ipv6 uptake

RFC 1661 – The Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP)

 
Network Working Group                                 W. Simpson, Editor
Request for Comments: 1661 Daydreamer
STD: 51 July 1994
Obsoletes: 1548
Category: Standards Track

The Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP)

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

The Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) provides a standard method for
transporting multi-protocol datagrams over point-to-point links. PPP
is comprised of three main components:

1. A method for encapsulating multi-protocol datagrams.

2. A Link Control Protocol (LCP) for establishing, configuring,
and testing the data-link connection.

3. A family of Network Control Protocols (NCPs) for establishing
and configuring different network-layer protocols.

This document defines the PPP organization and methodology, and the
PPP encapsulation, together with an extensible option negotiation
mechanism which is able to negotiate a rich assortment of
configuration parameters and provides additional management
functions. The PPP Link Control Protocol (LCP) is described in terms
of this mechanism.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction .......................................... 1
1.1 Specification of Requirements ................... 2
1.2 Terminology ..................................... 3

2. PPP Encapsulation ..................................... 4

3. PPP Link Operation .................................... 6
3.1 Overview ........................................ 6
3.2 Phase Diagram ................................... 6
3.3 Link Dead (physical-layer not ready) ............ 7
3.4 Link Establishment Phase ........................ 7
3.5 Authentication Phase ............................ 8
3.6 Network-Layer Protocol Phase .................... 8
3.7 Link Termination Phase .......................... 9

4. The Option Negotiation Automaton ...................... 11
4.1 State Transition Table .......................... 12
4.2 States .......................................... 14
4.3 Events .......................................... 16
4.4 Actions ......................................... 21
4.5 Loop Avoidance .................................. 23
4.6 Counters and Timers ............................. 24

5. LCP Packet Formats .................................... 26
5.1 Configure-Request ............................... 28
5.2 Configure-Ack ................................... 29
5.3 Configure-Nak ................................... 30
5.4 Configure-Reject ................................ 31
5.5 Terminate-Request and Terminate-Ack ............. 33
5.6 Code-Reject ..................................... 34
5.7 Protocol-Reject ................................. 35
5.8 Echo-Request and Echo-Reply ..................... 36
5.9 Discard-Request ................................. 37

6. LCP Configuration Options ............................. 39
6.1 Maximum-Receive-Unit (MRU) ...................... 41
6.2 Authentication-Protocol ......................... 42
6.3 Quality-Protocol ................................ 43
6.4 Magic-Number .................................... 45
6.5 Protocol-Field-Compression (PFC) ................ 48
6.6 Address-and-Control-Field-Compression (ACFC)

SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS ...................................... 51
REFERENCES ................................................... 51
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................. 51
CHAIR'S ADDRESS .............................................. 52
EDITOR'S ADDRESS ............................................. 52

1. Introduction

The Point-to-Point Protocol is designed for simple links which
transport packets between two peers. These links provide full-duplex
simultaneous bi-directional operation, and are assumed to deliver
packets in order. It is intended that PPP provide a common solution
for easy connection of a wide variety of hosts, bridges and routers
[1].

Encapsulation

The PPP encapsulation provides for multiplexing of different
network-layer protocols simultaneously over the same link. The
PPP encapsulation has been carefully designed to retain
compatibility with most commonly used supporting hardware.

Only 8 additional octets are necessary to form the encapsulation
when used within the default HDLC-like framing. In environments
where bandwidth is at a premium, the encapsulation and framing may
be shortened to 2 or 4 octets.

To support high speed implementations, the default encapsulation
uses only simple fields, only one of which needs to be examined
for demultiplexing. The default header and information fields
fall on 32-bit boundaries, and the trailer may be padded to an
arbitrary boundary.

Link Control Protocol

In order to be sufficiently versatile to be portable to a wide
variety of environments, PPP provides a Link Control Protocol
(LCP). The LCP is used to automatically agree upon the
encapsulation format options, handle varying limits on sizes of
packets, detect a looped-back link and other common
misconfiguration errors, and terminate the link. Other optional
facilities provided are authentication of the identity of its peer
on the link, and determination when a link is functioning properly
and when it is failing.

Network Control Protocols

Point-to-Point links tend to exacerbate many problems with the
current family of network protocols. For instance, assignment and
management of IP addresses, which is a problem even in LAN
environments, is especially difficult over circuit-switched
point-to-point links (such as dial-up modem servers). These
problems are handled by a family of Network Control Protocols
(NCPs), which each manage the specific needs required by their

respective network-layer protocols. These NCPs are defined in
companion documents.

Configuration

It is intended that PPP links be easy to configure. By design,
the standard defaults handle all common configurations. The
implementor can specify improvements to the default configuration,
which are automatically communicated to the peer without operator
intervention. Finally, the operator may explicitly configure
options for the link which enable the link to operate in
environments where it would otherwise be impossible.

This self-configuration is implemented through an extensible
option negotiation mechanism, wherein each end of the link
describes to the other its capabilities and requirements.
Although the option negotiation mechanism described in this
document is specified in terms of the Link Control Protocol (LCP),
the same facilities are designed to be used by other control
protocols, especially the family of NCPs.

1.1. Specification of Requirements

In this document, several words are used to signify the requirements
of the specification. These words are often capitalized.

MUST This word, or the adjective "required", means that the
definition is an absolute requirement of the specification.

MUST NOT This phrase means that the definition is an absolute
prohibition of the specification.

SHOULD This word, or the adjective "recommended", means that there
may exist valid reasons in particular circumstances to
ignore this item, but the full implications must be
understood and carefully weighed before choosing a
different course.

MAY This word, or the adjective "optional", means that this
item is one of an allowed set of alternatives. An
implementation which does not include this option MUST be
prepared to interoperate with another implementation which
does include the option.

1.2. Terminology

This document frequently uses the following terms:

datagram The unit of transmission in the network layer (such as IP).
A datagram may be encapsulated in one or more packets
passed to the data link layer.

frame The unit of transmission at the data link layer. A frame
may include a header and/or a trailer, along with some
number of units of data.

packet The basic unit of encapsulation, which is passed across the
interface between the network layer and the data link
layer. A packet is usually mapped to a frame; the
exceptions are when data link layer fragmentation is being
performed, or when multiple packets are incorporated into a
single frame.

peer The other end of the point-to-point link.

silently discard
The implementation discards the packet without further
processing. The implementation SHOULD provide the
capability of logging the error, including the contents of
the silently discarded packet, and SHOULD record the event
in a statistics counter.

2. PPP Encapsulation

The PPP encapsulation is used to disambiguate multiprotocol
datagrams. This encapsulation requires framing to indicate the
beginning and end of the encapsulation. Methods of providing framing
are specified in companion documents.

A summary of the PPP encapsulation is shown below. The fields are
transmitted from left to right.

+----------+-------------+---------+
| Protocol | Information | Padding |
| 8/16 bits| * | * |
+----------+-------------+---------+

Protocol Field

The Protocol field is one or two octets, and its value identifies
the datagram encapsulated in the Information field of the packet.
The field is transmitted and received most significant octet
first.

The structure of this field is consistent with the ISO 3309
extension mechanism for address fields. All Protocols MUST be
odd; the least significant bit of the least significant octet MUST
equal "1". Also, all Protocols MUST be assigned such that the
least significant bit of the most significant octet equals "0".
Frames received which don't comply with these rules MUST be
treated as having an unrecognized Protocol.

Protocol field values in the "0***" to "3***" range identify the
network-layer protocol of specific packets, and values in the
"8***" to "b***" range identify packets belonging to the
associated Network Control Protocols (NCPs), if any.

Protocol field values in the "4***" to "7***" range are used for
protocols with low volume traffic which have no associated NCP.
Protocol field values in the "c***" to "f***" range identify
packets as link-layer Control Protocols (such as LCP).

Up-to-date values of the Protocol field are specified in the most
recent "Assigned Numbers" RFC [2]. This specification reserves
the following values:

Value (in hex) Protocol Name

0001 Padding Protocol
0003 to 001f reserved (transparency inefficient)
007d reserved (Control Escape)
00cf reserved (PPP NLPID)
00ff reserved (compression inefficient)

8001 to 801f unused
807d unused
80cf unused
80ff unused

c021 Link Control Protocol
c023 Password Authentication Protocol
c025 Link Quality Report
c223 Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol

Developers of new protocols MUST obtain a number from the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), at IANA@isi.edu.

Information Field

The Information field is zero or more octets. The Information
field contains the datagram for the protocol specified in the
Protocol field.

The maximum length for the Information field, including Padding,
but not including the Protocol field, is termed the Maximum
Receive Unit (MRU), which defaults to 1500 octets. By
negotiation, consenting PPP implementations may use other values
for the MRU.

Padding

On transmission, the Information field MAY be padded with an
arbitrary number of octets up to the MRU. It is the
responsibility of each protocol to distinguish padding octets from
real information.

3. PPP Link Operation

3.1. Overview

In order to establish communications over a point-to-point link, each
end of the PPP link MUST first send LCP packets to configure and test
the data link. After the link has been established, the peer MAY be
authenticated.

Then, PPP MUST send NCP packets to choose and configure one or more
network-layer protocols. Once each of the chosen network-layer
protocols has been configured, datagrams from each network-layer
protocol can be sent over the link.

The link will remain configured for communications until explicit LCP
or NCP packets close the link down, or until some external event
occurs (an inactivity timer expires or network administrator
intervention).

3.2. Phase Diagram

In the process of configuring, maintaining and terminating the
point-to-point link, the PPP link goes through several distinct
phases which are specified in the following simplified state diagram:

+------+ +-----------+ +--------------+
| | UP | | OPENED | | SUCCESS/NONE
| Dead |------->| Establish |---------->| Authenticate |--+
| | | | | | |
+------+ +-----------+ +--------------+ |
^ | | |
| FAIL | FAIL | |
+<--------------+ +----------+ |
| | |
| +-----------+ | +---------+ |
| DOWN | | | CLOSING | | |
+------------| Terminate |<---+<----------| Network |<-+
| | | |
+-----------+ +---------+

Not all transitions are specified in this diagram. The following
semantics MUST be followed.

3.3. Link Dead (physical-layer not ready)

The link necessarily begins and ends with this phase. When an
external event (such as carrier detection or network administrator
configuration) indicates that the physical-layer is ready to be used,
PPP will proceed to the Link Establishment phase.

During this phase, the LCP automaton (described later) will be in the
Initial or Starting states. The transition to the Link Establishment
phase will signal an Up event to the LCP automaton.

Implementation Note:

Typically, a link will return to this phase automatically after
the disconnection of a modem. In the case of a hard-wired link,
this phase may be extremely short -- merely long enough to detect
the presence of the device.

3.4. Link Establishment Phase

The Link Control Protocol (LCP) is used to establish the connection
through an exchange of Configure packets. This exchange is complete,
and the LCP Opened state entered, once a Configure-Ack packet
(described later) has been both sent and received.

All Configuration Options are assumed to be at default values unless
altered by the configuration exchange. See the chapter on LCP
Configuration Options for further discussion.

It is important to note that only Configuration Options which are
independent of particular network-layer protocols are configured by
LCP. Configuration of individual network-layer protocols is handled
by separate Network Control Protocols (NCPs) during the Network-Layer
Protocol phase.

Any non-LCP packets received during this phase MUST be silently
discarded.

The receipt of the LCP Configure-Request causes a return to the Link
Establishment phase from the Network-Layer Protocol phase or
Authentication phase.

3.5. Authentication Phase

On some links it may be desirable to require a peer to authenticate
itself before allowing network-layer protocol packets to be
exchanged.

By default, authentication is not mandatory. If an implementation
desires that the peer authenticate with some specific authentication
protocol, then it MUST request the use of that authentication
protocol during Link Establishment phase.

Authentication SHOULD take place as soon as possible after link
establishment. However, link quality determination MAY occur
concurrently. An implementation MUST NOT allow the exchange of link
quality determination packets to delay authentication indefinitely.

Advancement from the Authentication phase to the Network-Layer
Protocol phase MUST NOT occur until authentication has completed. If
authentication fails, the authenticator SHOULD proceed instead to the
Link Termination phase.

Only Link Control Protocol, authentication protocol, and link quality
monitoring packets are allowed during this phase. All other packets
received during this phase MUST be silently discarded.

Implementation Notes:

An implementation SHOULD NOT fail authentication simply due to
timeout or lack of response. The authentication SHOULD allow some
method of retransmission, and proceed to the Link Termination
phase only after a number of authentication attempts has been
exceeded.

The implementation responsible for commencing Link Termination
phase is the implementation which has refused authentication to
its peer.

3.6. Network-Layer Protocol Phase

Once PPP has finished the previous phases, each network-layer
protocol (such as IP, IPX, or AppleTalk) MUST be separately
configured by the appropriate Network Control Protocol (NCP).

Each NCP MAY be Opened and Closed at any time.

Implementation Note:

Because an implementation may initially use a significant amount
of time for link quality determination, implementations SHOULD
avoid fixed timeouts when waiting for their peers to configure a
NCP.

After a NCP has reached the Opened state, PPP will carry the
corresponding network-layer protocol packets. Any supported
network-layer protocol packets received when the corresponding NCP is
not in the Opened state MUST be silently discarded.

Implementation Note:

While LCP is in the Opened state, any protocol packet which is
unsupported by the implementation MUST be returned in a Protocol-
Reject (described later). Only protocols which are supported are
silently discarded.

During this phase, link traffic consists of any possible combination
of LCP, NCP, and network-layer protocol packets.

3.7. Link Termination Phase

PPP can terminate the link at any time. This might happen because of
the loss of carrier, authentication failure, link quality failure,
the expiration of an idle-period timer, or the administrative closing
of the link.

LCP is used to close the link through an exchange of Terminate
packets. When the link is closing, PPP informs the network-layer
protocols so that they may take appropriate action.

After the exchange of Terminate packets, the implementation SHOULD
signal the physical-layer to disconnect in order to enforce the
termination of the link, particularly in the case of an
authentication failure. The sender of the Terminate-Request SHOULD
disconnect after receiving a Terminate-Ack, or after the Restart
counter expires. The receiver of a Terminate-Request SHOULD wait for
the peer to disconnect, and MUST NOT disconnect until at least one
Restart time has passed after sending a Terminate-Ack. PPP SHOULD
proceed to the Link Dead phase.

Any non-LCP packets received during this phase MUST be silently
discarded.

Implementation Note:

The closing of the link by LCP is sufficient. There is no need
for each NCP to send a flurry of Terminate packets. Conversely,
the fact that one NCP has Closed is not sufficient reason to cause
the termination of the PPP link, even if that NCP was the only NCP
currently in the Opened state.

4. The Option Negotiation Automaton

The finite-state automaton is defined by events, actions and state
transitions. Events include reception of external commands such as
Open and Close, expiration of the Restart timer, and reception of
packets from a peer. Actions include the starting of the Restart
timer and transmission of packets to the peer.

Some types of packets -- Configure-Naks and Configure-Rejects, or
Code-Rejects and Protocol-Rejects, or Echo-Requests, Echo-Replies and
Discard-Requests -- are not differentiated in the automaton
descriptions. As will be described later, these packets do indeed
serve different functions. However, they always cause the same
transitions.

Events Actions

Up = lower layer is Up tlu = This-Layer-Up
Down = lower layer is Down tld = This-Layer-Down
Open = administrative Open tls = This-Layer-Started
Close= administrative Close tlf = This-Layer-Finished

TO+ = Timeout with counter > 0 irc = Initialize-Restart-Count
TO- = Timeout with counter expired zrc = Zero-Restart-Count

RCR+ = Receive-Configure-Request (Good) scr = Send-Configure-Request
RCR- = Receive-Configure-Request (Bad)
RCA = Receive-Configure-Ack sca = Send-Configure-Ack
RCN = Receive-Configure-Nak/Rej scn = Send-Configure-Nak/Rej

RTR = Receive-Terminate-Request str = Send-Terminate-Request
RTA = Receive-Terminate-Ack sta = Send-Terminate-Ack

RUC = Receive-Unknown-Code scj = Send-Code-Reject
RXJ+ = Receive-Code-Reject (permitted)
or Receive-Protocol-Reject
RXJ- = Receive-Code-Reject (catastrophic)
or Receive-Protocol-Reject
RXR = Receive-Echo-Request ser = Send-Echo-Reply
or Receive-Echo-Reply
or Receive-Discard-Request

4.1. State Transition Table

The complete state transition table follows. States are indicated
horizontally, and events are read vertically. State transitions and
actions are represented in the form action/new-state. Multiple
actions are separated by commas, and may continue on succeeding lines
as space requires; multiple actions may be implemented in any
convenient order. The state may be followed by a letter, which
indicates an explanatory footnote. The dash ('-') indicates an
illegal transition.

| State
| 0 1 2 3 4 5
Events| Initial Starting Closed Stopped Closing Stopping
------+-----------------------------------------------------------
Up | 2 irc,scr/6 - - - -
Down | - - 0 tls/1 0 1
Open | tls/1 1 irc,scr/6 3r 5r 5r
Close| 0 tlf/0 2 2 4 4
|
TO+ | - - - - str/4 str/5
TO- | - - - - tlf/2 tlf/3
|
RCR+ | - - sta/2 irc,scr,sca/8 4 5
RCR- | - - sta/2 irc,scr,scn/6 4 5
RCA | - - sta/2 sta/3 4 5
RCN | - - sta/2 sta/3 4 5
|
RTR | - - sta/2 sta/3 sta/4 sta/5
RTA | - - 2 3 tlf/2 tlf/3
|
RUC | - - scj/2 scj/3 scj/4 scj/5
RXJ+ | - - 2 3 4 5
RXJ- | - - tlf/2 tlf/3 tlf/2 tlf/3
|
RXR | - - 2 3 4 5

| State
| 6 7 8 9
Events| Req-Sent Ack-Rcvd Ack-Sent Opened
------+-----------------------------------------
Up | - - - -
Down | 1 1 1 tld/1
Open | 6 7 8 9r
Close|irc,str/4 irc,str/4 irc,str/4 tld,irc,str/4
|
TO+ | scr/6 scr/6 scr/8 -
TO- | tlf/3p tlf/3p tlf/3p -
|
RCR+ | sca/8 sca,tlu/9 sca/8 tld,scr,sca/8
RCR- | scn/6 scn/7 scn/6 tld,scr,scn/6
RCA | irc/7 scr/6x irc,tlu/9 tld,scr/6x
RCN |irc,scr/6 scr/6x irc,scr/8 tld,scr/6x
|
RTR | sta/6 sta/6 sta/6 tld,zrc,sta/5
RTA | 6 6 8 tld,scr/6
|
RUC | scj/6 scj/7 scj/8 scj/9
RXJ+ | 6 6 8 9
RXJ- | tlf/3 tlf/3 tlf/3 tld,irc,str/5
|
RXR | 6 7 8 ser/9

The states in which the Restart timer is running are identifiable by
the presence of TO events. Only the Send-Configure-Request, Send-
Terminate-Request and Zero-Restart-Count actions start or re-start
the Restart timer. The Restart timer is stopped when transitioning
from any state where the timer is running to a state where the timer
is not running.

