: Path MTU Discovery must be performed even in cases where a
host "thinks" a destination is attached to the same link as
itself.

Note: Unlike IPv4, it is unnecessary in IPv6 to set a "Don't
Fragment" flag in the packet header in order to perform Path MTU
Discovery; that is an implicit attribute of every IPv6 packet.
Also, those parts of the <A href="/rfcs/rfc1191.html">RFC-1191 procedures that involve use of
a table of MTU "plateaus" do not apply to IPv6, because the IPv6
version of the "Datagram Too Big" message always identifies the
exact MTU to be used.

6. Flow Labels

The 24-bit Flow Label field in the IPv6 header may be used by a
source to label those packets for which it requests special handling
by the IPv6 routers, such as non-default quality of service or
"real-time" service. This aspect of IPv6 is, at the time of writing,
still experimental and subject to change as the requirements for flow
support in the Internet become clearer. Hosts or routers that do not
support the functions of the Flow Label field are required to set the
field to zero when originating a packet, pass the field on unchanged
when forwarding a packet, and ignore the field when receiving a
packet.

A flow is a sequence of packets sent from a particular source to a
particular (unicast or multicast) destination for which the source
desires special handling by the intervening routers. The nature of
that special handling might be conveyed to the routers by a control
protocol, such as a resource reservation protocol, or by information
within the flow's packets themselves, e.g., in a hop-by-hop option.
The details of such control protocols or options are beyond the scope
of this document.

There may be multiple active flows from a source to a destination, as
well as traffic that is not associated with any flow. A flow is
uniquely identified by the combination of a source address and a
non-zero flow label. Packets that do not belong to a flow carry a
flow label of zero.

A flow label is assigned to a flow by the flow's source node. New
flow labels must be chosen (pseudo-)randomly and uniformly from the
range 1 to FFFFFF hex. The purpose of the random allocation is to
make any set of bits within the Flow Label field suitable for use as
a hash key by routers, for looking up the state associated with the
flow.

All packets belonging to the same flow must be sent with the same
source address, destination address, priority, and flow label. If
any of those packets includes a Hop-by-Hop Options header, then they
all must be originated with the same Hop-by-Hop Options header
contents (excluding the Next Header field of the Hop-by-Hop Options
header). If any of those packets includes a Routing header, then
they all must be originated with the same contents in all extension
headers up to and including the Routing header (excluding the Next
Header field in the Routing header). The routers or destinations are
permitted, but not required, to verify that these conditions are
satisfied. If a violation is detected, it should be reported to the
source by an ICMP Parameter Problem message, Code 0, pointing to the
high-order octet of the Flow Label field (i.e., offset 1 within the
IPv6 packet).

Routers are free to "opportunistically" set up flow-handling state
for any flow, even when no explicit flow establishment information
has been provided to them via a control protocol, a hop-by-hop
option, or other means. For example, upon receiving a packet from a
particular source with an unknown, non-zero flow label, a router may
process its IPv6 header and any necessary extension headers as if the
flow label were zero. That processing would include determining the
next-hop interface, and possibly other actions, such as updating a
hop-by-hop option, advancing the pointer and addresses in a Routing
header, or deciding on how to queue the packet based on its Priority
field. The router may then choose to "remember" the results of those
processing steps and cache that information, using the source address
plus the flow label as the cache key. Subsequent packets with the
same source address and flow label may then be handled by referring
to the cached information rather than examining all those fields
that, according to the requirements of the previous paragraph, can be
assumed unchanged from the first packet seen in the flow.

Cached flow-handling state that is set up opportunistically, as
discussed in the preceding paragraph, must be discarded no more than
6 seconds after it is established, regardless of whether or not
packets of the same flow continue to arrive. If another packet with
the same source address and flow label arrives after the cached state
has been discarded, the packet undergoes full, normal processing (as
if its flow label were zero), which may result in the re-creation of
cached flow state for that flow.

