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TCPM WG                                                        J. Touch
Internet Draft                                                  USC/ISI
Intended status: Experimental                                  T. Faber
Expires: December 2017                        The Aerospace Corporation
                                                         June 26, 2017

        TCP SYN Extended Option Space Using an Out-of-Band Segment

Status of this Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
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   Copyright (c) 2017 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
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   This document describes an experimental method to extend the option
   space for connection parameters within the initial TCP SYN segment,
   at the start of a TCP connection. This method effectively extends
   the option space of an initial SYN by using an additional coupled
   segment that is sent 'out-of-band'. It complements the proposed
   Extended Data Offset (EDO) option that is applicable only after the
   initial segment.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction...................................................2
   2. Conventions used in this document..............................3
   3. Experiment Goals...............................................3
   4. Using Multiple Segments to Establish a Connection..............4
   5. The TCP SYN-EOS Option.........................................5
      5.1. Reliable Delivery of Lone Initial Segments................7
      5.2. Reliable Delivery of a Lone SYN with SYN-EOS..............7
      5.3. Interaction with EDO......................................8
   6. Issues.........................................................9
      6.1. General Issues............................................9
      6.2. Option processing order...................................9
      6.3. Middlebox Transit Issues.................................10
      6.4. Interaction with Other TCP Options.......................11
      6.5. TCP Fast Open............................................11
         6.5.1. TCP Authentication Option and TCP MD5...............11
   7. TCP SYN-EOS Interaction with TCP..............................11
      7.1. TCP User Interface.......................................11
      7.2. TCP States and Transitions...............................11
      7.3. TCP Segment Processing...................................11
      7.4. Impact on TCP Header Size................................11
   8. Error Conditions..............................................12
      8.1. Connectionless Resets....................................12
      8.2. ICMP Handling............................................12
   9. Security Considerations.......................................12
   10. IANA Considerations..........................................12
   11. References...................................................12
      11.1. Normative References....................................12
      11.2. Informative References..................................12
   12. Acknowledgments..............................................13

1. Introduction

   This document describes a method to extend the option space
   available in the initial SYN segment of a TCP connection (e.g., SYN

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   set and ACK not set) [RFC793]. This extension is required to support
   some combinations of TCP options, notably large ones such as TCP AO
   [RFC5925], Multipath TCP [RFC6824], and TCP Fast Open [RFC7413] with
   other options already typically used in most TCP connections. This
   document specifies this TCP SYN extended option space (SYN-EOS)
   option, and is independent of (and thus compatible with) IPv4 and
   IPv6. SYN-EOS complements the proposed TCP Extended Data Offset
   (EDO) option, which increases the space available for options in all
   segments except the initial SYN [To17].

2. Conventions used in this document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC-2119 [RFC2119].

   In this document, these words will appear with that interpretation
   only when in ALL CAPS. Lower case uses of these words are not to be
   interpreted as carrying RFC-2119 significance.

   In this document, the characters ">>" preceding an indented line(s)
   indicates a compliance requirement statement using the key words
   listed above. This convention aids reviewers in quickly identifying
   or finding the explicit compliance requirements of this RFC.

3. Experiment Goals

   TCP is critical to the robust functioning of the Internet, therefore
   any proposed modifications to TCP need to be thoroughly tested.  The
   present specification describes an experimental protocol that
   initiates a connection using two coupled segments instead of the
   traditional single one. The intention is to specify the protocol
   sufficiently so that more than one implementation can be built in
   order to test its function, robustness, and interoperability with
   itself, with other variants of TCP and with common network
   equipment, whether standardized or not.

   The following describe the criteria that define success for this
   experiment and its expected duration.

   Success criteria: The experimental protocol will be considered
   successful if, in the consensus opinion of the IETF, it functions
   correctly in a sufficiently wide scope to be useful and it does no
   harm, which implies that it ought to introduce minimal additional
   delay or load to either updated or existing implementations and it
   introduces no new security vulnerabilities. It is also required not

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   to be unduly difficult or complex to implement correctly, so that it
   is not likely to lead to additional bugs or vulnerabilities.

