TCP Maintenance and Minor                                      L. Eggert
Extensions (tcpm)                                                   NEC                                                  Nokia
Internet-Draft                                                   F. Gont
Intended status: Standards Track                                 UTN/FRH
Expires: April 25, September 6, 2007                                 March 5, 2007                                 October 22, 2006

                        TCP User Timeout Option

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   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006). IETF Trust (2007).


   The TCP user timeout controls how long transmitted data may remain
   unacknowledged before a connection is forcefully closed.  It is a
   local, per-connection parameter.  This document specifies a new TCP
   option - the TCP User Timeout Option - that allows one end of a TCP
   connection to advertise its current user timeout for
   a connection.  Thus, value.  This
   information allows the remote TCP may modify other end to adapt its local user timeout
   based on knowledge of the peer's user timeout.  The TCP user timeout
   controls how long transmitted data may remain unacknowledged before a
   connection is forcefully closed.  It is a local, per-connection
   accordingly.  Increasing the user timeouts allows established on both ends of a TCP
   connection allows it to survive extended periods of disconnection. without end-to-end
   connectivity.  Decreasing the user timeouts allows busy servers to
   explicitly notify their clients that they will maintain the
   connection state only across for a short periods of disconnection. time without connectivity.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   2.  Conventions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   3.  Operation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     3.1.  Changing the Local User Timeout  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     3.2.  UTO Option Reliability Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
     3.3.  Option Format  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9  8
     3.4.  Special  Reserved Option Values . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
   4.  Interoperability Issues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10  9
     4.1.  Middleboxes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10  9
     4.2.  TCP Keep-Alives  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   5.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 10
   6.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 11
   7.  Acknowledgments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 11
   8.  References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 12
     8.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 12
     8.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 12
   Editorial Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
   Appendix A.  Alternative solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   Appendix B.  Document Revision History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 13
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 14
   Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements . . . . . . . . . . 17 16

1.  Introduction

   The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) specification
   [RFC0793]defines [RFC0793]
   defines a local, per-connection "user timeout" parameter that
   specifies the maximum amount of time that transmitted data may remain
   unacknowledged before TCP will forcefully close the corresponding
   connection.  Applications can set and change this parameter with OPEN
   and SEND calls.  If a network disconnection an end-to-end connectivity disruption lasts
   longer than the user timeout, no acknowledgments will be received for
   any transmission attempt, including keep-alives [TCP-ILLU], keep-alives, and the TCP
   connection will close when the user timeout occurs.

   In the absence of an application-specified user timeout, the TCP
   specification [RFC0793] defines a default user timeout of 5 minutes.
   The Host Requirements RFC [RFC1122] refines this definition by
   introducing two thresholds, R1 and R2 (R2 > R1), on that control the
   number of
   retransmissions of retransmission attempts for a single segment.  It suggests
   that TCP should notify applications when R1 is reached for a segment,
   and close the connection once when R2 is reached.  [RFC1122] also defines
   the recommended values for R1 (three retransmissions) and R2 (100
   seconds), noting that R2 for SYN segments should be at least 3
   minutes.  Instead of a single user timeout, some TCP implementations
   offer finer-grained policies.  For example, Solaris supports
   different timeouts depending on whether a TCP connection is in the

   Although some TCP implementations allow applications to set their
   local user timeout, there is TCP has no in-protocol mechanism to signal
   changes in to the local user timeout to remote peers. the other end.  This causes
   local changes to be ineffective, ineffective in allowing a connection to survive
   extended periods without connectivity, because the peer other end will
   still close the connection after its user timeout expires, even when the host has
   raised its local user timeout. expires.