The lifetime of flow-handling state that is set up explicitly, for
example by a control protocol or a hop-by-hop option, must be
specified as part of the specification of the explicit set-up
mechanism; it may exceed 6 seconds.

A source must not re-use a flow label for a new flow within the
lifetime of any flow-handling state that might have been established
for the prior use of that flow label. Since flow-handling state with
a lifetime of 6 seconds may be established opportunistically for any
flow, the minimum interval between the last packet of one flow and
the first packet of a new flow using the same flow label is 6
seconds. Flow labels used for explicitly set-up flows with longer
flow-state lifetimes must remain unused for those longer lifetimes
before being re-used for new flows.

When a node stops and restarts (e.g., as a result of a "crash"), it
must be careful not to use a flow label that it might have used for
an earlier flow whose lifetime may not have expired yet. This may be
accomplished by recording flow label usage on stable storage so that
it can be remembered across crashes, or by refraining from using any
flow labels until the maximum lifetime of any possible previously
established flows has expired (at least 6 seconds; more if explicit

flow set-up mechanisms with longer lifetimes might have been used).
If the minimum time for rebooting the node is known (often more than
6 seconds), that time can be deducted from the necessary waiting
period before starting to allocate flow labels.

There is no requirement that all, or even most, packets belong to
flows, i.e., carry non-zero flow labels. This observation is placed
here to remind protocol designers and implementors not to assume
otherwise. For example, it would be unwise to design a router whose
performance would be adequate only if most packets belonged to flows,
or to design a header compression scheme that only worked on packets
that belonged to flows.

7. Priority

The 4-bit Priority field in the IPv6 header enables a source to
identify the desired delivery priority of its packets, relative to
other packets from the same source. The Priority values are divided
into two ranges: Values 0 through 7 are used to specify the priority
of traffic for which the source is providing congestion control,
i.e., traffic that "backs off" in response to congestion, such as TCP
traffic. Values 8 through 15 are used to specify the priority of
traffic that does not back off in response to congestion, e.g.,
"real-time" packets being sent at a constant rate.

For congestion-controlled traffic, the following Priority values are
recommended for particular application categories:

0 - uncharacterized traffic
1 - "filler" traffic (e.g., netnews)
2 - unattended data transfer (e.g., email)
3 - (reserved)
4 - attended bulk transfer (e.g., FTP, NFS)
5 - (reserved)
6 - interactive traffic (e.g., telnet, X)
7 - internet control traffic (e.g., routing protocols, SNMP)

For non-congestion-controlled traffic, the lowest Priority value (8)
should be used for those packets that the sender is most willing to
have discarded under conditions of congestion (e.g., high-fidelity
video traffic), and the highest value (15) should be used for those
packets that the sender is least willing to have discarded (e.g.,
low-fidelity audio traffic). There is no relative ordering implied
between the congestion-controlled priorities and the non-congestion-
controlled priorities.

8. Upper-Layer Protocol Issues

8.1 Upper-Layer Checksums

Any transport or other upper-layer protocol that includes the
addresses from the IP header in its checksum computation must be
modified for use over IPv6, to include the 128-bit IPv6 addresses
instead of 32-bit IPv4 addresses. In particular, the following
illustration shows the TCP and UDP "pseudo-header" for IPv6:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ +
| |
+ Source Address +
| |
+ +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ +
| |
+ Destination Address +
| |
+ +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Payload Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| zero | Next Header |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

o If the packet contains a Routing header, the Destination
Address used in the pseudo-header is that of the final
destination. At the originating node, that address will be in
the last element of the Routing header; at the recipient(s),
that address will be in the Destination Address field of the
IPv6 header.

o The Next Header value in the pseudo-header identifies the
upper-layer protocol (e.g., 6 for TCP, or 17 for UDP). It will
differ from the Next Header value in the IPv6 header if there
are extension headers between the IPv6 header and the upper-
layer header.

o The Payload Length used in the pseudo-header is the length of
the upper-layer packet, including the upper-layer header. It
will be less than the Payload Length in the IPv6 header (or in

the Jumbo Payload option) if there are extension headers
between the IPv6 header and the upper-layer header.

o Unlike IPv4, when UDP packets are originated by an IPv6 node,
the UDP checksum is not optional. That is, whenever
originating a UDP packet, an IPv6 node must compute a UDP
checksum over the packet and the pseudo-header, and, if that
computation yields a result of zero, it must be changed to hex
FFFF for placement in the UDP header. IPv6 receivers must
discard UDP packets containing a zero checksum, and should log
the error.

The IPv6 version of ICMP RFC-1885 includes the above pseudo-header
in its checksum computation; this is a change from the IPv4 version
of ICMP, which does not include a pseudo-header in its checksum. The
reason for the change is to protect ICMP from misdelivery or
corruption of those fields of the IPv6 header on which it depends,
which, unlike IPv4, are not covered by an internet-layer checksum.
The Next Header field in the pseudo-header for ICMP contains the
value 58, which identifies the IPv6 version of ICMP.

8.2 Maximum Packet Lifetime

Unlike IPv4, IPv6 nodes are not required to enforce maximum packet
lifetime. That is the reason the IPv4 "Time to Live" field was
renamed "Hop Limit" in IPv6. In practice, very few, if any, IPv4
implementations conform to the requirement that they limit packet
lifetime, so this is not a change in practice. Any upper-layer
protocol that relies on the internet layer (whether IPv4 or IPv6) to
limit packet lifetime ought to be upgraded to provide its own
mechanisms for detecting and discarding obsolete packets.

8.3 Maximum Upper-Layer Payload Size

When computing the maximum payload size available for upper-layer
data, an upper-layer protocol must take into account the larger size
of the IPv6 header relative to the IPv4 header. For example, in
IPv4, TCP's MSS option is computed as the maximum packet size (a
default value or a value learned through Path MTU Discovery) minus 40
octets (20 octets for the minimum-length IPv4 header and 20 octets
for the minimum-length TCP header). When using TCP over IPv6, the
MSS must be computed as the maximum packet size minus 60 octets,
because the minimum-length IPv6 header (i.e., an IPv6 header with no
extension headers) is 20 octets longer than a minimum-length IPv4
header.

Appendix A. Formatting Guidelines for Options

This appendix gives some advice on how to lay out the fields when
designing new options to be used in the Hop-by-Hop Options header or
the Destination Options header, as described in section 4.2. These
guidelines are based on the following assumptions:

o One desirable feature is that any multi-octet fields within the
Option Data area of an option be aligned on their natural
boundaries, i.e., fields of width n octets should be placed at
an integer multiple of n octets from the start of the Hop-by-
Hop or Destination Options header, for n = 1, 2, 4, or 8.

o Another desirable feature is that the Hop-by-Hop or Destination
Options header take up as little space as possible, subject to
the requirement that the header be an integer multiple of 8
octets long.

o It may be assumed that, when either of the option-bearing
headers are present, they carry a very small number of options,
usually only one.

These assumptions suggest the following approach to laying out the
fields of an option: order the fields from smallest to largest, with
no interior padding, then derive the alignment requirement for the
entire option based on the alignment requirement of the largest field
(up to a maximum alignment of 8 octets). This approach is
illustrated in the following examples:

Example 1

If an option X required two data fields, one of length 8 octets and
one of length 4 octets, it would be laid out as follows:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Option Type=X |Opt Data Len=12|
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 4-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ 8-octet field +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Its alignment requirement is 8n+2, to ensure that the 8-octet field
starts at a multiple-of-8 offset from the start of the enclosing

header. A complete Hop-by-Hop or Destination Options header
containing this one option would look as follows:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Next Header | Hdr Ext Len=1 | Option Type=X |Opt Data Len=12|
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 4-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ 8-octet field +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Example 2

