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Versions: (draft-nordmark-6man-rs-refresh) 00 01 02

6man WG                                                      E. Nordmark
Internet-Draft                                           Arista Networks
Updates: 4861,6059 (if approved)                          A. Yourtchenko
Intended status: Standards Track                                   Cisco
Expires: May 4, 2017                                         S. Krishnan
                                                        October 31, 2016

             IPv6 Neighbor Discovery Optional RS/RA Refresh


   IPv6 Neighbor Discovery relies on periodic multicast Router
   Advertisement messages to update timer values and to distribute new
   information (such as new prefixes) to hosts.  On some links the use
   of periodic multicast messages to all host becomes expensive, and in
   some cases it results in hosts waking up frequently.  Many
   implementations of RFC 4861 also use multicast for solicited Router
   Advertisement messages, even though that behavior is optional.

   This specification provides an optional mechanism for hosts and
   routers where instead of periodic multicast Router Advertisements the
   hosts are instructed (by the routers) to use Router Solicitations to
   request refreshed Router Advertisements.  This mechanism is enabled
   by configuring the router to include a new option in the Router
   Advertisement in order to allow the network administrator to choose
   host behavior based on whether periodic multicast are more efficient
   on their link or not.  The routers can also tell whether the hosts
   are capable of the new behavior through a new flag in the Router

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at http://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on May 4, 2017.

Copyright Notice

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

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

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Goals and Requirements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Definition Of Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  Protocol Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  New Neighbor Discovery Flags and Options  . . . . . . . . . .   5
     5.1.  Introducing a Router Solicitation Flag  . . . . . . . . .   5
     5.2.  Refresh Time option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   6.  Conceptual Data Structures  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   7.  Host Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     7.1.  Sleep and Wakeup  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     7.2.  Movement  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   8.  Router Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     8.1.  Router and/or Interface Initialization  . . . . . . . . .   9
     8.2.  Periodic Multicast RA for unmodified hosts  . . . . . . .   9
     8.3.  Unsolicited RAs to share new information  . . . . . . . .   9
   9.  Router Advertisement Consistency  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   10. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   11. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   12. Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   13. Change Log  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   14. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     14.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     14.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12

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1.  Introduction

   IPv6 Neighbor Discovery [RFC4861] was defined at a time when local
   area networks had different properties than today.  A common link was
   the yellow-coax shared wire Ethernet, where a link-layer multicast
   and unicast worked the same - send the packet on the wire and the
   interested receivers will pick it up.  Thus the network cost
   (ignoring any processing cost on the receivers that might not
   completely filter out Ethernet multicast addresses that they did not
   want) and the reliability of sending a link-layer unicast and
   multicast was the same.  Furthermore, the hosts at the time was
   always on and connected.  Powering on and off the workstation/PC
   hosts at the time was slow and disruptive process.

   Under the above assumptions it was quite efficient to maintain the
   shared state of the link such as the prefixes and their lifetimes
   using periodic multicast Router Advertisement messages.  It was also
   efficient to use multicast Neighbor Solicitations for address
   resolution as a slight improvement over the broadcast use in ARP.
   And finally, checking for a potential duplicate IPv6 address using
   multicast was efficient and natural.

   There are still links, such a satellite links, where periodic
   multicast advertisements is the most efficient and reliable approach
   to keep the hosts up to date.  However other links have different
   performance and reliability for multicast than for unicast (see for
   instance [I-D.vyncke-6man-mcast-not-efficient] which discusses WiFi
   links).  On some of those links the performance and reliability is
   dependent on the direction e.g., with host to network multicast
   having the same characteristics as unicast, but network to host being
   different.  Cellular networks which employ paging and support
   sleeping hosts have different issues (see e.g.,
   [I-D.garneij-6man-nd-m2m-issues] that would benefit from having the
   hosts wake up and request information from the routers instead of the
   routers periodically multicasting the information.

   Since different links types and deployments have different needs,
   this specification provides mechanism by which the routers can
   determine whether all the hosts support the RS refresh, and the hosts
   only employ the RS refresh when instructed by the routers using an
   option in the Router Advertisement.

   The operator retains the option to use unsolicited multicast Router
   Advertisement to announce new or removed information.  That can be
   useful for uncommon cases while allowing using a higher refresh time
   for normal network operations.

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   Hosts that sleep without waking up due to multicast Router
   Advertisements need to send a RS refresh when they wake up in order
   to receive configuration changes that took place while the host was

   The specification does not assume that all hosts on the link
   implement the new capability.  As soon as there are router(s) on a
   link which supports these optimizations, then the updated hosts on
   the link can sleep better, while co-existing on the same link with
   unmodified hosts.

2.  Goals and Requirements

   The key goal is to allow the operator to choose whether RS refresh is
   more efficient than periodic multicast RAs, while preserving the
   timely and scalable reconfiguration capabilities that a periodic RA
   model provides.