   The ability to suggest inform the remote
   peer a other end about the local user timeout to be used for
   the connection can improve TCP's TCP operation in scenarios that are
   currently not well supported.  One example of such scenarios are
   mobile hosts that change network attachment points based on current
   location.  Such hosts, maybe using
   MobileIP Mobile IP [RFC3344], HIP [RFC4423]
   or transport-layer mobility mechanisms [I-D.eddy-tcp-mobility], are
   only intermittently connected to the Internet.  In between connected
   periods, mobile hosts may experience periods of disconnection during which no network service
   is available. without end-to-end
   connectivity.  Other factors that can cause transient periods of
   disconnection connectivity
   disruptions are high levels of congestion as well as or link or routing failures
   inside the network.  In scenarios similar to the ones described above, these scenarios, a host may not know exactly
   when or for how long it connectivity disruptions will be disconnected from the
   network, occur, but it
   might expect be able to determine an increased likelihood for such events due to
   based on past mobility patterns and thus benefit from using longer
   user timeouts.  In other scenarios, the length and time and duration of a network disconnection
   connectivity disruption may even be predictable.  For example, an
   orbiting node on a non-geostationary satellite might experience disconnections
   connectivity disruptions due to line-of-sight blocking by other
   planetary bodies.  The disconnection periods timing of
   such a node these events may be easily computable from
   orbital mechanics.

   This document specifies a new TCP option - the TCP User Timeout
   (UTO) - that allows one end of a TCP connection to advertise its
   current local user timeout
   parameter.  Thus, based on the value.  This information advertised by allows the remote
   TCP peer, a TCP may modify other end to
   adapt its own user timeout accordingly.  This
   allows, for example, mobile hosts to maintain TCP connections across
   disconnected periods that are longer than their peer's default  Increasing the user
   timeout.  A second use timeouts on
   both ends of the a TCP User Timeout Option is
   advertisement of shorter-than-default connection allows it to survive extended periods
   without end-to-end connectivity.  Decreasing the user timeouts.  This can allow timeouts allows
   busy servers to explicitly notify their clients that they will
   maintain the connection state associated with established connections only
   across short periods of disconnection.

   Use of the TCP User Timeout Option could be triggered either by an
   API call or by a system-wide toggle.  The API could be, for example,
   a Socket option that would need to be explicitly set by the
   corresponding application.  This option would default to "off".  A
   system-wide toggle would allow a system administrator to enable the
   use of the TCP User Timeout Option on a system-wide basis, and set
   the option a desired value.  This system-wide toggle would allow the
   use of the option by application programs that have not been
   explicitly coded to do so.  If such a system-wide toggle were
   provided, it would default to "off".

   In all cases, use of the TCP User Timeout Option would depend on an
   active decision, either by the application programmer (by means of an
   API call), or by a system administrator (by means of a system-wide
   toggle). short time without

2.  Conventions

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

3.  Operation

   Sending a

   Use of the TCP User Timeout Option informs can be enabled either on a per-
   application basis, e.g., through a socket option, or controlled by a
   system-wide setting.  TCP maintains three per-connection state
   variables to control the remote peer operation of the
   current local user timeout for the connection, UTO options, two of which
   (ENABLED and suggests the TCP
   peer CHANGEABLE) are new:

   ENABLED (Boolean)
      Flag that controls whether UTO options are enabled for a
      connection.  Defaults to adapt its user timeout accordingly.  The false.

      Local user timeout value
   included in a TCP User Timeout Option specifies effect for this connection.  This is either
      the requested system-wide default or an application-specified value.
      Defaults to the system-wide default.

   CHANGEABLE (Boolean)
      Flag that controls whether the local user timeout during may be changed
      based on UTO options received from the synchronized states of a connection (ESTABLISHED,
   Connections in other states MUST the default timeout values defined
   in [RFC0793] [RFC1122]. end.  Defaults to
      true and becomes false when an application explicitly sets

   Note that an exchange of TCP User Timeout Options UTO options between peers both ends of a
   connection is not a binding negotiation.  Transmission of a TCP User Timeout Option UTO
   option is an advisory a suggestion that the peer other end consider adapting its local user
   timeout.  Hosts remain free to adopt  This adaptation only happens if the the other end has
   explicitly enabled it (CHANGEABLE is true).

