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RMT Working Group                                        B.  Adamson/NRL
INTERNET-DRAFT                                      C.  Bormann/Tellique
draft-ietf-rmt-bb-norm-08                              M.  Handley/ACIRI
Expires: May 2004                                         J.  Macker/NRL
                                                           November 2003

         NACK-Oriented Reliable Multicast (NORM) Building Blocks

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
  Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that other
  groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts.

  Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
  and may be updated, replaced, or made obsolete 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."

  The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

  The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at

  Copyright Notice

  Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003).  All Rights Reserved.


  This document discusses the creation the of negative-acknowledgment
  (NACK)-oriented reliable multicast (NORM) protocols.  The rationale
  for NORM goals and assumptions are presented.  Technical challenges
  for NACK-oriented (and in some cases general) reliable multicast
  protocol operation are identified.  These goals and challenges are
  resolved into a set of functional "building blocks" that address
  different aspects of NORM protocol operation.  It is anticipated that
  these building blocks will be useful in generating different
  instantiations of reliable multicast protocols.

1.0 Introduction

  Reliable multicast transport is a desirable technology for the
  efficient and reliable distribution of data to a group on the
  Internet.  The complexities of group communication paradigms
  necessitate different protocol types and instantiations to meet the
  range of performance and scalability requirements of different
  potential reliable multicast applications and users [1].  This
  document addresses the creation of negative-acknowledgment

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  (NACK)-oriented reliable multicast (NORM) protocols.  While different
  protocol instantiations may be required to meet specific application
  and network architecture demands [4], there are a number of
  fundamental components that may be common to these different
  instantiations.  This document describes the framework and common
  "building block" components relevant to multicast protocols based
  primarily on NACK operation for reliable transport.  While this
  document discusses a large set of reliable multicast components and
  issues relevant to NORM protocol design, it specifically addresses in
  detail the following building blocks which are not addressed in other
  IETF documents:

       1)   Sender transmission strategies,
       2)   NACK-oriented repair process with timer-based feedback
            suppression, and
       3)   Round-trip timing for adapting NORM timers.

  The potential relationships to other reliable multicast transport
  building blocks (Forward Error Correction (FEC), congestion control)
  and general issues with NORM protocols are also discussed.

2.0 Rationale

  Each potential protocol instantiation using the building blocks
  presented here (and in other applicable building block documents) will
  have specific criteria that may influence individual protocol design.
  To support the development of applicable building blocks, it is useful
  to identify and summarize driving general protocol design goals and
  assumptions.  These are areas that each protocol instantiation will
  need to address in detail.  Each building block description in this
  document will include a discussion of the impact of these design
  criteria.  The categories of design criteria considered here include:

       1)   Delivery Service Model,
       2)   Group Membership Dynamics,
       3)   Sender/receiver relationships,
       4)   Group Size Scalability,
       5)   Data Delivery Performance,
       6)   Network Environments, and
       7)   Router/Intermediate System Interactions.

  All of these areas are at least briefly discussed.  Additionally,
  other reliable multicast transport building block documents, [13],
  [14], and [17] have been created to address areas outside of the scope
  of this document.  NORM protocol instantiations may depend upon these
  other building blocks as well as the ones presented here.  This
  document focuses on areas that are unique to NORM but may be used in
  concert with the other building block areas.  In some cases, a
  building block may be able address a wide range of assumptions, while
  in other cases there will be trade-offs required to meet different
  application needs or operating environments.  Where necessary,
  building block features are designed to be parametric to meet
  different requirements.  Of course, an underlying goal will be to
  minimize design complexity and to at least recommend default values

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  for any such parameters that meet a general purpose "bulk data
  transfer" requirement in a typical Internet environment.

2.1 Delivery Service Model

  The implicit goal of a reliable multicast transport protocol is the
  reliable delivery of data among a group of members communicating using
  IP multicast datagram service.  However, the specific service the
  application is attempting to provide can impact design decisions.  A
  most basic service model for reliable multicast transport is that of
  "bulk transfer" which is a primary focus of this and other related RMT
  working group documents.  However, the same principals in protocol
  design may also be applied to other services models (e.g. more
  interactive exchanges of  small messages such as weith white-boarding
  or text chat.  Within these different models there are issues such as
  the sender's ability  to cache transmitted data (or state referencing
  it) for retransmission or repair.  The needs for ordering and/or
  causality in the sequence of transmissions and receptions among
  members in the group may be different depending upon data content.
  The group communication paradigm differs significantly from the point-
  to-point model in that, depending upon the data content type, some
  receivers may complete reception of a portion of data content and be
  able to act upon it before other members have received the content.
  This may be acceptable (or even desirable) for some applications but
  not for others.  These varying requirements drive the need for a
  number of different protocol instantiation designs.  A significant
  challenge in developing generally useful building block mechanisms is
  accommodating even a limited range of these capabilities without
  defining specific application-level details.

2.2 Group Membership Dynamics

  One area where group communication can differ from point-to-point
  communications is that even if the composition of the group changes,
  the "thread" of communication can still exist.  This contrasts with
  the point-to-point communication model where, if either of the two
  parties leave, the communication process (exchange of data) is
  terminated (or at least paused).  Depending upon  application goals,
  senders and receivers participating in a reliable  multicast transport
  "session" may be able to join late, leave, and/or  potentially rejoin
  while the ongoing group communication "thread"  still remains
  functional and useful.  Also note that this can impact protocol
  message content.  If "late joiners" are supported, some amount of
  additional information may be placed in  message headers to
  accommodate this functionality.  Alternatively, the information may be
  sent in its own message (on demand or intermittently) if the impact to
  the overhead of typical message transmissions is deemed too great.
  Group dynamics can also impact other protocol mechanisms such as NACK
  timing, congestion control operation, etc.

2.3 Sender/Receiver Relationships

  The relationship of senders and receivers among group members requires
  consideration.  In some applications, there may be a single sender

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  multicasting to a group of receivers.  In other cases, there may be
  more than one sender or the potential for everyone in the  group to be
  a sender _and_ receiver of data may exist.

2.4 Group Size Scalability

  Native IP multicast [5] may scale to extremely large group sizes.  It
  may be desirable for some applications to scale along with the
  multicast infrastructure's ability to scale.  In its simplest form,
  there are limits to the group size to which a NACK-oriented protocol
  can apply without NACK implosion problems.  Research suggests that
  NORM group sizes on the order of tens of thousands of receivers may
  operate with modest feedback to the sender using probablistic, timer-
  based suppression techniques[15].  However, the potential for router
  assistance or other NACK suppression heuristics may enable these
  protocols to scale to very large group sizes.  In large scale cases,
  it may be prohibitive for members to maintain state on all other
  members (in particular, other receivers) in the group.  The impact of
  group size needs to be considered in the development of applicable
  building blocks.

2.5 Data Delivery Performance

  There is a trade-off between scalability and data delivery latency
  when designing NACK-oriented protocols.  If probablistic, timer-based
  NACK suppression is to be used, there will be some delays built into
  the NACK process to allow suppression to occur and for the sender of
  data to identify appropriate content for efficient repair
  transmission.  For example, backoff timeouts can be used to ensure
  efficient NACK suppression and repair transmission, but this comes at
  a cost of increased delivery latency and increased buffering
  requirements for both senders and receivers.  The building blocks
  SHOULD allow applications to establish bounds for data delivery
  performance.  Note that application designers must be aware of the
  scalability trade-off that is made when such bounds are applied.

2.6 Network Environments

  The Internet Protocol has historically assumed a role of providing
  service across heterogeneous network topologies.  It is desirable that
  a reliable multicast protocol be capable of effectively operating
  across a wide range of the networks to which general purpose IP
  service applies.  The bandwidth available on the links between the
  members of a single group today may vary between  low numbers of
  kbit/s for wireless links and multiple Gbit/s for high speed LAN
  connections, with varying degrees of contention from other flows.
  Recently, a number of asymmetric network services including 56K/ADSL
  modems, CATV Internet service, satellite and other wireless
  communication services have begun to proliferate.   Many of these are
  inherently broadcast media with potentially large  "fanouts" to which
  IP multicast service is highly applicable.  Additionally, policy
  and/or technical issues may result in topologies where multicast
  connectivity is limited to a single source multicast (SSM) model from
  a specific source [16].  Receivers in the group may be restricted to

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  unicast feedback for NACKs and other messages.  Consideration must be
  given, in building block development and protocol design, to the
  nature of the underlying networks.

2.7 Router/Intermediate System Assistance

  While intermediate assistance from devices/systems with direct
  knowledge of the underlying network topology may be used to leverage
  the performance and scalability of reliable multicast protocols, there
  will continue to be a number of instances where this is not available
  or practical.  Any building block components for NACK-oriented
  reliable multicast SHALL be capable of operating without such
  assistance.  However, it is RECOMMENDED that such protocols also be
  consider utilizing these features when available.

3.0 Functionality

  The previous section has presented the role of protocol building
  blocks and some of the criteria that may affect NORM building block
  identification/design. This section describes different building block
  areas applicable to NORM protocols.  Some of these areas are specific
  to NACK-oriented protocols.  Detailed descriptions of such  areas are
  provided.  In other cases, the areas (e.g., node identifiers, forward
  error correction (FEC), etc) may be applicable to other forms of
  reliable multicast.  In those cases, the discussion below describes
  requirements placed on those other general building block areas from
  the standpoint of NACK-oriented reliable multicast.  Where applicable,
  other building block documents are referenced for possible
  contribution to NORM protocols.

  For each building block, a notional "interface description" is
  provided to illustrate any dependencies of one building block
  component upon another or upon other protocol parameters.  A building
  block component may require some form of "input" from another building
  block component or other source to perform its function.  Any "inputs"
  required by a building block component and/or any resultant "output"
  provided will be defined and described in each building block
  components's interface description.  Note that the set of building
  blocks presented here do not fully satisify each other's "input" and
  "output" needs.  In some cases, "inputs" for the building blocks here
  must come from other building blocks external to this document (e.g.,
  congestion control or FEC).  In other cases NORM building block
  "inputs" must be satisfied by the specific protocol instantiation or
  implementation (e.g., application data and control).

  The following building block components relevant to NORM are

       1)   NORM Sender Transmission
       2)   NORM Repair Process
       3)   NORM Receiver Join Policies

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  (General Purpose)
       4)   Node (member) Identification
       5)   Data Content Identification
       6)   Forward Error Correction (FEC)
       7)   Round-trip Timing Collection
       8)   Group Size Determination/Estimation
       9)   Congestion Control Operation
       10)  Router/Intermediate System Assistance
       11)  Ancillary Protocol Mechanisms

  Figure 1 provides a pictoral overview of these building block areas
  and some of their relationships.  For example, the content of the data
  messages that sender initially transmits depends upon the "Node
  Identification", "Data Content Identification", and "FEC" components
  whil the rate of message transmission will generally depend upon the
  "Congestion Control" component.  Subsequently, the receivers' response
  to these transmissions (e.g., NACKing for repair) will depend upon the
  data message content and inputs from other building block components.
  Finally, the sender's processing of receiver responses will feed back
  into its transmission strategy.

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                                     Application Data and Control
    .---------------------.            .-----------------------.
    | Node Identification |----------->|  Sender Transmission  |<------.
    `---------------------'       _.-' `-----------------------'       |
    .---------------------.   _.-' .'            | .--------------.    |
    | Data Identification |--'   .''             | |  Join Policy |    |
    `---------------------'    .' '              v `--------------'    |
    .---------------------.  .'  '     .------------------------.      |
 .->| Congestion Control  |-'   '      | Receiver NACK          |      |
 |  `---------------------'   .'       | Repair Process         |      |
 |  .---------------------. .'         | .------------------.   |      |
 |  |        FEC          |'.          | | NACK Initiation  |   |      |
 |  `---------------------'` `._       | `------------------'   |      |
 |  .---------------------. ``. `-._   | .------------------.   |      |
 `--|    RTT Collection   |._` `    `->| | NACK Content     |   |      |
    `---------------------' .`- `      | `------------------'   |      |
    .---------------------.  \ `-`._   | .------------------.   |      |
    |    Group Size Est.  |---.-`---`->| | NACK Suppression |   |      |
    `---------------------'`.  ` `     | `------------------'   |      |
    .---------------------.  `  ` `    `------------------------'      |
    |       Other         |   `  ` `             | .-----------------. |
    `---------------------'    `  ` `            | |Router Assistance| |
                                `. ` `           v  `----------------' |
                                  `.`' .-------------------------.     |
                                     `>| Sender NACK Processing  |_____/
                                       | and Repair Response     |

                    ^                         ^
                    |                         |
                  |         (Security)          |

                 Fig. 1 - NORM Building Block Framework

  The components on the left side of this figure are areas that may be
  applicable beyond NORM.  The most signficant of these components, FEC
  and Congestion Control, are discussed in other building block
  documents [13], [14], and [17].  A brief description of these areas
  and their role in the NORM protocol is given below.  The components on
  the right are seen as specific to NORM protocols, most notably the
  NACK repair process.   These areas are discussed in detail below.
  Some other components (e.g., "Security") impact many aspects of the
  protocol, and others such as "Router Assistance" may be more
  transparent to the core protocol processing.  The sections below
  describe the "NORM Sender Transmission", "NORM Repair Process", and
  "RTT Collection" building blocks in detail.  The relationships to and
  among the other building block areas are also discussed, focusing on
  issues applicable to NORM protocol design.  Where applicable, specific
  technical recommendations are made for mechanisms that will properly
  satisfy the goals of NORM transport for the Internet.

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3.1 NORM Sender Transmission

  NORM senders will transmit data content to the multicast session.  The
  data content will be application dependent.  The sender will transmit
  data content at a rate, and with message sizes, determined by
  application and/or network architecture requirements.  Any FEC
  encoding of sender transmissions SHOULD conform with the guidelines of
  [13].  When congestion control mechanisms are needed (REQUIRED for
  general Internet operation), NORM transmission SHALL be controlled by
  the congestion control mechanism.  In any case, it is RECOMMENDED that
  all data transmissions from  NORM senders be subject to rate
  limitations determined by the application or congestion control
  algorithm.  The sender's transmissions SHOULD make good utilization of
  the available capacity (which may be limited by the application and/or
  by congestion control).  As a result, it is expected there will be
  overlap and multiplexing of new data content transmission with repair
  content.  Other factors related to application operation may determine
  sender transmission formats and methods.  For example, some
  consideration needs to be given to the sender's behavior during
  intermittent idle periods when it has no data to transmit.

  In addition to data content, other sender messages or commands may be
  employed as part of protocol operation.  These messages may occur
  outside of the scope of application data transfer.  In NORM protocols,
  reliability of such protocol messages may be attempted by redundant
  transmission when positive acknowledgement is prohibitive due to group
  size scalablity concerns.  Note that protocol design SHOULD provide
  mechanisms for dealing with cases where such messages are not received
  by the group.  As an example, a command message might be redundantly
  transmitted by a sender to indicate that it is temporarily (or
  permanently) halting transmission.  At this time, it may be
  appropriate for receivers to respond with NACKs for any outstanding
  repairs they require following the rules of the NORM NACK procedure.
  For efficiency, the sender should allow sufficient time between the
  redundant transmissions to receive any NACK-oriented responses from
  the receivers to this command.

  In general, when there is any resultant NACK or other feedback
  operation, the timing of redundant transmission of control messages
  issued by a sender and other NORM protocol timeouts should be
  dependent upon the group greatest round trip timing (GRTT) estimate
  and any expected resultant NACK or other feedback operation.  The NORM
  GRTT is an estimate of the worst-case round-trip timing from a sender
  to any receivers in the group.  It is assumed that the GRTT interval
  is a conservative estimate of the maximum span (with respect to delay)
  of the multicast group across a network topology with respect to given
  sender.  NORM instantiations SHOULD be able to dynamically adapt to a
  wide range of multicast network topologies.

