Network Working Group                                           D. Newman
INTERNET-DRAFT                     	              Data Communications
Expires in September January 1999	 		                        July 1998            H. Holzbaur, J. Hurd, and S. Platt
                                 National Software Testing Laboratories

           Benchmarking Terminology for Firewall Performance
                    <draft-ietf-bmwg-secperf-02.txt>
                    <draft-ietf-bmwg-secperf-03.txt>

Status of This Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
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   ftp.isi.edu (US West Coast).

   1. Introduction ....................................................2

   2. Existing definitions ............................................3

   3. Term definitions ................................................3

     3.1 Allowed traffic ..............................................3

     3.2 Authentication ...............................................3 Application proxy.............................................3

     3.3 Connection ...................................................4 Authentication ...............................................4

     3.4 Data source ..................................................5 Bit forwarding rate ..........................................4

     3.5 Demilitarized zone (DMZ) .....................................5
     3.6 Dynamic Circuit proxy ................................................5

     3.6 Concurrent connections .......................................6

     3.7 Firewall .....................................................6 Connection ...................................................6

     3.8 Forwarding Connection establishment rate ..............................................6 ................................7

     3.9 Goodput ......................................................7 Conection overhead ...........................................8

     3.10 Homed .......................................................7 Data source .................................................8

     3.11 Logging .....................................................8 Demilitarized zone (DMZ) ....................................9

     3.12 Firewall ....................................................9

     3.13 Goodput ....................................................10
     3.14 Homed ......................................................10

     3.15 Illegal traffic.............................................11

     3.16 Logging ....................................................11

     3.17 Network address translation (NAT) ...........................8
     3.13 ..........................12

     3.18 Packet filtering ............................................9
     3.14 ...........................................12

     3.19 Perimeter network ...........................................9
     3.15 ..........................................13

     3.20 Policy .....................................................10
     3.16 .....................................................13

     3.21 Protected network ..........................................10
     3.17 ..........................................13

     3.22 Proxy ......................................................11
     3.18 ......................................................14

     3.23 Rejected traffic ...........................................11
     3.19 ...........................................14

     3.24 Rule set ...................................................11
     3.20 Session ....................................................12
     3.21 ...................................................15

     3.25 Stateful packet filtering ..................................13
     3.22 ..................................15

     3.26 Tri-homed ..................................................13
     3.23 ..................................................16

     3.27 Unprotected network ........................................14
     3.24 ........................................16

     3.28 User .......................................................14 .......................................................17

4. Security considerations ...........................................15 ...........................................17

5. References ........................................................15 ........................................................18

6. Acknowledgments ...................................................15 ...................................................18

7. Contact information ...............................................16 ...............................................19

1. Introduction
   This document defines terms used in measuring the performance of
   firewalls. It extends the terminology already used for benchmarking
   routers and switches and adds terminology specific to firewalls. The
   primary metrics defined used in this document are maximum forwarding rate connections and maximum number of connections.

   Why bit
   forwarding rate.

   There are several reasons why are firewall performance measurements needed?
   are needed. First, despite the rapid rise in firewall deployment,
   there is no standard means of performance measurement. Second,
   implementations vary widely, making it difficult to do direct
   performance comparisons. Finally, more and more organizations are
   deploying firewalls on internal networks operating at relatively high
   speeds, while most firewall implementations remain optimized for use
   over low-speed wide-area connections. As a result, users are often

Newman                                                        Page [2]
   unsure whether the products they buy will stand up to relatively
   heavy loads.

   We may also create additional terminology and methodology documents
   to define other types of network security products such as virtual
   private network (VPN) and encryption devices. This document, however,
   focuses solely on firewall terminology.

2. Existing definitions
   This document uses the conceptual framework established in RFCs 1242
   and 1944 (for routers) and RFC 2285 (for switches). The router and
   switch documents contain discussions of several terms relevant to
   benchmarking the performance of firewalls. Readers should consult the
   router and switch documents before making use of this document.

   This document uses the definition format described in RFC 1242,
   Section 2. The sections in each definition are: definition,
   discussion, measurement units (optional), issues (optional), and
   cross-references.

3. Term definitions

3.1 Allowed traffic

Definition:
Packets forwarded as a result of the rule set of the DUT/SUT. device under
test/system under test (DUT/SUT).