The events and actions are defined according to a message passing
architecture, rather than a signalling architecture. If an action is
desired to control specific signals (such as DTR), additional actions
are likely to be required.

[p] Passive option; see Stopped state discussion.

[r] Restart option; see Open event discussion.

[x] Crossed connection; see RCA event discussion.

4.2. States

Following is a more detailed description of each automaton state.

Initial

In the Initial state, the lower layer is unavailable (Down), and
no Open has occurred. The Restart timer is not running in the
Initial state.

Starting

The Starting state is the Open counterpart to the Initial state.
An administrative Open has been initiated, but the lower layer is
still unavailable (Down). The Restart timer is not running in the
Starting state.

When the lower layer becomes available (Up), a Configure-Request
is sent.

Closed

In the Closed state, the link is available (Up), but no Open has
occurred. The Restart timer is not running in the Closed state.

Upon reception of Configure-Request packets, a Terminate-Ack is
sent. Terminate-Acks are silently discarded to avoid creating a
loop.

Stopped

The Stopped state is the Open counterpart to the Closed state. It
is entered when the automaton is waiting for a Down event after
the This-Layer-Finished action, or after sending a Terminate-Ack.
The Restart timer is not running in the Stopped state.

Upon reception of Configure-Request packets, an appropriate
response is sent. Upon reception of other packets, a Terminate-
Ack is sent. Terminate-Acks are silently discarded to avoid
creating a loop.

Rationale:

The Stopped state is a junction state for link termination,
link configuration failure, and other automaton failure modes.
These potentially separate states have been combined.

There is a race condition between the Down event response (from

the This-Layer-Finished action) and the Receive-Configure-
Request event. When a Configure-Request arrives before the
Down event, the Down event will supercede by returning the
automaton to the Starting state. This prevents attack by
repetition.

Implementation Option:

After the peer fails to respond to Configure-Requests, an
implementation MAY wait passively for the peer to send
Configure-Requests. In this case, the This-Layer-Finished
action is not used for the TO- event in states Req-Sent, Ack-
Rcvd and Ack-Sent.

This option is useful for dedicated circuits, or circuits which
have no status signals available, but SHOULD NOT be used for
switched circuits.

Closing

In the Closing state, an attempt is made to terminate the
connection. A Terminate-Request has been sent and the Restart
timer is running, but a Terminate-Ack has not yet been received.

Upon reception of a Terminate-Ack, the Closed state is entered.
Upon the expiration of the Restart timer, a new Terminate-Request
is transmitted, and the Restart timer is restarted. After the
Restart timer has expired Max-Terminate times, the Closed state is
entered.

Stopping

The Stopping state is the Open counterpart to the Closing state.
A Terminate-Request has been sent and the Restart timer is
running, but a Terminate-Ack has not yet been received.

Rationale:

The Stopping state provides a well defined opportunity to
terminate a link before allowing new traffic. After the link
has terminated, a new configuration may occur via the Stopped
or Starting states.

Request-Sent

In the Request-Sent state an attempt is made to configure the
connection. A Configure-Request has been sent and the Restart
timer is running, but a Configure-Ack has not yet been received

nor has one been sent.

Ack-Received

In the Ack-Received state, a Configure-Request has been sent and a
Configure-Ack has been received. The Restart timer is still
running, since a Configure-Ack has not yet been sent.

Ack-Sent

In the Ack-Sent state, a Configure-Request and a Configure-Ack
have both been sent, but a Configure-Ack has not yet been
received. The Restart timer is running, since a Configure-Ack has
not yet been received.

Opened

In the Opened state, a Configure-Ack has been both sent and
received. The Restart timer is not running.

When entering the Opened state, the implementation SHOULD signal
the upper layers that it is now Up. Conversely, when leaving the
Opened state, the implementation SHOULD signal the upper layers
that it is now Down.

4.3. Events

Transitions and actions in the automaton are caused by events.

Up

This event occurs when a lower layer indicates that it is ready to
carry packets.

Typically, this event is used by a modem handling or calling
process, or by some other coupling of the PPP link to the physical
media, to signal LCP that the link is entering Link Establishment
phase.

It also can be used by LCP to signal each NCP that the link is
entering Network-Layer Protocol phase. That is, the This-Layer-Up
action from LCP triggers the Up event in the NCP.

Down

This event occurs when a lower layer indicates that it is no

longer ready to carry packets.

Typically, this event is used by a modem handling or calling
process, or by some other coupling of the PPP link to the physical
media, to signal LCP that the link is entering Link Dead phase.

It also can be used by LCP to signal each NCP that the link is
leaving Network-Layer Protocol phase. That is, the This-Layer-
Down action from LCP triggers the Down event in the NCP.

Open

This event indicates that the link is administratively available
for traffic; that is, the network administrator (human or program)
has indicated that the link is allowed to be Opened. When this
event occurs, and the link is not in the Opened state, the
automaton attempts to send configuration packets to the peer.

If the automaton is not able to begin configuration (the lower
layer is Down, or a previous Close event has not completed), the
establishment of the link is automatically delayed.

When a Terminate-Request is received, or other events occur which
cause the link to become unavailable, the automaton will progress
to a state where the link is ready to re-open. No additional
administrative intervention is necessary.

Implementation Option:

Experience has shown that users will execute an additional Open
command when they want to renegotiate the link. This might
indicate that new values are to be negotiated.

Since this is not the meaning of the Open event, it is
suggested that when an Open user command is executed in the
Opened, Closing, Stopping, or Stopped states, the
implementation issue a Down event, immediately followed by an
Up event. Care must be taken that an intervening Down event
cannot occur from another source.

The Down followed by an Up will cause an orderly renegotiation
of the link, by progressing through the Starting to the
Request-Sent state. This will cause the renegotiation of the
link, without any harmful side effects.

Close

This event indicates that the link is not available for traffic;

that is, the network administrator (human or program) has
indicated that the link is not allowed to be Opened. When this
event occurs, and the link is not in the Closed state, the
automaton attempts to terminate the connection. Futher attempts
to re-configure the link are denied until a new Open event occurs.

Implementation Note:

When authentication fails, the link SHOULD be terminated, to
prevent attack by repetition and denial of service to other
users. Since the link is administratively available (by
definition), this can be accomplished by simulating a Close
event to the LCP, immediately followed by an Open event. Care
must be taken that an intervening Close event cannot occur from
another source.

The Close followed by an Open will cause an orderly termination
of the link, by progressing through the Closing to the Stopping
state, and the This-Layer-Finished action can disconnect the
link. The automaton waits in the Stopped or Starting states
for the next connection attempt.

Timeout (TO+,TO-)

This event indicates the expiration of the Restart timer. The
Restart timer is used to time responses to Configure-Request and
Terminate-Request packets.

The TO+ event indicates that the Restart counter continues to be
greater than zero, which triggers the corresponding Configure-
Request or Terminate-Request packet to be retransmitted.

The TO- event indicates that the Restart counter is not greater
than zero, and no more packets need to be retransmitted.

Receive-Configure-Request (RCR+,RCR-)

This event occurs when a Configure-Request packet is received from
the peer. The Configure-Request packet indicates the desire to
open a connection and may specify Configuration Options. The
Configure-Request packet is more fully described in a later
section.

The RCR+ event indicates that the Configure-Request was
acceptable, and triggers the transmission of a corresponding
Configure-Ack.

The RCR- event indicates that the Configure-Request was

unacceptable, and triggers the transmission of a corresponding
Configure-Nak or Configure-Reject.

Implementation Note:

These events may occur on a connection which is already in the
Opened state. The implementation MUST be prepared to
immediately renegotiate the Configuration Options.

Receive-Configure-Ack (RCA)

This event occurs when a valid Configure-Ack packet is received
from the peer. The Configure-Ack packet is a positive response to
a Configure-Request packet. An out of sequence or otherwise
invalid packet is silently discarded.

Implementation Note:

Since the correct packet has already been received before
reaching the Ack-Rcvd or Opened states, it is extremely
unlikely that another such packet will arrive. As specified,
all invalid Ack/Nak/Rej packets are silently discarded, and do
not affect the transitions of the automaton.

However, it is not impossible that a correctly formed packet
will arrive through a coincidentally-timed cross-connection.
It is more likely to be the result of an implementation error.
At the very least, this occurance SHOULD be logged.

Receive-Configure-Nak/Rej (RCN)

This event occurs when a valid Configure-Nak or Configure-Reject
packet is received from the peer. The Configure-Nak and
Configure-Reject packets are negative responses to a Configure-
Request packet. An out of sequence or otherwise invalid packet is
silently discarded.

Implementation Note:

Although the Configure-Nak and Configure-Reject cause the same
state transition in the automaton, these packets have
significantly different effects on the Configuration Options
sent in the resulting Configure-Request packet.

Receive-Terminate-Request (RTR)

This event occurs when a Terminate-Request packet is received.
The Terminate-Request packet indicates the desire of the peer to

close the connection.

Implementation Note:

This event is not identical to the Close event (see above), and
does not override the Open commands of the local network
administrator. The implementation MUST be prepared to receive
a new Configure-Request without network administrator
intervention.

Receive-Terminate-Ack (RTA)

This event occurs when a Terminate-Ack packet is received from the
peer. The Terminate-Ack packet is usually a response to a
Terminate-Request packet. The Terminate-Ack packet may also
indicate that the peer is in Closed or Stopped states, and serves
to re-synchronize the link configuration.

Receive-Unknown-Code (RUC)

This event occurs when an un-interpretable packet is received from
the peer. A Code-Reject packet is sent in response.

Receive-Code-Reject, Receive-Protocol-Reject (RXJ+,RXJ-)

This event occurs when a Code-Reject or a Protocol-Reject packet
is received from the peer.

The RXJ+ event arises when the rejected value is acceptable, such
as a Code-Reject of an extended code, or a Protocol-Reject of a
NCP. These are within the scope of normal operation. The
implementation MUST stop sending the offending packet type.

The RXJ- event arises when the rejected value is catastrophic,
such as a Code-Reject of Configure-Request, or a Protocol-Reject
of LCP! This event communicates an unrecoverable error that
terminates the connection.

Receive-Echo-Request, Receive-Echo-Reply, Receive-Discard-Request
(RXR)

This event occurs when an Echo-Request, Echo-Reply or Discard-
Request packet is received from the peer. The Echo-Reply packet
is a response to an Echo-Request packet. There is no reply to an
Echo-Reply or Discard-Request packet.

4.4. Actions

Actions in the automaton are caused by events and typically indicate
the transmission of packets and/or the starting or stopping of the
Restart timer.

Illegal-Event (-)

This indicates an event that cannot occur in a properly
implemented automaton. The implementation has an internal error,
which should be reported and logged. No transition is taken, and
the implementation SHOULD NOT reset or freeze.

This-Layer-Up (tlu)

This action indicates to the upper layers that the automaton is
entering the Opened state.

Typically, this action is used by the LCP to signal the Up event
to a NCP, Authentication Protocol, or Link Quality Protocol, or
MAY be used by a NCP to indicate that the link is available for
its network layer traffic.

This-Layer-Down (tld)

This action indicates to the upper layers that the automaton is
leaving the Opened state.

Typically, this action is used by the LCP to signal the Down event
to a NCP, Authentication Protocol, or Link Quality Protocol, or
MAY be used by a NCP to indicate that the link is no longer
available for its network layer traffic.

This-Layer-Started (tls)

This action indicates to the lower layers that the automaton is
entering the Starting state, and the lower layer is needed for the
link. The lower layer SHOULD respond with an Up event when the
lower layer is available.

This results of this action are highly implementation dependent.

This-Layer-Finished (tlf)

This action indicates to the lower layers that the automaton is
entering the Initial, Closed or Stopped states, and the lower
layer is no longer needed for the link. The lower layer SHOULD
respond with a Down event when the lower layer has terminated.

Typically, this action MAY be used by the LCP to advance to the
Link Dead phase, or MAY be used by a NCP to indicate to the LCP
that the link may terminate when there are no other NCPs open.

This results of this action are highly implementation dependent.

Initialize-Restart-Count (irc)

This action sets the Restart counter to the appropriate value
(Max-Terminate or Max-Configure). The counter is decremented for
each transmission, including the first.

Implementation Note:

In addition to setting the Restart counter, the implementation
MUST set the timeout period to the initial value when Restart
timer backoff is used.

Zero-Restart-Count (zrc)

This action sets the Restart counter to zero.

Implementation Note:

This action enables the FSA to pause before proceeding to the
desired final state, allowing traffic to be processed by the
peer. In addition to zeroing the Restart counter, the
implementation MUST set the timeout period to an appropriate
value.

Send-Configure-Request (scr)

A Configure-Request packet is transmitted. This indicates the
desire to open a connection with a specified set of Configuration
Options. The Restart timer is started when the Configure-Request
packet is transmitted, to guard against packet loss. The Restart
counter is decremented each time a Configure-Request is sent.

Send-Configure-Ack (sca)

A Configure-Ack packet is transmitted. This acknowledges the
reception of a Configure-Request packet with an acceptable set of
Configuration Options.

Send-Configure-Nak (scn)

A Configure-Nak or Configure-Reject packet is transmitted, as
appropriate. This negative response reports the reception of a

Configure-Request packet with an unacceptable set of Configuration
Options.

Configure-Nak packets are used to refuse a Configuration Option
value, and to suggest a new, acceptable value. Configure-Reject
packets are used to refuse all negotiation about a Configuration
Option, typically because it is not recognized or implemented.
The use of Configure-Nak versus Configure-Reject is more fully
described in the chapter on LCP Packet Formats.

Send-Terminate-Request (str)

A Terminate-Request packet is transmitted. This indicates the
desire to close a connection. The Restart timer is started when
the Terminate-Request packet is transmitted, to guard against
packet loss. The Restart counter is decremented each time a
Terminate-Request is sent.

Send-Terminate-Ack (sta)

A Terminate-Ack packet is transmitted. This acknowledges the
reception of a Terminate-Request packet or otherwise serves to
synchronize the automatons.

Send-Code-Reject (scj)

A Code-Reject packet is transmitted. This indicates the reception
of an unknown type of packet.

Send-Echo-Reply (ser)

An Echo-Reply packet is transmitted. This acknowledges the
reception of an Echo-Request packet.

4.5. Loop Avoidance

The protocol makes a reasonable attempt at avoiding Configuration
Option negotiation loops. However, the protocol does NOT guarantee
that loops will not happen. As with any negotiation, it is possible
to configure two PPP implementations with conflicting policies that
will never converge. It is also possible to configure policies which
do converge, but which take significant time to do so. Implementors
should keep this in mind and SHOULD implement loop detection
mechanisms or higher level timeouts.

4.6. Counters and Timers

Restart Timer

There is one special timer used by the automaton. The Restart
timer is used to time transmissions of Configure-Request and
Terminate-Request packets. Expiration of the Restart timer causes
a Timeout event, and retransmission of the corresponding
Configure-Request or Terminate-Request packet. The Restart timer
MUST be configurable, but SHOULD default to three (3) seconds.

Implementation Note:

The Restart timer SHOULD be based on the speed of the link.
The default value is designed for low speed (2,400 to 9,600
bps), high switching latency links (typical telephone lines).
Higher speed links, or links with low switching latency, SHOULD
have correspondingly faster retransmission times.