   The approach should allow for hosts that sleep on a schedule i.e.,
   that do not wake up due to unsolicited RA messages.

   In general a link can have multiple routers hence the RS messages
   should be multicast to find new routers.  But for networks which do
   not there operator should be able to choose unicast RS behavior.

   In addition, an operator might want to be notified whether the link
   includes hosts that do not support the new mechanism.  Potential
   router implementations can react dynamically to that information, or
   can log events to system management when hosts appear which do not
   implement this new capability.

   The assumption is that host which implement this specification also
   implement [I-D.ietf-6man-resilient-rs] as that ensures resiliency to
   packet loss.

3.  Definition Of Terms

   The keywords "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

4.  Protocol Overview

   The hosts include a new flag in the Router Solicitation message,
   which allows the routers to report to system management whether there
   are hosts that do not support the RS refresh on the link.

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   If the network administrator has configured the routers to send the
   new Refresh Time option, then the option will be included in all the
   Router Advertisements.  This option includes the time interval when
   the hosts should send Router Solicitations refresh messages.

   The host maintains the value of the Refresh Time option (RTO) by
   recording it in the default router list.  A value of zero can be used
   to indicate that a router did not include a Refresh Time option.

   The host calculates a timeout after it has received a RTO - either
   per router or per link.  If it is maintained per link then the host
   SHOULD use the minimum Refresh Time it has received from the routers
   on the link.  The timeout is a random value uniformly distributed
   between 0.5 and 1.5 times the Refresh Time value (in order to avoid
   synchronization of the timers across hosts [SYNC].)  When this timer
   fires the host sends one Router Solicitation.

5.  New Neighbor Discovery Flags and Options

   This specification introduces a new option used in the RAs which both
   indicates that the router can handle RS refresh by immediately
   responding with a unicast RA, and a flag for the RS that indicates to
   the router that the host will do RS refresh if the router so wishes.

5.1.  Introducing a Router Solicitation Flag

   A node which implements this specification sets the R flag in all the
   Router Solicitation messages it sends.  That allows the router to
   determine whether there are legacy hosts on the link.

   0                   1                   2                   3
   0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
   |     Type      |     Code      |          Checksum             |
   |R|                          Reserved                           |

   New fields:

   R-flag:        When set indicates that the sending node is capable of
                  doing unicast RS refresh.

   Reserved:      Field is reduced from 32 bits to 31 bits.  It MUST be
                  initialized to zero by the sender and MUST be ignored
                  by the receiver.

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5.2.  Refresh Time option

   A router which implements this specification can be configured to
   instruct hosts to use RS refresh.  When the operator configures this
   mode of operation, then the router MUST include this new option in
   the RA.  If the operator has a single router (or single VRRP router)
   on the link, then the operator MAY set the Unicast flag in the

   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=1    |          Refresh Time         |
   |U|                          Reserved                           |


   Type:          TBD ND option code value (IANA)

   Length:        8-bit unsigned integer.  The length of the option
                  (including the type and length fields) in units of 8
                  bytes.  The value 0 is invalid.  Value is 1 for this

   Refresh Time:  16-bit unsigned integer.  Units is seconds.  The value
                  zero is invalid and make the receiver ignore the

   U-flag:        1 bit flag to indicate that the host should unicast
                  the RS refresh.

   Reserved:      31 bits.  This field is unused.  It MUST be
                  initialized to zero by the sender and MUST be ignored
                  by the receiver.

6.  Conceptual Data Structures

   In addition to the Conceptual Data structures in [RFC4861] a host
   records the received Refresh Time value and the Unicast flag in the
   default router list.  It also maintains a timeout - either per link
   or per default router.  If the timeout is per link it is set to the
   minimum of the received Refresh Time values.

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7.  Host Behavior

   See Protocol Overview section above.

   A host implementing this specification SHOULD also implement
   [I-D.ietf-6man-resilient-rs].  That ensures that if there is packet
   loss and/or the periodic router advertisements are very infrequent,
   the host will always receive a timely RA as part of its

   If there is no RTO in the received Router Advertisements or there is
   an RTO with a zero Refresh Time, then the host behavior does not
   change.  However, if RTOs start appearing in RAs after the initial
   RAs, the host SHOULD start performing RS refresh.  As the last router
   that included RTO options time out from the default router list, the
   host SHOULD stop sending RS refresh messages.

   The host MUST join the all-nodes multicast address as in [RFC4861]
   since the routers MAY send multicast RAs for important changes.