Discussion:
Firewalls typically are configured to forward only those packets
explicitly permitted in the rule set. Forwarded packets MUST be included
in calculating the bit forwarding rate or maximum bit forwarding rate of
the DUT/SUT. All other packets MUST NOT be included in bit forwarding
rate calculations.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Newman et al.                                                  Page [2]

Issues:

See also:
policy
rule set

3.2 Application proxy

Definition:
A proxy service that is set up and torn down in response to a client
request, rather than existing on a static basis.

Discussion:
Circuit proxies always forward packets containing a given port number if
that port number is permitted by the rule set. Application proxies, in
contrast, forward packets only once a connection has been established
using some known protocol. When the connection closes, a firewall using
dynamic proxies rejects individual packets, even if they contain port
numbers allowed by a rule set.

Measurement units:

Newman                                                        Page [3]

not applicable

Issues:
circuit proxy
rule sets

See also:
allowed traffic
circuit proxy
proxy
rejected traffic
rule set

3.3 Authentication

Definition:
The process of verifying that a user requesting a network resource is
who he, she, or it claims to be, and vice versa.

Discussion:
Trust is a critical concept in network security. Any network resource
(such as a file server or printer) with restricted access MUST require
authentication before granting access.

Authentication takes many forms, including but not limited to IP
addresses; TCP or UDP port numbers; passwords; external token
authentication cards; and biometric identification such as signature,
speech, or retina recognition systems.

The entity being authenticated MAY be the client machine (for example,
by proving that a given IP source address really is that address, and
not a rogue machine spoofing that address) or a user (by proving that
the user really is who he, she, or it claims to be). Servers SHOULD also
authenticate themselves to clients.

Testers should be aware that in an increasingly mobile society,
authentication based on machine-specific criteria such as an IP address
or port number is not equivalent to verifying that a given individual is
making an access request. At this writing systems that verify the
identity of users are typically external to the firewall, and may
introduce additional latency to the overall SUT.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:
user

3.3 Connection

3.4 Bit forwarding rate

Definition:
A logical path established between two hosts, or between a host and the
DUT/SUT.

Discussion:
The number of concurrent connections bits per second of allowed traffic a firewall DUT/SUT can support is just as
important a metric for some users as maximum forwarding be

Newman                                                        Page [4]

observed to transmit to the correct destination interface(s) in response
to a specified offered load.

Discussion:
This definition differs substantially from section 3.17 of RFC 1242 and
section 3.6.1 of RFC 2285.

Unlike both RFCs 1242 and 2285, this definition introduces the notion of
different classes of traffic: allowed, illegal, and rejected (see
definitions for each term). Any bit forwarding rate measurement MUST
include only allowed traffic.

Unlike RFC 1242, there is no reference to lost or retransmitted data.
Forwarding rate is assumed to be a goodput measurement, in that only
data successfully forwarded to the destination interface is measured.
Bit forwarding rate MUST be measured in relation to the offered load.
Bit forwarding rate MAY be measured with differed load levels, traffic
orientation, and traffic distribution.

Unlike RFC 2285, this measurement counts bits per second rather than
frames per second. Per-frame metrics are not meaningful in the context
of a flow of application data between endpoints.

Units of measurement:
bits per second

Issues:
Allowed traffic vs. rejected traffic

See also:
allowed traffic
goodput
illegal traffic
rejected traffic

3.5 Circuit proxy

Definition:
A proxy service that statically defines which traffic will be forwarded
using a criterion like port number.

Discussion:
The key distinction with circuit proxies is that they are static and
thus will always set up a connection if the DUT/SUT's rule set allows
it. For example, if a firewall's rule set permits ftp connections, a
circuit proxy will forward traffic on TCP port 20 (ftp default data)
even if no control connection was first established on TCP port 21 (ftp
control).

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:
application proxy

Newman                                                        Page [5]

rule sets

See also:
allowed traffic
application proxy
proxy
rejected traffic
rule set

3.6 Concurrent connections

Definition:
The aggregate number of simultaneous connections between hosts across
the DUT/SUT, or between hosts and the DUT/SUT.

Discussion:
The number of concurrent connections a firewall can support is just as
important a metric for some users as maximum bit forwarding rate.

While "connection" describes only a state and not necessarily the
transfer of data, concurrency assumes that all existing connections are
in fact capable of transferring data. If a data cannot be sent over a
connection, that connection should not be counted toward the number of
concurrent connections.

