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PROPOSED STANDARD

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                           R. Bush
Request for Comments: 8654                                  Arrcus & IIJ
Updates: 4271                                                   K. Patel
Category: Standards Track                                   Arrcus, Inc.
ISSN: 2070-1721                                                  D. Ward
                                                           Cisco Systems
                                                            October 2019


                    Extended Message Support for BGP

Abstract

   The BGP specification (RFC 4271) mandates a maximum BGP message size
   of 4,096 octets.  As BGP is extended to support new Address Family
   Identifiers (AFIs), Subsequent AFIs (SAFIs), and other features,
   there is a need to extend the maximum message size beyond 4,096
   octets.  This document updates the BGP specification by extending the
   maximum message size from 4,096 octets to 65,535 octets for all
   messages except for OPEN and KEEPALIVE messages.

Status of This Memo

   This is an Internet Standards Track document.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Further information on
   Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at
   https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8654.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2019 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
     1.1.  Requirements Language
   2.  BGP Extended Message
   3.  BGP Extended Message Capability
   4.  Operation
   5.  Error Handling
   6.  Changes to RFC 4271
   7.  IANA Considerations
   8.  Security Considerations
   9.  References
     9.1.  Normative References
     9.2.  Informative References
   Acknowledgments
   Authors' Addresses

1.  Introduction

   The BGP specification [RFC4271] mandates a maximum BGP message size
   of 4,096 octets.  As BGP is extended to support new AFIs, SAFIs, and
   other capabilities (e.g., BGPsec [RFC8205] and BGP - Link State (BGP-
   LS) [RFC7752]), there is a need to extend the maximum message size
   beyond 4,096 octets.  This document provides an extension to BGP to
   extend the message size limit from 4,096 octets to 65,535 octets for
   all messages except for OPEN and KEEPALIVE messages.

1.1.  Requirements Language

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
   BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

2.  BGP Extended Message

   A BGP message over 4,096 octets in length is a BGP Extended Message.

   BGP Extended Messages have a maximum message size of 65,535 octets.
   The smallest message that may be sent is a BGP KEEPALIVE, which
   consists of 19 octets.

3.  BGP Extended Message Capability

   The BGP Extended Message Capability is a new BGP capability [RFC5492]
   defined with Capability Code 6 and Capability Length 0.

   To advertise the BGP Extended Message Capability to a peer, a BGP
   speaker uses BGP Capabilities Advertisement [RFC5492].  By
   advertising the BGP Extended Message Capability to a peer, a BGP
   speaker conveys that it is able to receive and properly handle BGP
   Extended Messages (see Section 4).

   Peers that wish to use the BGP Extended Message Capability MUST
   support error handling for BGP UPDATE messages per [RFC7606].

4.  Operation

   The BGP Extended Message Capability applies to all messages except
   for OPEN and KEEPALIVE messages.  These exceptions reduce the
   complexity of providing backward compatibility.

   A BGP speaker that is capable of receiving BGP Extended Messages
   SHOULD advertise the BGP Extended Message Capability to its peers
   using BGP Capabilities Advertisement [RFC5492].  A BGP speaker MAY
   send BGP Extended Messages to a peer only if the BGP Extended Message
   Capability was received from that peer.

   An implementation that advertises the BGP Extended Message Capability
   MUST be capable of receiving a message with a length up to and
   including 65,535 octets.

   Applications generating information that might be encapsulated within
   BGP messages MUST limit the size of their payload to take the maximum
   message size into account.

   If a BGP message with a length greater than 4,096 octets is received
   by a BGP listener who has not advertised the BGP Extended Message
   Capability, the listener will generate a NOTIFICATION with the Error
   Subcode set to Bad Message Length ([RFC4271], Section 6.1).

   A BGP UPDATE will (if allowed by policy, best path, etc.) typically
   propagate throughout the BGP-speaking Internet and hence to BGP
   speakers that may not support BGP Extended Messages.  Therefore, an
   announcement in a BGP Extended Message where the size of the
   attribute set plus the NLRI is larger than 4,096 octets may cause
   lack of reachability.

   A BGP speaker that has advertised the BGP Extended Message Capability
   to its peers may receive an UPDATE from one of its peers that
   produces an ongoing announcement that is larger than 4,096 octets.
   When propagating that UPDATE onward to a neighbor that has not
   advertised the BGP Extended Message Capability, the speaker SHOULD
   try to reduce the outgoing message size by removing attributes
   eligible under the "attribute discard" approach of [RFC7606].  If the
   message is still too big, then it must not be sent to the neighbor
   ([RFC4271], Section 9.2).  Additionally, if the NLRI was previously
   advertised to that peer, it must be withdrawn from service
   ([RFC4271], Section 9.1.3).

   If an Autonomous System (AS) has multiple internal BGP speakers and
   also has multiple external BGP neighbors, care must be taken to
   ensure a consistent view within the AS in order to present a
   consistent external view.  In the context of BGP Extended Messages, a
   consistent view can only be guaranteed if all the Internal BGP (iBGP)
   speakers advertise the BGP Extended Message Capability.  If that is
   not the case, then the operator should consider whether or not the
   BGP Extended Message Capability should be advertised to external
   peers.