Instead of a constant value, the Restart timer MAY begin at an
initial small value and increase to the configured final value.
Each successive value less than the final value SHOULD be at
least twice the previous value. The initial value SHOULD be
large enough to account for the size of the packets, twice the
round trip time for transmission at the link speed, and at
least an additional 100 milliseconds to allow the peer to
process the packets before responding. Some circuits add
another 200 milliseconds of satellite delay. Round trip times
for modems operating at 14,400 bps have been measured in the
range of 160 to more than 600 milliseconds.

Max-Terminate

There is one required restart counter for Terminate-Requests.
Max-Terminate indicates the number of Terminate-Request packets
sent without receiving a Terminate-Ack before assuming that the
peer is unable to respond. Max-Terminate MUST be configurable,
but SHOULD default to two (2) transmissions.

Max-Configure

A similar counter is recommended for Configure-Requests. Max-
Configure indicates the number of Configure-Request packets sent
without receiving a valid Configure-Ack, Configure-Nak or
Configure-Reject before assuming that the peer is unable to
respond. Max-Configure MUST be configurable, but SHOULD default
to ten (10) transmissions.

Max-Failure

A related counter is recommended for Configure-Nak. Max-Failure
indicates the number of Configure-Nak packets sent without sending
a Configure-Ack before assuming that configuration is not
converging. Any further Configure-Nak packets for peer requested
options are converted to Configure-Reject packets, and locally
desired options are no longer appended. Max-Failure MUST be
configurable, but SHOULD default to five (5) transmissions.

5. LCP Packet Formats

There are three classes of LCP packets:

1. Link Configuration packets used to establish and configure a
link (Configure-Request, Configure-Ack, Configure-Nak and
Configure-Reject).

2. Link Termination packets used to terminate a link (Terminate-
Request and Terminate-Ack).

3. Link Maintenance packets used to manage and debug a link
(Code-Reject, Protocol-Reject, Echo-Request, Echo-Reply, and
Discard-Request).

In the interest of simplicity, there is no version field in the LCP
packet. A correctly functioning LCP implementation will always
respond to unknown Protocols and Codes with an easily recognizable
LCP packet, thus providing a deterministic fallback mechanism for
implementations of other versions.

Regardless of which Configuration Options are enabled, all LCP Link
Configuration, Link Termination, and Code-Reject packets (codes 1
through 7) are always sent as if no Configuration Options were
negotiated. In particular, each Configuration Option specifies a
default value. This ensures that such LCP packets are always
recognizable, even when one end of the link mistakenly believes the
link to be open.

Exactly one LCP packet is encapsulated in the PPP Information field,
where the PPP Protocol field indicates type hex c021 (Link Control
Protocol).

A summary of the Link Control Protocol packet format is shown below.
The fields are transmitted from left to right.

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Code | Identifier | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Data ...
+-+-+-+-+

Code

The Code field is one octet, and identifies the kind of LCP

packet. When a packet is received with an unknown Code field, a
Code-Reject packet is transmitted.

Up-to-date values of the LCP Code field are specified in the most
recent "Assigned Numbers" RFC [2]. This document concerns the
following values:

1 Configure-Request
2 Configure-Ack
3 Configure-Nak
4 Configure-Reject
5 Terminate-Request
6 Terminate-Ack
7 Code-Reject
8 Protocol-Reject
9 Echo-Request
10 Echo-Reply
11 Discard-Request

Identifier

The Identifier field is one octet, and aids in matching requests
and replies. When a packet is received with an invalid Identifier
field, the packet is silently discarded without affecting the
automaton.

Length

The Length field is two octets, and indicates the length of the
LCP packet, including the Code, Identifier, Length and Data
fields. The Length MUST NOT exceed the MRU of the link.

Octets outside the range of the Length field are treated as
padding and are ignored on reception. When a packet is received
with an invalid Length field, the packet is silently discarded
without affecting the automaton.

Data

The Data field is zero or more octets, as indicated by the Length
field. The format of the Data field is determined by the Code
field.

5.1. Configure-Request

Description

An implementation wishing to open a connection MUST transmit a
Configure-Request. The Options field is filled with any desired
changes to the link defaults. Configuration Options SHOULD NOT be
included with default values.

Upon reception of a Configure-Request, an appropriate reply MUST
be transmitted.

A summary of the Configure-Request packet format is shown below. The
fields are transmitted from left to right.

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Code | Identifier | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Options ...
+-+-+-+-+

Code

1 for Configure-Request.

Identifier

The Identifier field MUST be changed whenever the contents of the
Options field changes, and whenever a valid reply has been
received for a previous request. For retransmissions, the
Identifier MAY remain unchanged.

Options

The options field is variable in length, and contains the list of
zero or more Configuration Options that the sender desires to
negotiate. All Configuration Options are always negotiated
simultaneously. The format of Configuration Options is further
described in a later chapter.

5.2. Configure-Ack

Description

If every Configuration Option received in a Configure-Request is
recognizable and all values are acceptable, then the
implementation MUST transmit a Configure-Ack. The acknowledged
Configuration Options MUST NOT be reordered or modified in any
way.

On reception of a Configure-Ack, the Identifier field MUST match
that of the last transmitted Configure-Request. Additionally, the
Configuration Options in a Configure-Ack MUST exactly match those
of the last transmitted Configure-Request. Invalid packets are
silently discarded.

A summary of the Configure-Ack packet format is shown below. The
fields are transmitted from left to right.

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Code | Identifier | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Options ...
+-+-+-+-+

Code

2 for Configure-Ack.

Identifier

The Identifier field is a copy of the Identifier field of the
Configure-Request which caused this Configure-Ack.

Options

The Options field is variable in length, and contains the list of
zero or more Configuration Options that the sender is
acknowledging. All Configuration Options are always acknowledged
simultaneously.

5.3. Configure-Nak

Description

If every instance of the received Configuration Options is
recognizable, but some values are not acceptable, then the
implementation MUST transmit a Configure-Nak. The Options field
is filled with only the unacceptable Configuration Options from
the Configure-Request. All acceptable Configuration Options are
filtered out of the Configure-Nak, but otherwise the Configuration
Options from the Configure-Request MUST NOT be reordered.

Options which have no value fields (boolean options) MUST use the
Configure-Reject reply instead.

Each Configuration Option which is allowed only a single instance
MUST be modified to a value acceptable to the Configure-Nak
sender. The default value MAY be used, when this differs from the
requested value.

When a particular type of Configuration Option can be listed more
than once with different values, the Configure-Nak MUST include a
list of all values for that option which are acceptable to the
Configure-Nak sender. This includes acceptable values that were
present in the Configure-Request.

Finally, an implementation may be configured to request the
negotiation of a specific Configuration Option. If that option is
not listed, then that option MAY be appended to the list of Nak'd
Configuration Options, in order to prompt the peer to include that
option in its next Configure-Request packet. Any value fields for
the option MUST indicate values acceptable to the Configure-Nak
sender.

On reception of a Configure-Nak, the Identifier field MUST match
that of the last transmitted Configure-Request. Invalid packets
are silently discarded.

Reception of a valid Configure-Nak indicates that when a new
Configure-Request is sent, the Configuration Options MAY be
modified as specified in the Configure-Nak. When multiple
instances of a Configuration Option are present, the peer SHOULD
select a single value to include in its next Configure-Request
packet.

Some Configuration Options have a variable length. Since the
Nak'd Option has been modified by the peer, the implementation
MUST be able to handle an Option length which is different from

the original Configure-Request.

A summary of the Configure-Nak packet format is shown below. The
fields are transmitted from left to right.

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Code | Identifier | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Options ...
+-+-+-+-+

Code

3 for Configure-Nak.

Identifier

The Identifier field is a copy of the Identifier field of the
Configure-Request which caused this Configure-Nak.

Options

The Options field is variable in length, and contains the list of
zero or more Configuration Options that the sender is Nak'ing.
All Configuration Options are always Nak'd simultaneously.

5.4. Configure-Reject

Description

If some Configuration Options received in a Configure-Request are
not recognizable or are not acceptable for negotiation (as
configured by a network administrator), then the implementation
MUST transmit a Configure-Reject. The Options field is filled
with only the unacceptable Configuration Options from the
Configure-Request. All recognizable and negotiable Configuration
Options are filtered out of the Configure-Reject, but otherwise
the Configuration Options MUST NOT be reordered or modified in any
way.

On reception of a Configure-Reject, the Identifier field MUST
match that of the last transmitted Configure-Request.
Additionally, the Configuration Options in a Configure-Reject MUST

be a proper subset of those in the last transmitted Configure-
Request. Invalid packets are silently discarded.

Reception of a valid Configure-Reject indicates that when a new
Configure-Request is sent, it MUST NOT include any of the
Configuration Options listed in the Configure-Reject.

A summary of the Configure-Reject packet format is shown below. The
fields are transmitted from left to right.

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Code | Identifier | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Options ...
+-+-+-+-+

Code

4 for Configure-Reject.

Identifier

The Identifier field is a copy of the Identifier field of the
Configure-Request which caused this Configure-Reject.

Options

The Options field is variable in length, and contains the list of
zero or more Configuration Options that the sender is rejecting.
All Configuration Options are always rejected simultaneously.

5.5. Terminate-Request and Terminate-Ack

Description

LCP includes Terminate-Request and Terminate-Ack Codes in order to
provide a mechanism for closing a connection.

An implementation wishing to close a connection SHOULD transmit a
Terminate-Request. Terminate-Request packets SHOULD continue to
be sent until Terminate-Ack is received, the lower layer indicates
that it has gone down, or a sufficiently large number have been
transmitted such that the peer is down with reasonable certainty.

Upon reception of a Terminate-Request, a Terminate-Ack MUST be
transmitted.

Reception of an unelicited Terminate-Ack indicates that the peer
is in the Closed or Stopped states, or is otherwise in need of
re-negotiation.

A summary of the Terminate-Request and Terminate-Ack packet formats
is shown below. The fields are transmitted from left to right.

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Code | Identifier | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Data ...
+-+-+-+-+

Code

5 for Terminate-Request;

6 for Terminate-Ack.

Identifier

On transmission, the Identifier field MUST be changed whenever the
content of the Data field changes, and whenever a valid reply has
been received for a previous request. For retransmissions, the
Identifier MAY remain unchanged.

On reception, the Identifier field of the Terminate-Request is
copied into the Identifier field of the Terminate-Ack packet.

Data

The Data field is zero or more octets, and contains uninterpreted
data for use by the sender. The data may consist of any binary
value. The end of the field is indicated by the Length.

5.6. Code-Reject

Description

Reception of a LCP packet with an unknown Code indicates that the
peer is operating with a different version. This MUST be reported
back to the sender of the unknown Code by transmitting a Code-
Reject.

Upon reception of the Code-Reject of a code which is fundamental
to this version of the protocol, the implementation SHOULD report
the problem and drop the connection, since it is unlikely that the
situation can be rectified automatically.

A summary of the Code-Reject packet format is shown below. The
fields are transmitted from left to right.

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Code | Identifier | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Rejected-Packet ...
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Code

7 for Code-Reject.

Identifier

The Identifier field MUST be changed for each Code-Reject sent.

Rejected-Packet

The Rejected-Packet field contains a copy of the LCP packet which
is being rejected. It begins with the Information field, and does
not include any Data Link Layer headers nor an FCS. The
Rejected-Packet MUST be truncated to comply with the peer's

established MRU.

5.7. Protocol-Reject

Description

Reception of a PPP packet with an unknown Protocol field indicates
that the peer is attempting to use a protocol which is
unsupported. This usually occurs when the peer attempts to
configure a new protocol. If the LCP automaton is in the Opened
state, then this MUST be reported back to the peer by transmitting
a Protocol-Reject.

Upon reception of a Protocol-Reject, the implementation MUST stop
sending packets of the indicated protocol at the earliest
opportunity.

Protocol-Reject packets can only be sent in the LCP Opened state.
Protocol-Reject packets received in any state other than the LCP
Opened state SHOULD be silently discarded.

A summary of the Protocol-Reject packet format is shown below. The
fields are transmitted from left to right.

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Code | Identifier | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Rejected-Protocol | Rejected-Information ...
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Code

8 for Protocol-Reject.

Identifier

The Identifier field MUST be changed for each Protocol-Reject
sent.

Rejected-Protocol

The Rejected-Protocol field is two octets, and contains the PPP
Protocol field of the packet which is being rejected.

Rejected-Information

The Rejected-Information field contains a copy of the packet which
is being rejected. It begins with the Information field, and does
not include any Data Link Layer headers nor an FCS. The
Rejected-Information MUST be truncated to comply with the peer's
established MRU.

5.8. Echo-Request and Echo-Reply

Description

LCP includes Echo-Request and Echo-Reply Codes in order to provide
a Data Link Layer loopback mechanism for use in exercising both
directions of the link. This is useful as an aid in debugging,
link quality determination, performance testing, and for numerous
other functions.

Upon reception of an Echo-Request in the LCP Opened state, an
Echo-Reply MUST be transmitted.

Echo-Request and Echo-Reply packets MUST only be sent in the LCP
Opened state. Echo-Request and Echo-Reply packets received in any
state other than the LCP Opened state SHOULD be silently
discarded.

A summary of the Echo-Request and Echo-Reply packet formats is shown
below. The fields are transmitted from left to right.

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Code | Identifier | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Magic-Number |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Data ...
+-+-+-+-+

Code

9 for Echo-Request;

10 for Echo-Reply.

Identifier

On transmission, the Identifier field MUST be changed whenever the
content of the Data field changes, and whenever a valid reply has
been received for a previous request. For retransmissions, the
Identifier MAY remain unchanged.

On reception, the Identifier field of the Echo-Request is copied
into the Identifier field of the Echo-Reply packet.

Magic-Number

The Magic-Number field is four octets, and aids in detecting links
which are in the looped-back condition. Until the Magic-Number
Configuration Option has been successfully negotiated, the Magic-
Number MUST be transmitted as zero. See the Magic-Number
Configuration Option for further explanation.

Data

The Data field is zero or more octets, and contains uninterpreted
data for use by the sender. The data may consist of any binary
value. The end of the field is indicated by the Length.

5.9. Discard-Request

Description

LCP includes a Discard-Request Code in order to provide a Data
Link Layer sink mechanism for use in exercising the local to
remote direction of the link. This is useful as an aid in
debugging, performance testing, and for numerous other functions.

Discard-Request packets MUST only be sent in the LCP Opened state.
On reception, the receiver MUST silently discard any Discard-
Request that it receives.

A summary of the Discard-Request packet format is shown below. The
fields are transmitted from left to right.

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Code | Identifier | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Magic-Number |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Data ...
+-+-+-+-+

Code

11 for Discard-Request.

Identifier

The Identifier field MUST be changed for each Discard-Request
sent.

Magic-Number

The Magic-Number field is four octets, and aids in detecting links
which are in the looped-back condition. Until the Magic-Number
Configuration Option has been successfully negotiated, the Magic-
Number MUST be transmitted as zero. See the Magic-Number
Configuration Option for further explanation.

Data

The Data field is zero or more octets, and contains uninterpreted
data for use by the sender. The data may consist of any binary
value. The end of the field is indicated by the Length.

6. LCP Configuration Options

LCP Configuration Options allow negotiation of modifications to the
default characteristics of a point-to-point link. If a Configuration
Option is not included in a Configure-Request packet, the default
value for that Configuration Option is assumed.

Some Configuration Options MAY be listed more than once. The effect
of this is Configuration Option specific, and is specified by each
such Configuration Option description. (None of the Configuration
Options in this specification can be listed more than once.)

The end of the list of Configuration Options is indicated by the
Length field of the LCP packet.

Unless otherwise specified, all Configuration Options apply in a
half-duplex fashion; typically, in the receive direction of the link
from the point of view of the Configure-Request sender.

Design Philosophy

The options indicate additional capabilities or requirements of
the implementation that is requesting the option. An
implementation which does not understand any option SHOULD
interoperate with one which implements every option.

A default is specified for each option which allows the link to
correctly function without negotiation of the option, although
perhaps with less than optimal performance.

Except where explicitly specified, acknowledgement of an option
does not require the peer to take any additional action other than
the default.

It is not necessary to send the default values for the options in
a Configure-Request.

A summary of the Configuration Option format is shown below. The
fields are transmitted from left to right.

0 1
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Length | Data ...
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Type

The Type field is one octet, and indicates the type of
Configuration Option. Up-to-date values of the LCP Option Type
field are specified in the most recent "Assigned Numbers" RFC [2].
This document concerns the following values:

0 RESERVED
1 Maximum-Receive-Unit
3 Authentication-Protocol
4 Quality-Protocol
5 Magic-Number
7 Protocol-Field-Compression
8 Address-and-Control-Field-Compression

Length

The Length field is one octet, and indicates the length of this
Configuration Option including the Type, Length and Data fields.

If a negotiable Configuration Option is received in a Configure-
Request, but with an invalid or unrecognized Length, a Configure-
Nak SHOULD be transmitted which includes the desired Configuration
Option with an appropriate Length and Data.

Data

The Data field is zero or more octets, and contains information
specific to the Configuration Option. The format and length of
the Data field is determined by the Type and Length fields.

When the Data field is indicated by the Length to extend beyond
the end of the Information field, the entire packet is silently
discarded without affecting the automaton.