Measurement units:
Concurrent connections
Maximum number of concurrent connections

Issues:

See also:
connections
connection establishment rate
connection overhead

3.7 Connection

Definition:
A state in which two hosts, or a host and the DUT/SUT, agree to exchange
data using a known protocol.

Discussion:
A connection is an abstraction describing an agreement between two
nodes: One agrees to send data and the other agrees to receive it.

Connections MAY be TCP sessions, but they don't have to be. Users of

Newman et al.                                                  Page [3]

other Other
connection-oriented protocols such as ATM also may wish to use other
definitions of a connection, be used, either
instead of or in addition to TCP connections.

What constitutes a connection depends on the application. For a "native
ATM" application like a video stream, connections and VCs virtual circuits
can be synonymous. For TCP/IP applications on ATM networks (where
multiple TCP
sockets sessions may ride over a single ATM virtual circuit), the

Newman                                                        Page [6]

number of TCP sockets and
connections are synonymous. connections is probably the most important consideration.

Additionally, in some cases firewalls may handle a mixture of native TCP
and native ATM connections. In this situation, the wrappers around user
data will differ. The most meaningful metric describes what an end-user
will see.

Data connections describe state, not data transfer. The existence of a
connection does NOT not imply that data travels on that connection at any
given time. time, although if data cannot be forwarded on a previously
established connection that connection should not be considered in any
aggregrate connection count (see concurrent connections).

A firewall's architecture dictates where a connection is terminated. In
the case of proxy-based systems, a connection by definition terminates at the DUT/SUT.
But firewalls using packet filtering or stateful packet filtering
designs act only as passthrough devices, in that they reside between two
connection endpoints. Regardless endpoints. Regardless of firewall architecture, the number of
data connections is still relevant, since all firewalls perform some
form of connection maintenance; at the  very least, all check connection
requests against their rule sets.

Though it seems paradoxical, connectionless protocols such as UDP may
also involve connections, at least for the purposes of firewall
performance measurement. For example, one host may send UDP packets to
another across a firewall. If the destination host is listening on the
correct UDP port, it receives the UDP packets. For the purposes of
firewall performance measurement, this is considered a connection.
Indeed, some firewall implementations dynamically alter their rule sets
to allow such connections.

Measurement units:
Connection establishment rate
Concurrent connections
Maximum number of concurrent connections

Issues:
proxy-based vs. stateful packet filtering
TCP/IP vs. ATM
connection-oriented vs. connectionless

See also:
data source
concurrent connections
connection establishment rate

3.8 Connection establishment rate

Definition:
The length of time needed for two hosts, or a host and the DUT/SUT, to
agree to set up a data exchange using a known protocol.

Discussion:
Each connection-oriented protocol has its own defined mechanisms for

Newman                                                        Page [7]

setting up a connection. For purposes of benchmarking firewall
performance, this shall be the interval between receipt of the first
octet of the packet carrying a connection establishment request on a
DUT/SUT interface until transmission of the last octet of the last
packet of the connection setup traffic headed in the opposite direction.

This definition applies only to connection-oriented protocols such as
TCP. For connectionless protocols such as UDP, the notion of connection
setup time is not meaningful.

Metric
Connection establishment rate

Issues:

See also:
concurrent connections
connection
connection overhead

3.9 Connection overhead

Definition:
The degradation in bit forwarding rate, if any, observed as a result of firewall architecture,
the number addition of data connections is still relevant, since all firewalls
perform some form one connection between two hosts through the DUT/SUT, or
the addition of one connection maintenance; at from a host to the very least, all
check DUT/SUT.

Discussion:
The memory cost of connection requests against their rule sets. establishment and maintenance is highly
implementation-specific. This metric is intended to describe that cost
in a method visible outside the firewall.

It may also be desirable to invert this metric to show the performance
improvement as a result of tearing down one connection.

Measurement units:
Maximum number of connections
bit forwarding rate

Issues:
proxy-based vs. stateful packet filtering
TCP/IP vs. ATM

See also:
data source
session

3.4

3.10 Data source

Definition:
A station capable of generating traffic to the DUT/SUT.

Discussion:
One data source MAY emulate multiple users or stations. In addition, one
data source MAY offer traffic to multiple network interfaces on the
DUT/SUT.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

Newman                                                        Page [8]

The term "data source" is deliberately independent of any number of

Newman et al.                                                  Page [4]
users. It is useful to think of data sources simply as traffic
generators, without any correlation to any given number of users.