   Before opening a different user timeout,
   or connection, an application that wishes to forcefully close or abort connections at any time for any
   reason, whether or not they use custom user timeouts or have
   suggested UTO
   options SHOULD enable their use by setting ENABLED to true.  It MAY
   pick an appropriate local UTO by setting LOCAL_UTO, which is
   otherwise set to the peer system default.  Finally, the application should
   determine whether it will allow the local UTO to use them.

   A host that supports change based on
   received UTO options from the TCP User Timeout Option SHOULD include one
   in each packet that carries a SYN flag. other end.  The presence of this option default is not a negotiation of the capability, but simply an advisory
   message specifying the currently preferred user timeout value.  This
   allows TCP to adopt allow
   this for connections that do not have a specific user timeout with knowledge of
   concerns, i.e., connections that used by operate with the
   peer TCP default LOCAL_UTO.
   If an application explicitly sets LOCAL_UTO, CHANGEABLE MUST become
   false, to prevent UTO options from the very beginning of other end to override local
   application requests.  Alternatively, applications MAY set or clear
   CHANGEABLE directly.

   Performing these steps before an active or passive open causes UTO
   options to be exchanged in the data transfer phase.
   Additionally, SYN and SYN-ACK packets and is a TCP that supports
   reliable way to initially exchange and potentially adapt to UTO
   values.  Systems MAY provide system-wide default settings for the User Timeout Option
   sent a CHANGEABLE connection parameters when
   applications do not initialize them themselves.

   In addition to exchanging UTO options in the SYN segment as a result of an active OPEN segments, a
   connection that has enabled UTO options SHOULD include an a UTO option
   in the first packet that does not have the SYN flag set.  This helps
   to minimize the amount of state information a TCP must keep for
   connections in non-synchronized states, and is particularly useful
   when mechanisms such as "SYN cookies" [I-D.ietf-tcpm-syn-flood] are
   implemented, allowing a newly-established TCP connection to benefit
   from the information advertised by the UTO option, even if the UTO
   contained in the initial SYN segment was not recorded.

   A host that supports the TCP User Timeout Option UTO options SHOULD include it in the next
   possible outgoing segment to its peer whenever it starts using a new user timeout
   for the connection.  This allows the peer other end to adapt its local
   user timeout for the connection accordingly.

   When a host that supports the TCP User Timeout Option receives one,
   it will use the received value to compute the local user timeout for
   the connection.  Generally, hosts should honor requests for changes
   to the user timeout (see Section 3.1), unless security concerns,
   resource constraints or external policies indicate otherwise (see
   Section 5).  If so, hosts may use a different user timeout for the

   A TCP implementation that does not support the TCP User Timeout
   Option UTO options MUST silently
   ignore it them [RFC1122], thus ensuring interoperability.

   Hosts MUST impose upper and lower limits on the user timeouts they
   use for a connection.  Section 3.1 discusses user timeout limits, and describes a
   RECOMMENDED scheme to apply them.  A TCP User Timeout Option with a
   value of zero (i.e., "now") is nonsensical limits and is used for a special
   purpose, see Section 3.4.  Section 3.1
   discusses potentially problematic effects of other user timeout durations. settings.

3.1.  Changing the Local User Timeout

   When a host receives a TCP User Timeout Option, it must decide
   whether to change the local user timeout of the corresponding
   connection.  Application-requested  If the CHANGEABLE flag is false, LOCAL_UTO MUST NOT be
   changed, regardless of the received UTO option.  Without this
   restriction, UTO would modify TCP semantics, because application-
   requested UTOs could be overridden by peer requests.  In this case,
   they SHOULD, however, notify the application about the user timeout values always take
   precedence over timeout values
   value received from the peer in a TCP User
   Timeout Option. [anchor3] Consequently, other end.

   In general, unless the application on the local host has requested a
   specific user timeout LOCAL_UTO for the connection,
   e.g., through the OPEN or SEND calls, CHANGEABLE will be true and
   hosts SHOULD adjust their local
   user timeout in response to receiving a TCP User Timeout Option, as
   described in the remainder of this section.  If the local application
   has requested a specific local user timeout, TCP implementations MUST
   NOT change it in response to receiving a TCP User Timeout Option.  In
   this case, they SHOULD, however, notify the application about the user timeout value received from in response to receiving a
   UTO option, as described in the peer. remainder of this section.