6.1. Maximum-Receive-Unit (MRU)

Description

This Configuration Option may be sent to inform the peer that the
implementation can receive larger packets, or to request that the
peer send smaller packets.

The default value is 1500 octets. If smaller packets are
requested, an implementation MUST still be able to receive the
full 1500 octet information field in case link synchronization is
lost.

Implementation Note:

This option is used to indicate an implementation capability.
The peer is not required to maximize the use of the capacity.
For example, when a MRU is indicated which is 2048 octets, the
peer is not required to send any packet with 2048 octets. The
peer need not Configure-Nak to indicate that it will only send
smaller packets, since the implementation will always require
support for at least 1500 octets.

A summary of the Maximum-Receive-Unit Configuration Option format is
shown below. The fields are transmitted from left to right.

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Length | Maximum-Receive-Unit |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Type

1

Length

4

Maximum-Receive-Unit

The Maximum-Receive-Unit field is two octets, and specifies the
maximum number of octets in the Information and Padding fields.
It does not include the framing, Protocol field, FCS, nor any
transparency bits or bytes.

6.2. Authentication-Protocol

Description

On some links it may be desirable to require a peer to
authenticate itself before allowing network-layer protocol packets
to be exchanged.

This Configuration Option provides a method to negotiate the use
of a specific protocol for authentication. By default,
authentication is not required.

An implementation MUST NOT include multiple Authentication-
Protocol Configuration Options in its Configure-Request packets.
Instead, it SHOULD attempt to configure the most desirable
protocol first. If that protocol is Configure-Nak'd, then the
implementation SHOULD attempt the next most desirable protocol in
the next Configure-Request.

The implementation sending the Configure-Request is indicating
that it expects authentication from its peer. If an
implementation sends a Configure-Ack, then it is agreeing to
authenticate with the specified protocol. An implementation
receiving a Configure-Ack SHOULD expect the peer to authenticate
with the acknowledged protocol.

There is no requirement that authentication be full-duplex or that
the same protocol be used in both directions. It is perfectly
acceptable for different protocols to be used in each direction.
This will, of course, depend on the specific protocols negotiated.

A summary of the Authentication-Protocol Configuration Option format
is shown below. The fields are transmitted from left to right.

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Length | Authentication-Protocol |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Data ...
+-+-+-+-+

Type

3

Length

>= 4

Authentication-Protocol

The Authentication-Protocol field is two octets, and indicates the
authentication protocol desired. Values for this field are always
the same as the PPP Protocol field values for that same
authentication protocol.

Up-to-date values of the Authentication-Protocol field are
specified in the most recent "Assigned Numbers" RFC [2]. Current
values are assigned as follows:

Value (in hex) Protocol

c023 Password Authentication Protocol
c223 Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol

Data

The Data field is zero or more octets, and contains additional
data as determined by the particular protocol.

6.3. Quality-Protocol

Description

On some links it may be desirable to determine when, and how
often, the link is dropping data. This process is called link
quality monitoring.

This Configuration Option provides a method to negotiate the use
of a specific protocol for link quality monitoring. By default,
link quality monitoring is disabled.

The implementation sending the Configure-Request is indicating
that it expects to receive monitoring information from its peer.
If an implementation sends a Configure-Ack, then it is agreeing to
send the specified protocol. An implementation receiving a
Configure-Ack SHOULD expect the peer to send the acknowledged
protocol.

There is no requirement that quality monitoring be full-duplex or

that the same protocol be used in both directions. It is
perfectly acceptable for different protocols to be used in each
direction. This will, of course, depend on the specific protocols
negotiated.

A summary of the Quality-Protocol Configuration Option format is
shown below. The fields are transmitted from left to right.

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Length | Quality-Protocol |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Data ...
+-+-+-+-+

Type

4

Length

>= 4

Quality-Protocol

The Quality-Protocol field is two octets, and indicates the link
quality monitoring protocol desired. Values for this field are
always the same as the PPP Protocol field values for that same
monitoring protocol.

Up-to-date values of the Quality-Protocol field are specified in
the most recent "Assigned Numbers" RFC [2]. Current values are
assigned as follows:

Value (in hex) Protocol

c025 Link Quality Report

Data

The Data field is zero or more octets, and contains additional
data as determined by the particular protocol.

6.4. Magic-Number

Description

This Configuration Option provides a method to detect looped-back
links and other Data Link Layer anomalies. This Configuration
Option MAY be required by some other Configuration Options such as
the Quality-Protocol Configuration Option. By default, the
Magic-Number is not negotiated, and zero is inserted where a
Magic-Number might otherwise be used.

Before this Configuration Option is requested, an implementation
MUST choose its Magic-Number. It is recommended that the Magic-
Number be chosen in the most random manner possible in order to
guarantee with very high probability that an implementation will
arrive at a unique number. A good way to choose a unique random
number is to start with a unique seed. Suggested sources of
uniqueness include machine serial numbers, other network hardware
addresses, time-of-day clocks, etc. Particularly good random
number seeds are precise measurements of the inter-arrival time of
physical events such as packet reception on other connected
networks, server response time, or the typing rate of a human
user. It is also suggested that as many sources as possible be
used simultaneously.

When a Configure-Request is received with a Magic-Number
Configuration Option, the received Magic-Number is compared with
the Magic-Number of the last Configure-Request sent to the peer.
If the two Magic-Numbers are different, then the link is not
looped-back, and the Magic-Number SHOULD be acknowledged. If the
two Magic-Numbers are equal, then it is possible, but not certain,
that the link is looped-back and that this Configure-Request is
actually the one last sent. To determine this, a Configure-Nak
MUST be sent specifying a different Magic-Number value. A new
Configure-Request SHOULD NOT be sent to the peer until normal
processing would cause it to be sent (that is, until a Configure-
Nak is received or the Restart timer runs out).

Reception of a Configure-Nak with a Magic-Number different from
that of the last Configure-Nak sent to the peer proves that a link
is not looped-back, and indicates a unique Magic-Number. If the
Magic-Number is equal to the one sent in the last Configure-Nak,
the possibility of a looped-back link is increased, and a new
Magic-Number MUST be chosen. In either case, a new Configure-
Request SHOULD be sent with the new Magic-Number.

If the link is indeed looped-back, this sequence (transmit
Configure-Request, receive Configure-Request, transmit Configure-

Nak, receive Configure-Nak) will repeat over and over again. If
the link is not looped-back, this sequence might occur a few
times, but it is extremely unlikely to occur repeatedly. More
likely, the Magic-Numbers chosen at either end will quickly
diverge, terminating the sequence. The following table shows the
probability of collisions assuming that both ends of the link
select Magic-Numbers with a perfectly uniform distribution:

Number of Collisions Probability
-------------------- ---------------------
1 1/2**32 = 2.3 E-10
2 1/2**32**2 = 5.4 E-20
3 1/2**32**3 = 1.3 E-29

Good sources of uniqueness or randomness are required for this
divergence to occur. If a good source of uniqueness cannot be
found, it is recommended that this Configuration Option not be
enabled; Configure-Requests with the option SHOULD NOT be
transmitted and any Magic-Number Configuration Options which the
peer sends SHOULD be either acknowledged or rejected. In this
case, looped-back links cannot be reliably detected by the
implementation, although they may still be detectable by the peer.

If an implementation does transmit a Configure-Request with a
Magic-Number Configuration Option, then it MUST NOT respond with a
Configure-Reject when it receives a Configure-Request with a
Magic-Number Configuration Option. That is, if an implementation
desires to use Magic Numbers, then it MUST also allow its peer to
do so. If an implementation does receive a Configure-Reject in
response to a Configure-Request, it can only mean that the link is
not looped-back, and that its peer will not be using Magic-
Numbers. In this case, an implementation SHOULD act as if the
negotiation had been successful (as if it had instead received a
Configure-Ack).

The Magic-Number also may be used to detect looped-back links
during normal operation, as well as during Configuration Option
negotiation. All LCP Echo-Request, Echo-Reply, and Discard-
Request packets have a Magic-Number field. If Magic-Number has
been successfully negotiated, an implementation MUST transmit
these packets with the Magic-Number field set to its negotiated
Magic-Number.

The Magic-Number field of these packets SHOULD be inspected on
reception. All received Magic-Number fields MUST be equal to
either zero or the peer's unique Magic-Number, depending on
whether or not the peer negotiated a Magic-Number.

Reception of a Magic-Number field equal to the negotiated local
Magic-Number indicates a looped-back link. Reception of a Magic-
Number other than the negotiated local Magic-Number, the peer's
negotiated Magic-Number, or zero if the peer didn't negotiate one,
indicates a link which has been (mis)configured for communications
with a different peer.

Procedures for recovery from either case are unspecified, and may
vary from implementation to implementation. A somewhat
pessimistic procedure is to assume a LCP Down event. A further
Open event will begin the process of re-establishing the link,
which can't complete until the looped-back condition is
terminated, and Magic-Numbers are successfully negotiated. A more
optimistic procedure (in the case of a looped-back link) is to
begin transmitting LCP Echo-Request packets until an appropriate
Echo-Reply is received, indicating a termination of the looped-
back condition.

A summary of the Magic-Number Configuration Option format is shown
below. The fields are transmitted from left to right.

0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Length | Magic-Number
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
Magic-Number (cont) |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Type

5

Length

6

Magic-Number

The Magic-Number field is four octets, and indicates a number
which is very likely to be unique to one end of the link. A
Magic-Number of zero is illegal and MUST always be Nak'd, if it is
not Rejected outright.

6.5. Protocol-Field-Compression (PFC)

Description

This Configuration Option provides a method to negotiate the
compression of the PPP Protocol field. By default, all
implementations MUST transmit packets with two octet PPP Protocol
fields.

PPP Protocol field numbers are chosen such that some values may be
compressed into a single octet form which is clearly
distinguishable from the two octet form. This Configuration
Option is sent to inform the peer that the implementation can
receive such single octet Protocol fields.

As previously mentioned, the Protocol field uses an extension
mechanism consistent with the ISO 3309 extension mechanism for the
Address field; the Least Significant Bit (LSB) of each octet is
used to indicate extension of the Protocol field. A binary "0" as
the LSB indicates that the Protocol field continues with the
following octet. The presence of a binary "1" as the LSB marks
the last octet of the Protocol field. Notice that any number of
"0" octets may be prepended to the field, and will still indicate
the same value (consider the two binary representations for 3,
00000011 and 00000000 00000011).

When using low speed links, it is desirable to conserve bandwidth
by sending as little redundant data as possible. The Protocol-
Field-Compression Configuration Option allows a trade-off between
implementation simplicity and bandwidth efficiency. If
successfully negotiated, the ISO 3309 extension mechanism may be
used to compress the Protocol field to one octet instead of two.
The large majority of packets are compressible since data
protocols are typically assigned with Protocol field values less
than 256.

Compressed Protocol fields MUST NOT be transmitted unless this
Configuration Option has been negotiated. When negotiated, PPP
implementations MUST accept PPP packets with either double-octet
or single-octet Protocol fields, and MUST NOT distinguish between
them.

The Protocol field is never compressed when sending any LCP
packet. This rule guarantees unambiguous recognition of LCP
packets.

When a Protocol field is compressed, the Data Link Layer FCS field
is calculated on the compressed frame, not the original

uncompressed frame.

A summary of the Protocol-Field-Compression Configuration Option
format is shown below. The fields are transmitted from left to
right.

0 1
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Type

7

Length

2

6.6. Address-and-Control-Field-Compression (ACFC)

Description

This Configuration Option provides a method to negotiate the
compression of the Data Link Layer Address and Control fields. By
default, all implementations MUST transmit frames with Address and
Control fields appropriate to the link framing.

Since these fields usually have constant values for point-to-point
links, they are easily compressed. This Configuration Option is
sent to inform the peer that the implementation can receive
compressed Address and Control fields.

If a compressed frame is received when Address-and-Control-Field-
Compression has not been negotiated, the implementation MAY
silently discard the frame.

The Address and Control fields MUST NOT be compressed when sending
any LCP packet. This rule guarantees unambiguous recognition of
LCP packets.

When the Address and Control fields are compressed, the Data Link
Layer FCS field is calculated on the compressed frame, not the
original uncompressed frame.

A summary of the Address-and-Control-Field-Compression configuration
option format is shown below. The fields are transmitted from left
to right.

0 1
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Type | Length |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Type

8

Length

2

Security Considerations

Security issues are briefly discussed in sections concerning the
Authentication Phase, the Close event, and the Authentication-
Protocol Configuration Option.

References

[1] Perkins, D., "Requirements for an Internet Standard Point-to-
Point Protocol", RFC 1547, Carnegie Mellon University,
December 1993.

[2] Reynolds, J., and Postel, J., "Assigned Numbers", STD 2, RFC
1340, USC/Information Sciences Institute, July 1992.

Acknowledgements

This document is the product of the Point-to-Point Protocol Working
Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Comments should
be submitted to the ietf-ppp@merit.edu mailing list.

Much of the text in this document is taken from the working group
requirements [1]; and RFCs 1171 & 1172, by Drew Perkins while at
Carnegie Mellon University, and by Russ Hobby of the University of
California at Davis.

William Simpson was principally responsible for introducing
consistent terminology and philosophy, and the re-design of the phase
and negotiation state machines.

Many people spent significant time helping to develop the Point-to-
Point Protocol. The complete list of people is too numerous to list,
but the following people deserve special thanks: Rick Adams, Ken
Adelman, Fred Baker, Mike Ballard, Craig Fox, Karl Fox, Phill Gross,
Kory Hamzeh, former WG chair Russ Hobby, David Kaufman, former WG
chair Steve Knowles, Mark Lewis, former WG chair Brian Lloyd, John
LoVerso, Bill Melohn, Mike Patton, former WG chair Drew Perkins, Greg
Satz, John Shriver, Vernon Schryver, and Asher Waldfogel.

Special thanks to Morning Star Technologies for providing computing
resources and network access support for writing this specification.

Chair's Address

The working group can be contacted via the current chair:

Fred Baker
Advanced Computer Communications
315 Bollay Drive
Santa Barbara, California 93117

fbaker@acc.com

Editor's Address

Questions about this memo can also be directed to:

William Allen Simpson
Daydreamer
Computer Systems Consulting Services
1384 Fontaine
Madison Heights, Michigan 48071

Bill.Simpson@um.cc.umich.edu
bsimpson@MorningStar.com

Simpson [Page 52]

RFC 2406 – IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)

 
Network Working Group                                            S. Kent
Request for Comments: 2406 BBN Corp
Obsoletes: 1827 R. Atkinson
Category: Standards Track @Home Network
November 1998

IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)

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.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction..................................................2
2. Encapsulating Security Payload Packet Format..................3
2.1 Security Parameters Index................................4
2.2 Sequence Number .........................................4
2.3 Payload Data.............................................5
2.4 Padding (for Encryption).................................5
2.5 Pad Length...............................................7
2.6 Next Header..............................................7
2.7 Authentication Data......................................7
3. Encapsulating Security Protocol Processing....................7
3.1 ESP Header Location......................................7
3.2 Algorithms..............................................10
3.2.1 Encryption Algorithms..............................10
3.2.2 Authentication Algorithms..........................10
3.3 Outbound Packet Processing..............................10
3.3.1 Security Association Lookup........................11
3.3.2 Packet Encryption..................................11
3.3.3 Sequence Number Generation.........................12
3.3.4 Integrity Check Value Calculation..................12
3.3.5 Fragmentation......................................13
3.4 Inbound Packet Processing...............................13
3.4.1 Reassembly.........................................13
3.4.2 Security Association Lookup........................13
3.4.3 Sequence Number Verification.......................14
3.4.4 Integrity Check Value Verification.................15

3.4.5 Packet Decryption..................................16
4. Auditing.....................................................17
5. Conformance Requirements.....................................18
6. Security Considerations......................................18
7. Differences from RFC 1827....................................18
Acknowledgements................................................19
References......................................................19
Disclaimer......................................................20
Author Information..............................................21
Full Copyright Statement........................................22

1. Introduction

The Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) header is designed to
provide a mix of security services in IPv4 and IPv6. ESP may be
applied alone, in combination with the IP Authentication Header (AH)
[KA97b], or in a nested fashion, e.g., through the use of tunnel mode
(see "Security Architecture for the Internet Protocol" [KA97a],
hereafter referred to as the Security Architecture document).
Security services can be provided between a pair of communicating
hosts, between a pair of communicating security gateways, or between
a security gateway and a host. For more details on how to use ESP
and AH in various network environments, see the Security Architecture
document [KA97a].

The ESP header is inserted after the IP header and before the upper
layer protocol header (transport mode) or before an encapsulated IP
header (tunnel mode). These modes are described in more detail
below.

ESP is used to provide confidentiality, data origin authentication,
connectionless integrity, an anti-replay service (a form of partial
sequence integrity), and limited traffic flow confidentiality. The
set of services provided depends on options selected at the time of
Security Association establishment and on the placement of the
implementation. Confidentiality may be selected independent of all
other services. However, use of confidentiality without
integrity/authentication (either in ESP or separately in AH) may
subject traffic to certain forms of active attacks that could
undermine the confidentiality service (see [Bel96]). Data origin
authentication and connectionless integrity are joint services
(hereafter referred to jointly as "authentication) and are offered as
an option in conjunction with (optional) confidentiality. The anti-
replay service may be selected only if data origin authentication is
selected, and its election is solely at the discretion of the
receiver. (Although the default calls for the sender to increment
the Sequence Number used for anti-replay, the service is effective
only if the receiver checks the Sequence Number.) Traffic flow

confidentiality requires selection of tunnel mode, and is most
effective if implemented at a security gateway, where traffic
aggregation may be able to mask true source-destination patterns.
Note that although both confidentiality and authentication are
optional, at least one of them MUST be selected.

