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Versions: 00 01 RFC 2996

Internet Draft                                           Y. Bernet, Microsoft
draft-ietf-issll-dclass-01.txt                                  October, 1999


                         Format of the RSVP DCLASS Object

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with all
   provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task
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   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

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


1. Abstract

   RSVP signaling may be used to request QoS services and enhance the
   manageability of application traffic's QoS in a differentiated service
   (diff-serv or DS) network.  When using RSVP with DS networks it is
   useful to be able to carry carry Differentiated Services Code Points
   (DSCPs) in RSVP message objects.  One example of this is the use of RSVP
   to arrange for the marking of packets with a particular DSCP upstream
   from the DS network's ingress point, at the sender or at a previous
   network's egress router.

   The DCLASS object is used to represent and carry DSCPs within RSVP
   messages.  This draft specifies the format of the DCLASS object and
   briefly discusses its use.

2. Introduction

   This section describes the mechanics of using RSVP [RSVP] signaling and
   the DCLASS object for effecting admission control and applying QoS
   policy within a Differentiated Service network [DS].  It assumes
   standard RSVP senders and receivers, and a diff-serv network somewhere
   in the path between sender and receiver.  At least one RSVP aware
   network element resides in the diff-serv network.  This network element
   may be a policy enforcement point (PEP) [RAP] or may simply act as an

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   admission control agent for the network, admitting or denying resource
   requests based on the availability of resources.  In either case, this
   network element interacts with RSVP messages arriving from outside the
   DS network, accepting resource requests from RSVP-aware senders and
   receivers, and conveying the DS network's admission control and resource
   allocation decisions to the higher-level RSVP. The network element is
   typically a router and will be considered to be so for the purpose of
   this draft.  This model is described fully in [INTDIFF].

2.1 Use of the DCLASS Object to Carry Upstream Packet Marking Information

   A principal usage of the DCLASS object is to carry DSCP information
   between a DS network and upstream nodes that may wish to mark packets
   with DSCP values.  Briefly, the sender composes a standard RSVP PATH
   message and sends it towards the receiver.  At some point the PATH
   message reaches the DS network.  The PATH message traverses one or more
   network elements that are PEPs and/or admission control agents for the
   diff-serv network.  These elements install appropriate state and forward
   the PATH message towards the receiver.  If admission control is
   successful downstream of the diff-serv network, then a RESV message will
   arrive from the direction of the receiver.  As this message arrives at
   the PEPs and/or admission control agents that are RSVP enabled, each of
   these network elements must make a decision regarding the admissibility
   of the signaled flow to the diff-serv network.

   If the network element determines that the request represented by the
   PATH and RESV messages is admissible to the diff-serv network, the
   appropriate diff-serv service level (or behaviour aggregate) for the
   traffic represented in the RSVP request is determined.  Next, a decision
   is made to mark arriving data packets for this traffic locally using MF
   classification, or to request upstream marking of the packets with the
   appropriate DSCP(s).  This upstream marking could occur anywhere before
   the DS network's ingress point.  Two likely candidates are the
   originating sender and the egress boundary router of some upstream (DS
   or non-DS) network.  The decision about where the RSVP request's packets
   should be marked can be made by agreement or through a negotiation
   protocol; the details are outside the scope of this document.

   If the packets for this RSVP request are to be marked upstream,
   information about the DSCP(s) to use must be conveyed from the RSVP-
   aware network element to the upstream marking point.  This information
   is conveyed with the DCLASS object.  To do this, the network element
   adds a DCLASS object containing one or more DSCPs corresponding to the
   behaviour aggregate, to the RESV message.  The RESV message is then sent
   upstream towards the RSVP sender.

   If the network element determines that the RSVP request is not
   admissible to the diff-serv network, it sends a RESV error message
   towards the receiver.  No DCLASS is required.





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2.1 Additional Uses of the DCLASS Object

   The DCLASS object is intended to be a general tool for conveying DSCP
   information in RSVP messages.  This may be useful in a number of
   situations.  We give one further example here as motivation.

   In this example, we assume that the decision about the appropriate
   behavior aggregate for a RSVP-mediated traffic flow is made at the DS
   network egress router (or a related Policy Decision Point) by observing
   RSVP PATH and RESV messages and other necessary information.  However,
   the actual packet marking must be done at the ingress of the network.
   The DCLASS object can be used to carry the needed marking information
   between egress and ingress routers.

3. Format of the DCLASS Object

   The DCLASS object has the following format:

              0       |       1       |       2       |       3
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |      Length (>= 8)            |   C-Num (225) |      1        |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |          Unused                               | 1st DSCP  |   |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |          Unused                               | 2nd DSCP  |   |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      |          Unused                               | . . . .   |   |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+


   The first word contains the standard RSVP object header (the Class Num
   for the DCLASS object is 225).  The length field indicates the total
   object length in bytes.  The object header is followed by one or more
   32-bit words, each containing a DSCP in the six high-order bits of the
   least significant byte.  The length field in the object header indicates
   the number of DSCPs included in the object.  Specifically, the number of
   DCLASS objects present is equal to (Length - 4) / 4.

   The network may return multiple DSCPs in the DCLASS object in order to
   enable the host to discriminate sub-flows within a behaviour aggregate.
   For example, in the case of the AF PHB group [AF], the network may
   return the DSCPs 001010, 001100, and 001110 corresponding to increasing
   levels of drop precedence within Class 1 of the AF PHB group.  Note that
   this draft makes no statements regarding the significance of the order
   of the returned DSCPs.  Further interpretation of DSCP sets is dependent
   on the specific service requested by the host and is beyond the scope of
   this draft.

   Note that the Class-Num for the DCLASS object is chosen from the space
   of unknown class objects that should be ignored and forwarded by nodes
   that do not recognize it.  This is to assure maximal backward
   compatibility.


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4. Admission Control Functionality

   From a black-box perspective, admission control and policy functionality
   amounts to the decision whether to accept or reject a request and the
   determination of the DSCPs that should be used for the corresponding
   traffic.  The specific details of admission control are beyond the scope
   of this document.  In general the admission control decision is based
   both on resource availability and on policies regarding the use of
   resources in the diff-serv network.  The admission control decision made
   by RSVP aware network elements represents both considerations.

   In order to decide whether the RSVP request is admissible in terms of
   resource availability, one or more network elements within or at the
   boundary of the diff-serv network must understand the impact that
   admission would have on specific diff-serv resources, as well as the
   availability of these resources along the relevant data path in the
   diff-serv network.

   In order to decide whether the RSVP request is admissible in terms of
   policy, the network element may use identity objects describing users
   and/or applications that may be included in the request.  The router may
   act as a PEP/PDP and use data from a policy database or directory to aid
   in this decision.

   See Appendix A for a simple mechanism for configurable resource based
   admission control.

5. Security Considerations

   The DCLASS object conveys information that can be used to request
   enhanced QoS from a DS network, so inappropriate modification of the
   object could allow traffic flows to obtain a higher or lower level of
   QoS than appropriate.  Particularly, modification of a DCLASS object by
   a third party inserted between the DS network ingress node and the
   upstream marker constitutes a possible denial of service attack.  This
   attack is subtle because it is possible to reduce the received QoS to an
   unacceptably low level without completely cutting off data flow, making
   the attack harder to detect.

   The possibility of raising the received level of QoS by inappropriate
   modification of the DCLASS object is less significant because it a
   subclass of a larger class of attacks that must already be detected by
   the system.  Protection must already be in place to prevent a host
   raising its received level of QoS by simply guessing "good" DSCP's and
   marking packets accordingly.  If this protection is at the boundary of
   the DS network, it will detect inappropriate marking of arriving packets
   caused by modified DCLASS objects as well.  If, however, the protection
   function as well as the marking function has been pushed upstream
   (perhaps to a trusted third party or intermediate node), correct
   transmission of the DCLASS object must be ensured to prevent a possible
   theft of service attack.



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   Simple observation of the DCLASS object in a RSVP message raises several
   issues which may be seen as security concerns.  Correlation of observed
   DCLASS object values with RSVP requests or MF classification parameters
   allows the observer to determine that different flows are receiving
   different levels of QoS, which may be knowledge that should be protected
   in some environments.  Similarly, observation of the DCLASS object can
   allow the observer to determine that a single flow's QoS has been
   promoted or demoted, which may signal significant events in the life of
   that flow's application or user.  Finally, observation of the DCLASS
   object may reveal information about the internal operations of a DS
   network that could be useful to observers interested in
   theft-of-services attacks.


6. References

   [INTDIFF], Bernet, Y., Yavatkar, R., Ford, P., Baker, F., Zhang, L.,
   Speer, M., Braden, R., Davie, B., Wroclawski, J., "Integrated Services
   Operation over Diffserv Networks", Internet Draft, June 1999

   [DS] An Architecture for Differentiated Services.  S. Blake, D. Black,
   M. Carlson, E. Davies, Z. Wang, W. Weiss, RFC 2475, December 1998.

   [RSVP] Braden, R. ed., "Resource ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP) -
   Functional Specification.", IETF RFC 2205, Sep.  1997.

   [RAP] Yavatkar, R., et al., "A Framework for Policy Based Admission
   Control", IETF <draft-ietf-rap-framework-02.txt>, Jan., 1999.

   [AF], Heinanen, J., Baker, F., Weiss, W., Wroclawski, J., "Assured
   Forwarding PHB Group", RFC 2597, June 1999

7. Acknowledgments

   Thanks to Fred Baker and Carol Iturralde for reviewing this draft.
   Thanks to Ramesh Pabbati, Tim Moore, Bruce Davie and Kam Lee for input.

8. Author's Address

   Bernet, Yoram
   Microsoft
   One Microsoft Way,
   Redmond, WA 98052
   Phone: (425) 936-9568
   Email: yoramb@microsoft.com

Appendix A - Simple Configurable Resource Based Admission Control

   Routers may use quite sophisticated mechanisms in making the admission
   control decision, including policy considerations, various intra- domain
   signaling protocols, results of traffic monitoring and so on.  It is
   recommended that the following basic functionality be provided to enable


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   simple resource based admission control in the absence of more
   sophisticated mechanisms.  This functionality can be used with
   configurable, standalone routers.  It applies to standard RSVP/Intserv
   requests.  This minimal functionality assumes only a single DSCP is
   included in the DCLASS object, but may readily be extended to support
   multiple DSCPs.

   It must be possible to configure two tables in the router.  These are
   described below.


A.1 Service Type to DSCP Mapping

   One table provides a mapping from the intserv service-type specified in
   the RSVP request to a DSCP that can be used to obtain a corresponding
   service in the diff-serv network.  This table contains a row for each
   intserv service type for which a mapping is available.  Each row has the
   following format:

      Intserv service type : DSCP

   The table would typically contain at least three rows; one for
   Guaranteed service, one for Controlled Load service and one for Best-
   Effort service.  (The best-effort service will typically map to DSCP
   000000, but may be overridden).  It should be possible to add rows for
   as-yet-undefined service types.

   This table allows the network administrator to statically configure a
   DSCP that the router will return in the DCLASS object for an admitted
   RSVP request.  In general, more sophisticated and likely more dynamic
   mechanisms may be used to determine the DSCP to be returned in the
   DCLASS object.  Also, it is likely that a real mapping for some services
   would use more than one DSCP, with the DSCP depending on the invocation
   parameters of a specific service request.  In this case, these
   mechanisms may override or replace the static table based mapping
   described here.

A.2 Quantitative Resource Availability

   Standard intserv requests are quantitative in nature.  They include
   token bucket parameters describing the resources required by the traffic
   for which admission is requested.  The second table enables the network
   administrator to statically configure quantitative parameters to be used
   by the router when making an admission control decision for quantitative
   service requests.  Each row in this table has the following form:

      DSCP : Token bucket profile

   The first column specifies those DSCPs for which quantitative admission
   control is applied.  The second column specifies the token bucket
   parameters which represent the total resources available in the
   diff-serv network to accommodate traffic in the service class specified
   by the DSCP.

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