tcpm M. Kühlewind, Ed.
Internet-Draft University of Stuttgart
Intended status: Experimental R. Scheffenegger
Expires: January 12, 2013 NetApp, Inc.
July 13, 2012

Accurate ECN Feedback Option in TCP
draft-kuehlewind-tcpm-accurate-ecn-option-01

Abstract

This document specifies an TCP option to get accurate Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) feedback from the receiver. ECN is an IP/TCP mechanism where network nodes can mark IP packets instead of dropping them to indicate congestion to the end-points. An ECN-capable receiver will feedback this information to the sender. ECN is specified for TCP in such a way that only one feedback signal can be transmitted per Round-Trip Time (RTT). Recently new TCP mechanisms like ConEx or DCTCP need more accurate feedback information in the case where more than one marking is received in one RTT. This TCP extension can be used in addition to the classic ECN as well as with a more accurate ECN scheme recently proposed which reuses the ECN bit in the TCP header.

Status of This Memo

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

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

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

This Internet-Draft will expire on January 12, 2013.

Copyright Notice

Copyright (c) 2012 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved.

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


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) [RFC3168] is an IP/TCP mechanism where network nodes can mark IP packets instead of dropping them to indicate congestion to the end-points. An ECN-capable receiver will feedback this information to the sender. ECN is specified for TCP in such a way that only one feedback signal can be transmitted per Round-Trip Time (RTT). Recently proposed mechanisms like Congestion Exposure (ConEx) or DCTCP [Ali10] need more accurate feedback information in case when more than one marking is received in one RTT.

This documents specifies an TCP option to provide more than one ECN feedback signal per RTT. This modification does not obsolete [RFC3168]. This TCP extension can be used in addition to the classic ECN as well as in addition to more accurate ECN scheme recently proposed which reuses the ECN bits in the TCP header for the same purpose than this extension --- more accurate ECN feedback (see [I-D.kuehlewind-conex-accurate-ecn]). Note that a new TCP extension can experience deployment problems by middleboxes dropping unknown options. Thus the ECN feedback in the TCP header is still needed to ensure ECN feedback. Moreover, this option will increase the header length for all kind of TCP packets which can cause additional load in case of severe congestion (on the feedback channel).

1.1. Overview ECN and ECN Nonce in IP

ECN requires two bits in the IP header. The ECN capability of a packet is indicated, when either one of the two bits is set. An ECN sender can set one or the other bit to indicate an ECN-capable transport (ETC) which results in two signals --- ECT(0) and respectively ECT(1). A network node can set both bits simultaneously when it experiences congestion. When both bits are set the packets is regarded as "Congestion Experienced" (CE).

ECN-Nonce [RFC3540] is an optional addition to ECN that is used to protects the TCP sender against accidental or malicious concealment of marked or dropped packets. With ECN-Nonce a nonce sum is maintain that counts the occurrence of ECT(1) packets.

1.2. Requirements Language

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

We use the following terminology from [RFC3168] and [RFC3540]:

The ECN field in the IP header:

In this document, we will call the ECN feedback scheme as specified in [RFC3168] the 'classic ECN'. A 'congestion mark' is defined as an IP packet where the CE codepoint is set.

2. Negotiation of Accurate ECN feedback

As there is only limited space in the TCP Options, particularly during the initial three-way handshake, an abbreviated Option is used to negotiate for Accurate ECN feedback. This option also initiates all counters to an initial value of zero at the receiving side.

						 
TCP Accurate ECN Option Negotiation:

   Kind: TBD

   Length: 2 bytes

  +------+-----+
  | Kind |  2  |
  +------+-----+
     1      1

Figure 1: Accurate ECN feedback TCP option negotiation

This abbreviated option is only valid in a <SYN> or <SYN,ACK> segment, during a three way handshake. The negotiation follows the same procedure as with other TCP options, i.e. SACK. A TCP sender MAY send the accurate ECN feedback negotiation option in an initial SYN segment and MAY send a more accurate ECN option (see Section 3) in other segments only if it received this option negotiation in the initial <SYN> segment or <SYN,ACK> for the connection. A TCP receiver MAY send an <SYN,ACK> segment with the accurate ECN feedback negotiation option in response to a received accurate ECN feedback negotiation option in the <SYN>. If both ends indicate that they support Accurate ECN (AccECN) feedback, the AccECN option SHOULD be used in any subsequent TCP segment. A TCP sender or receiver MUST only negotiate for the AccECN option if ECN is negotiated as well.

3. Accurate ECN (AccECN) feedback Option Specification

						 
TCP Accurate ECN Option:

  Kind: TBD (same as above)

  Length: 12 bytes

 +------+------+---------+---------+-------+-------+-------+-----------+
 | Kind |  12  | ECT(0)  | ECT(1)  |  CE   |non-ECT| loss  |CE in bytes|
 +------+------+---------+---------+-------+-------+-------+-----------+
    1      1        2         2        1       1       1         3

Figure 2: Accurate ECN feedback TCP option

A TCP receiver, that provides Accurate ECN feedback, will maintain a counter for the number of ECT(0), ECT(1), CE, non-ECT marked and lost packets as well as the cumulative number of bytes of CE marked packets. The TCP option to provide the Accurate ECN (AccECN) feedback to the sender will echo these counters.

TCP anyway provides a mechanism to detect loss as loss should always be assumes as a strong signal for congestion and TCP congestion control reacts on loss. If TCP SACK is not available, the exact number of losses is not known. Moreover, the TCP loss detection (incl. SACK) is done in bytes and not in number of packets. The number of lost packets can be used by the sender to calculate the ECN Nonce sum more exactly.

The same feedback information are proposed for the (ECN) feedback in RTP (see [I-D.ietf-avtcore-ecn-for-rtp].

As TCP is a bi-directional protocol, this option can be used in both directions. With the reception of every data segment at least one of the counters changes (ETC(0) or ETC(1)). The AccECN option SHOULD be included in every ACK to ensure the reception of the ECN feedback at the sender in case of ACK loss. To reduce network load the AccECN option MAY not be send in every ACK, e.g. only in very second ACK (if ACKs are sent very frequently).

In general it is possible that any of the counters wraps around. In this case the information might get corrupted if e.g. for any reason only one ACK per RTT is sent and more than 256 CE marks occur in one RTT. For this case it MUST be ensured, that at least three ACKs/segments with the AccECN option have been sent prior to the counter experiencing an wrap around. Whenever an AccECN Option is received with smaller counter value than in the previous one and the respective ACK acknowledges new data, a wrap around MUST be assumed.

4. Acknowledgements

5. IANA Considerations

TBD

6. Security Considerations

TBD

7. References

7.1. Normative References

[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
[RFC3168] Ramakrishnan, K., Floyd, S. and D. Black, "The Addition of Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) to IP", RFC 3168, September 2001.
[RFC3540] Spring, N., Wetherall, D. and D. Ely, "Robust Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) Signaling with Nonces", RFC 3540, June 2003.

7.2. Informative References

[I-D.briscoe-tsvwg-re-ecn-tcp] Briscoe, B, Jacquet, A, Moncaster, T and A Smith, "Re-ECN: Adding Accountability for Causing Congestion to TCP/IP", Internet-Draft draft-briscoe-tsvwg-re-ecn-tcp-09, October 2010.
[I-D.ietf-avtcore-ecn-for-rtp] Westerlund, M, Johansson, I, Perkins, C, O'Hanlon, P and K Carlberg, "Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) for RTP over UDP", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-avtcore-ecn-for-rtp-04, July 2011.
[I-D.kuehlewind-conex-accurate-ecn] Kuehlewind, M and R Scheffenegger, "Accurate ECN Feedback in TCP", Internet-Draft draft-kuehlewind-conex-accurate-ecn-00, July 2011.
[Ali10] Alizadeh, M, Greenberg, A, Maltz, D, Padhye, J, Patel, P, Prabhakar, B, Sengupta, S and M Sridharan, "DCTCP: Efficient Packet Transport for the Commoditized Data Center", Jan 2010.

Authors' Addresses

Mirja K├╝hlewind (editor) University of Stuttgart Pfaffenwaldring 47 Stuttgart, 70569 Germany EMail: mirja.kuehlewind@ikr.uni-stuttgart.de
Richard Scheffenegger NetApp, Inc. Am Euro Platz 2 Vienna, 1120 Austria Phone: +43 1 3676811 3146 EMail: rs@netapp.com