It is assumed that the reader is familiar with the terms and concepts
described in the Security Architecture document. In particular, the
reader should be familiar with the definitions of security services
offered by ESP and AH, the concept of Security Associations, the ways
in which ESP can be used in conjunction with the Authentication
Header (AH), and the different key management options available for
ESP and AH. (With regard to the last topic, the current key
management options required for both AH and ESP are manual keying and
automated keying via IKE [HC98].)

The keywords MUST, MUST NOT, REQUIRED, SHALL, SHALL NOT, SHOULD,
SHOULD NOT, RECOMMENDED, MAY, and OPTIONAL, when they appear in this
document, are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [Bra97].

2. Encapsulating Security Payload Packet Format

The protocol header (IPv4, IPv6, or Extension) immediately preceding
the ESP header will contain the value 50 in its Protocol (IPv4) or
Next Header (IPv6, Extension) field [STD-2].

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ ----
| Security Parameters Index (SPI) | ^Auth.
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ |Cov-
| Sequence Number | |erage
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | ----
| Payload Data* (variable) | | ^
~ ~ | |
| | |Conf.
+ +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ |Cov-
| | Padding (0-255 bytes) | |erage*
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | |
| | Pad Length | Next Header | v v
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ ------
| Authentication Data (variable) |
~ ~
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

* If included in the Payload field, cryptographic
synchronization data, e.g., an Initialization Vector (IV, see

Section 2.3), usually is not encrypted per se, although it
often is referred to as being part of the ciphertext.

The following subsections define the fields in the header format.
"Optional" means that the field is omitted if the option is not
selected, i.e., it is present in neither the packet as transmitted
nor as formatted for computation of an Integrity Check Value (ICV,
see Section 2.7). Whether or not an option is selected is defined as
part of Security Association (SA) establishment. Thus the format of
ESP packets for a given SA is fixed, for the duration of the SA. In
contrast, "mandatory" fields are always present in the ESP packet
format, for all SAs.

2.1 Security Parameters Index

The SPI is an arbitrary 32-bit value that, in combination with the
destination IP address and security protocol (ESP), uniquely
identifies the Security Association for this datagram. The set of
SPI values in the range 1 through 255 are reserved by the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for future use; a reserved SPI
value will not normally be assigned by IANA unless the use of the
assigned SPI value is specified in an RFC. It is ordinarily selected
by the destination system upon establishment of an SA (see the
Security Architecture document for more details). The SPI field is
mandatory.

The SPI value of zero (0) is reserved for local, implementation-
specific use and MUST NOT be sent on the wire. For example, a key
management implementation MAY use the zero SPI value to mean "No
Security Association Exists" during the period when the IPsec
implementation has requested that its key management entity establish
a new SA, but the SA has not yet been established.

2.2 Sequence Number

This unsigned 32-bit field contains a monotonically increasing
counter value (sequence number). It is mandatory and is always
present even if the receiver does not elect to enable the anti-replay
service for a specific SA. Processing of the Sequence Number field
is at the discretion of the receiver, i.e., the sender MUST always
transmit this field, but the receiver need not act upon it (see the
discussion of Sequence Number Verification in the "Inbound Packet
Processing" section below).

The sender's counter and the receiver's counter are initialized to 0
when an SA is established. (The first packet sent using a given SA
will have a Sequence Number of 1; see Section 3.3.3 for more details
on how the Sequence Number is generated.) If anti-replay is enabled

(the default), the transmitted Sequence Number must never be allowed
to cycle. Thus, the sender's counter and the receiver's counter MUST
be reset (by establishing a new SA and thus a new key) prior to the
transmission of the 2^32nd packet on an SA.

2.3 Payload Data

Payload Data is a variable-length field containing data described by
the Next Header field. The Payload Data field is mandatory and is an
integral number of bytes in length. If the algorithm used to encrypt
the payload requires cryptographic synchronization data, e.g., an
Initialization Vector (IV), then this data MAY be carried explicitly
in the Payload field. Any encryption algorithm that requires such
explicit, per-packet synchronization data MUST indicate the length,
any structure for such data, and the location of this data as part of
an RFC specifying how the algorithm is used with ESP. If such
synchronization data is implicit, the algorithm for deriving the data
MUST be part of the RFC.

Note that with regard to ensuring the alignment of the (real)
ciphertext in the presence of an IV:

o For some IV-based modes of operation, the receiver treats
the IV as the start of the ciphertext, feeding it into the
algorithm directly. In these modes, alignment of the start
of the (real) ciphertext is not an issue at the receiver.
o In some cases, the receiver reads the IV in separately from
the ciphertext. In these cases, the algorithm
specification MUST address how alignment of the (real)
ciphertext is to be achieved.

2.4 Padding (for Encryption)

Several factors require or motivate use of the Padding field.

o If an encryption algorithm is employed that requires the
plaintext to be a multiple of some number of bytes, e.g.,
the block size of a block cipher, the Padding field is used
to fill the plaintext (consisting of the Payload Data, Pad
Length and Next Header fields, as well as the Padding) to
the size required by the algorithm.

o Padding also may be required, irrespective of encryption
algorithm requirements, to ensure that the resulting
ciphertext terminates on a 4-byte boundary. Specifically,

the Pad Length and Next Header fields must be right aligned
within a 4-byte word, as illustrated in the ESP packet
format figure above, to ensure that the Authentication Data
field (if present) is aligned on a 4-byte boundary.

o Padding beyond that required for the algorithm or alignment
reasons cited above, may be used to conceal the actual
length of the payload, in support of (partial) traffic flow
confidentiality. However, inclusion of such additional
padding has adverse bandwidth implications and thus its use
should be undertaken with care.

The sender MAY add 0-255 bytes of padding. Inclusion of the Padding
field in an ESP packet is optional, but all implementations MUST
support generation and consumption of padding.

a. For the purpose of ensuring that the bits to be encrypted
are a multiple of the algorithm's blocksize (first bullet
above), the padding computation applies to the Payload
Data exclusive of the IV, the Pad Length, and Next Header
fields.

b. For the purposes of ensuring that the Authentication Data
is aligned on a 4-byte boundary (second bullet above), the
padding computation applies to the Payload Data inclusive
of the IV, the Pad Length, and Next Header fields.

If Padding bytes are needed but the encryption algorithm does not
specify the padding contents, then the following default processing
MUST be used. The Padding bytes are initialized with a series of
(unsigned, 1-byte) integer values. The first padding byte appended
to the plaintext is numbered 1, with subsequent padding bytes making
up a monotonically increasing sequence: 1, 2, 3, ... When this
padding scheme is employed, the receiver SHOULD inspect the Padding
field. (This scheme was selected because of its relative simplicity,
ease of implementation in hardware, and because it offers limited
protection against certain forms of "cut and paste" attacks in the
absence of other integrity measures, if the receiver checks the
padding values upon decryption.)

Any encryption algorithm that requires Padding other than the default
described above, MUST define the Padding contents (e.g., zeros or
random data) and any required receiver processing of these Padding
bytes in an RFC specifying how the algorithm is used with ESP. In
such circumstances, the content of the Padding field will be
determined by the encryption algorithm and mode selected and defined
in the corresponding algorithm RFC. The relevant algorithm RFC MAY
specify that a receiver MUST inspect the Padding field or that a

receiver MUST inform senders of how the receiver will handle the
Padding field.

2.5 Pad Length

The Pad Length field indicates the number of pad bytes immediately
preceding it. The range of valid values is 0-255, where a value of
zero indicates that no Padding bytes are present. The Pad Length
field is mandatory.

2.6 Next Header

The Next Header is an 8-bit field that identifies the type of data
contained in the Payload Data field, e.g., an extension header in
IPv6 or an upper layer protocol identifier. The value of this field
is chosen from the set of IP Protocol Numbers defined in the most
recent "Assigned Numbers" [STD-2] RFC from the Internet Assigned
Numbers Authority (IANA). The Next Header field is mandatory.

2.7 Authentication Data

The Authentication Data is a variable-length field containing an
Integrity Check Value (ICV) computed over the ESP packet minus the
Authentication Data. The length of the field is specified by the
authentication function selected. The Authentication Data field is
optional, and is included only if the authentication service has been
selected for the SA in question. The authentication algorithm
specification MUST specify the length of the ICV and the comparison
rules and processing steps for validation.

3. Encapsulating Security Protocol Processing

3.1 ESP Header Location

Like AH, ESP may be employed in two ways: transport mode or tunnel
mode. The former mode is applicable only to host implementations and
provides protection for upper layer protocols, but not the IP header.
(In this mode, note that for "bump-in-the-stack" or "bump-in-the-
wire" implementations, as defined in the Security Architecture
document, inbound and outbound IP fragments may require an IPsec
implementation to perform extra IP reassembly/fragmentation in order
to both conform to this specification and provide transparent IPsec
support. Special care is required to perform such operations within
these implementations when multiple interfaces are in use.)

In transport mode, ESP is inserted after the IP header and before an
upper layer protocol, e.g., TCP, UDP, ICMP, etc. or before any other
IPsec headers that have already been inserted. In the context of

IPv4, this translates to placing ESP after the IP header (and any
options that it contains), but before the upper layer protocol.
(Note that the term "transport" mode should not be misconstrued as
restricting its use to TCP and UDP. For example, an ICMP message MAY
be sent using either "transport" mode or "tunnel" mode.) The
following diagram illustrates ESP transport mode positioning for a
typical IPv4 packet, on a "before and after" basis. (The "ESP
trailer" encompasses any Padding, plus the Pad Length, and Next
Header fields.)

BEFORE APPLYING ESP
----------------------------
IPv4 |orig IP hdr | | |
|(any options)| TCP | Data |
----------------------------

AFTER APPLYING ESP
-------------------------------------------------
IPv4 |orig IP hdr | ESP | | | ESP | ESP|
|(any options)| Hdr | TCP | Data | Trailer |Auth|
-------------------------------------------------
|<----- encrypted ---->|
|<------ authenticated ----->|

In the IPv6 context, ESP is viewed as an end-to-end payload, and thus
should appear after hop-by-hop, routing, and fragmentation extension
headers. The destination options extension header(s) could appear
either before or after the ESP header depending on the semantics
desired. However, since ESP protects only fields after the ESP
header, it generally may be desirable to place the destination
options header(s) after the ESP header. The following diagram
illustrates ESP transport mode positioning for a typical IPv6 packet.

BEFORE APPLYING ESP
---------------------------------------
IPv6 | | ext hdrs | | |
| orig IP hdr |if present| TCP | Data |
---------------------------------------

AFTER APPLYING ESP
---------------------------------------------------------
IPv6 | orig |hop-by-hop,dest*,| |dest| | | ESP | ESP|
|IP hdr|routing,fragment.|ESP|opt*|TCP|Data|Trailer|Auth|
---------------------------------------------------------
|<---- encrypted ---->|
|<---- authenticated ---->|

* = if present, could be before ESP, after ESP, or both

ESP and AH headers can be combined in a variety of modes. The IPsec
Architecture document describes the combinations of security
associations that must be supported.

Tunnel mode ESP may be employed in either hosts or security gateways.
When ESP is implemented in a security gateway (to protect subscriber
transit traffic), tunnel mode must be used. In tunnel mode, the
"inner" IP header carries the ultimate source and destination
addresses, while an "outer" IP header may contain distinct IP
addresses, e.g., addresses of security gateways. In tunnel mode, ESP
protects the entire inner IP packet, including the entire inner IP
header. The position of ESP in tunnel mode, relative to the outer IP
header, is the same as for ESP in transport mode. The following
diagram illustrates ESP tunnel mode positioning for typical IPv4 and
IPv6 packets.

-----------------------------------------------------------
IPv4 | new IP hdr* | | orig IP hdr* | | | ESP | ESP|
|(any options)| ESP | (any options) |TCP|Data|Trailer|Auth|
-----------------------------------------------------------
|<--------- encrypted ---------->|
|<----------- authenticated ---------->|

------------------------------------------------------------
IPv6 | new* |new ext | | orig*|orig ext | | | ESP | ESP|
|IP hdr| hdrs* |ESP|IP hdr| hdrs * |TCP|Data|Trailer|Auth|
------------------------------------------------------------
|<--------- encrypted ----------->|
|<---------- authenticated ---------->|

* = if present, construction of outer IP hdr/extensions
and modification of inner IP hdr/extensions is
discussed below.

3.2 Algorithms

The mandatory-to-implement algorithms are described in Section 5,
"Conformance Requirements". Other algorithms MAY be supported. Note
that although both confidentiality and authentication are optional,
at least one of these services MUST be selected hence both algorithms
MUST NOT be simultaneously NULL.

3.2.1 Encryption Algorithms

The encryption algorithm employed is specified by the SA. ESP is
designed for use with symmetric encryption algorithms. Because IP
packets may arrive out of order, each packet must carry any data
required to allow the receiver to establish cryptographic
synchronization for decryption. This data may be carried explicitly
in the payload field, e.g., as an IV (as described above), or the
data may be derived from the packet header. Since ESP makes
provision for padding of the plaintext, encryption algorithms
employed with ESP may exhibit either block or stream mode
characteristics. Note that since encryption (confidentiality) is
optional, this algorithm may be "NULL".

3.2.2 Authentication Algorithms

The authentication algorithm employed for the ICV computation is
specified by the SA. For point-to-point communication, suitable
authentication algorithms include keyed Message Authentication Codes
(MACs) based on symmetric encryption algorithms (e.g., DES) or on
one-way hash functions (e.g., MD5 or SHA-1). For multicast
communication, one-way hash algorithms combined with asymmetric
signature algorithms are appropriate, though performance and space
considerations currently preclude use of such algorithms. Note that
since authentication is optional, this algorithm may be "NULL".

3.3 Outbound Packet Processing

In transport mode, the sender encapsulates the upper layer protocol
information in the ESP header/trailer, and retains the specified IP
header (and any IP extension headers in the IPv6 context). In tunnel
mode, the outer and inner IP header/extensions can be inter-related
in a variety of ways. The construction of the outer IP
header/extensions during the encapsulation process is described in
the Security Architecture document. If there is more than one IPsec
header/extension required by security policy, the order of the
application of the security headers MUST be defined by security
policy.

3.3.1 Security Association Lookup

ESP is applied to an outbound packet only after an IPsec
implementation determines that the packet is associated with an SA
that calls for ESP processing. The process of determining what, if
any, IPsec processing is applied to outbound traffic is described in
the Security Architecture document.

3.3.2 Packet Encryption

In this section, we speak in terms of encryption always being applied
because of the formatting implications. This is done with the
understanding that "no confidentiality" is offered by using the NULL
encryption algorithm. Accordingly, the sender:

1. encapsulates (into the ESP Payload field):
- for transport mode -- just the original upper layer
protocol information.
- for tunnel mode -- the entire original IP datagram.
2. adds any necessary padding.
3. encrypts the result (Payload Data, Padding, Pad Length, and
Next Header) using the key, encryption algorithm, algorithm
mode indicated by the SA and cryptographic synchronization
data (if any).
- If explicit cryptographic synchronization data, e.g.,
an IV, is indicated, it is input to the encryption
algorithm per the algorithm specification and placed
in the Payload field.
- If implicit cryptographic synchronication data, e.g.,
an IV, is indicated, it is constructed and input to
the encryption algorithm as per the algorithm
specification.

The exact steps for constructing the outer IP header depend on the
mode (transport or tunnel) and are described in the Security
Architecture document.

If authentication is selected, encryption is performed first, before
the authentication, and the encryption does not encompass the
Authentication Data field. This order of processing facilitates
rapid detection and rejection of replayed or bogus packets by the
receiver, prior to decrypting the packet, hence potentially reducing
the impact of denial of service attacks. It also allows for the
possibility of parallel processing of packets at the receiver, i.e.,
decryption can take place in parallel with authentication. Note that
since the Authentication Data is not protected by encryption, a keyed
authentication algorithm must be employed to compute the ICV.

3.3.3 Sequence Number Generation

The sender's counter is initialized to 0 when an SA is established.
The sender increments the Sequence Number for this SA and inserts the
new value into the Sequence Number field. Thus the first packet sent
using a given SA will have a Sequence Number of 1.

If anti-replay is enabled (the default), the sender checks to ensure
that the counter has not cycled before inserting the new value in the
Sequence Number field. In other words, the sender MUST NOT send a
packet on an SA if doing so would cause the Sequence Number to cycle.
An attempt to transmit a packet that would result in Sequence Number
overflow is an auditable event. (Note that this approach to Sequence
Number management does not require use of modular arithmetic.)

The sender assumes anti-replay is enabled as a default, unless
otherwise notified by the receiver (see 3.4.3). Thus, if the counter
has cycled, the sender will set up a new SA and key (unless the SA
was configured with manual key management).