   The User Timeout Option UTO option specifies the user timeout in terms of time
   units, in seconds or minutes,
   rather than in terms of number of retransmissions or round-
   trip round-trip times (RTTs), as in most cases the periods of disconnection have
   to do with operation and mobility patterns, rather than with the
   current network conditions. (RTTs).
   Thus, the TCP User Timeout Option UTO option allows hosts to exchange user timeout values
   from 1 second to over 9 hours at a granularity of seconds, and from 1
   minute to over 22 days at a granularity of minutes.  (An option value of zero is reserved for a
   special purpose, see Section 3.4.)

   Very short user timeout values can affect TCP transmissions over
   high-delay paths.  If the user timeout occurs before an
   acknowledgment for an outstanding segment arrives, possibly due to
   packet loss, the connection closes.  Many TCP implementations default
   to user timeout values of a few minutes [TCP-ILLU]. minutes.  Although the TCP
   User Timeout Option UTO option
   allows suggestion of short timeouts, applications advertising them
   should consider these effects.

   Long user timeout values allow hosts to tolerate extended periods of
   without end-to-end connectivity.  However, they also require hosts to
   maintain the TCP state information associated with connections for
   long periods of time.  Section 5 discusses the security implications
   of long timeout values.

   To protect against these effects, implementations MUST impose limits
   on the user timeout values they accept and use.  The remainder of
   this section describes a RECOMMENDED scheme to limit user timeouts
   based on upper and lower limits.

   Under the RECOMMENDED scheme, and when CHANGEABLE is true, each
   TCP end
   SHOULD compute the user timeout (USER_TIMEOUT) LOCAL_UTO for a connection according to this formula:



   Each field is to be interpreted as follows:

      Resulting user timeout value to be adopted by the local TCP for a

      Current upper limit imposed on the user timeout of a connection by
      the local host.

      Current lower limit imposed on the user timeout of a connection by
      the local host.

      Current local user timeout of this specific connection.

      Last "user timeout" value suggested by the remote peer by means of received from the other end in a TCP
      User Timeout Option.

   This means that, provided they are within the upper and lower limits,
   the maximum of current LOCAL_UTO and the two announced values will be adopted for the last user timeout of value
   received from the other end will become the new LOCAL_UTO for the
   connection.  The rationale is that choosing the maximum of the two
   values will let the connection survive longer periods of disconnection. without end-to-
   end connectivity.  If the TCP end that announced the lower of the two
   user timeout values did so in order to reduce the amount of TCP state
   information that must be kept on the host, it can, nevertheless,
   close or abort the connection whenever it wants. [anchor3]

   It must be noted that the two endpoints of the connection will not
   necessarily adopt the same user timeout.

   Enforcing a lower limit (L_LIMIT) prevents connections from closing
   due to transient network conditions, including temporary congestion,
   mobility hand-offs and routing instabilities.

   An upper limit (U_LIMIT) can reduce the effect of resource exhaustion
   attacks.  Section 5discusses 5 discusses the details of these attacks.

   Note that these limits MAY be specified as system-wide constants or
   at other granularities, such as on per-host, per-user or even per-
   connection basis.  Furthermore, these limits need not be static.  For
   example, they MAY be a function of system resource utilization or
   attack status and could be dynamically adapted.

   The Host Requirements RFC [RFC1122] does not impose any limits on the
   length of the user timeout.  However, a time interval of at least 100
   seconds is RECOMMENDED.  Consequently, the lower limit (L_LIMIT)
   SHOULD be set to at least 100 seconds when following the RECOMMENDED
   scheme described in this section.  Adopting a user timeout smaller
   than the current retransmission timeout (RTO) for the connection
   would likely cause the connection to be aborted unnecessarily.
   Therefore, the lower limit (L_LIMIT) MUST be larger than the current
   retransmission timeout (RTO) for the connection.  It is worth noting
   that an upper limit may be imposed on the RTO, provided it is at
   least 60 seconds [RFC2988].