See also:
connection

3.5

3.11 Demilitarized zone (DMZ)

Definition:
A network segment or segments located between protected and unprotected
networks. DMZ networks are sometimes called perimeter networks.

Discussion:
As an extra security measure, networks are often designed such that
protected and unprotected segments are never directly connected.
Instead, firewalls (and possibly public resources such as WWW or FTP
servers) often reside on the so-called DMZ network. To connect
protected, DMZ, and unprotected networks with one device, the device
MUST have at least three network interfaces.

Multiple firewalls MAY bound the DMZ. In this case, the firewalls
connecting the protected network with the DMZ and the DMZ with the
unprotected network MUST each have at least two network interfaces.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:
Homed

See also:
unprotected network
perimeter network
protected network

3.6 Dynamic proxy

Definition:
A proxy service that is set up and torn down in response to a client
request, rather than existing on a static basis.

Discussion:
Proxy services typically "listen" on a given TCP port number for client
requests. With static proxies, a firewall always forwards packets
containing a given TCP port number if that port number is permitted by
the rule set. Dynamic proxies, in contrast, forward TCP packets only
once an authenticated connection has been established. When the
connection closes, a firewall using dynamic proxies rejects individual
packets, even if they contain port numbers allowed by a rule set. the protected network with the DMZ and the DMZ with the
unprotected network MUST each have at least two network interfaces.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

Newman et al.                                                  Page [5]

rule sets
Homed

See also:
allowed traffic
proxy
rejected traffic
rule set

3.7
unprotected network
perimeter network
protected network

3.12 Firewall

Definition:
A device or group of devices that enforces an access control policy
between networks.

Discussion:
While there are many different ways to accomplish it, all firewalls do
the same thing: control access between networks.

The most common configuration involves a firewall connecting two
segments (one protected and one unprotected), but this is not the only
possible configuration. Many firewalls support tri-homing, allowing use
of a DMZ network. It is possible for a firewall to accommodate more than
three interfaces, each attached to a different network segment.

The criteria by which access is controlled is deliberately not specified
here. Typically this has been done using network- or transport-layer

Newman                                                        Page [9]

criteria (such as IP subnet or TCP port number), but there is no reason
this must always be so. A growing number of firewalls are controlling
access at the application layer, using user identification as the
criterion. And firewalls for ATM networks may control access based on
data link-layer criteria.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:
DMZ
tri-homed
user

3.8 Forwarding rate

Definition:
The number of bits per second that a firewall can be observed to
transmit successfully to the correct destination interface in response
to a specified offered load.

Discussion:
This definition differs substantially from section 3.17 of RFC 1242 and
section 3.6.1 of RFC 2285. Unlike RFC 1242, there is no reference to
lost or retransmitted data. Forwarding rate is assumed to be a goodput
measurement, in that only data successfully forwarded to the destination

Newman et al.                                                  Page [6]

interface is measured. Forwarding rate MUST be measured in relation to
the offered load. Forwarding rate MAY be measured with differed load
levels, traffic orientation, and traffic distribution.

Unlike RFC 2285, this measurement counts bits per second rather than
frames per second. Per-frame metrics are not meaningful in the context
of a flow of application data between endpoints.

Units of measurement:
bits per second

Issues:
Allowed traffic vs. rejected traffic

See also:
allowed traffic
goodput
rejected traffic

3.9

3.13 Goodput

Definition:
The number of bits per unit of time forwarded to the correct destination
interface of the DUT/SUT, minus any bits lost or retransmitted.

Discussion:
Firewalls are generally insensitive to packet loss in the network. As
such, measurements of gross bit forwarding rates are not meaningful
since (in the case of proxy-based and stateful packet filtering
firewalls) a receiving endpoint directly attached to a DUT/SUT would not
receive any data dropped by the DUT/SUT.

The type of traffic lost or retransmitted is protocol-dependent. TCP and
ATM, for example, request different types  of retransmissions. Testers
MUST observe retransmitted data for the protocol in use, and subtract
this quantity from measurements of gross bit forwarding rate.

Unit of measurement:
bits per second

Issues:
allowed vs. rejected traffic

See also:
allowed traffic
bit forwarding rate
rejected traffic

3.10

3.14 Homed

Definition:
The number of logical interfaces a DUT/SUT contains.