If anti-replay is disabled, the sender does not need to monitor or
reset the counter, e.g., in the case of manual key management (see
Section 5). However, the sender still increments the counter and
when it reaches the maximum value, the counter rolls over back to
zero.

3.3.4 Integrity Check Value Calculation

If authentication is selected for the SA, the sender computes the ICV
over the ESP packet minus the Authentication Data. Thus the SPI,
Sequence Number, Payload Data, Padding (if present), Pad Length, and
Next Header are all encompassed by the ICV computation. Note that
the last 4 fields will be in ciphertext form, since encryption is
performed prior to authentication.

For some authentication algorithms, the byte string over which the
ICV computation is performed must be a multiple of a blocksize
specified by the algorithm. If the length of this byte string does
not match the blocksize requirements for the algorithm, implicit
padding MUST be appended to the end of the ESP packet, (after the
Next Header field) prior to ICV computation. The padding octets MUST
have a value of zero. The blocksize (and hence the length of the
padding) is specified by the algorithm specification. This padding
is not transmitted with the packet. Note that MD5 and SHA-1 are
viewed as having a 1-byte blocksize because of their internal padding
conventions.

3.3.5 Fragmentation

If necessary, fragmentation is performed after ESP processing within
an IPsec implementation. Thus, transport mode ESP is applied only to
whole IP datagrams (not to IP fragments). An IP packet to which ESP
has been applied may itself be fragmented by routers en route, and
such fragments must be reassembled prior to ESP processing at a
receiver. In tunnel mode, ESP is applied to an IP packet, the
payload of which may be a fragmented IP packet. For example, a
security gateway or a "bump-in-the-stack" or "bump-in-the-wire" IPsec
implementation (as defined in the Security Architecture document) may
apply tunnel mode ESP to such fragments.

NOTE: For transport mode -- As mentioned at the beginning of Section
3.1, bump-in-the-stack and bump-in-the-wire implementations may have
to first reassemble a packet fragmented by the local IP layer, then
apply IPsec, and then fragment the resulting packet.

NOTE: For IPv6 -- For bump-in-the-stack and bump-in-the-wire
implementations, it will be necessary to walk through all the
extension headers to determine if there is a fragmentation header and
hence that the packet needs reassembling prior to IPsec processing.

3.4 Inbound Packet Processing

3.4.1 Reassembly

If required, reassembly is performed prior to ESP processing. If a
packet offered to ESP for processing appears to be an IP fragment,
i.e., the OFFSET field is non-zero or the MORE FRAGMENTS flag is set,
the receiver MUST discard the packet; this is an auditable event. The
audit log entry for this event SHOULD include the SPI value,
date/time received, Source Address, Destination Address, Sequence
Number, and (in IPv6) the Flow ID.

NOTE: For packet reassembly, the current IPv4 spec does NOT require
either the zero'ing of the OFFSET field or the clearing of the MORE
FRAGMENTS flag. In order for a reassembled packet to be processed by
IPsec (as opposed to discarded as an apparent fragment), the IP code
must do these two things after it reassembles a packet.

3.4.2 Security Association Lookup

Upon receipt of a (reassembled) packet containing an ESP Header, the
receiver determines the appropriate (unidirectional) SA, based on the
destination IP address, security protocol (ESP), and the SPI. (This
process is described in more detail in the Security Architecture
document.) The SA indicates whether the Sequence Number field will

be checked, whether the Authentication Data field should be present,
and it will specify the algorithms and keys to be employed for
decryption and ICV computations (if applicable).

If no valid Security Association exists for this session (for
example, the receiver has no key), the receiver MUST discard the
packet; this is an auditable event. The audit log entry for this
event SHOULD include the SPI value, date/time received, Source
Address, Destination Address, Sequence Number, and (in IPv6) the
cleartext Flow ID.

3.4.3 Sequence Number Verification

All ESP implementations MUST support the anti-replay service, though
its use may be enabled or disabled by the receiver on a per-SA basis.
This service MUST NOT be enabled unless the authentication service
also is enabled for the SA, since otherwise the Sequence Number field
has not been integrity protected. (Note that there are no provisions
for managing transmitted Sequence Number values among multiple
senders directing traffic to a single SA (irrespective of whether the
destination address is unicast, broadcast, or multicast). Thus the
anti-replay service SHOULD NOT be used in a multi-sender environment
that employs a single SA.)

If the receiver does not enable anti-replay for an SA, no inbound
checks are performed on the Sequence Number. However, from the
perspective of the sender, the default is to assume that anti-replay
is enabled at the receiver. To avoid having the sender do
unnecessary sequence number monitoring and SA setup (see section
3.3.3), if an SA establishment protocol such as IKE is employed, the
receiver SHOULD notify the sender, during SA establishment, if the
receiver will not provide anti-replay protection.

If the receiver has enabled the anti-replay service for this SA, the
receive packet counter for the SA MUST be initialized to zero when
the SA is established. For each received packet, the receiver MUST
verify that the packet contains a Sequence Number that does not
duplicate the Sequence Number of any other packets received during
the life of this SA. This SHOULD be the first ESP check applied to a
packet after it has been matched to an SA, to speed rejection of
duplicate packets.

Duplicates are rejected through the use of a sliding receive window.
(How the window is implemented is a local matter, but the following
text describes the functionality that the implementation must
exhibit.) A MINIMUM window size of 32 MUST be supported; but a
window size of 64 is preferred and SHOULD be employed as the default.

Another window size (larger than the MINIMUM) MAY be chosen by the
receiver. (The receiver does NOT notify the sender of the window
size.)

The "right" edge of the window represents the highest, validated
Sequence Number value received on this SA. Packets that contain
Sequence Numbers lower than the "left" edge of the window are
rejected. Packets falling within the window are checked against a
list of received packets within the window. An efficient means for
performing this check, based on the use of a bit mask, is described
in the Security Architecture document.

If the received packet falls within the window and is new, or if the
packet is to the right of the window, then the receiver proceeds to
ICV verification. If the ICV validation fails, the receiver MUST
discard the received IP datagram as invalid; this is an auditable
event. The audit log entry for this event SHOULD include the SPI
value, date/time received, Source Address, Destination Address, the
Sequence Number, and (in IPv6) the Flow ID. The receive window is
updated only if the ICV verification succeeds.

DISCUSSION:

Note that if the packet is either inside the window and new, or is
outside the window on the "right" side, the receiver MUST
authenticate the packet before updating the Sequence Number window
data.

3.4.4 Integrity Check Value Verification

If authentication has been selected, the receiver computes the ICV
over the ESP packet minus the Authentication Data using the specified
authentication algorithm and verifies that it is the same as the ICV
included in the Authentication Data field of the packet. Details of
the computation are provided below.

If the computed and received ICV's match, then the datagram is valid,
and it is accepted. If the test fails, then the receiver MUST
discard the received IP datagram as invalid; this is an auditable
event. The log data SHOULD include the SPI value, date/time
received, Source Address, Destination Address, the Sequence Number,
and (in IPv6) the cleartext Flow ID.

DISCUSSION:

Begin by removing and saving the ICV value (Authentication Data
field). Next check the overall length of the ESP packet minus the
Authentication Data. If implicit padding is required, based on

the blocksize of the authentication algorithm, append zero-filled
bytes to the end of the ESP packet directly after the Next Header
field. Perform the ICV computation and compare the result with
the saved value, using the comparison rules defined by the
algorithm specification. (For example, if a digital signature and
one-way hash are used for the ICV computation, the matching
process is more complex.)

3.4.5 Packet Decryption

As in section 3.3.2, "Packet Encryption", we speak here in terms of
encryption always being applied because of the formatting
implications. This is done with the understanding that "no
confidentiality" is offered by using the NULL encryption algorithm.
Accordingly, the receiver:

1. decrypts the ESP Payload Data, Padding, Pad Length, and Next
Header using the key, encryption algorithm, algorithm mode,
and cryptographic synchronization data (if any), indicated by
the SA.
- If explicit cryptographic synchronization data, e.g.,
an IV, is indicated, it is taken from the Payload
field and input to the decryption algorithm as per the
algorithm specification.
- If implicit cryptographic synchronization data, e.g.,
an IV, is indicated, a local version of the IV is
constructed and input to the decryption algorithm as
per the algorithm specification.
2. processes any padding as specified in the encryption
algorithm specification. If the default padding scheme (see
Section 2.4) has been employed, the receiver SHOULD inspect
the Padding field before removing the padding prior to
passing the decrypted data to the next layer.
3. reconstructs the original IP datagram from:
- for transport mode -- original IP header plus the
original upper layer protocol information in the ESP
Payload field
- for tunnel mode -- tunnel IP header + the entire IP
datagram in the ESP Payload field.

The exact steps for reconstructing the original datagram depend on
the mode (transport or tunnel) and are described in the Security
Architecture document. At a minimum, in an IPv6 context, the
receiver SHOULD ensure that the decrypted data is 8-byte aligned, to
facilitate processing by the protocol identified in the Next Header
field.

If authentication has been selected, verification and decryption MAY
be performed serially or in parallel. If performed serially, then
ICV verification SHOULD be performed first. If performed in
parallel, verification MUST be completed before the decrypted packet
is passed on for further processing. This order of processing
facilitates rapid detection and rejection of replayed or bogus
packets by the receiver, prior to decrypting the packet, hence
potentially reducing the impact of denial of service attacks. Note:

If the receiver performs decryption in parallel with authentication,
care must be taken to avoid possible race conditions with regard to
packet access and reconstruction of the decrypted packet.

Note that there are several ways in which the decryption can "fail":

a. The selected SA may not be correct -- The SA may be
mis-selected due to tampering with the SPI, destination
address, or IPsec protocol type fields. Such errors, if they
map the packet to another extant SA, will be
indistinguishable from a corrupted packet, (case c).
Tampering with the SPI can be detected by use of
authentication. However, an SA mismatch might still occur
due to tampering with the IP Destination Address or the IPsec
protocol type field.

b. The pad length or pad values could be erroneous -- Bad pad
lengths or pad values can be detected irrespective of the use
of authentication.

c. The encrypted ESP packet could be corrupted -- This can be
detected if authentication is selected for the SA.,

In case (a) or (c), the erroneous result of the decryption operation
(an invalid IP datagram or transport-layer frame) will not
necessarily be detected by IPsec, and is the responsibility of later
protocol processing.

4. Auditing

Not all systems that implement ESP will implement auditing. However,
if ESP is incorporated into a system that supports auditing, then the
ESP implementation MUST also support auditing and MUST allow a system
administrator to enable or disable auditing for ESP. For the most
part, the granularity of auditing is a local matter. However,
several auditable events are identified in this specification and for
each of these events a minimum set of information that SHOULD be
included in an audit log is defined. Additional information also MAY
be included in the audit log for each of these events, and additional

events, not explicitly called out in this specification, also MAY
result in audit log entries. There is no requirement for the
receiver to transmit any message to the purported sender in response
to the detection of an auditable event, because of the potential to
induce denial of service via such action.

5. Conformance Requirements

Implementations that claim conformance or compliance with this
specification MUST implement the ESP syntax and processing described
here and MUST comply with all requirements of the Security
Architecture document. If the key used to compute an ICV is manually
distributed, correct provision of the anti-replay service would
require correct maintenance of the counter state at the sender, until
the key is replaced, and there likely would be no automated recovery
provision if counter overflow were imminent. Thus a compliant
implementation SHOULD NOT provide this service in conjunction with
SAs that are manually keyed. A compliant ESP implementation MUST
support the following mandatory-to-implement algorithms:

- DES in CBC mode [MD97]
- HMAC with MD5 [MG97a]
- HMAC with SHA-1 [MG97b]
- NULL Authentication algorithm
- NULL Encryption algorithm

Since ESP encryption and authentication are optional, support for the
2 "NULL" algorithms is required to maintain consistency with the way
these services are negotiated. NOTE that while authentication and
encryption can each be "NULL", they MUST NOT both be "NULL".

6. Security Considerations

Security is central to the design of this protocol, and thus security
considerations permeate the specification. Additional security-
relevant aspects of using the IPsec protocol are discussed in the
Security Architecture document.

7. Differences from RFC 1827

This document differs from RFC 1827 [ATK95] in several significant
ways. The major difference is that, this document attempts to
specify a complete framework and context for ESP, whereas RFC 1827
provided a "shell" that was completed through the definition of
transforms. The combinatorial growth of transforms motivated the
reformulation of the ESP specification as a more complete document,
with options for security services that may be offered in the context
of ESP. Thus, fields previously defined in transform documents are

now part of this base ESP specification. For example, the fields
necessary to support authentication (and anti-replay) are now defined
here, even though the provision of this service is an option. The
fields used to support padding for encryption, and for next protocol
identification, are now defined here as well. Packet processing
consistent with the definition of these fields also is included in
the document.

Acknowledgements

Many of the concepts embodied in this specification were derived from
or influenced by the US Government's SP3 security protocol, ISO/IEC's
NLSP, or from the proposed swIPe security protocol. [SDNS89, ISO92,
IB93].

For over 3 years, this document has evolved through multiple versions
and iterations. During this time, many people have contributed
significant ideas and energy to the process and the documents
themselves. The authors would like to thank Karen Seo for providing
extensive help in the review, editing, background research, and
coordination for this version of the specification. The authors
would also like to thank the members of the IPsec and IPng working
groups, with special mention of the efforts of (in alphabetic order):
Steve Bellovin, Steve Deering, Phil Karn, Perry Metzger, David
Mihelcic, Hilarie Orman, Norman Shulman, William Simpson and Nina
Yuan.

References

[ATK95] Atkinson, R., "IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)",
RFC 1827, August 1995.

[Bel96] Steven M. Bellovin, "Problem Areas for the IP Security
Protocols", Proceedings of the Sixth Usenix Unix Security
Symposium, July, 1996.

[Bra97] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Level", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

[HC98] Harkins, D., and D. Carrel, "The Internet Key Exchange
(IKE)", RFC 2409, November 1998.

[IB93] John Ioannidis & Matt Blaze, "Architecture and
Implementation of Network-layer Security Under Unix",
Proceedings of the USENIX Security Symposium, Santa Clara,
CA, October 1993.

[ISO92] ISO/IEC JTC1/SC6, Network Layer Security Protocol, ISO-IEC
DIS 11577, International Standards Organisation, Geneva,
Switzerland, 29 November 1992.

[KA97a] Kent, S., and R. Atkinson, "Security Architecture for the
Internet Protocol", RFC 2401, November 1998.

[KA97b] Kent, S., and R. Atkinson, "IP Authentication Header", RFC
2402, November 1998.

[MD97] Madson, C., and N. Doraswamy, "The ESP DES-CBC Cipher
Algorithm With Explicit IV", RFC 2405, November 1998.

[MG97a] Madson, C., and R. Glenn, "The Use of HMAC-MD5-96 within
ESP and AH", RFC 2403, November 1998.

[MG97b] Madson, C., and R. Glenn, "The Use of HMAC-SHA-1-96 within
ESP and AH", RFC 2404, November 1998.

[STD-2] Reynolds, J., and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", STD 2, RFC
1700, October 1994. See also:
http://www.iana.org/numbers.html

[SDNS89] SDNS Secure Data Network System, Security Protocol 3, SP3,
Document SDN.301, Revision 1.5, 15 May 1989, as published
in NIST Publication NIST-IR-90-4250, February 1990.

Disclaimer

The views and specification here are those of the authors and are not
necessarily those of their employers. The authors and their
employers specifically disclaim responsibility for any problems
arising from correct or incorrect implementation or use of this
specification.

Author Information

Stephen Kent
BBN Corporation
70 Fawcett Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
USA

Phone: +1 (617) 873-3988
EMail: kent@bbn.com

Randall Atkinson
@Home Network
425 Broadway,
Redwood City, CA 94063
USA

Phone: +1 (415) 569-5000
EMail: rja@corp.home.net

Full Copyright Statement

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

This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
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
the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than
English.

The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

This document and the information contained herein is provided on an
"AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET ENGINEERING
TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING
BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION
HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.