3.2.  UTO Option Reliability Considerations

   The TCP User Timeout Option is an advisory TCP option that does not
   change processing of subsequent segments.  Unlike other TCP options,
   it need not be exchanged reliably.  Consequently, the specification
   in this section
   does not define a reliability handshake for TCP User
   Timeout Option UTO option exchanges.
   When a segment that carries a TCP User
   Timeout Option UTO option is lost, the option may never reach other end will
   simply not have the intended peer. opportunity to update its local UTO.

   Implementations MAY implement local mechanisms to improve delivery
   reliability, such as retransmitting the TCP User Timeout Option a UTO option when they retransmit the
   a segment that originally carried it, or "attaching" the option to a
   byte in the stream and retransmitting the option whenever that byte
   or its ACK are retransmitted.

   It is important to note that although these mechanisms can improve
   transmission reliability for the TCP User Timeout Option, UTO options, they do not guarantee
   delivery (a three-way handshake would be required for this).
   Consequently, implementations should not MUST NOT assume that UTO options are
   transmitted reliably.

3.3.  Option Format

   Sending a TCP User Timeout Option informs the other end of the
   current local user timeout for the connection and suggests that the
   other end adapt its user timeout accordingly.  The user timeout value
   included in a UTO option contains the local user timeout (LOCAL_UTO)
   used during the synchronized states of a TCP
   User Timeout Option is reliably transmitted.

3.3.  Option Format connection (ESTABLISHED,
   Connections in other states MUST use the default timeout values
   defined in [RFC0793] and [RFC1122].

      0                   1                   2                   3
      0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
     |    Kind = X   |   Length = 4  |G|        User Timeout         |

   (One tick mark represents one bit.)

              Figure 1: Format of the TCP User Timeout Option

   Figure 1 shows the format of the TCP User Timeout Option.  It
   contains these fields:

   Kind (8 bits)
      A TCP option number [RFC0793] to be assigned by IANA upon
      publication of this document (see Section 6).

   Length (8 bits)
      Length of the TCP option in octets [RFC0793]; its value MUST be 4.

   Granularity (1 bit)
      Granularity bit, indicating the granularity of the "User Timeout"
      field.  When set (G = 1), the time interval in the "User Timeout"
      field MUST be interpreted as minutes.  Otherwise (G = 0), the time
      interval in the "User Timeout" field MUST be interpreted as

   User Timeout (15 bits)
      Specifies the user timeout suggestion (LOCAL_UTO) used for this connection.
      It MUST be interpreted as a 15-bit unsigned integer.  The
      granularity of the timeout (minutes or seconds) depends on the "G"

3.4.  Special  Reserved Option Values

   Whenever it is legal to do so according to the specification in the
   previous sections, TCP implementations MAY send a zero-second TCP
   User Timeout Option, i.e, with a "User Timeout" field of zero and a
   "Granularity" of zero.  This signals their peers that they support
   the option, but do not suggest a specific user timeout value at that
   time.  Essentially, a zero-second TCP User Timeout Option acts as a
   "don't care" value.

   Thus, the sender SHOULD adapt its local user timeout according to the
   peer's UTO, and the receiver SHOULD continue using its local user
   timeout.  In order to achieve this, the receiver of a zero-second TCP
   User Timeout Option SHOULD perform the RECOMMENDED strategy for
   calculating a new local USER_TIMEOUT described in Section 3.1, with a
   numeric value of zero seconds for REMOTE_UTO.  The sender SHOULD
   perform the same calculation as described in Section 3.1, with a
   numeric value of zero seconds for LOCAL_UTO.

   A zero-minute

   An empty TCP User Timeout Option, i.e., one with a "User Timeout"
   field of zero and a "Granularity" bit of one, either minutes (1) or
   seconds (0), is reserved for future use.  TCP implementations MUST
   NOT send it and MUST ignore it upon reception.

4.  Interoperability Issues

   This section discusses interoperability issues related to introducing
   the TCP User Timeout Option.