   Duration: To be credible, the experiment will need to last at least
   12 months from publication of the present specification.  At that
   time, a report on the experiment will be written up.  If successful,
   it would then be appropriate to work on a standards track

4. Using Multiple Segments to Establish a Connection

   The basis of SYN-EOS is the use of multiple TCP segments to initiate
   a TCP connection. It is also possible to extend initial SYN option
   space using context established from prior connections or using
   separate TCP connections (e.g., using the FTP control channel), this
   document focuses on a mechanisms that applies to any connection
   (including the first between two hosts) and do not require prior or
   established concurrent TCP connections.

   There are four examples of such approaches:

   o  Send a primary SYN and an extension SYN (LOIC [Yo11])

   o  Send a primary SYN and extension non-SYN data (LO/SLO [Ed08])

   o  Send two separate SYNs: a legacy SYN and an upgraded SYN on
      separate port pairs (dual-stack, named "Sister-SYN" [Br14])

   o  Send a primary SYN and an extension out-of-band segment (OOB,
      this document)

   All four approaches extend the space available in the initial SYN by
   sending an additional segment during the first phase of the three-
   way handshake. The Long Options by Invalid Checksum (LOIC) approach
   differentiates the two SYNs by using an invalid TCP checksum in the
   extension SYN [Yo11], which thus cannot traverse NAT/NAPT devices

   The LO/SLO approach extends the three-way handshake into a five-way
   handshake to include extra options during the third segment, so the
   traditional SYN/ACK does not complete the active connection [Ed08].
   In current implementations, the client TCP state machine transitions
   to the ESTABLISHED state upon receipt of the SYN/ACK (including
   transmission of the resulting ACK). In SLO, additional options sent
   during the third segment are treated as part of the initial SYN and
   the fourth segment with responses to these options is treated as
   part of the conventional SYN/ACK. As with conventional TCP, data can

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   be sent during this handshake as part of any segment, but this data
   needs to wait for the entire handshake to complete before being
   forwarded to the application to ensure that all options have been
   negotiated successfully. This adds an additional round trip of
   latency which is undesirable in many cases. Connection-splitting
   middleboxes that merge these segments might also cause long options
   to be interpreted as data.

   The Sister-SYN approach is a dual-stack mechanism. Both legacy
   servers and upgraded servers process both SYNs; clients terminate
   the appropriate pending connection based on whether the option is
   acknowledged for each connection.

   The remainder of this document presents the SYN-EOS approach, which
   overcomes these limitations using an out-of-band segment to extend
   the option space of the SYN.

5. The TCP SYN-EOS Option

   The SYN-EOS approach uses a primary conventional SYN and an
   additional out-of-band data segment, the latter being a non-SYN
   packet with the ACK flag not set. Additional options are placed in
   payload of an out-of-band (OOB) segment, i.e., a segment whose ACK
   bit is cleared but is not a SYN (i.e., both SYN and ACK are zero).
   This offers the following advantages:

   1. It provide expansion space for options on a SYN, limited only by
      the default maximum segment size (535 payload bytes for IPv4);

   2. It reduces the chances that middleboxes will alter the extra
      options, given there is a higher bar to altering the payload than
      header fields.

   3. It allows for future structured ways to hide extra options from
      middleboxes and/or to protect them from being altered.

   A client initiating a TCP connection (i.e., issuing an active open)
   uses the SYN-EOS option flag to indicate the presence of the
   extended option space (Figure 1). This follows the TCP option
   format, where Kind is SYN-EOS-OPT and Length is 2.

                            |  Kind  | Length |

                      Figure 1 TCP SYN-EOS OOB option

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   An upgraded client supporting this feature uses this option only
   when the space needed for options in the initial SYN exceeds that of
   legacy TCP. When needed, the client sends the SYN-EOS option in the
   initial SYN, together with whatever other options are intended for
   connections to legacy servers (i.e., passive listeners). A legacy
   server would respond with a SYN/ACK without the SYN-EOS option,
   while also confirming other supported options, and the connection
   would proceed without the SYN-EOS extension.