RFC 2402 – IP Authentication Header


Network Working Group S. Kent
Request for Comments: 2402 BBN Corp
Obsoletes: 1826 R. Atkinson
Category: Standards Track @Home Network
November 1998

IP Authentication Header

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.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction......................................................2
2. Authentication Header Format......................................3
2.1 Next Header...................................................4
2.2 Payload Length................................................4
2.3 Reserved......................................................4
2.4 Security Parameters Index (SPI)...............................4
2.5 Sequence Number...............................................5
2.6 Authentication Data ..........................................5
3. Authentication Header Processing..................................5
3.1 Authentication Header Location...............................5
3.2 Authentication Algorithms....................................7
3.3 Outbound Packet Processing...................................8
3.3.1 Security Association Lookup.............................8
3.3.2 Sequence Number Generation..............................8
3.3.3 Integrity Check Value Calculation.......................9
3.3.3.1 Handling Mutable Fields............................9
3.3.3.1.1 ICV Computation for IPv4.....................10
3.3.3.1.1.1 Base Header Fields.......................10
3.3.3.1.1.2 Options..................................11
3.3.3.1.2 ICV Computation for IPv6.....................11
3.3.3.1.2.1 Base Header Fields.......................11
3.3.3.1.2.2 Extension Headers Containing Options.....11
3.3.3.1.2.3 Extension Headers Not Containing Options.11
3.3.3.2 Padding...........................................12
3.3.3.2.1 Authentication Data Padding..................12

3.3.3.2.2 Implicit Packet Padding......................12
3.3.4 Fragmentation..........................................12
3.4 Inbound Packet Processing...................................13
3.4.1 Reassembly.............................................13
3.4.2 Security Association Lookup............................13
3.4.3 Sequence Number Verification...........................13
3.4.4 Integrity Check Value Verification.....................15
4. Auditing.........................................................15
5. Conformance Requirements.........................................16
6. Security Considerations..........................................16
7. Differences from RFC 1826........................................16
Acknowledgements....................................................17
Appendix A -- Mutability of IP Options/Extension Headers............18
A1. IPv4 Options.................................................18
A2. IPv6 Extension Headers.......................................19
References..........................................................20
Disclaimer..........................................................21
Author Information..................................................22
Full Copyright Statement............................................22

1. Introduction

The IP Authentication Header (AH) is used to provide connectionless
integrity and data origin authentication for IP datagrams (hereafter
referred to as just "authentication"), and to provide protection
against replays. This latter, optional service may be selected, by
the receiver, when a Security Association is established. (Although
the default calls for the sender to increment the Sequence Number
used for anti-replay, the service is effective only if the receiver
checks the Sequence Number.) AH provides authentication for as much
of the IP header as possible, as well as for upper level protocol
data. However, some IP header fields may change in transit and the
value of these fields, when the packet arrives at the receiver, may
not be predictable by the sender. The values of such fields cannot
be protected by AH. Thus the protection provided to the IP header by
AH is somewhat piecemeal.

AH may be applied alone, in combination with the IP Encapsulating
Security Payload (ESP) [KA97b], or in a nested fashion through the
use of tunnel mode (see "Security Architecture for the Internet
Protocol" [KA97a], hereafter referred to as the Security Architecture
document). Security services can be provided between a pair of
communicating hosts, between a pair of communicating security
gateways, or between a security gateway and a host. ESP may be used
to provide the same security services, and it also provides a
confidentiality (encryption) service. The primary difference between
the authentication provided by ESP and AH is the extent of the
coverage. Specifically, ESP does not protect any IP header fields

unless those fields are encapsulated by ESP (tunnel mode). For more
details on how to use AH and ESP in various network environments, see
the Security Architecture document [KA97a].

It is assumed that the reader is familiar with the terms and concepts
described in the Security Architecture document. In particular, the
reader should be familiar with the definitions of security services
offered by AH and ESP, the concept of Security Associations, the ways
in which AH can be used in conjunction with ESP, and the different
key management options available for AH and ESP. (With regard to the
last topic, the current key management options required for both AH
and ESP are manual keying and automated keying via IKE [HC98].)

The keywords MUST, MUST NOT, REQUIRED, SHALL, SHALL NOT, SHOULD,
SHOULD NOT, RECOMMENDED, MAY, and OPTIONAL, when they appear in this
document, are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [Bra97].

2. Authentication Header Format

The protocol header (IPv4, IPv6, or Extension) immediately preceding
the AH header will contain the value 51 in its Protocol (IPv4) or
Next Header (IPv6, Extension) field [STD-2].

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
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Next Header | Payload Len | RESERVED |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Security Parameters Index (SPI) |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| Sequence Number Field |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| |
+ Authentication Data (variable) |
| |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

The following subsections define the fields that comprise the AH
format. All the fields described here are mandatory, i.e., they are
always present in the AH format and are included in the Integrity
Check Value (ICV) computation (see Sections 2.6 and 3.3.3).

2.1 Next Header

The Next Header is an 8-bit field that identifies the type of the
next payload after the Authentication Header. The value of this
field is chosen from the set of IP Protocol Numbers defined in the
most recent "Assigned Numbers" [STD-2] RFC from the Internet Assigned
Numbers Authority (IANA).

2.2 Payload Length

This 8-bit field specifies the length of AH in 32-bit words (4-byte
units), minus "2". (All IPv6 extension headers, as per RFC 1883,
encode the "Hdr Ext Len" field by first subtracting 1 (64-bit word)
from the header length (measured in 64-bit words). AH is an IPv6
extension header. However, since its length is measured in 32-bit
words, the "Payload Length" is calculated by subtracting 2 (32 bit
words).) In the "standard" case of a 96-bit authentication value
plus the 3 32-bit word fixed portion, this length field will be "4".
A "null" authentication algorithm may be used only for debugging
purposes. Its use would result in a "1" value for this field for
IPv4 or a "2" for IPv6, as there would be no corresponding
Authentication Data field (see Section 3.3.3.2.1 on "Authentication
Data Padding").

2.3 Reserved

This 16-bit field is reserved for future use. It MUST be set to
"zero." (Note that the value is included in the Authentication Data
calculation, but is otherwise ignored by the recipient.)

2.4 Security Parameters Index (SPI)

The SPI is an arbitrary 32-bit value that, in combination with the
destination IP address and security protocol (AH), uniquely
identifies the Security Association for this datagram. The set of
SPI values in the range 1 through 255 are reserved by the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for future use; a reserved SPI
value will not normally be assigned by IANA unless the use of the
assigned SPI value is specified in an RFC. It is ordinarily selected
by the destination system upon establishment of an SA (see the
Security Architecture document for more details).

The SPI value of zero (0) is reserved for local, implementation-
specific use and MUST NOT be sent on the wire. For example, a key
management implementation MAY use the zero SPI value to mean "No
Security Association Exists" during the period when the IPsec
implementation has requested that its key management entity establish
a new SA, but the SA has not yet been established.

2.5 Sequence Number

This unsigned 32-bit field contains a monotonically increasing
counter value (sequence number). It is mandatory and is always
present even if the receiver does not elect to enable the anti-replay
service for a specific SA. Processing of the Sequence Number field
is at the discretion of the receiver, i.e., the sender MUST always
transmit this field, but the receiver need not act upon it (see the
discussion of Sequence Number Verification in the "Inbound Packet
Processing" section below).

The sender's counter and the receiver's counter are initialized to 0
when an SA is established. (The first packet sent using a given SA
will have a Sequence Number of 1; see Section 3.3.2 for more details
on how the Sequence Number is generated.) If anti-replay is enabled
(the default), the transmitted Sequence Number must never be allowed
to cycle. Thus, the sender's counter and the receiver's counter MUST
be reset (by establishing a new SA and thus a new key) prior to the
transmission of the 2^32nd packet on an SA.

2.6 Authentication Data

This is a variable-length field that contains the Integrity Check
Value (ICV) for this packet. The field must be an integral multiple
of 32 bits in length. The details of the ICV computation are
described in Section 3.3.2 below. This field may include explicit
padding. This padding is included to ensure that the length of the
AH header is an integral multiple of 32 bits (IPv4) or 64 bits
(IPv6). All implementations MUST support such padding. Details of
how to compute the required padding length are provided below. The
authentication algorithm specification MUST specify the length of the
ICV and the comparison rules and processing steps for validation.

3. Authentication Header Processing

3.1 Authentication Header Location

Like ESP, AH may be employed in two ways: transport mode or tunnel
mode. The former mode is applicable only to host implementations and
provides protection for upper layer protocols, in addition to
selected IP header fields. (In this mode, note that for "bump-in-
the-stack" or "bump-in-the-wire" implementations, as defined in the
Security Architecture document, inbound and outbound IP fragments may
require an IPsec implementation to perform extra IP
reassembly/fragmentation in order to both conform to this
specification and provide transparent IPsec support. Special care is
required to perform such operations within these implementations when
multiple interfaces are in use.)

In transport mode, AH is inserted after the IP header and before an
upper layer protocol, e.g., TCP, UDP, ICMP, etc. or before any other
IPsec headers that have already been inserted. In the context of
IPv4, this calls for placing AH after the IP header (and any options
that it contains), but before the upper layer protocol. (Note that
the term "transport" mode should not be misconstrued as restricting
its use to TCP and UDP. For example, an ICMP message MAY be sent
using either "transport" mode or "tunnel" mode.) The following
diagram illustrates AH transport mode positioning for a typical IPv4
packet, on a "before and after" basis.

BEFORE APPLYING AH
----------------------------
IPv4 |orig IP hdr | | |
|(any options)| TCP | Data |
----------------------------

AFTER APPLYING AH
---------------------------------
IPv4 |orig IP hdr | | | |
|(any options)| AH | TCP | Data |
---------------------------------
|<------- authenticated ------->|
except for mutable fields

In the IPv6 context, AH is viewed as an end-to-end payload, and thus
should appear after hop-by-hop, routing, and fragmentation extension
headers. The destination options extension header(s) could appear
either before or after the AH header depending on the semantics
desired. The following diagram illustrates AH transport mode
positioning for a typical IPv6 packet.

BEFORE APPLYING AH
---------------------------------------
IPv6 | | ext hdrs | | |
| orig IP hdr |if present| TCP | Data |
---------------------------------------

AFTER APPLYING AH
------------------------------------------------------------
IPv6 | |hop-by-hop, dest*, | | dest | | |
|orig IP hdr |routing, fragment. | AH | opt* | TCP | Data |
------------------------------------------------------------
|<---- authenticated except for mutable fields ----------->|

* = if present, could be before AH, after AH, or both

ESP and AH headers can be combined in a variety of modes. The IPsec
Architecture document describes the combinations of security
associations that must be supported.

Tunnel mode AH may be employed in either hosts or security gateways
(or in so-called "bump-in-the-stack" or "bump-in-the-wire"
implementations, as defined in the Security Architecture document).
When AH is implemented in a security gateway (to protect transit
traffic), tunnel mode must be used. In tunnel mode, the "inner" IP
header carries the ultimate source and destination addresses, while
an "outer" IP header may contain distinct IP addresses, e.g.,
addresses of security gateways. In tunnel mode, AH protects the
entire inner IP packet, including the entire inner IP header. The
position of AH in tunnel mode, relative to the outer IP header, is
the same as for AH in transport mode. The following diagram
illustrates AH tunnel mode positioning for typical IPv4 and IPv6
packets.

------------------------------------------------
IPv4 | new IP hdr* | | orig IP hdr* | | |
|(any options)| AH | (any options) |TCP | Data |
------------------------------------------------
|<- authenticated except for mutable fields -->|
| in the new IP hdr |

--------------------------------------------------------------
IPv6 | | ext hdrs*| | | ext hdrs*| | |
|new IP hdr*|if present| AH |orig IP hdr*|if present|TCP|Data|
--------------------------------------------------------------
|<-- authenticated except for mutable fields in new IP hdr ->|

* = construction of outer IP hdr/extensions and modification
of inner IP hdr/extensions is discussed below.

3.2 Authentication Algorithms

The authentication algorithm employed for the ICV computation is
specified by the SA. For point-to-point communication, suitable
authentication algorithms include keyed Message Authentication Codes
(MACs) based on symmetric encryption algorithms (e.g., DES) or on
one-way hash functions (e.g., MD5 or SHA-1). For multicast
communication, one-way hash algorithms combined with asymmetric
signature algorithms are appropriate, though performance and space
considerations currently preclude use of such algorithms. The
mandatory-to-implement authentication algorithms are described in
Section 5 "Conformance Requirements". Other algorithms MAY be
supported.

3.3 Outbound Packet Processing

In transport mode, the sender inserts the AH header after the IP
header and before an upper layer protocol header, as described above.
In tunnel mode, the outer and inner IP header/extensions can be
inter-related in a variety of ways. The construction of the outer IP
header/extensions during the encapsulation process is described in
the Security Architecture document.

If there is more than one IPsec header/extension required, the order
of the application of the security headers MUST be defined by
security policy. For simplicity of processing, each IPsec header
SHOULD ignore the existence (i.e., not zero the contents or try to
predict the contents) of IPsec headers to be applied later. (While a
native IP or bump-in-the-stack implementation could predict the
contents of later IPsec headers that it applies itself, it won't be
possible for it to predict any IPsec headers added by a bump-in-the-
wire implementation between the host and the network.)

3.3.1 Security Association Lookup

AH is applied to an outbound packet only after an IPsec
implementation determines that the packet is associated with an SA
that calls for AH processing. The process of determining what, if
any, IPsec processing is applied to outbound traffic is described in
the Security Architecture document.

3.3.2 Sequence Number Generation

The sender's counter is initialized to 0 when an SA is established.
The sender increments the Sequence Number for this SA and inserts the
new value into the Sequence Number Field. Thus the first packet sent
using a given SA will have a Sequence Number of 1.

If anti-replay is enabled (the default), the sender checks to ensure
that the counter has not cycled before inserting the new value in the
Sequence Number field. In other words, the sender MUST NOT send a
packet on an SA if doing so would cause the Sequence Number to cycle.
An attempt to transmit a packet that would result in Sequence Number
overflow is an auditable event. (Note that this approach to Sequence
Number management does not require use of modular arithmetic.)

The sender assumes anti-replay is enabled as a default, unless
otherwise notified by the receiver (see 3.4.3). Thus, if the counter
has cycled, the sender will set up a new SA and key (unless the SA
was configured with manual key management).

If anti-replay is disabled, the sender does not need to monitor or
reset the counter, e.g., in the case of manual key management (see
Section 5.) However, the sender still increments the counter and when
it reaches the maximum value, the counter rolls over back to zero.

3.3.3 Integrity Check Value Calculation

The AH ICV is computed over:
o IP header fields that are either immutable in transit or
that are predictable in value upon arrival at the endpoint
for the AH SA
o the AH header (Next Header, Payload Len, Reserved, SPI,
Sequence Number, and the Authentication Data (which is set
to zero for this computation), and explicit padding bytes
(if any))
o the upper level protocol data, which is assumed to be
immutable in transit

3.3.3.1 Handling Mutable Fields

If a field may be modified during transit, the value of the field is
set to zero for purposes of the ICV computation. If a field is
mutable, but its value at the (IPsec) receiver is predictable, then
that value is inserted into the field for purposes of the ICV
calculation. The Authentication Data field is also set to zero in
preparation for this computation. Note that by replacing each
field's value with zero, rather than omitting the field, alignment is
preserved for the ICV calculation. Also, the zero-fill approach
ensures that the length of the fields that are so handled cannot be
changed during transit, even though their contents are not explicitly
covered by the ICV.

As a new extension header or IPv4 option is created, it will be
defined in its own RFC and SHOULD include (in the Security
Considerations section) directions for how it should be handled when
calculating the AH ICV. If the IP (v4 or v6) implementation
encounters an extension header that it does not recognize, it will
discard the packet and send an ICMP message. IPsec will never see
the packet. If the IPsec implementation encounters an IPv4 option
that it does not recognize, it should zero the whole option, using
the second byte of the option as the length. IPv6 options (in
Destination extension headers or Hop by Hop extension header) contain
a flag indicating mutability, which determines appropriate processing
for such options.

3.3.3.1.1 ICV Computation for IPv4

3.3.3.1.1.1 Base Header Fields

The IPv4 base header fields are classified as follows:

Immutable
Version
Internet Header Length
Total Length
Identification
Protocol (This should be the value for AH.)
Source Address
Destination Address (without loose or strict source routing)

Mutable but predictable
Destination Address (with loose or strict source routing)

Mutable (zeroed prior to ICV calculation)
Type of Service (TOS)
Flags
Fragment Offset
Time to Live (TTL)
Header Checksum

TOS -- This field is excluded because some routers are known to
change the value of this field, even though the IP
specification does not consider TOS to be a mutable header
field.

Flags -- This field is excluded since an intermediate router might
set the DF bit, even if the source did not select it.

Fragment Offset -- Since AH is applied only to non-fragmented IP
packets, the Offset Field must always be zero, and thus it
is excluded (even though it is predictable).

TTL -- This is changed en-route as a normal course of processing
by routers, and thus its value at the receiver is not
predictable by the sender.

Header Checksum -- This will change if any of these other fields
changes, and thus its value upon reception cannot be
predicted by the sender.

3.3.3.1.1.2 Options

For IPv4 (unlike IPv6), there is no mechanism for tagging options as
mutable in transit. Hence the IPv4 options are explicitly listed in
Appendix A and classified as immutable, mutable but predictable, or
mutable. For IPv4, the entire option is viewed as a unit; so even
though the type and length fields within most options are immutable
in transit, if an option is classified as mutable, the entire option
is zeroed for ICV computation purposes.

3.3.3.1.2 ICV Computation for IPv6

3.3.3.1.2.1 Base Header Fields

The IPv6 base header fields are classified as follows:

Immutable
Version
Payload Length
Next Header (This should be the value for AH.)
Source Address
Destination Address (without Routing Extension Header)

Mutable but predictable
Destination Address (with Routing Extension Header)

Mutable (zeroed prior to ICV calculation)
Class
Flow Label
Hop Limit

3.3.3.1.2.2 Extension Headers Containing Options

IPv6 options in the Hop-by-Hop and Destination Extension Headers
contain a bit that indicates whether the option might change
(unpredictably) during transit. For any option for which contents
may change en-route, the entire "Option Data" field must be treated
as zero-valued octets when computing or verifying the ICV. The
Option Type and Opt Data Len are included in the ICV calculation.
All options for which the bit indicates immutability are included in
the ICV calculation. See the IPv6 specification [DH95] for more
information.