4.1.  Middleboxes

   A TCP implementation that does not support the TCP User Timeout
   Option MUST silently ignore it [RFC1122], thus ensuring
   interoperability.  In a study of the effects of middleboxes on
   transport protocols, Medina et al. have shown that unknown TCP
   options are correctly handled by the vast majority
   of modern TCP stacks correctly handle unknown TCP options [MEDINA].
   In this study, 3% of connections failed when an unknown TCP option
   appeared in the middle of a connection.  Because
   these the number of
   failures caused by unknown options is small and they are a result of
   incorrectly implemented TCP stacks that violate existing requirements
   to ignore unknown options, they do not warrant taking special measures to handle these
   cases.  In particular, we do measures.
   Thus, this document does not define a separate mechanism to negotiate support
   of the TCP User Timeout Option on during the three-way handshake.

   Stateful firewalls usually reset connections after a period of
   inactivity.  If such a firewall exists along the path between two
   peers, path, it may close
   or abort connections regardless of the use of the TCP User Timeout
   Option.  In the future, such firewalls may learn to parse the TCP
   User Timeout Option and modify their behavior - or the option
   contents - accordingly.

4.2.  TCP Keep-Alives

   Some TCP implementations, such as the one those in BSD systems, use a
   different abort policy for TCP keep-alives than for user data.  Thus,
   the TCP keep-alive mechanism might abort a connection that would
   otherwise have survived the transient period of disconnection. without connectivity.
   Therefore, if a TCP peer connection enables TCP keep-alives for a connection that is also using the
   TCP User Timeout Option, then the keep-alive timer MUST be set to a
   value larger than that of the adopted USER TIMEOUT.

5.  Security Considerations

   Lengthening user timeouts has obvious security implications.
   Flooding attacks cause denial of service by forcing servers to commit
   resources for maintaining the state of throw-away connections.
   However, TCP implementations do not become more vulnerable to simple
   SYN flooding by implementing the TCP User Timeout Option, because
   user timeouts exchanged during the handshake only affect the
   synchronized states (ESTABLISHED, FIN-WAIT-1, FIN-WAIT-2, CLOSE-WAIT,
   CLOSING, LAST-ACK), which simple SYN floods never reach.

   However, when an attacker completes the three-way handshakes of its
   throw-away connections it can amplify the effects of resource
   exhaustion attacks, because the attacked server must maintain the
   connection state associated with the throw-away connections for
   longer durations.  Because connection state is kept longer, lower-
   frequency attack traffic, which may be more difficult to detect, can
   already cause exacerbate resource exhaustion.

   Several approaches can help mitigate this issue.  First,
   implementations can require prior peer authentication, e.g., using
   IPsec [RFC4301], before accepting long user timeouts for the peer's
   connections.  Similarly, a host can start to accept long user
   timeouts for an established connection only after in-band
   authentication has occurred, for example, after a TLS handshake
   across the connection has succeeded [RFC2246]. [RFC4346].  Although these are
   arguably the most complete solutions, they depend on external
   mechanisms to establish a trust relationship.

   A second alternative that does not depend on external mechanisms
   would introduce a per-peer limit on the number of connections that
   may use increased user timeouts.  Several variants of this approach
   are possible, such as fixed limits or shortening accepted user
   timeouts with a rising number of connections.  Although this
   alternative does not eliminate resource exhaustion attacks from a
   single peer, it can limit their effects.  Reducing the number of
   high-UTO connections a server supports in the face of an attack turns
   that attack into a denial-of-service attack against the service of
   high-UTO connections.

   Per-peer limits cannot protect against distributed denial of service
   attacks, where multiple clients coordinate a resource exhaustion
   attack that uses long user timeouts.  To protect against such
   attacks, TCP implementations could reduce the duration of accepted
   user timeouts with increasing resource utilization.

   TCP implementations under attack may be forced to shed load by
   resetting established connections.  Some load-shedding heuristics,
   such as resetting connections with long idle times first, can
   negatively affect service for intermittently connected, trusted peers
   that have suggested long user timeouts.  On the other hand, resetting
   connections to untrusted peers that use long user timeouts may be
   effective.  In general, using the peers' level of trust as a
   parameter during the load-shedding decision process may be useful.
   Note that if TCP needs to close or abort connections with a long TCP
   User Timeout Option to shed load, these connections are still no
   worse off than without the option.