   During the incremental deployment of BGP Extended Messages and use of
   the "attribute discard" approach of [RFC7606] in an iBGP mesh or with
   External BGP (eBGP) peers, the operator should monitor any routes
   dropped and any discarded attributes.

5.  Error Handling

   A BGP speaker that has the ability to use BGP Extended Messages but
   has not advertised the BGP Extended Message Capability, presumably
   due to configuration, MUST NOT accept a BGP Extended Message.  A
   speaker MUST NOT implement a more liberal policy accepting BGP
   Extended Messages.

   A BGP speaker that does not advertise the BGP Extended Message
   Capability might also genuinely not support BGP Extended Messages.
   Such a speaker will follow the error-handling procedures of [RFC4271]
   if it receives a BGP Extended Message.  Similarly, any speaker that
   treats an improper BGP Extended Message as a fatal error MUST follow
   the error-handling procedures of [RFC4271].

   Error handling for UPDATE messages, as specified in Section 6.3 of
   [RFC4271], is unchanged.  However, if a NOTIFICATION is to be sent to
   a BGP speaker that has not advertised the BGP Extended Message
   Capability, the size of the message MUST NOT exceed 4,096 octets.

   It is RECOMMENDED that BGP protocol developers and implementers are
   conservative in their application and use of BGP Extended Messages.
   Future protocol specifications MUST describe how to handle peers that
   can only accommodate 4,096 octet messages.

6.  Changes to RFC 4271

   [RFC4271] states "The value of the Length field MUST always be at
   least 19 and no greater than 4096."  This document changes the latter
   number to 65,535 for all messages except for OPEN and KEEPALIVE
   messages.

   Section 6.1 of [RFC4271] specifies raising an error if the length of
   a message is over 4,096 octets.  For all messages except for OPEN and
   KEEPALIVE messages, if the receiver has advertised the BGP Extended
   Message Capability, this document raises that limit to 65,535.

7.  IANA Considerations

   IANA has made the following allocation in the "Capability Codes"
   registry:

   +-------+----------------------+-----------+
   | Value | Description          | Reference |
   +=======+======================+===========+
   | 6     | BGP Extended Message | RFC 8654  |
   +-------+----------------------+-----------+

     Table 1: Addition to "Capability Codes"
                     Registry

8.  Security Considerations

   This extension to BGP does not change BGP's underlying security
   issues [RFC4272].

   Due to increased memory requirements for buffering, there may be
   increased exposure to resource exhaustion, intentional or
   unintentional.

   If a remote speaker is able to craft a large BGP Extended Message to
   send on a path where one or more peers do not support BGP Extended
   Messages, peers that support BGP Extended Messages may:

   *  act to reduce the outgoing message (see Section 4) and, in doing
      so, cause an attack by discarding attributes one or more of its
      peers may be expecting.  The attributes eligible under the
      "attribute discard" approach must have no effect on route
      selection or installation [RFC7606].

   *  act to reduce the outgoing message (see Section 4) and, in doing
      so, allow a downgrade attack.  This would only affect the
      attacker's message, where 'downgrade' has questionable meaning.

   *  incur resource load (processing, message resizing, etc.) when
      reformatting the large messages.

9.  References

9.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>.

   [RFC4271]  Rekhter, Y., Ed., Li, T., Ed., and S. Hares, Ed., "A
              Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)", RFC 4271,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4271, January 2006,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4271>.

   [RFC5492]  Scudder, J. and R. Chandra, "Capabilities Advertisement
              with BGP-4", RFC 5492, DOI 10.17487/RFC5492, February
              2009, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5492>.

   [RFC7606]  Chen, E., Ed., Scudder, J., Ed., Mohapatra, P., and K.
              Patel, "Revised Error Handling for BGP UPDATE Messages",
              RFC 7606, DOI 10.17487/RFC7606, August 2015,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7606>.

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.

9.2.  Informative References

   [RFC4272]  Murphy, S., "BGP Security Vulnerabilities Analysis",
              RFC 4272, DOI 10.17487/RFC4272, January 2006,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4272>.

   [RFC7752]  Gredler, H., Ed., Medved, J., Previdi, S., Farrel, A., and
              S. Ray, "North-Bound Distribution of Link-State and
              Traffic Engineering (TE) Information Using BGP", RFC 7752,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7752, March 2016,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7752>.

   [RFC8205]  Lepinski, M., Ed. and K. Sriram, Ed., "BGPsec Protocol
              Specification", RFC 8205, DOI 10.17487/RFC8205, September
              2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8205>.

Acknowledgments

   The authors thank Alvaro Retana for an amazing review; Enke Chen,
   Susan Hares, John Scudder, John Levine, and Job Snijders for their
   input; and Oliver Borchert and Kyehwan Lee for their implementations
   and testing.

Authors' Addresses

   Randy Bush
   Arrcus & IIJ
   5147 Crystal Springs
   Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
   United States of America

   Email: randy@psg.com


   Keyur Patel
   Arrcus, Inc.

   Email: keyur@arrcus.com


   Dave Ward
   Cisco Systems
   170 W. Tasman Drive
   San Jose, CA 95134
   United States of America

   Email: dward@cisco.com


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