   Some links might have routers with different configuration where some
   router includes RTO in the RA and others do not.  Hosts MAY make the
   simplifying assumption that if any router on the link includes RTO
   then the host can use RS refresh to all the routers in the default
   router list.  Also, the routers might advertise different Refresh
   Time, and hosts MAY use the minimum of the time received from any
   router that remains in the default router list, or use a separate
   timer for each router in the default router list.  Note that
   Section 9 says that routers SHOULD report such inconsistencies to
   system management.

   A RTO option with a Refresh Time value of zero is silently ignored,
   that is, the RA is handled the same way as if it did not contain an
   RTO option.

   If the U-flag is zero for at least one of the routers in the default
   router list, then the host will send each refresh RS to the all-
   routers multicast address.  Otherwise the host will unicast the RS
   refresh to each router in the default router list.  The host can
   either maintain the Refresh Time and Unicast flag per router or per
   link.  If they are maintained per router then the host MUST NOT
   multicast an RS for every default router list entry but instead
   multicast once when the minimum (across the default router list for
   the interface) Refresh Time expires.  If they are maintained per
   link, then the host would determine an effective Unicast bit for the
   link; set if all the routers which sent RTO set the Unicast bit.

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   If there is no response to a refresh RS, the host follows the same
   retransmit behavior as in resilient-rs [I-D.ietf-6man-resilient-rs].

7.1.  Sleep and Wakeup

   The protocol allows the sleepy nodes to complete its sleep schedule
   without waking up due to multicast Router Advertisement messages and
   the host is not required to wake up solely for the purposes of
   performing RS refresh.  Such a host SHOULD send a RS refresh upon
   wakeup even if the Refresh Time has not yet expired, in order to
   receive any updated RA information.

   Hosts that do wake up due to multicast RAs only needs to perform a
   refresh on wakeup if the Refresh timeout has expired while the host
   was sleeping.

7.2.  Movement

   When a host wakes up or thinks it might have moved to a different
   link (new L2 association, lost and required L2 connectivity, etc) it
   can combine DNA (Detecting Network Attachment - DNA [RFC6059]), NUD,
   and refreshing its prefixes etc by sending a unicast RS to each of
   its existing RTO default router(s).  If it receives unicast RA from a
   router, then it can mark the router as REACHABLE.

   Note that DNA specifies using NS messages since many IPv6 routers
   delay (and multicast) solicited RAs and DNA wants to avoid that
   delay.  Routers which implement this specification and send RTO
   SHOULD unicast solicited RAs, hence if a router included the RTO then
   the host can use RS for DNA without incurring additional delay.  Thus
   the host would not need to use a unicast NS as part of DNA for RTO
   routers.  For non-RTO routers the host MAY choose to use NS for DNA
   as in [RFC6059].

8.  Router Behavior

   See Protocol Overview section.

   A router implementing this specification (and including the RTO in
   the RAs) SHOULD also respond to unicast RS messages (that do not have
   an unspecified source address) with unicast RAs.  If a RS message has
   an unspecified source address then the router MAY respond with a RA
   unicast at layer 2 (sent to the link-layer source address of the RS),
   or it MAY follow the rate-limited multicast RA procedure in

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   The RECOMMENDED default configuration for routers is to have RTO
   disabled.  When RTO is enabled the RECOMMENDED default configuration
   is to have the Unicast flag disabled.

8.1.  Router and/or Interface Initialization

   This specification does not change the initialization procedure.
   Thus a router multicasts some initial Router Advertisements
   (MAX_INITIAL_RTR_ADVERTISEMENTS) at system startup or interface
   initialization as specified in [RFC4861] and its updates.

8.2.  Periodic Multicast RA for unmodified hosts

   By default a router MUST send periodic multicast RAs as specified in
   [RFC4861].  A router can be configured to omit those, which can be
   used in particular deployments.  If they are omitted, then there MUST
   be a mechanism to prevent or detect the existence of unmodified hosts
   on the link.  That could be performed at deployment time (e.g., only
   hosts which are known to support RTO are configured with the layer 2
   security keys), or the routers could either detect any RSs which do
   not include the R-flag and report this to system management or
   dynamically enable periodic multicast RAs when observing at least one
   RS without the R-flag.

   Note that such dynamic detection of "legacy" hosts is not bullet
   proof, in particular when there is packet loss on the link.  If a
   host does not implement resilient RS [I-D.ietf-6man-resilient-rs],
   then the host might receive a multicast RA (from router
   initialization or the periodic multicast RAs) without the router ever
   receiving a RS from the host.  Such a host would function as long as
   the routers are sending periodic multicast RAs.  However, hosts
   without resilent RS do not operate well in the presence of packet
   loss.  They might be without service (no default router and no
   prefixes) for one or more multiples of the RA advertisement interval
   (MaxRtrAdvInterval), which currently can be as high as 30 minutes.