   Finally, upper and lower limits on user timeouts, discussed in
   Section 3.1, can be an effective tool to limit the impact of these
   sorts of attacks.

6.  IANA Considerations

   This section is to be interpreted according to [RFC2434].

   This document does not define any new namespaces.  It uses an 8-bit
   TCP option number maintained by IANA at

7.  Acknowledgments

   The following people have improved this document through thoughtful
   suggestions: Mark Allman, Caitlin Bestler, David Borman, Bob Braden,
   Marcus Brunner, Wesley Eddy, Gorry Fairhurst, Abolade Gbadegesin, Ted
   Faber, Guillermo Gont, Tom Henderson, Joseph Ishac, Jeremy Harris,
   Phil Karn, Michael Kerrisk, Dan Krejsa, Jamshid Mahdavi, Kostas
   Pentikousis, Juergen Quittek, Joe Touch, Stefan Schmid, Simon
   Schuetz, Tim Shepard and Martin Stiemerling.

   Lars Eggert is partly funded by Ambient Networks, a research project
   supported by the European Commission under its Sixth Framework
   Program.  The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the
   authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the
   official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of
   the Ambient Networks project or the European Commission.

8.  References

8.1.  Normative References

   [RFC0793]  Postel, J., "Transmission Control Protocol", STD 7,
              RFC 793, September 1981.

   [RFC1122]  Braden, R., "Requirements for Internet Hosts -
              Communication Layers", STD 3, RFC 1122, October 1989.

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

   [RFC2434]  Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, "Guidelines for Writing an
              IANA Considerations Section in RFCs", BCP 26, RFC 2434,
              October 1998.

8.2.  Informative References

              Eddy, W., "Mobility Support For TCP",
              draft-eddy-tcp-mobility-00 (work in progress), April 2004.

              Eddy, W., "TCP SYN Flooding Attacks and Common
              Mitigations", draft-ietf-tcpm-syn-flood-00 draft-ietf-tcpm-syn-flood-01 (work in
              progress), July December 2006.

   [MEDINA]   Medina, A., Allman, M., and S. Floyd, "Measuring
              Interactions Between Transport Protocols and Middleboxes",
              Proc. 4th ACM SIGCOMM/USENIX Conference on Internet
              Measurement , October 2004.

   [RFC2246]  Dierks, T.

   [RFC2988]  Paxson, V. and C. Allen, "The TLS Protocol Version 1.0", M. Allman, "Computing TCP's Retransmission
              Timer", RFC 2246, January 1999. 2988, November 2000.

   [RFC3344]  Perkins, C., "IP Mobility Support for IPv4", RFC 3344,
              August 2002.

   [RFC4301]  Kent, S. and K. Seo, "Security Architecture for the
              Internet Protocol", RFC 4301, December 2005.

   [RFC4346]  Dierks, T. and E. Rescorla, "The Transport Layer Security
              (TLS) Protocol Version 1.1", RFC 4346, April 2006.

   [RFC4423]  Moskowitz, R. and P. Nikander, "Host Identity Protocol
              (HIP) Architecture", RFC 4423, May 2006.

              Sun Microsystems, "Solaris Tunable Parameters Reference
              Manual", Part No. 806-7009-10, 2002.

              Stevens, W., "TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The
              Protocols", Addison-Wesley , 1994.

Editorial Comments

   [anchor3]  Without this, UTO would modify TCP semantics, because
              application-requested UTOs could be overridden by peer

Appendix A.  Alternative solutions

   The same benefits could be obtained through an application-layer
   mechanism, i.e., exchanging user timeout information via application
   messages and having the application adjust the user timeouts through  Lars: With the TCP API on both sides of a connection.  This approach would not
   require a new TCP option, but would require CHANGEABLE flag, which prevents
              changing all application
   implementations that desire to tolerate extended periods of
   disconnection, and in most cases would also require a modification to
   the corresponding application layer protocol.  With the proposed TCP
   option, application changes may not be necessary at all, or may be
   restricted to sender- or receiver-side only, and there is no need to
   modify the corresponding LOCAL_UTO when an application protocol.