If an option Y required three data fields, one of length 4 octets,
one of length 2 octets, and one of length 1 octet, it would be laid
out as follows:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Option Type=Y |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|Opt Data Len=7 | 1-octet field | 2-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 4-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Its alignment requirement is 4n+3, to ensure that the 4-octet field
starts at a multiple-of-4 offset from the start of the enclosing
header. A complete Hop-by-Hop or Destination Options header
containing this one option would look as follows:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Next Header | Hdr Ext Len=1 | Pad1 Option=0 | Option Type=Y |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|Opt Data Len=7 | 1-octet field | 2-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 4-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| PadN Option=1 |Opt Data Len=2 | 0 | 0 |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Example 3

A Hop-by-Hop or Destination Options header containing both options X
and Y from Examples 1 and 2 would have one of the two following
formats, depending on which option appeared first:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Next Header | Hdr Ext Len=3 | Option Type=X |Opt Data Len=12|
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 4-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ 8-octet field +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| PadN Option=1 |Opt Data Len=1 | 0 | Option Type=Y |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|Opt Data Len=7 | 1-octet field | 2-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 4-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| PadN Option=1 |Opt Data Len=2 | 0 | 0 |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Next Header | Hdr Ext Len=3 | Pad1 Option=0 | Option Type=Y |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|Opt Data Len=7 | 1-octet field | 2-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 4-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| PadN Option=1 |Opt Data Len=4 | 0 | 0 |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 0 | 0 | Option Type=X |Opt Data Len=12|
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| 4-octet field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ 8-octet field +
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Security Considerations

This document specifies that the IP Authentication Header RFC-1826
and the IP Encapsulating Security Payload RFC-1827 be used with
IPv6, in conformance with the Security Architecture for the Internet
Protocol RFC-1825.

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the many helpful suggestions of
the members of the IPng working group, the End-to-End Protocols
research group, and the Internet Community At Large.

Authors' Addresses

Stephen E. Deering Robert M. Hinden
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center Ipsilon Networks, Inc.
3333 Coyote Hill Road 2191 E. Bayshore Road, Suite 100
Palo Alto, CA 94304 Palo Alto, CA 94303
USA USA

Phone: +1 415 812 4839 Phone: +1 415 846 4604
Fax: +1 415 812 4471 Fax: +1 415 855 1414
EMail: <A href="mailto:deering@parc.xerox.com">deering@parc.xerox.com EMail: <A href="mailto:hinden@ipsilon.com">hinden@ipsilon.com

References

RFC-1825 Atkinson, R., "Security Architecture for the Internet
Protocol", <A href="/rfcs/rfc1825.html">RFC 1825, Naval Research Laboratory, August
1995.

RFC 1826,
Naval Research Laboratory, August 1995.

RFC-1827 Atkinson, R., "IP Encapsulating Security Protocol
(ESP)", <A href="/rfcs/rfc1827.html">RFC 1827, Naval Research Laboratory, August
1995.

RFC-1885 Conta, A., and S. Deering, "Internet Control Message
Protocol (ICMPv6) for the Internet Protocol Version 6
(IPv6) Specification", <A href="/rfcs/rfc1885.html">RFC 1885, Digital Equipment
Corporation, Xerox PARC, December 1995.

RFC-1884 Hinden, R., and S. Deering, Editors, "IP Version 6
Addressing Architecture", <A href="/rfcs/rfc1884.html">RFC 1884, Ipsilon Networks,
Xerox PARC, December 1995.

RFC-1191 Mogul, J., and S. Deering, "Path MTU Discovery", RFC
1191, DECWRL, Stanford University, November 1990.

RFC 791,
USC/Information Sciences Institute, September 1981.

RFC-1700 Reynolds, J., and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", STD 2,
<A href="/rfcs/rfc1700.html">RFC 1700, USC/Information Sciences Institute, October
1994.

RFC-1661 Simpson, W., Editor, "The Point-to-Point Protocol
(PPP)", STD 51, <A href="/rfcs/rfc1661.html">RFC 1661, Daydreamer, July 1994.