   The upgraded client that sends the initial SYN using this option
   also sends an out-of-band (OOB) data segment with the same option to
   the same source and destination addresses and ports as the initial
   SYN. An OOB data segment is herein defined as a TCP segment in which
   neither SYN nor ACK flag is set. In particular, this looks like a
   conventional data segment with the ACK field cleared. Current TCP
   requirements allow the ACK field to be cleared for only the initial
   SYN, so this segment looks like a data segment that has been
   transmitted 'out-of-band', before a connection has been established.
   The entire payload of the segment is used for additional options.

   Upgraded servers that receive the TCP SYN with the SYN-EOS option
   wait for the corresponding OOB segment and treat the entire set of
   options in both segments as if they arrived with the initial SYN.
   Once both have arrived, the server first processes TCP options
   placed before each SYN-EOS option, applying them solely to their own
   individual segment. Then the server marshals together all the TCP
   options placed after each SYN-EOS option. It applies them to the
   initial SYN only, as if they had all been concatenated after the
   SYN-EOS OOB option.

   >> The server MUST process the options placed after each SYN-EOS
   option in the following order:

   1. Those in the option space of the initial SYN

   2. Those in the option space of the OOB segment

   3. Those in the payload space of the OOB segment

   The upgraded server proceeds with the remainder of the connection as
   if the SYN-EOS OOB option were a also EDO request option [To17] in
   the SYN.

   >> The SYN/ACK MUST include the SYN-EOS option to confirm the
   server's support for both the SUN-EOS and EDO capabilities and to
   confirm receipt of both the SYN and OOB segment. The server MAY also

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   extend the options space of the SYN/ACK using the EDO option if

   >> Any host that supports SYN-EOS MUST also thus support EDO.

   >> The OOB segment MUST use the same sequence number as the initial

   >> The client MUST NOT send multiple different OOB segments. If the
   server receives more than one OOB segment for the same connection it
   MUST solely use the first.

5.1. Reliable Delivery of Lone Initial Segments

   The server acknowledges the initial segment and the OOB segment
   together by using a SYN/ACK that carries the appropriate SYN-EOS
   option. The following subsections describe how the server
   acknowledges initial segments after a certain time if only one has

5.2. Reliable Delivery of a Lone SYN with SYN-EOS

   If an upgraded server has received only a SYN with the SYN-EOS
   option but no corresponding OOB segment, after a certain time it
   MUST proceed with the connection as if the SYN had been received
   without the SYN-EOS option. I.e. it processes all other TCP options
   and responds with a SYN/ACK without the SYN-EOS option.

   A client will not be able to tell whether this SYN/ACK is from a
   legacy server or an upgraded server. How the client proceeds on
   receipt of such a SYN/ACK depends on whether it wishes to retry
   sending the TCP options in the OOB segment or to proceed without
   them (e.g. for latency reasons):

   >> If the client chooses to proceed without the OOB segment, it MUST
   proceed as if the SYN-EOS option had never been used, by sending an
   ACK to complete the three-way handshake.

   >> If the client chooses to retry, it MUST retransmit the OOB
   segment with the same sequence number as the ISN of the SYN, so it
   is still out-of-band. However, this time it sets the ACK flag and it
   sets the acknowledgement number to one greater than the sequence
   number of the SYN/ACK. This effectively acknowledges receipt of the
   SYN/ACK, but requests a fuller SYN/ACK that also covers the OOB
   segment. At this stage a client that has chosen to retry the OOB
   segment MUST NOT send the ACK that would normally complete the
   three-way handshake.

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   >> If an upgraded server receives such a retransmitted OOB segment,
   it MUST process the additional TCP options as if they were placed
   after those in the initial SYN. Then it MUST send a SYN/ACK
   containing the SYN-EOS option, as if it had not sent the earlier
   SYN/ACK .

   On receipt of this SYN/ACK, the client sends an ACK to complete the

   >> If an upgraded server receives an ACK to complete the handshake,
   then later receives an OOB segment, it MUST discard the late OOB

   >> If a server, whether upgraded or not, receives only an OOB
   segment and no corresponding SYN, it MUST discard it and it MUST NOT
   ever respond (see Security Considerations).