8.3.  Unsolicited RAs to share new information

   When a router has new information to share (new prefixes, prefixes
   that should be immediately deprecated, etc) it MAY multicast up to
   MAX_INITIAL_RTR_ADVERTISEMENTS number of Router Advertisements.

   On links where multicast is expensive the router MAY instead unicast
   up to MAX_INITIAL_RTR_ADVERTISEMENTS number of Router Advertisements
   to the hosts in its neighbor cache.

   Note that such new information is not likely to reach hosts sleeping
   on a schedule until those hosts refresh by sending a RS.  However, as

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   such hosts are recommended to send a RS refresh when they wake up,
   they will receive the updated information and not use the potentially
   stale information to send packets.

9.  Router Advertisement Consistency

   The routers follows section 6.2.7 in [RFC4861] by receiving RAs from
   other routers on the link.  In addition to the checks in that
   section, the routers SHOULD verify that the RTO have the same Refresh
   Time, and report to system management if they differ.  While the host
   will pick the lowest time and operate correctly, it is not useful to
   use different Refresh Times for different routers.

10.  Security Considerations

   These optimizations are not known to introduce any new threats
   against Neighbor Discovery beyond what is already documented for IPv6

   Section 11.2 of [RFC4861] applies to this document as well.

   The mechanisms in this document work with SeND [RFC3971].

11.  IANA Considerations

   A new flag (R-flag) in the Router Solicitation message has been
   introduced by carving out a bit from the Reserved field.  There is
   currently no IANA registry for RS flags.  Perhaps one should be

   This document needs a new Neighbor Discovery option type for the RTO.

12.  Acknowledgements

   The original idea came up in a discussion with Suresh Krishnan.
   Comments from Samita Chakrabarti, Lorenzo Colitti, and Erik Kline
   have helped improve the document.

   This document has been discussed in the efficient-nd design team.

13.  Change Log

   Changes since the draft-nordmark-6man-rs-refresh-00 version of the

   o  Removed any suggestion that periodic RAs would not be needed.  The
      remain required.

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   o  Made Refresh Time zero be reserved and RTOs with this value
      ignored by the receiver.

   o  Removed notion that all-ones refresh time means infinite lifetime.
      It now means 65535 seconds.

   o  Changed default to be multicast RS refresh, with the option to
      specify unicast in the RTO.  This enables discovering new routers
      on the link.

   o  Clarified the normative behavior for hosts that sleep on a

   o  Clarified the updated DNA behavior.

   o  Editorial fixes.

14.  References

14.1.  Normative References

              Krishnan, S., Anipko, D., and D. Thaler, "Packet loss
              resiliency for Router Solicitations", draft-ietf-6man-
              resilient-rs-06 (work in progress), April 2015.

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

   [RFC2460]  Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6
              (IPv6) Specification", RFC 2460, DOI 10.17487/RFC2460,
              December 1998, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2460>.

   [RFC4861]  Narten, T., Nordmark, E., Simpson, W., and H. Soliman,
              "Neighbor Discovery for IP version 6 (IPv6)", RFC 4861,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4861, September 2007,

14.2.  Informative References

              Garneij, F., Chakrabarti, S., and S. Krishnan, "Impact of
              IPv6 Neighbor Discovery on Cellular M2M Networks", draft-
              garneij-6man-nd-m2m-issues-00 (work in progress), July

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              Vyncke, E., Thubert, P., Levy-Abegnoli, E., and A.
              Yourtchenko, "Why Network-Layer Multicast is Not Always
              Efficient At Datalink Layer", draft-vyncke-6man-mcast-not-
              efficient-01 (work in progress), February 2014.

   [RFC3756]  Nikander, P., Ed., Kempf, J., and E. Nordmark, "IPv6
              Neighbor Discovery (ND) Trust Models and Threats",
              RFC 3756, DOI 10.17487/RFC3756, May 2004,

   [RFC3971]  Arkko, J., Ed., Kempf, J., Zill, B., and P. Nikander,
              "SEcure Neighbor Discovery (SEND)", RFC 3971,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3971, March 2005,

   [RFC6059]  Krishnan, S. and G. Daley, "Simple Procedures for
              Detecting Network Attachment in IPv6", RFC 6059,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6059, November 2010,

   [SYNC]     Floyd, S. and V. Jacobson, "The Synchronization of
              Periodic Routing Messages", IEEE/ACM Transactions on
              Networking , April 1994,

Authors' Addresses

   Erik Nordmark
   Arista Networks
   Santa Clara, CA

   Email: nordmark@acm.org

   Andrew Yourtchenko
   7a de Kleetlaan
   Diegem, 1831

   Phone: +32 2 704 5494
   Email: ayourtch@cisco.com

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   Suresh Krishnan
   8400 Decarie Blvd.
   Town of Mount Royal, QC

   Phone: +1 514 345 7900 x42871
   Email: suresh.krishnan@ericsson.com

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