   A different approach to tolerate longer periods of disconnection
   would be to simply increase the system-wide user timeout on both
   peers.  This approach has the benefit of not requiring a new TCP
   option or application changes.  However, indicated
              that it can also significantly
   increase cares about the amount of connection state a busy server must maintain,
   because a longer global timeout value would apply to all its

   The proposed TCP User Timeout Option, on value, I think the formula can
              become LOCAL_UTO = min(U_LIMIT, max(REMOTE_UTO, L_LIMIT)),
              i.e., we adopt whatever the other hand, allows hosts end suggests, given that
              it is with in acceptable limits. I didn't want to selectively manage the user timeouts of individual connections,
   reducing the amount of state they must maintain across disconnected
   periods. make
              this change without discussing it first, however.

Appendix B. A.  Document Revision History

   To be removed upon publication

   | Revision | Comments                                               |
   | 05       | Made behavior on when to change/not change the local   |
   |          | UTO in response to incoming options consistent through |
   |          | the document.  This required some reshuffling of text  |
   |          | and also removed the need for the special "don't care" |
   |          | option value.                                          |
   | 04       | Clarified the results obtained by Medina et al.  Added |
   |          | text to suggest inclusion of the UTO in the first      |
   |          | non-SYN segment by the TCP that sent a SYN in response |
   |          | to an active OPEN.                                     |
   | 03       | Corrected use of RFC2119 terminology.  Clarified how   |
   |          | use of the TCP UTO is triggered.  Clarified reason for |
   |          | sending a UTO in the SYN and SYN/ACK segments.         |
   |          | Removed discussion of the SO_SNDTIMEO and SO_RCVTIMEO  |
   |          | options.  Removed text that suggested that a UTO       |
   |          | should be sent upon receipt of an UTO from the remote other   |
   |          | peer. end.  Required minimum value for the lower limit of    |
   |          | the user timeout.  Moved alternative solutions to      |
   |          | appendix.  Miscellaneous editorial changes.            |
   | 02       | Corrected terminology by replacing terms like          |
   |          | "negotiate", "coordinate", etc. that were left from    |
   |          | pre-WG-document times when the UTO was a more          |
   |          | formalized exchange instead of the advisory one it is  |
   |          | now.  Application-requested UTOs take precedence over  |
   |          | ones received from the peer (pointed out by Ted        |
   |          | Faber).  Added a brief mention of SO_SNDTIMEO and a    |
   |          | slightly longer discussion of SO_RCVTIMEO.             |
   | 01       | Clarified and corrected the description of the         |
   |          | existing user timeout in RFC793 and RFC1122.  Removed  |
   |          | distinction between operating during the 3WHS and the  |
   |          | established states and introduced zero-second "don't   |
   |          | care" UTOs in response to mailing list feedback.       |
   |          | Updated references and addressed many other comments   |
   |          | from the mailing list.                                 |
   | 00       | Resubmission of                                        |
   |          | draft-eggert-gont-tcpm-tcp-uto-option-01.txt to the    |
   |          | secretariat after WG adoption.  Thus, permit           |
   |          | derivative works.  Updated Lars Eggert's funding       |
   |          | attribution.  Updated several references.  No          |
   |          | technical changes.                                     |

Authors' Addresses

   Lars Eggert
   NEC Network  Laboratories
   Kurfuerstenanlage 36
   Heidelberg  69115
   Nokia Research Center
   P.O. Box 407
   Nokia Group  00045

   Phone: +49 6221 90511 43
   Fax:   +49 6221 90511 55 +358 50 48 24461
   Fernando Gont
   Universidad Tecnologica Nacional / Facultad Regional Haedo
   Evaristo Carriego 2644
   Haedo, Provincia de Buenos Aires  1706

   Phone: +54 11 4650 8472

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