5.3. Interaction with EDO

   Successful negotiation of either SYN-EOS option has the same effect
   as EDO. Successful SYN-EOS negotiation enables EDO for the remainder
   of the connection.

   >> After successful SYN-EOS negotiation, segments after the initial
   SYN MAY use the EDO option.

   Note that a failure to negotiate SYN-EOS has also fails to
   automatically negotiate EDO for endpoints that support EDO but not
   SYN-EOS. As a consequence:

   >> If EDO is desired when SYN-EOS fails, the initial SYN options
   MUST include a separate EDO Supported option.

   If SYN-EOS is sent in the initial SYN and confirmed in the SYN/ACK,
   EDO is available for the remainder of the connection. Segments that
   need to extend their option space would then include EDO.

   >> If SYN-EOS and EDO Supported are sent in the initial SYN and
   received by SYN-EOS capable server, the server MUST include SYN-EOS
   in the SYN/ACK, and MAY also include EDO Extension if needed to
   provide additional option space.

   >> If the server agrees to EDO but cannot support SYN-EOS, the
   SYN/ACK MUST include EDO Supported as per [To17] to confirm the

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6. Issues

   The following issues are known.

6.1. General Issues

   Caching is required because it is unlikely that both segments
   involved in initiating a SYN-EOS connection will arrive at the same

   >> Servers supporting SYN-EOS SHOULD cache received initial SYNs
   with the SYN-EOS option. Servers MAY decline to cache received
   initial SYNs if they are under memory constraints.

   >> Servers supporting SYN-EOS SHOULD cache received SYN-C segments
   with the SYN-EOS option. Servers MAY cache received OOB segments but
   MUST NOT examine or process them further in any way until their
   corresponding SYN segment arrives.

   Similarly, clients need to be able to retransmit supplements to
   ensure their delivery:

   >> Clients MUST retransmit the supplemental segment any time they
   retransmit the initial SYN segment.

   Should this be a new option or just a variant of EDO, and if so, how
   would it change EDO?

   SYN Cookies: An updated server can achieve the same outcome as SYN
   cookies by putting all the necessary connection state in TCP options
   in the SYN/ACK (using EDO if extra space is needed). It would then
   discard its own copy of this state, which it could recover from the
   TCP options in the final ACK of the 3WHS sent by the client. New TCP
   options complementary to SYN-EOS might need to be defined to achieve
   this for some types of TCP option (TBA). A legacy server will not
   understand the SYN-EOS option whether it uses SYN cookies or not, so
   it will provide the same legacy service whether or not it uses SYN

   Useful to send SYN, wait shortly, then send OOB

   OOB traversal concerns

6.2. Option processing order

   TCP options before the EOS-SYN on initial SYN segments are
   necessarily processed individually when each segment arrives. When

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   both segments of an EOS-SYN connection establishment arrive, the
   remaining options are processed in the following sequence:

   1. Initial SYN options

   2. Supplement options

   3. Supplement payload

   *** NOTE TO THE WG:

   There are two other constraints that might be applied to the
   supplement options:

   >> I. Supplement options MUST exactly match initial SYN options.

   >> II. Supplement options MUST contain only the SYN-EOS option.

   If either of these is chosen, the supplement options are NOT
   processed again (i.e., they are discarded).

   The former constraint helps the supplement segment share the same
   fate as the initial SYN. The latter recognizes that the supplement
   option space is not needed given the supplement payload, because the
   option space is created from the payload space anyway.

   *** END NOTE

6.3. Middlebox Transit Issues

   NB: this variant will require an additional 1-byte field on the SYN-
   EOS option for the EOO field.

   Traversal of middleboxes that ensure the payload matches the
   destination port number. It would be possible to include the
   facility for SYN-EOS to include an Extra Option Offset (EOO) field.
   A client setting EOO to a non-zero value would offset the start of
   the additional TCP options by this number of 4-byte words from the
   start of the payload.

   >> An upgraded SYN-EOS server MUST start reading the additional TCP
   options from a point within the payload that is offset by this
   number of 4-byte words from the start of the payload. An upgraded
   SYN-EOS server MUST ignore all data in the payload up to this point.