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  Sender Transmission Interface Description:


       1)   Application data and control
       2)   Sender node identifier
       3)   Data identifiers
       4)   Segmentation and FEC parameters
       5)   Transmission rate
       6)   Application controls
       7)   Receiver feedback messages (e.g., NACKs)


       1)   Controlled transmission of messages with headers uniquely
            identifying data or repair content within the context of the
            NORM session.
       2)   Commands indicating sender's status or other transport
            control actions to be taken.

3.2 NORM Repair Process

  A critical component of NORM protocols is the NACK repair process.
  This includes the receiver's role in detecting and requesting repair
  needs, and the sender's response to such requests.  There are four
  primary elements of the NORM repair process:

       1)   Receiver NACK process initiation,
       3)   NACK suppression,
       2)   NACK message content,
       4)   Sender NACK processing and response.

3.2.1 Receiver NACK Process Initiation

  The NORM NACK process (cycle) will be initiated by receivers that
  detect a need for repair transmissions from a specific sender to
  achieve reliable reception.  When FEC is applied, a receiver should
  initiate the NACK process only when it is known its repair
  requirements exceed the amount of pending FEC transmission for a given
  coding block of data content.  This can be determined at the end of
  the current transmission block (if it is indicated) or upon the start
  of reception of a subsequent coding block or transmission object.
  This implies the NORM data content is marked to identify its FEC block
  number and that ordinal relationship is preserved in order of

  Alternatively, if the sender's transmission advertises the quantity of
  repair packets it is already planning to send for a block, the
  receiver may be able to initiate the NACK processor earlier.  Allowing
  receivers to initiate NACK cycles at any time they detect their repair
  needs have exceeded pending repair transmissions may result in
  slightly quicker repair cycles.  However, it may be useful to limit
  NACK process initiation to specific events such as at the end-of-
  transmission of an FEC coding block or upon detection of subsequent

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  coding blocks.  This can allow receivers to aggregate NACK content
  into a smaller number of NACK messages and provide some implicit loose
  synchronization among the receiver set to help facilitate effective
  probabilistic suppression of NACK feedback.  The receiver MUST
  maintain a history of data content received from the sender to
  determine its current repair needs.  When FEC is employed, it is
  expected that the history will correspond to a record of pending or
  partially-received coding blocks.

  For probabilistic, timer-base suppression of feedback, the NACK cycle
  should begin with receivers observing backoff timeouts.  In
  conjunction with initiating this backoff timeout, it is important that
  the receivers record the current position in the sender's transmission
  sequence at which they initiate the NACK cycle.  When the suppression
  backoff timeout expires, the receivers should only consider their
  repair needs up to this recorded transmission position in making the
  decision to transmit or suppress a NACK.  Without this restriction,
  suppression is greatly reduced as additional content is received from
  the sender during the time a NACK message propagates across the
  network to the sender and other receivers.

  Receiver NACK Process Initiation Interface Description:


       1)   Sender data content with sequencing identifiers from sender
       2)   History of content received from sender.


       1)   NACK process initiation decision
       2)   Recorded sender transmission sequence position.

3.2.2 NACK Suppression

  An effective NORM feedback suppression mechanism is the use of random
  backoff timeouts prior to NACK transmission by receivers requiring
  repairs[6].  Upon expiration of the backoff timeout, a receiver will
  request repairs unless its pending repair needs have been completely
  superseded by NACK messages heard from other receivers (when receivers
  are multicasting NACKs) or from some indicator from the sender.  When
  receivers are unicasting NACK messages, the sender may facilitate NACK
  suppression by forwarding a representation of NACK content it has
  received to the group at large or provide some other indicator of the
  repair information it will be subsequently transmitting.

  For effective and scalable suppression performance, the backoff
  timeout periods used by receivers should be independently, randomly
  picked by receivers with a truncated exponential distribution [7].
  This results in the majority of the receiver set holding off
  transmission of NACK messages under the  assumption that the smaller
  number of "early NACKers" will supersede the repair needs of the
  remainder of the group.  The mean of the distribution should be

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  determined as a function of the current estimate of sender<->group
  GRTT and a group size estimate that is determined by other mechanisms
  within the protocol or preset by the multicast application.

  A simple algorithm can be constructed to generate random backoff
  timeouts with the appropriate distribution.  Additionally, the
  algorithm may be designed to optimize the backoff distribution given
  the number of receivers (R) potentially generating feedback.  This
  "optimization" minimizes the number of feedback messages (e.g., NACK)
  in the worst-case situation where all receivers generate a NACK. The
  maximum backoff timeout (T_maxBackoff) can be set to control reliable
  delivery latency versus volume of feedback traffic.  A larger value of
  T_maxBackoff will result in a lower density of feedback traffic for a
  given repair cycle.  A smaller value of T_maxBackoff results in
  shorter latency which also reduces the buffering requirements of
  senders and receivers for reliable transport.

  Given the receiver group size (R), and maximum allowed backoff timeout
  (T_maxBackoff), random backoff timeouts (t') with a truncated
  exponential distribution can be picked with the following  algorithm:

       1)   Establish an optimal mean (L) for the exponential backoff
            based on the group size:

            L = ln(R) + 1

       2)   Pick a random number (x) from a uniform distribution over a
            range of:

                   L                           L                   L
           --------------------  to   --------------------  +  ----------
          T_maxBackoff*(exp(L)-1)    T_maxBackoff*(exp(L)-1)  T_maxBackoff

       3)   Transform this random variate to generate the desired random
            backoff time (t') with the following equation:

            t' = T_maxBackoff/L * ln(x * (exp(L) - 1) *

  This C language function can be used to generate an appropriate random
  backoff time interval:

  double RandomBackoff(double maxTime, double groupSize)
      double lambda = log(groupSize) + 1;
      double x = UniformRand(lambda/maxTime) +
                 lambda / (maxTime*(exp(lambda)-1));
      return ((maxTime/lambda) *
  }  // end RandomBackoff()

  where UniformRand(double max) returns random numbers with a uniform
  distribution from the range of 0..max.  For example, based on the
  POSIX "rand()" function, the following C code can be used:

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  double UniformRand(double max) {return (max * ((double)rand()/(double)RAND_MAX));}

  The number of expected NACK messages generated (N) within the first
  round trip time for a single feedback event is approximately:

                 N = exp(1.2 * L / (2*T_maxBackoff/GRTT))

  Thus the maximum backoff time can be adjusted to tradeoff worst-case
  NACK feedback volume versus latency.  This is derived from [7] and
  assumes  T_maxBackoff >= GRTT, and L is the mean of the distribution
  optimized for the given group size as shown in the algorithm above.
  Note that other mechanisms within the protocol may work to reduce
  redundant NACK generation further.  It is suggested that T_maxBackoff
  be selected as an integer multiple of the sender's current advertised
  GRTT estimate such that:

                  T_maxBackoff = K * GRTT ;where K >= 1

  For general Internet operation, a default value of K=4 is RECOMMENDED
  for operation with multicast (to the group at large) NACK delivery and
  a value of K=6 for unicast NACK delivery.  Alternate values may be
  used to for buffer utliization, reliable delivery latency and group
  size scalability tradeoffs.

  Given that (K*GRTT) is the maximum backoff time used by the receivers
  to initiate NACK transmission, other timeout periods related to the
  NACK repair process can be scaled accordingly.  One of those timeouts
  is the amount of time a receiver should wait after generating a NACK
  message before allowing itself to initiate another NACK
  backoff/transmission cycle (T_rcvrHoldoff).  This delay should be
  sufficient for the sender to respond to the received NACK with repair
  messages.  An appropriate value depends upon the amount of time for
  the NACK to reach the sender and the sender to provide a repair
  response.  This MUST include any amount of sender NACK aggregation
  period during which possible multiple NACKs are accumulated to
  determine an efficient repair response.  These timeouts are further
  discussed in the section below on "Sender NACK Processing and Repair

  There are also secondary measures that can be applied to improve the
  performance of feedback suppression.  For example, the sender's data
  content transmissions can follow an ordinal sequence of transmission.
  When repairs for data content occur, the receiver can note that the
  sender has "rewound" its data content transmission position by
  observing the data object, FEC block number, and FEC symbol
  identifiers. Receivers SHOULD limit transmission of NACKs to only when
  the sender's current transmission position exceeds the point to which
  the receiver has incomplete reception. This reduces premature requests
  for repair of data the sender may be planning to provide in response
  to other receiver requests.  This mechanism can be very effective for
  protocol convergence in high loss conditions when transmissions of
  NACKs from other receivers (or indicators from the sender) are lost.
  Another mechanism (particularly applicable when FEC is used) is for
  the sender to embed an indication of impending repair transmissions in

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  current packets sent.  For example, the indication may be as simple as
  an advertisment of the number of FEC packets to be sent for the
  current applicable coding block.

  Finally, some consideration might be given to using the NACKing
  history of receivers to weight their selection of NACK backoff timeout
  intervals.  For example, if a receiver has historically been
  experiencing the greatest degree of loss, it may promote itself to
  statistically NACK sooner than other receivers.  Note this requires
  there is correlation over successive intervals of time in the loss
  experienced by a receiver.  Such correlation MAY not be present in
  multicast networks.  This adjustment of backoff timeout selection may
  require the creation of an "early NACK" slot for these historical
  NACKers.  This additional slot in the NACK backoff window will result
  in a longer repair cycle process that may not be desirable for some
  applications.  The resolution of these trade-offs may be dependent
  upon the protocol's target application set or network.

  After the random backoff timeout has expired, the receiver will make a
  decision on whether to generate a NACK repair request or not (i.e., it
  has been suppressed).  The NACK will be suppressed when any of the
  following conditions has occurred:

       1)   The accumulated state of NACKs heard from other receivers
            (or forwarding of this state by the sender) is equal to or
            supersedes the repair needs of the local receiver.  Note
            that the local receiver should consider its repair needs
            only up to the sender transmission position recorded at the
            NACK cycle initiation (when the backoff timer was

       2)   The sender's data content transmission position "rewinds" to
            a point ordinally less than that of the lowest sequence
            position of the local receiver's repair needs. (This
            detection of sender "rewind" indicates the sender has
            already responded to other receiver repair needs of which
            the local receiver may not have been aware).  This "rewind"
            event can occur any time between 1) when the NACK cycle was
            initiated with the backoff timeout activation and 2) the
            current moment when the backoff timeout has expired to
            suppress the NACK.  Another NACK cycle must be initiated by
            the receiver when the sender's transmission sequence
            position exceeds the receiver's lowest ordinal repair point.
            Note it is possible that the local receiver may have had its
            repair needs satisfied as a result of the sender's response
            to the repair needs of other receivers and no further
            NACKing is required.

  If these conditions have not occurred and the receiver still has
  pending repair needs, a NACK message is generated and transmitted.
  The NACK should consist of an accumulation of repair needs from the
  receiver's lowest ordinal repair point up to the current sender
  transmission sequence position.  A single NACK message should be
  generated and the NACK message content should be truncated if it

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  exceeds the payload size of single protocol message.  When such NACK
  payload limits occur, the NACK content SHOULD contain requests for the
  ordinally lowest repair content needed from the sender.

  NACK Suppression Interface Description


       1)   NACK process initiation decision.
       2)   Recorded sender transmission sequence position.
       3)   Sender GRTT.
       4)   Sender group size estimate.
       5)   Application-defined bound on backoff timeout period.
       6)   NACKs from other receivers.
       7)   Pending repair indication from sender (may be forwarded
       8)   Current sender transmission sequence position.


       1)   Yes/no decision to generate NACK message upon backoff timer

3.2.3 NACK Content

  The content of NACK messages generated by reliable multicast receivers
  will include information detailing their current repair needs.  The
  specific information depends on the use and type of FEC in the NORM
  repair process.  The identification of repair needs is dependent upon
  the data content identification (See Section 3.5 below).  At the
  highest level the NACK content will identify the sender to which the
  NACK is addressed and the data transport object (or stream) within the
  sender's transmission that needs repair.  For the indicated transport
  entity, the NACK content will then identify the specific FEC coding
  blocks and/or symbols it requires to reconstruct the complete
  transmitted data.  This content may consist of FEC block erasure
  counts and/or explicit indication of missing blocks or symbols
  (segments) of data and FEC content.  It should also be noted that NORM
  can be effectively instantiated without a requirement for reliable
  NACK delivery using the techniques discussed here. NACK and FEC Repair Strategies

  Where FEC-based repair is used, the NACK message content will
  minimally need to identify the coding block(s) for which repair is
  needed and a count of erasures (missing packets) for the coding block.
  An exact count of erasures implies the FEC algorithm is capable of
  repairing _any_ loss combination within the coding block.  This count
  may need to be adjusted for some FEC algorithms.  Considering that
  multiple repair rounds may be required to successfully complete
  repair, and erasure count also also implies that the quantity of
  unique FEC parity packets the server has available to transmit is
  essentially unlimited (i.e., the server will always be able to provide
  new, unique, previously unsent parity packets in response to any

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  subsequent repair requests for the same coding block).  Alternatively,
  the sender may "round-robin" transmit through its available set of FEC
  symbols for a given coding block, and eventually affect repair.  For a
  most efficient repair strategy, the NACK content will need to also
  _explicitly_ identify which symbols (information and/or parity) the
  receiver requires to successfully reconstruct the content of the
  coding block.  This will be particularly true of small to medium size
  block FEC codes (e.g., Reed Solomon) that are capable of provided a
  limited number of parity symbols per FEC coding block.

  When FEC is not used as part of the repair process, or the protocol
  instantiation is required to provide reliability even when the sender
  has transmitted all available parity for a given coding block (or the
  sender's ability to buffer transmission history is exceeded by the
  delay*bandwidth*loss characteristics of the network topology), the
  NACK content will need to contain _explicit_  coding block and/or
  segment loss information so that the sender can provide appropriate
  repair packets and/or data retransmissions.  Explicit loss information
  in NACK content may also potentially serve other purposes.  For
  example, it may be useful for decorrelating loss characteristics among
  a group of receivers to help differentiate candidate congestion
  control bottlenecks among the receiver set.

  When FEC is used and NACK content is designed to contain explicit
  repair requests, there is a strategy where the receivers can NACK for
  specific content that will help facilitate NACK suppression and repair
  efficiency.  The assumptions for this strategy are that sender may
  potentially exhaust its supply of new, unique parity packets available
  for a given coding block and be required to explicitly retransmit some
  data or parity symbols to complete reliable transfer.  Another
  assumption is that an FEC algorithm where any parity packet can fill
  any erasure within the coding block (e.g., Reed Solomon) is used.  The
  goal of this strategy is to make maximum use of the available parity
  and provide the minimal amount of data and repair transmissions during
  reliable transfer of data content to the group.

  When systematic FEC codes are used, the sender transmits the data
  content of the coding block (and optionally some quantity of parity
  packets) in its initial transmission.  Note that a systematic FEC
  coding block is considered to be logically made up of the contiguous
  set of data vectors plus parity vectors for the given FEC algorithm
  used.  For example, a coding scheme that provides for 64 data symbols
  and 32 parity symbols per coding block would contain FEC symbol
  identifiers in the range of 0 to 95.

  Receivers then can construct NACK messages requesting sufficient
  content to satisfy their repair needs.  For example, if the receiver
  has three erasures in a given received coding block, it will request
  transmission of the three lowest ordinal parity vectors in the coding
  block. In our example coding scheme from the previous paragraph, the
  receiver would explicitly request parity symbols 64 to 66 to fill its
  three erasures for the coding block.  Note that if the receiver's loss
  for the coding block exceeds the available parity quantity (i.e.,
  greater than 32 missing symbols in our example), the receiver will be

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  required to construct a NACK requesting all (32) of the available
  parity symbols plus some additional portions of its missing data
  symbols in order to reconstruct the block.  If this is done
  consistently across the receiver group, the resulting NACKs will
  comprise a minimal set of sender transmissions to satisfy their repair

  In summary, the rule is to request the lower ordinal portion of the
  parity content for the FEC coding block to satisfy the erasure repair
  needs on the first NACK cycle.  If the available number of parity
  symbols is insufficient, the receiver will also request the subset of
  ordinally highest missing data symbols to cover what the parity
  symbols will not fill.  Note this strategy assumes FEC codes such as
  Reed-Solomon for which a single parity symbol can repair any erased
  symbol.  This strategy would need minor modification to take into
  account the possibly limited repair capability of other FEC types.  On
  subsequent NACK repair cycles where the receiver may have received
  some portion of its previously requested repair content, the receiver
  will use the same strategy, but only NACK for the set of parity and/or
  data symbols it has not yet received.  Optionally, the receivers could
  also provide a count of erasures as a convenience to the sender or
  intermediate systems assisting NACK operation.

  After receipt and accumulation of NACK messages during the aggregation
  period, the sender can begin transmission of fresh (previously
  untransmitted) parity symbols for the coding block based on the
  highest receiver erasure count _if_ it has a sufficient quantity of
  parity symbols that were _not_ previously transmitted.  Otherwise, the
  sender MUST resort to transmitting the explicit set of repair vectors
  requested.  With this approach, the sender needs to maintain very
  little state on requests it has received from the group without need
  for synchronization of repair requests from the group.  Since all
  receivers use the same consistent algorithm to express their explicit
  repair needs, NACK suppression among receivers is simplified over the
  course of multiple repair cycles.  The receivers can simply compare
  NACKs heard from other receivers against their own calculated repair
  needs to determine whether they should transmit or suppress their
  pending NACK messages. NACK Content Format

  The format of NACK content will depend on the protocol's data service
  model and the format of data content identification the protocol uses.
  This NACK format also depends upon the type of FEC encoding (if any)
  is used.  Figure 2 illustrates a logical, hierarchical transmission
  content identification scheme, denoting that the notion of objects (or
  streams) and/or FEC blocking is optional at the protocol
  instantiation's discretion.  Note that the identification of objects
  is with respect to a given sender.  It is recommended that transport
  data content identification is done within the context of a sender in
  a given session. Since the notion of session "streams" and "blocks" is
  optional, the framework degenerates to that of typical transport data
  segmentation and reassembly in its simplest form.

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                                             [FEC Blocks]_

           Figure 2: NORM Data Content Identification Hierarchy

  The format of NACK messages should meet the following goals:

       1)   Able to identify transport data unit transmissions required
            to repair a portion of the received content, whether it is
            an entire missing object/stream (or range), entire FEC
            coding block(s), or sets of symbols,

       2)   Be simple to process for NACK aggregation and suppression,

       3)   Be capable of including NACKs for multiple objects, FEC
            coding blocks and/or symbols in a single message, and

       4)   Have a reasonably compact format.

            If the NORM transport object/stream is identified with an
            <objectId> and the FEC symbol being transmitted is
            identified with and <fecPayloadId>, the concatenation of
            <objectId::fecPayloadId> comprises a basic transport
            protocol data unit (TPDU) identifier for symbols from a
            given source.  NACK content can be composed of lists and/or
            ranges of these TPDU identifiers to build up NACK messages
            to describe the receivers repair needs.  If no hierarchical
            object delineation or FEC blocking is used, the TPDU is a
            simple linear representation of the data symbols transmitted
            by the sender.  When the TPDU represents a hierarchy for
            purposes of object/stream delineation and/or FEC blocking,
            the NACK content unit may require flags to indicate which
            portion of the TPDU is applicable.  For example, if an
            entire "object" (or range of objects) is missing in the
            received data, the receiver will not necessarily know the
            appropriate range of <sourceBlockNumbers> or
            <encodingSymbolIds> for which to request repair and thus
            requires some mechanism to request repair (or
            retransmission) of the entire unit represented by an
            <objectId>.  The same is true if entire FEC coding blocks
            represented by one or a range of <sourceBlockNumbers> have
            been lost.

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            NACK Content Interface Description


       1)   Sender identification.
       2)   Sender data identification.
       3)   Sender FEC Object Transmission Information.
       4)   Recorded sender transmission sequence position.
       5)   Current sender transmission sequence position.
       5)   History of repair needs for this sender.


       1)   NACK message with repair requests.

3.2.4 Sender Repair Response

  Upon reception of a repair request from a receiver in the group, the
  sender will initiate a repair response procedure.  The sender may wish
  to delay transmission of repair content until it has had  sufficient
  time to accumulate potentially multiple NACKs from the  receiver set.
  This allows the sender to determine the most efficient repair strategy
  for a given transport stream/object or FEC coding block.  Depending
  upon the approach used, some protocols may find it beneficial for the
  sender to provide an indicator of pending repair transmissions as part
  of the its current transmitted message content.  This can aid some
  NACK suppression mechanisms.  The amount of time to perform this NACK
  aggregation should be sufficient to allow for the maximum receiver
  NACK backoff window ("T_maxBackoff" from Section 3.2.2) and
  propagation of NACK messages from the receivers to the sender.  Note
  the maximum transmission delay of a message from a receiver to the
  sender may be approximately (1*GRTT) in the case of very asymmetric
  network topology with respect to transmission delay.  Thus, if the
  maximum receiver NACK backoff time is T_maxBackoff = K*GRTT, the
  sender NACK aggregation period should be equal to at least:

           T_sndrAggregate = T_maxBackoff + 1*GRTT = (K+1)*GRTT

  Immediately after the sender NACK aggregration period, the sender will
  begin transmitting repair content determined from the aggregate NACK
  state and continue with any new transmission.  Also, at this time, the
  sender should observe a "holdoff" period where it constrains itself
  from initiating a new NACK aggregation period to allow propagation of
  the new transmission sequence position due to the repair response to
  the receiver group.  To allow for worst case asymmetry, this "holdoff"
  time should be:

                          T_sndrHoldoff = 1*GRTT

  Recall that the receivers will also employ a "holdoff" timeout after
  generating a NACK message to allow time for the sender's response.
  Given a sender <T_sndrAggregate> plus <T_sndrHoldoff> time of
  (K+1)*GRTT, the receivers should use holdoff timeouts of:

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       T_rcvrHoldoff = T_sndrAggregate + T_sndrHoldoff = (K+2)*GRTT

  This allows for a worst-case propagation time of the receiver's NACK
  to the sender, the sender's aggregation time and propagation of the
  sender's response back to the receiver.  Additionally, in the case of
  unicast feedback from the receiver set, it may be useful for the
  sender to forward (via multicast) a representation of its aggregated
  NACK content to the group to allow for NACK suppression when there is
  not multicast connectivity among the receiver set.

  At the expiration of the <T_sndrAggregate> timeout, the sender will
  begin transmitting repair messages according to the accumulated
  content of NACKs received.  There are some guidelines with regards to
  FEC-based repair and the ordering of the repair response from the
  sender that can improve reliable multicast efficiency:

       1)   When FEC is used, it is beneficial that the sender transmit
            previously untransmitted parity content as repair messages
            whenever possible.  This  maximizes the receiving nodes'
            ability to reconstruct the entire transmitted content from
            their individual subsets of received messages.

       2)   The transmitted object and/or stream data and repair content
            should be indexed with  monotonically increasing sequence
            numbers (within a reasonably large ordinal space).  If the
            sender observes the discipline of  transmitting repair for
            the earliest content (e.g., ordinally lowest FEC blocks)
            first, the receivers can use a strategy of witholding repair
            requests for later content until the sender once again
            returns to that point in the object/stream transmission
            sequence.  This can increase overall message efficiency
            among the group and help work to keep repair cycles
            relatively synchronized without dependence upon strict time
            synchronization among the sender and receivers.  This also
            helps minimize the buffering requirements of receivers and
            senders and reduces redundant transmission of data to the
            group at large.

  Sender Repair Response Interface Description


       1)   Receiver NACK messages
       2)   Group timing information


       1)   Repair messages (FEC and/or Data content retransmission)
       1)   Advertisement of current pending repair transmissions when
            unicast receiver feedback is detected.

3.3 NORM Receiver Join Policies and Procedures

  Consideration should be given to the policies and procedures by which

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  new receivers join a group (perhaps where reliable transmission is
  already in progress) and begin requesting repair. If receiver joins
  are unconstrained, the dynamics of group membership may impede the
  application's ability to meet its goals for forward progression of
  data transmission.  Policies limiting the opportunities when receivers
  begin participating in the NACK process may be used to achieve the
  desired behavior.  For example, it may be beneficial for receivers to
  attempt reliable reception from a newly-heard sender only upon non-
  repair transmissions of data in the first FEC block of an object or
  logical portion of a stream.  The sender may also implement policies
  limiting the receivers from which it will accept NACK requests, but
  this may be prohibitive for scalability reasons in some situations.
  Alternatively, it may be desirable to have a looser transport
  synchronization policy and rely upon session management mechanisms to
  limit group dynamics that can cause poor performance , in some types
  of bulk transfer applications (or for potential interactive reliable
  multicast applications).

  Group Join Policy Interface Description


       1)   Current object/stream data/repair content and sequencing
            identifiers from sender transmissions.


       1)   Receiver yes/no decision to begin receiving and NACKing for
            reliable reception of data

3.4 Reliable Multicast Member Identification

  In a NORM protocol (or other multicast protocols) where there is the
  potential for multiple sources of data, it is necessary to provide
  some mechanism to uniquely identify the sources (and possibly some or
  all receivers in some cases) within the group.  Identity based on
  arriving packet source addresses is insufficient for several reasons.
  These reasons include routing changes for hosts with multiple
  interfaces that result in different packet source addresses for a
  given host over time, network address translation (NAT) or firewall
  devices, or other transport/network bridging approaches.  As a result,
  some type of unique source identifier <sourceId> field should be
  present in packets transmitted by reliable multicast session members.

3.5 Data Content Identification

  The data and repair content transmitted by a NORM sender requires some
  form of identification in the protocol header fields.  This
  identification is required to facilitate the reliable NACK-oriented
  repair process.  These identifiers will also be used in NACK messages
  generated.  This building block document assumes two very general
  types of data that may comprise bulk transfer session content.  One
  type is static, discrete objects of  finite size and the other is
  continuous non-finite streams.  A given application  may wish to

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  reliably multicast data content using either one or both of these
  paradigms.  While it may be possible for some applications to further
  generalize this model and provide mechanisms to encapsulate static
  objects as content embedded within a stream, there are advantages in
  many applications to provide distinct support for static bulk objects
  and messages with the context of a reliable multicast session.  These
  applications may include content caching servers, file transfer, or
  collaborative tools with bulk content.  Applications with requirements
  for these static object types can then take advantage of transport
  layer mechanisms (i.e., segmentation/reassembly, caching, integrated
  forward error correction coding, etc) rather than being required to
  provide their own mechanisms for these functions at the application

  As noted, some applications may alternatively desire to transmit bulk
  content in the form of one or more streams of non-finite size.
  Example streams include continuous quasi-realtime message broadcasts
  (e.g., stock ticker) or some content types that are part of
  collaborative tools or other more complex applications.  And, as
  indicated above, some applications may wish to encapsulate other bulk
  content (e.g., files) into one or more streams within a multicast

  The components described within this building block draft document are
  envisioned to be applicable to both of these models with the
  potential for a mix of both types within a single multicast session.
  To support this requirement, the normal data content identification
  should include a field to uniquely identify the object or stream
  <objectId> within some reasonable temporal or ordinal interval.  Note
  that it is _not_ expected that this data content identification will
  be globally unique.  It is expected that the object/stream identifier
  will be unique with respect to a given sender within the reliable
  multicast session and during the time that sender is supporting a
  specific transport instance of that object or stream.

  Since the "bulk" object/stream content usually requires segmentation,
  some form of segment identification must also be  provided.  This
  segment identifier will be relative to any object or stream identifier
  that has been provided.  Thus, in some cases, NORM protocol
  instantiations may be able to receive  transmissions and request
  repair for multiple streams and one or more sets of static objects in
  parallel.  For protocol instantiations employing FEC the segment
  identification portion of the data content identifier may consist of a
  logical concatenation of a coding block identifier <sourceBlockNumber>
  and an identifer for the specific data or parity symbol
  <endcodingSymbolId> of the code block.  The FEC Building Block
  document [13] provides a standard message format for identifying FEC
  transmission content. NORM protocol instantiations using FEC SHOULD
  follow that document's guidelines.

  Additionally, flags to determine the usage of the content identifier
  fields (e.g., stream vs. object) may be applicable.   Flags may also
  serve other purposes in data content identification.  It is expected
  that any flags defined will be dependent upon individual protocol

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  In summary, the following data content identification fields may be
  required for NORM protocol data content messages:

       1)   Source node identifier (<sourceId>)
       2)   Object/Stream identifier (<objectId>), if applicable.
       3)   FEC Block identifier (<sourceBlockNumber>), if applicable.
       4)   FEC Symbol identifier (<encodingSymbolId>)
       5)   Flags to differentiate interpretation of identifier fields
            or identifier structure that implicitly indicates usage.
       6)   Additional FEC transmission content fields per FEC Building

  These fields have been identified because any generated NACK messages
  will use these identifiers in requesting repair or retransmission of
  data.  NORM protocols that use these data content fields should also
  be compatible with support for intermediate system assistance to
  reliable multicast transport operation when available.

3.6 Forward Error Correction (FEC)

  Multiple forward error correction (FEC) approaches have been
  identified that can provide great performance enhancements to the
  repair process of NACK-oriented and other reliable multicast protocols
  [9],[13].  NORM protocols can reap additional benefits since FEC-based
  repair does not _generally_ require explicit knowledge of repair
  content within the bounds of its coding block size (in symbols).  In
  NORM, parity repair packets generated will generally be transmitted
  only in response to NACK repair requests from receiving nodes.
  However, there are benefits in some network environments for
  transmitting some predetermined quantity of FEC repair packets
  multiplexed with the regular data symbol transmissions [8].   This can
  reduce the amount of NACK traffic generated with relatively  little
  overhead cost when group sizes are very large or the network
  connectivity has a large delay*bandwidth product with some nominal
  level of expected packet loss.  While the application of FEC is not
  unique to NORM, these sorts of requirements may dictate the types of
  algorithms and protocol approaches that are applicable.

  A specific issue related to the use of FEC with NORM is the mechanism
  used to identify which portion(s) of transmitted data content to which
  specific FEC packets are applicable.  It is expected that FEC
  algorithms will be based on generating a set of parity repair packets
  for a corresponding block of transmitted data packets.  Since data
  content packets are uniquely identified by the concatenation of
  <sourceId::objectId::sourceBlockNumber::encodingSymbolId> during
  transport, it is expected that FEC packets will be identified in a
  similar manner.  The FEC Building Block specification [13] provides
  detailed recommendations concerning application of FEC and standard
  formats for related reliable multicast protocol messages.

3.7 Round-trip Timing Collection

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  The measurement of packet propagation round-trip time (RTT) among
  members of the group is required to support timer-based NACK
  suppression algorithms, timing of sender commands or certain repair
  functions, and congestion control operation.  The nature of the round-
  trip information collected is dependent upon the type of interaction
  among the members of the group.  In the case where only "one-to-many"
  transmission is required, it may be that only the sender require RTT
  knowledge of the greatest RTT (GRTT) among the receiver set and/or RTT
  knowledge of only a portion of the group.  Here, the GRTT information
  might be collected in a reasonably scalable manner.  For congestion
  control operation, it is possible that RTT information may be required
  by each receiver in the group.  In this case, an alternative RTT
  collection scheme may be utilized where receivers collect individual
  RTT measurements with respect to the sender and advertise them to the
  group or sender.  Where it is likely that exchange of reliable
  multicast data will occur among the group on a "many-to-many" basis,
  there are alternative measurement techniques that might be employed
  for increased efficiency [12].  And in some cases, there might be
  absolute time synchronization among hosts that may simplify RTT
  measurement.  There are trade-offs in multicast congestion control
  design that require further consideration before a universal
  recommendation on RTT (or GRTT) measurement can be specified.
  Regardless of how the RTT information is collected (and more
  specifically GRTT) with respect to congestion control or other
  requirements, the sender will need to advertise its current GRTT
  estimate to the group for various timeouts used by receivers.

3.7.1 One-to-Many Sender GRTT Measurement

  The goal of this form of RTT measurement is for the sender to learn
  the GRTT among the receivers who are actively participating in NORM
  operation.  The set of receivers participating in this process may be
  the entire group or some subset of the group determined from another
  mechanism within the protocol instantiation.  An approach to collect
  this GRTT information follows.

  The sender periodically polls the group with a message (independent or
  "piggy-backed" with other transmissions) containing a <sendTime>
  timestamp relative to an internal clock at the sender.  Upon reception
  of this message, the receivers will record this <sendTime> timestamp
  and the time (referenced to their own clocks) at which it was received
  <recvTime>.  When the receiver provides feedback to the sender (either
  explicitly or as part of other feedback messages depending upon
  protocol instantiaon specification), it will construct a "response"
  using the formula:

            grttResponse = sendTime + (currentTime - recvTime)

  where the <sendTime> is the timestamp from the last probe message
  received from the source and the (currentTime - <recvTime) is the
  amount of time differential since that request was received until the
  receiver generated the response.

  The sender processes each receiver response by calculating a current

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  RTT measurement for the receiver from whom the response was received
  using the following formula:

                  RTT_rcvr = currentTime - grttResponse

  During the each periodic GRTT probing interval, the source keeps the
  peak round trip timing measurement (RTT_peak) from the set of
  responses it has received.  A conservative estimate of GRTT is kept to
  maximize the efficiency redundant NACK suppression and repair
  aggregation.  The update to the source's ongoing estimate of GRTT is
  done observing the following rules:

       1)   If a receiver's response round trip time (RTT_rcvr) is
            greater than the current GRTT estimate, the GRTT is
            immediately updated to this new peak value:

                                  GRTT = RTT_rcvr

       2)   At the end of the response collection period (i.e., the GRTT
            probe interval), if the recorded "peak" response RTT_peak)
            is less than the current GRTT estimate, the GRTT is updated

                           GRTT = MAX(0.9*GRTT, RTT_peak)

       3)   If no feedback is received, the sender GRTT estimate remains

       4)   At the end of the response collection period, the peak
            tracking value (RTT_peak) is reset to ZERO for subsequent
            peak detection.

  The GRTT collection period (i.e., period of probe transmission) could
  be fixed at a value on the order of that expected for group membership
  and/or network topology dynamics.  For robustness, more rapid probing
  could be used at protocol startup before settling to a less frequent,
  steady-state interval.  Optionally, an algorithm may be developed to
  adjust the GRTT collection period dynamically in response to the
  current GRTT estimate (or variations in it) and to an estimation of
  packet loss.  The overhead of probing messages could then be reduced
  when the GRTT estimate is stable and unchanging, but be adjusted to
  track more dynamically during periods of variation with
  correspondingly shorter GRTT collection periods.  GRTT collection may
  also be coupled with collection of other information for congestion
  control purposes.

  In summary, although NORM repair cycle timeouts are based on GRTT, it
  should be noted that convergent operation of the protocol does not
  _strictly_ depend on highly accurate GRTT estimation.  The current
  mechanism has proved sufficient in simulations and in the environments
  where NORM-like protocols have been deployed to date.  The estimate
  provided by the algorithm tracks the peak envelope of actual GRTT
  (including operating system effect as well as network delays) even in
  relatively high loss connectivity.  The steady-state probing/update

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  interval may potentially be varied to accommodate different levels of
  expected network dynamics in different environments.

3.7.2 One-to-Many Receiver RTT Measurement

  In this approach, receivers send messages with timestamps to the
  sender.  To control the volume of these receiver-generated messages, a
  suppression mechanism similar to that described for NACK suppression
  my be used.  The "age" of receivers' RTT measurement should be kept by
  receivers and used as a metric in competing for feedback opportunities
  in the suppression scheme.  For example, receiver who have not made
  any RTT measurement or whose RTT measurement has aged most should have
  precedence over other receivers.  In turn the sender may have limited
  capacity to provide an "echo" of the receiver timestamps back to the
  group, and it could use this RTT "age" metric to determine which
  receivers get precedence.  The sender can determine the GRTT as
  described in 3.7.1 if it provides sender timestamps to the group.
  Alternatively, receivers who note their RTT is greater than the sender
  GRTT can compete in the feedback opportunity/suppression scheme to
  provide the sender and group with this information.  It should be
  noted that the TFMCC Congestion Control building block described a
  similar approach to receiver RTT measurement as part of its congestion
  control operation [14].

3.7.3 Many-to-Many RTT Measurement

  For reliable multicast sessions that involve multiple senders, it may
  be useful to have RTT measurements occur on a true "many-to-many"
  basis rather than have each sender independently tracking RTT.  Some
  protocol efficiency can be gained when receivers can infer an
  approximation of their RTT with respect to a sender based on RTT
  information they have on another sender and that other sender's RTT
  with respect to the new sender of interest.  For example, for receiver
  "a" and sender's "b" and "c", it is likely that:

                  RTT(a<->b) <= RTT(a<->c)) + RTT(b<->c)

  Further refinement of this estimate can be conducted if RTT
  information is available to a node concerning its own RTT to a small
  subset of other group members and RTT information among those other
  group members it learns during protocol operation.

3.7.4 Sender GRTT Advertisement

  To facilitate deterministic NORM protocol operation, the sender should
  robustly advertise its current estimation of GRTT to the receiver set.
  Common, robust knowledge of the sender's current operating GRTT
  estimate among the group will allow the protocol to progress in its
  most efficient manner.  The sender's GRTT estimate can be robustly
  advertised to the group by simply embedding the estimate into all
  pertinent messages transmitted by the sender.  The overhead of this
  can be made quite small by quantizing (compressing) the GRTT estimate
  to a single byte of information.  The following C-lanquage functions
  allows this to be done over a wide range (RTT_MIN through RTT_MAX) of

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  GRTT values while maintaining a greater range of precision for small
  GRTT values and less precision for large values.  Values of 1.0e-06
  seconds and 1000 seconds are RECOMMENDED for RTT_MIN and RTT_MAX
  respectively.  NORM applications may wish to place an additional,
  smaller upper limit on the GRTT advertised by senders to meet
  application data delivery latency constraints at the expense of
  greater feedback volume in some network environments.

          unsigned char QuantizeGrtt(double grtt)
              if (grtt > RTT_MAX)
                  grtt = RTT_MAX;
              else if (grtt < 1.0e-06)
                  grtt = RTT_MIN;
              if (grtt < (33*RTT_MIN))
                  return ((unsigned char)(grtt * RTT_MIN) - 1);
                  return ((unsigned char)(ceil(255.0.-
                                          (13.0 * log(RTT_MAX/grtt)))));

          double UnquantizeRtt(unsigned char qrtt)
               return ((qrtt < 31) ?
               (((double)(qrtt+1))/(double)RTT_MIN) :

  Note that this function is useful for quantizing GRTT times in the
  range of 1 microsecond to 1000 seconds.  Of course, NORM protocol
  implementations may wish to further constrain advertised GRTT
  estimates (e.g., limit the maximum value) for practical reasons.

3.8 Group Size Determination/Estimation

  When NORM protocol operation includes mechanisms that excite feedback
  from the group at large (e.g., congestion control), it may be possible
  to roughly estimate the group size based on the number of feedback
  messages received with respect to the distribution of the
  probabilistic suppression mechanism used.  Note the timer-based
  suppression mechanism described in this document does not require a
  very accurate estimate of group size to perform adequately.  Thus, a
  rough estimate, particularly if conservatively managed, may suffice.
  Group size may also be determined administratively.  In absence of a
  group size determination mechanism a default group size value of
  10,000 is RECOMMENDED for  reasonable management of feedback given the
  scalability of expected NORM usage.

3.9 Congestion Control Operation

  Congestion control that fairly shares available network capacity  with
  other reliable multicast and TCP instantiations is REQUIRED for
  general Internet operation.  The TCP-Friendly Multicast Congestion
  Control [14]  or PGMCC specification [17] may be applied to NORM

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  operation to meet this requirement.

3.10 Router/Intermediate System assistance

  NACK-oriented protocols may benefit from general purpose router
  assistance.  In particular, additional NACK suppression where routers
  or intermediate systems can aggregate NACK content (or filter
  duplicate NACK content) from receivers as it is relayed toward the
  sender could enhance NORM group size scalability.  For NORM protocols
  using FEC, it is possible that intermediate systems may be able to
  filter FEC repair messages to provide an intelligent "subcast" of
  repair content to different legs of the multicast toplogy depending on
  the repair needs learned from previous receiver NACKs.  Both of these
  types of assist functions would require router interpretation of
  transport data unit content identifiers and flags.

4.0 NORM Applicability

  The NORM building block applies to protocols wishing to employ
  negative acknowledgement to achieve reliable data transfer.  Properly
  designed negative-acknowledgement (NACK)-oriented reliable multicast
  (NORM) protocols offer scalability advantages for applications and/or
  network topologies where, for various reasons, it is prohibitive to
  construct a higher order  delivery infrastructure above the basic
  Layer 3 IP multicast service (e.g., unicast or hybrid
  unicast/multicast data distribution trees).  Additionally, the
  scalability property of NACK-oriented protocols [2, 3] is applicable
  where broad "fanout" is expected for a single network hop (e.g.,
  cable-TV data delivery, satellite, or other broadcast communication
  communication services).  Furthermore, the simplicity of a protocol
  based on "flat" group-wide multicast distribution may offer advantages
  for a broad range of distributed services or dynamic networks and
  applications.  NORM protocols can make use of reciprocal (among
  senders and receivers) multicast communication under the Any-Source
  Multicast (ASM) model defined in RFC 1112 [5], and are capable of
  scalable operation in asymmetric topologies such as Single-Source
  Multicast (SSM) [16] where there may only be unicast routing service
  from the receivers to the sender(s).

  NORM operation is compatible with transport layer forward error
  correction coding techniques as described in [18] and congestion
  control mechanisms described in [14] and [17].  A principle limitation
  of NORM operation involves group size scalability when network
  capacity for receiver feedback is very limited.  NORM operation is
  also governed by implementation buffering constraints.  Buffering
  greater than that required for typical point-to-point reliable
  transport (e.g., TCP) is recommended to allow for disparity in the
  receiver group connectivity and to allow for the feedback delays
  required to attain group size scalability.

5.0 Security Considerations

  NORM protocols are expected to be subject to same sort of security
  vulnerabilities as other IP and IP multicast protocols.  NORM is

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  compatible with IP security (IPSEC) authentication mechanisms [19]
  that are RECOMMENDED for protection against session intrusion and
  denial of service attacks.  A particular threat for NACK based
  protocols is that of NACK replay attacks that would prevent a NORM
  sender from making forward progress in transmission.  Any standard
  IPSEC mechanisms that can provide protection against such replay
  attacks are RECOMMENDED for use.  Additionally, NORM protocol
  instantiations SHOULD consider providing support for their own NACK
  replay attack protection when network layer mechanisms are not
  available.  The IETF Multicast Security (msec) Working Group is also
  developing solutions which may be applicable to NORM in the future.

6.0 Acknowledgements (and these are not Negative)

  The authors would like to thank Rick Jones, and Joerg Widmer for their
  valuable comments on this document.  The authors would also like to
  thank the RMT working group chairs, Roger Kermode and Lorenzo
  Vicisano, for their support in development of this specification, and
  Sally Floyd for her early inputs into this document.

7.0 References

   [1]      A. Mankin, A. Romanow, S.  Bradner, V.  Paxson, "IETF
            Criteria for Evaluating Reliable Multicast Transport and
            Application Protocols", RFC 2357, June 1998.

   [2]      S. Pingali, D. Towsley, J.  Kurose, "A Comparison of Sender-
            Initiated and Receiver-Initiated Reliable Multicast
            Protocols".  In Proc.  INFOCOM, San Francisco, CA, October

   [3]      B.N. Levine, J.J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves, "A Comparison of Known
            Classes of Reliable Multicast Protocols", Proc.
            International Conference on Network Protocols (ICNP-96),
            Columbus, Ohio, Oct 29--Nov 1, 1996.

   [4]      D. Clark, D. Tennenhouse, "Architectural Considerations for
            a New Generation of Protocols".  In Proc.  ACM SIGCOMM,
            pages 201--208, September 1990.

   [5]      S.  Deering, "Host Extensions for IP Multicasting". Internet
            RFC1112, August 1989.

   [6]      S. Floyd, V.  Jacobson, S.  McCanne, C.  Liu, and L.  Zhang.
            "A Reliable Multicast Framework for Light-weight Sessions
            and Application Level Framing", Proc.  ACM SIGCOMM, August

   [7]      J. Nonnenmacher and E. W. Biersack, "Optimal Multicast
            Feedback," in IEEE Infocom , (San Francisco, California), p.
            964, March/April 1998.

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   [8]      D. Gossink, J.  Macker, "Reliable Multicast and Integrated
            Parity Retransmission with Channel Estimation", IEEE
            GLOBECOM 98'.

   [9]      J. Metzner, "An Improved Broadcast Retransmission Protocol",
            IEEE Transactions on Communications, Vol.  Com-32, No.6,
            June 1984.

  [10]      J. Macker, "Integrated Erasure-Based Coding for Reliable
            Multicast Transmission", IRTF Meeting presentation, March

  [11]      J. Macker, "Reliable Multicast Transport and Integrated
            Erasure-based Forward Error Correction", Proc. IEEE MILCOM
            97, October  1997.

  [12]      V. Ozdemir, S. Muthukrishnan, I. Rhee, "Scalable, Low-
            Overhead Network Delay Estimation", NCSU/AT&T White Paper,
            February 1999.

  [13]      M. Luby, L. Vicisano, J. Gemmell, L. Rizzo, M. Handley, and
            J. Crowcroft, "Forward Error Correction (FEC) Building
            BLock", RFC 3452, December 2002.

  [14]      J. Widmer, M. Handley, "TCP-Friendly Multicast Congestion
            Control (TFMCC) Protocol Specification", Internet Draft
            draft-ietf-rmt-bb-tfmcc-01.txt, November 2002, work in
            progress.  Citation for informational purposes only.

  [15]      J. Macker, R. Adamson, "Quantitative Prediction of Nack
            Oriented Reliable Multicast (NORM) Feedback", Proc. IEEE
            MILCOM 2002, October 2002.

  [16]      Holbrook, H. W., "A Channel Model for Multicast", Ph.D.
            Dissertation, Stanford University, Department of Computer
            Science, Stanford, California, August 2001.

  [17]      Rizzo, L., Vicisano, L, Handley, M, "PGMCC Single Rate
            Multicast Congestion Control Protocol Specification",
            Internet Draft draft-ietf-rmt-bb-pgmcc-01.txt, June 2002,
            work in progress.  Citation for informational purposes only.

  [18]      M. Luby, L. Vicisano,J. Gemmell, L. Rizzo, M. Handley, and
            J. Crowcroft, "The Use of Forward Error Correction (FEC) in
            Reliable Multicast", RFC 3453, December 2002.

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

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8.0 Authors' Addresses

  Brian Adamson
  Naval Research Laboratory
  Washington, DC, USA, 20375

  Carsten Bormann
  Tellique Kommunikationstechnik GmbH
  Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25 Geb ude 12
  D-13355 Berlin, Germany

  Mark Handley
  1947 Center Street, Suite 600
  Berkeley, CA 94704

  Joe Macker
  Naval Research Laboratory
  Washington, DC, USA, 20375

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