Discussion:

Newman et al.                                                  Page [7]
Firewalls MUST contain at least two logical interfaces. In network
topologies where a DMZ is used, the firewall contains at least three
interfaces and is said to be tri-homed. Additional interfaces would make

Newman                                                        Page [10]

a firewall quad-homed, quint-homed, and so on.

It is theoretically possible for a firewall to contain one physical
interface and multiple logical interfaces. This configuration is
strongly discouraged for testing purposes because of the difficulty in
verifying
verifying that no leakage occurs between protected and unprotected
segments.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:
tri-homed

3.15 Illegal traffic

Definition:
Packets specified for rejection in the rule set of the DUT/SUT.

Discussion:
A buggy or misconfigured firewall may forward packets even though its
rule set specifies that these packets be dropped. Illegal traffic
differs from rejected traffic in that no leakage occurs between protected and unprotected
segments. it describes all traffic specified
for rejection by the rule set, while rejected traffic specifies only
those packets actually dropped by the DUT/SUT.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:
tri-homed

3.11
accepted traffic
policy
rejected traffic
rule set

3.16 Logging

Definition:
The recording of user requests made to the firewall.

Discussion:
Firewalls SHOULD MUST log all requests they handle, both allowed and rejected.
For many firewall designs, logging requires a significant amount of
processing overhead, especially when complex rule sets are in use.

The type and amount of data logged varies by implementation. Testers
SHOULD attempt to log equivalent data when comparing different DUT/SUTs.

Logging MAY take place on systems other than the DUT/SUT.

Newman                                                        Page [11]

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:
rule sets

See also:
allowed traffic
connection
rejected traffic
session

3.12

3.17 Network address translation (NAT)

Definition:
A method of mapping one or more private, reserved IP addresses to one or
more public IP addresses.

Discussion:

Newman et al.                                                  Page [8]
In the interest of conserving the IPv4 address space, RFC 1918 proposed
the use of certain private (reserved) blocks of IP addresses.
Connections to public networks are made by use of a device that
translates one or more RFC 1918 addresses to one or more public
addresses--a network address translator (NAT).

The use of private addressing also introduces a security benefit in that
RFC 1918 addresses are not visible to hosts on the public Internet.

Some NAT implementations are computationally intensive, and may affect
bit forwarding rate.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:

3.13

3.18  Packet filtering

Definition:
The process of controlling access by examining packets based on packet
header content.

Discussion:
Packet-filtering devices forward or deny packets based on information in
each packet's header, such as IP address or TCP port number. A packet-
filtering firewall uses a rule set to determine which traffic should be
forwarded and which should be blocked.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

Newman                                                        Page [12]

static versus stateful packet filtering

See also:
dynamic
application proxy
circuit proxy
proxy
rule set
stateful packet filtering

3.14

3.19 Perimeter network

Definition:
A network segment or segments located between protected and unprotected
networks. Perimeter networks are often called DMZ networks.

Discussion:
See the definition of DMZ for a discussion.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Newman et al.                                                  Page [9]

Issues:
Tri-homed

See also:
demilitarized zone (DMZ)
unprotected network
protected network

3.15

3.20 Policy

Definition:
A document defining acceptable access to protected, DMZ, and unprotected
networks.

Discussion:
Security policies generally do not spell out specific configurations for
firewalls; rather, they set general guidelines for what is and is not
acceptable network access.

The actual mechanism for controlling access is usually the rule set
implemented in the DUT/SUT.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:
rule set

3.16

3.21 Protected network

Definition:

Newman                                                        Page [13]

A network segment or segments to which access is controlled by the
DUT/SUT.

Discussion:
Firewalls are intended to prevent unauthorized access either to or from
the protected network. Depending on the configuration specified by the
policy and rule set, the DUT/SUT may allow stations on the protected
segment to act as clients for servers on either the DMZ or the
unprotected network, or both.

Protected networks are often called "internal networks." That term is
not used here because firewalls increasingly are deployed within an
organization, where all segments are by definition internal.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:

Newman et al.                                                  Page [10]
demilitarized zone (DMZ)
unprotected network
policy
rule set
unprotected network

3.17

3.22 Proxy

Definition:
A request for a connection made on behalf of a host.

Discussion:
Proxy-based firewalls do not allow direct connections between hosts.
Instead, two connections are established: one between the client host
and the DUT/SUT, and another between the DUT/SUT and server host.

As with packet-filtering firewalls, proxy-based devices use a rule set
to determine which traffic should be forwarded and which should be
rejected.

Proxies

There are generally application-specific. two types of proxies: application proxies and circuit proxies.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:
application

See also:
dynamic
application proxy
circuit proxy
packet filtering
stateful packet filtering

3.18

Newman                                                        Page [14]

3.23 Rejected traffic

Definition:
Packets dropped as a result of the rule set of the DUT/SUT.

Discussion:
Firewalls MUST reject any traffic not explicitly permitted in the rule
set. Dropped packets MUST NOT be included in calculating the bit
forwarding rate or maximum bit forwarding rate of the DUT/SUT.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:
policy
rule set

3.19

3.24 Rule set

Newman et al.                                                  Page [11]

Definition:
The collection of access control rules that determines which packets the
DUT/SUT will forward and which it will reject.

Discussion:
Rule sets control access to and from the network interfaces of the
DUT/SUT. By definition, rule sets MUST NOT apply equally to all network
interfaces; otherwise there would be no need for the firewall.
Therefore, a specific rule set MUST be applied to each network interface
in the DUT/SUT.

The order of rules within the rule set is critical. Firewalls generally
scan rule sets in a "top down" fashion, which is to say that the device
compares each packet received with each rule in the rule set until it
finds a rule that applies to the packet. Once the device finds an
applicable rule, it applies the actions defined in that rule (such as
forwarding or rejecting the packet) and ignores all subsequent rules.
For testing purposes, the rule set MUST conclude with a rule denying all
access.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:
demilitarized zone (DMZ)
policy
protected network
rejected traffic
unprotected network

3.20 Session

Definition:
Data flowing through a previously established connection established
between two stations using a known protocol.

Discussion:
Because of the application-layer focus of many firewalls, sessions are a
more useful metric than the packet-based measurements used in
benchmarking routers and switches. Although firewall rule sets generally
work on a per-packet basis, it is ultimately sessions that a firewall
must handle. For example, the number of file transfer protocol (ftp)
sessions a DUT/SUT can handle concurrently is a more meaningful
measurement rule in benchmarking performance than the number of ftp "open"
packets rule set until it can reject. Further,
finds a stateful packet filtering firewall
will not forward individual packets if those packets' headers conflict
with state information maintained by rule that applies to the firewall.

For purposes of this document, a session MUST be established using a
known protocol such as TCP. A traffic pattern is not considered a
session until packet. Once the device finds an
applicable rule, it successfully completes applies the establishment procedures actions defined by in that protocol.

Newman et al.                                                  Page [12]

Also for purposes of this document, a session constitutes rule (such as
forwarding or rejecting the logical
connection between two end-stations packet) and not ignores all subsequent rules.
For testing purposes, the intermediate connections
that proxy-based firewalls may use. rule set MUST conclude with a rule denying all
access.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:
TCP/IP vs. ATM

See also:
connection
demilitarized zone (DMZ)
policy
proxy
rule set
stateful packet filtering

3.21
protected network
rejected traffic
unprotected network

3.25 Stateful packet filtering

Newman                                                        Page [15]

Definition:
The process of forwarding or rejecting traffic based on the contents of
a state table maintained by a firewall.

Discussion:
Packet filtering and proxy firewalls are essentially static, in that
they always forward or reject packets based on the contents of the rule
set.

In contrast, devices using stateful packet filtering will only forward
packets if they correspond with state information maintained by the
device about each session. For example, a stateful packet filtering
device will reject a packet on port 20 (ftp-data) if no session has been
established over the ftp control port (usually port 21).

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:
dynamic proxy
packet filter
proxy

3.22

3.26 Tri-homed

Definition:
A firewall with three network interfaces.

Discussion:
Tri-homed firewalls connect three network segments with different
network addresses. Typically, these would be protected, DMZ, and
unprotected segments.

A tri-homed firewall may offer some security advantages over firewalls
with two interfaces. An attacker on an unprotected network may

Newman et al.                                                  Page [13]
compromise hosts on the DMZ but still not reach any hosts on the
protected network.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:
Usually the differentiator between one segment and another is its IP
address. However, firewalls may connect different networks of other
types, such as ATM or Netware segments.

See also:
homed

3.23

3.27 Unprotected network

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Definition:
A network segment or segments to which access is not controlled by the
DUT/SUT.

Discussion:
Firewalls are deployed between protected and unprotected segments. The
unprotected network is not protected by the DUT/SUT.

Note that a DUT/SUT's policy MAY specify hosts on an unprotected
network. For example, a user on a protected network may be permitted to
access an FTP server on an unprotected network. But the DUT/SUT cannot
control access between hosts on the unprotected network.

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:
demilitarized zone (DMZ)
policy
protected network
rule set

3.24

3.28 User

Definition:
A person or process requesting access to resources protected by the
DUT/SUT.

Discussion:
"User" is a problematic term in the context of firewall performance
testing, for several reasons. First, a user may in fact be a process or
processes requesting services through the DUT/SUT. Second, different
"user" requests may require radically different amounts of DUT/SUT
resources. Third, traffic profiles vary widely from one organization to
another, making it difficult to characterize the load offered by a
typical user.

Newman et al.                                                  Page [14]

For these reasons, we prefer not to measure DUT/SUT performance in terms
of users supported. Instead, we describe performance in terms of maximum
bit forwarding rate and maximum number of sessions sustained. Further,
we use the term "data source" rather than user to describe the traffic
generator(s).

Measurement units:
not applicable

Issues:

See also:
data source

4. Security considerations

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The primary goal of this memo is to describe terms used in measuring benchmarking
firewall performance. However, readers should be aware that there is
some overlap between performance and security issues. Readers should be
aware that Specifically, the
optimal configuration for firewall performance may not be the most
secure, and vice-versa.

Further, certain forms of attack may degrade performance. One common
form of denial-of-service (DoS) attack bombards a firewall with so much
rejected traffic that it cannot forward allowed traffic. DoS attacks do
not always involve heavy loads; by definition, DoS describes any state
in which a firewall is offered rejected traffic that prohibits it from
forwarding some or all allowed traffic. Even a small amount of traffic--
such as the recent Teardrop2 attack involving a few packet fragments--
may significantly degrade firewall performance, or stop the firewall
altogether. Further, the safeguards in firewalls to guard against such
attacks may have have a significant negative impact on performance.

Since the library of attacks is constantly expanding, no attempt is made
here to define specific attacks that may affect performance.
Nonetheless, any reasonable performance benchmark must take safeguards
against such attacks into consideration. Specifically, the same
safeguards must be in place when comparing performance of different
firewall implementations.

5. References

Bradner, S., editor. "Benchmarking Terminology for Network
Interconnection Devices." RFC 1242.

Bradner, S., and McQuaid, J. "Benchmarking Methodology for Network
Interconnect Devices." RFC 1944.

Mandeville, R. "Benchmarking Terminology for LAN Switching Devices." RFC
2285.

Rekhter, Y., et al. "Address Allocation for Private Internets." RFC
1918.

6. Acknowledgments

The authors wish author wishes to thank the IETF Benchmarking Working Group for
agreeing to review this document. Several other persons offered valuable
contributions and critiques during this project: Ted Doty (Internet
Security Systems), Shlomo Kramer (Check Point Software Technologies), Kevin Dubray (Bay Networks), Helen Holzbaur (NSTL),
Jim Hurd (NSTL), Robert Mandeville (European Network Laboratories),
Brent Melson

Newman et al.                                                  Page [15]

(National Software Testing Laboratories), (NSTL), Steve Platt (NSTL), Marcus Ranum (Network Flight
Recorder Inc.), Greg Shannon (Ascend Communications), Christoph Schuba
(Sun Microsystems), Rick Siebenaler (Cyberguard), and Greg Smith (Check
Point Software Technologies).

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7. Contact information

David Newman
Data Communications magazine
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 41st Floor
New York, NY 10020
USA
212-512-6182 voice
212-512-6833 fax
dnewman@data.com

Helen Holzbaur
National Software Testing Laboratories Inc.
625 Ridge Pike
Conshohocken, PA 19428
USA
helen@nstl.com

Jim Hurd
National Software Testing Laboratories Inc.
625 Ridge Pike
Conshohocken, PA 19428
USA
jimh@nstl.com

Steven Platt
National Software Testing Laboratories Inc.
625 Ridge Pike
Conshohocken, PA 19428
USA
steve@nstl.com

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