   The client would then be free to include fake data at the start of
   the payload consistent with what a middlebox might expect for the

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   destination port in use. The data to use would be application and
   implementation dependent, and is not determined in the present

   Interaction with TCP Fast Open

6.4. Interaction with Other TCP Options

6.5. TCP Fast Open


   Notes: SYN-EOS appears to be safe with TFO. Dual-SYN variants appear
   to have potential problems with both upgraded and legacy servers.
   With upgraded servers, receipt of a legacy SYN with the SYN
   extension option flag present might require delayed response. With
   legacy servers, it may be impossible to safely use TFO with the
   extended SYN.

6.5.1. TCP Authentication Option and TCP MD5


   Notes: Likely to be similar to TCP EDO, i.e., requiring
   authentication processing before extension processing.

7. TCP SYN-EOS Interaction with TCP

   The following subsections describe how SYN-EOS interacts with the
   TCP specification [RFC793].

7.1. TCP User Interface


7.2. TCP States and Transitions


7.3. TCP Segment Processing


7.4. Impact on TCP Header Size


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8. Error Conditions

8.1. Connectionless Resets


8.2. ICMP Handling

   TBD [RFC792].

9. Security Considerations

   >> By default, a SYN-EOS server must not cache an OOB segment and
   MUST NOT respond to an OOB segment if it arrives before the
   corresponding SYN segment, because many legacy firewalls will allow
   OOB segments into private networks. Caching of OOB segments MAY be
   enabled explicitly on public servers.

   More TBD.

10. IANA Considerations


   This section is to be removed prior to publication as an RFC.

11. References

11.1. Normative References

   [RFC793]  Postel, J., "Transmission Control Protocol", STD 7, RFC
             793, September 1981.

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

   [To17]    Touch, J., W. Eddy, "TCP Extended Data Offset Option",
             draft-ietf-tcpm-tcp-edo-08 (work in progress), Jun. 2017.

11.2. Informative References

   [Br14]    Briscoe, B., "Inner Space for TCP Options",
             draft-briscoe-tcpm-inner-space-01 (work in progress),
             October 2014.

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   [Ed08]    Eddy, W. and A. Langley, "Extending the Space Available
             for TCP Options", draft-eddy-tcp-loo-04 (work in
             progress), July 2008.

   [RFC792]  Postel, J., "Internet Control Message Protocol", RFC 792.

   [RFC3234] Carpenter, B. and S. Brim, "Middleboxes: Taxonomy and
             Issues", RFC 3234, February 2002.

   [RFC5925] Touch, J., Mankin, A., and R. Bonica, "The TCP
             Authentication Option", RFC 5925, June 2010.

   [RFC6824] Ford, A., Raiciu, C., Handley, M., and O. Bonaventure,
             "TCP Extensions for Multipath Operation with Multiple
             Addresses", RFC 6824, January 2013.

   [RFC7413] Cheng, Y., Chu, J., Radhakrishnan, S., and A. Jain, "TCP
             Fast Open", RFC 7413, December 2014.

   [Yo11]    Yourtchenko, A., "Introducing TCP Long Options by Invalid
             Checksum", draft-yourtchenko-tcp-loic-00 (work in
             progress), April 2011.

12. Acknowledgments

   The authors would like to thank the IETF TCPM WG for their feedback.

   The use of multiple segments to extend the option space of a SYN was
   initially proposed by Bob Briscoe. His initial proposal used
   complementary SYNs in an earlier version of this document, which
   evolved into mutually-exclusive "Sister-SYNs" in [Br14].

   This work is partly supported by USC/ISI's Postel Center.

   This document was prepared using 2-Word-v2.0.template.dot.

Authors' Addresses

   Joe Touch
   4676 Admiralty Way
   Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6695 USA

   Phone: +1 (310) 448-9151
   Email: touch@isi.edu
   URI:   http://www.isi.edu/touch

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   Ted Faber
   Engineering Specialist
   Computer Systems Research Department
   The Aerospace Corporation
   2310 E. El Segundo Blvd.
   El Segundo, CA 90245-4609 USA

   Phone: +1 (310) 336-7373
   Email: theodore.v.faber@aero.org

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