3.3.3.1.2.3 Extension Headers Not Containing Options

The IPv6 extension headers that do not contain options are explicitly
listed in Appendix A and classified as immutable, mutable but
predictable, or mutable.

3.3.3.2 Padding

3.3.3.2.1 Authentication Data Padding

As mentioned in section 2.6, the Authentication Data field explicitly
includes padding to ensure that the AH header is a multiple of 32
bits (IPv4) or 64 bits (IPv6). If padding is required, its length is
determined by two factors:

- the length of the ICV
- the IP protocol version (v4 or v6)

For example, if the output of the selected algorithm is 96-bits, no
padding is required for either IPv4 or for IPv6. However, if a
different length ICV is generated, due to use of a different
algorithm, then padding may be required depending on the length and
IP protocol version. The content of the padding field is arbitrarily
selected by the sender. (The padding is arbitrary, but need not be
random to achieve security.) These padding bytes are included in the
Authentication Data calculation, counted as part of the Payload
Length, and transmitted at the end of the Authentication Data field
to enable the receiver to perform the ICV calculation.

3.3.3.2.2 Implicit Packet Padding

For some authentication algorithms, the byte string over which the
ICV computation is performed must be a multiple of a blocksize
specified by the algorithm. If the IP packet length (including AH)
does not match the blocksize requirements for the algorithm, implicit
padding MUST be appended to the end of the packet, prior to ICV
computation. The padding octets MUST have a value of zero. The
blocksize (and hence the length of the padding) is specified by the
algorithm specification. This padding is not transmitted with the
packet. Note that MD5 and SHA-1 are viewed as having a 1-byte
blocksize because of their internal padding conventions.

3.3.4 Fragmentation

If required, IP fragmentation occurs after AH processing within an
IPsec implementation. Thus, transport mode AH is applied only to
whole IP datagrams (not to IP fragments). An IP packet to which AH
has been applied may itself be fragmented by routers en route, and
such fragments must be reassembled prior to AH processing at a
receiver. In tunnel mode, AH is applied to an IP packet, the payload
of which may be a fragmented IP packet. For example, a security
gateway or a "bump-in-the-stack" or "bump-in-the-wire" IPsec
implementation (see the Security Architecture document for details)
may apply tunnel mode AH to such fragments.

3.4 Inbound Packet Processing

If there is more than one IPsec header/extension present, the
processing for each one ignores (does not zero, does not use) any
IPsec headers applied subsequent to the header being processed.

3.4.1 Reassembly

If required, reassembly is performed prior to AH processing. If a
packet offered to AH for processing appears to be an IP fragment,
i.e., the OFFSET field is non-zero or the MORE FRAGMENTS flag is set,
the receiver MUST discard the packet; this is an auditable event. The
audit log entry for this event SHOULD include the SPI value,
date/time, Source Address, Destination Address, and (in IPv6) the
Flow ID.

NOTE: For packet reassembly, the current IPv4 spec does NOT require
either the zero'ing of the OFFSET field or the clearing of the MORE
FRAGMENTS flag. In order for a reassembled packet to be processed by
IPsec (as opposed to discarded as an apparent fragment), the IP code
must do these two things after it reassembles a packet.

3.4.2 Security Association Lookup

Upon receipt of a packet containing an IP Authentication Header, the
receiver determines the appropriate (unidirectional) SA, based on the
destination IP address, security protocol (AH), and the SPI. (This
process is described in more detail in the Security Architecture
document.) The SA indicates whether the Sequence Number field will
be checked, specifies the algorithm(s) employed for ICV computation,
and indicates the key(s) required to validate the ICV.

If no valid Security Association exists for this session (e.g., the
receiver has no key), the receiver MUST discard the packet; this is
an auditable event. The audit log entry for this event SHOULD
include the SPI value, date/time, Source Address, Destination
Address, and (in IPv6) the Flow ID.

3.4.3 Sequence Number Verification

All AH implementations MUST support the anti-replay service, though
its use may be enabled or disabled by the receiver on a per-SA basis.
(Note that there are no provisions for managing transmitted Sequence
Number values among multiple senders directing traffic to a single SA
(irrespective of whether the destination address is unicast,
broadcast, or multicast). Thus the anti-replay service SHOULD NOT be
used in a multi-sender environment that employs a single SA.)

If the receiver does not enable anti-replay for an SA, no inbound
checks are performed on the Sequence Number. However, from the
perspective of the sender, the default is to assume that anti-replay
is enabled at the receiver. To avoid having the sender do
unnecessary sequence number monitoring and SA setup (see section
3.3.2), if an SA establishment protocol such as IKE is employed, the
receiver SHOULD notify the sender, during SA establishment, if the
receiver will not provide anti-replay protection.

If the receiver has enabled the anti-replay service for this SA, the
receiver packet counter for the SA MUST be initialized to zero when
the SA is established. For each received packet, the receiver MUST
verify that the packet contains a Sequence Number that does not
duplicate the Sequence Number of any other packets received during
the life of this SA. This SHOULD be the first AH check applied to a
packet after it has been matched to an SA, to speed rejection of
duplicate packets.

Duplicates are rejected through the use of a sliding receive window.
(How the window is implemented is a local matter, but the following
text describes the functionality that the implementation must
exhibit.) A MINIMUM window size of 32 MUST be supported; but a
window size of 64 is preferred and SHOULD be employed as the default.
Another window size (larger than the MINIMUM) MAY be chosen by the
receiver. (The receiver does NOT notify the sender of the window
size.)

The "right" edge of the window represents the highest, validated
Sequence Number value received on this SA. Packets that contain
Sequence Numbers lower than the "left" edge of the window are
rejected. Packets falling within the window are checked against a
list of received packets within the window. An efficient means for
performing this check, based on the use of a bit mask, is described
in the Security Architecture document.

If the received packet falls within the window and is new, or if the
packet is to the right of the window, then the receiver proceeds to
ICV verification. If the ICV validation fails, the receiver MUST
discard the received IP datagram as invalid; this is an auditable
event. The audit log entry for this event SHOULD include the SPI
value, date/time, Source Address, Destination Address, the Sequence
Number, and (in IPv6) the Flow ID. The receive window is updated
only if the ICV verification succeeds.

DISCUSSION:

Note that if the packet is either inside the window and new, or is
outside the window on the "right" side, the receiver MUST
authenticate the packet before updating the Sequence Number window
data.

3.4.4 Integrity Check Value Verification

The receiver computes the ICV over the appropriate fields of the
packet, using the specified authentication algorithm, and verifies
that it is the same as the ICV included in the Authentication Data
field of the packet. Details of the computation are provided below.

If the computed and received ICV's match, then the datagram is valid,
and it is accepted. If the test fails, then the receiver MUST
discard the received IP datagram as invalid; this is an auditable
event. The audit log entry SHOULD include the SPI value, date/time
received, Source Address, Destination Address, and (in IPv6) the Flow
ID.

DISCUSSION:

Begin by saving the ICV value and replacing it (but not any
Authentication Data padding) with zero. Zero all other fields
that may have been modified during transit. (See section 3.3.3.1
for a discussion of which fields are zeroed before performing the
ICV calculation.) Check the overall length of the packet, and if
it requires implicit padding based on the requirements of the
authentication algorithm, append zero-filled bytes to the end of
the packet as required. Perform the ICV computation and compare
the result with the saved value, using the comparison rules
defined by the algorithm specification. (For example, if a
digital signature and one-way hash are used for the ICV
computation, the matching process is more complex.)

4. Auditing

Not all systems that implement AH will implement auditing. However,
if AH is incorporated into a system that supports auditing, then the
AH implementation MUST also support auditing and MUST allow a system
administrator to enable or disable auditing for AH. For the most
part, the granularity of auditing is a local matter. However,
several auditable events are identified in this specification and for
each of these events a minimum set of information that SHOULD be
included in an audit log is defined. Additional information also MAY
be included in the audit log for each of these events, and additional
events, not explicitly called out in this specification, also MAY

result in audit log entries. There is no requirement for the
receiver to transmit any message to the purported sender in response
to the detection of an auditable event, because of the potential to
induce denial of service via such action.

5. Conformance Requirements

Implementations that claim conformance or compliance with this
specification MUST fully implement the AH syntax and processing
described here and MUST comply with all requirements of the Security
Architecture document. If the key used to compute an ICV is manually
distributed, correct provision of the anti-replay service would
require correct maintenance of the counter state at the sender, until
the key is replaced, and there likely would be no automated recovery
provision if counter overflow were imminent. Thus a compliant
implementation SHOULD NOT provide this service in conjunction with
SAs that are manually keyed. A compliant AH implementation MUST
support the following mandatory-to-implement algorithms:

- HMAC with MD5 [MG97a]
- HMAC with SHA-1 [MG97b]

6. Security Considerations

Security is central to the design of this protocol, and these
security considerations permeate the specification. Additional
security-relevant aspects of using the IPsec protocol are discussed
in the Security Architecture document.

7. Differences from RFC 1826

This specification of AH differs from RFC 1826 [ATK95] in several
important respects, but the fundamental features of AH remain intact.
One goal of the revision of RFC 1826 was to provide a complete
framework for AH, with ancillary RFCs required only for algorithm
specification. For example, the anti-replay service is now an
integral, mandatory part of AH, not a feature of a transform defined
in another RFC. Carriage of a sequence number to support this
service is now required at all times. The default algorithms
required for interoperability have been changed to HMAC with MD5 or
SHA-1 (vs. keyed MD5), for security reasons. The list of IPv4 header
fields excluded from the ICV computation has been expanded to include
the OFFSET and FLAGS fields.

Another motivation for revision was to provide additional detail and
clarification of subtle points. This specification provides
rationale for exclusion of selected IPv4 header fields from AH
coverage and provides examples on positioning of AH in both the IPv4

and v6 contexts. Auditing requirements have been clarified in this
version of the specification. Tunnel mode AH was mentioned only in
passing in RFC 1826, but now is a mandatory feature of AH.
Discussion of interactions with key management and with security
labels have been moved to the Security Architecture document.

Acknowledgements

For over 3 years, this document has evolved through multiple versions
and iterations. During this time, many people have contributed
significant ideas and energy to the process and the documents
themselves. The authors would like to thank Karen Seo for providing
extensive help in the review, editing, background research, and
coordination for this version of the specification. The authors
would also like to thank the members of the IPsec and IPng working
groups, with special mention of the efforts of (in alphabetic order):
Steve Bellovin, Steve Deering, Francis Dupont, Phil Karn, Frank
Kastenholz, Perry Metzger, David Mihelcic, Hilarie Orman, Norman
Shulman, William Simpson, and Nina Yuan.

Appendix A -- Mutability of IP Options/Extension Headers

A1. IPv4 Options

This table shows how the IPv4 options are classified with regard to
"mutability". Where two references are provided, the second one
supercedes the first. This table is based in part on information
provided in RFC1700, "ASSIGNED NUMBERS", (October 1994).

Opt.
Copy Class # Name Reference
---- ----- --- ------------------------ ---------
IMMUTABLE -- included in ICV calculation
0 0 0 End of Options List [RFC791]
0 0 1 No Operation [RFC791]
1 0 2 Security [RFC1108(historic but in use)]
1 0 5 Extended Security [RFC1108(historic but in use)]
1 0 6 Commercial Security [expired I-D, now US MIL STD]
1 0 20 Router Alert [RFC2113]
1 0 21 Sender Directed Multi- [RFC1770]
Destination Delivery
MUTABLE -- zeroed
1 0 3 Loose Source Route [RFC791]
0 2 4 Time Stamp [RFC791]
0 0 7 Record Route [RFC791]
1 0 9 Strict Source Route [RFC791]
0 2 18 Traceroute [RFC1393]

EXPERIMENTAL, SUPERCEDED -- zeroed
1 0 8 Stream ID [RFC791, RFC1122 (Host Req)]
0 0 11 MTU Probe [RFC1063, RFC1191 (PMTU)]
0 0 12 MTU Reply [RFC1063, RFC1191 (PMTU)]
1 0 17 Extended Internet Proto [RFC1385, RFC1883 (IPv6)]
0 0 10 Experimental Measurement [ZSu]
1 2 13 Experimental Flow Control [Finn]
1 0 14 Experimental Access Ctl [Estrin]
0 0 15 ??? [VerSteeg]
1 0 16 IMI Traffic Descriptor [Lee]
1 0 19 Address Extension [Ullmann IPv7]

NOTE: Use of the Router Alert option is potentially incompatible with
use of IPsec. Although the option is immutable, its use implies that
each router along a packet's path will "process" the packet and
consequently might change the packet. This would happen on a hop by
hop basis as the packet goes from router to router. Prior to being
processed by the application to which the option contents are
directed, e.g., RSVP/IGMP, the packet should encounter AH processing.

However, AH processing would require that each router along the path
is a member of a multicast-SA defined by the SPI. This might pose
problems for packets that are not strictly source routed, and it
requires multicast support techniques not currently available.

NOTE: Addition or removal of any security labels (BSO, ESO, CIPSO) by
systems along a packet's path conflicts with the classification of
these IP Options as immutable and is incompatible with the use of
IPsec.

NOTE: End of Options List options SHOULD be repeated as necessary to
ensure that the IP header ends on a 4 byte boundary in order to
ensure that there are no unspecified bytes which could be used for a
covert channel.

A2. IPv6 Extension Headers

This table shows how the IPv6 Extension Headers are classified with
regard to "mutability".

Option/Extension Name Reference
----------------------------------- ---------
MUTABLE BUT PREDICTABLE -- included in ICV calculation
Routing (Type 0) [RFC1883]

BIT INDICATES IF OPTION IS MUTABLE (CHANGES UNPREDICTABLY DURING TRANSIT)
Hop by Hop options [RFC1883]
Destination options [RFC1883]

NOT APPLICABLE
Fragmentation [RFC1883]

Options -- IPv6 options in the Hop-by-Hop and Destination
Extension Headers contain a bit that indicates whether the
option might change (unpredictably) during transit. For
any option for which contents may change en-route, the
entire "Option Data" field must be treated as zero-valued
octets when computing or verifying the ICV. The Option
Type and Opt Data Len are included in the ICV calculation.
All options for which the bit indicates immutability are
included in the ICV calculation. See the IPv6
specification [DH95] for more information.

Routing (Type 0) -- The IPv6 Routing Header "Type 0" will
rearrange the address fields within the packet during
transit from source to destination. However, the contents
of the packet as it will appear at the receiver are known
to the sender and to all intermediate hops. Hence, the

IPv6 Routing Header "Type 0" is included in the
Authentication Data calculation as mutable but predictable.
The sender must order the field so that it appears as it
will at the receiver, prior to performing the ICV
computation.

Fragmentation -- Fragmentation occurs after outbound IPsec
processing (section 3.3) and reassembly occurs before
inbound IPsec processing (section 3.4). So the
Fragmentation Extension Header, if it exists, is not seen
by IPsec.

Note that on the receive side, the IP implementation could
leave a Fragmentation Extension Header in place when it
does re-assembly. If this happens, then when AH receives
the packet, before doing ICV processing, AH MUST "remove"
(or skip over) this header and change the previous header's
"Next Header" field to be the "Next Header" field in the
Fragmentation Extension Header.

Note that on the send side, the IP implementation could
give the IPsec code a packet with a Fragmentation Extension
Header with Offset of 0 (first fragment) and a More
Fragments Flag of 0 (last fragment). If this happens, then
before doing ICV processing, AH MUST first "remove" (or
skip over) this header and change the previous header's
"Next Header" field to be the "Next Header" field in the
Fragmentation Extension Header.

References

[ATK95] Atkinson, R., "The IP Authentication Header", RFC 1826,
August 1995.

[Bra97] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Level", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

[DH95] Deering, S., and B. Hinden, "Internet Protocol version 6
(IPv6) Specification", RFC 1883, December 1995.

[HC98] Harkins, D., and D. Carrel, "The Internet Key Exchange
(IKE)", RFC 2409, November 1998.

[KA97a] Kent, S., and R. Atkinson, "Security Architecture for the
Internet Protocol", RFC 2401, November 1998.

[KA97b] Kent, S., and R. Atkinson, "IP Encapsulating Security
Payload (ESP)", RFC 2406, November 1998.

[MG97a] Madson, C., and R. Glenn, "The Use of HMAC-MD5-96 within
ESP and AH", RFC 2403, November 1998.

[MG97b] Madson, C., and R. Glenn, "The Use of HMAC-SHA-1-96 within
ESP and AH", RFC 2404, November 1998.

[STD-2] Reynolds, J., and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", STD 2, RFC
1700, October 1994. See also:
http://www.iana.org/numbers.html

Disclaimer

The views and specification here are those of the authors and are not
necessarily those of their employers. The authors and their
employers specifically disclaim responsibility for any problems
arising from correct or incorrect implementation or use of this
specification.

Author Information

Stephen Kent
BBN Corporation
70 Fawcett Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
USA

Phone: +1 (617) 873-3988
EMail: kent@bbn.com

Randall Atkinson
@Home Network
425 Broadway,
Redwood City, CA 94063
USA

Phone: +1 (415) 569-5000
EMail: rja@corp.home.net

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

This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
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
the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than
English.

The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

This document and the information contained herein is provided on an
"AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET ENGINEERING
TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING
BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION
HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.



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.



%d bloggers like this: