Review of draft-ietf-6man-rfc1981bis-04

Stewart Bryant <> Thu, 09 February 2017 15:19 UTC

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Subject: Review of draft-ietf-6man-rfc1981bis-04
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Reviewer: Stewart Bryant
Review result: Almost Ready

I am the assigned Gen-ART reviewer for this draft. The General Area
Review Team (Gen-ART) reviews all IETF documents being processed
by the IESG for the IETF Chair.  Please treat these comments just
like any other last call comments.

For more information, please see the FAQ at


Document: draft-ietf-6man-rfc1981bis-04
Reviewer: Stewart Bryant
Review Date: 9/Feb/2017
IETF LC End Date: 1/Mar/2017
IESG Telechat date: unknown

Summary: This draft is on the right track but has open issues,
described in the review.

This review together with the lengthy discussion on the IETF list
suggest that this draft has a number of issues that need to be
addressed  before publication.

I wonder if we would best serve both our future and our heritage
if we declared RFC1981 as historic, and either left the idea there,
or declared it as historic and wrote a new text from a clean start?

Major issues:

Nits points out a number of faults with the document, but the only
one of substance is:

The text has a lot of RFC2119 language, but no RFC2119 declaration.

The document could use a thorough RFC2119 scrub

The document lists the three original authors one with an affiliation

change, but no email addresses. Has this been agreed with the
authors, and have arrangements been put in place for the RFC editor 
to process auth48?

It is concerning that the draft does not talk in any detail about
how modern ECMP works, i.e. using the five tuple, and noting that
the PMTU may be different depending on the transport layer port

Given that a very large fraction of packets will traverse an MPLS
network at some point, I am surprised that there is no text talking
about the importance of providing support for this feature in the 
MPLS domain. RFC3988 talks to this point, but is only experimental.


   If flows [I-D.ietf-6man-rfc2460bis] are in use, an implementation
   could use the flow id as the local representation of a path. 
   sent to a particular destination but belonging to different flows
   use different paths, with the choice of path depending on the flow
   id.  This approach will result in the use of optimally sized
   on a per-flow basis, providing finer granularity than PMTU values
   maintained on a per-destination basis.

SB> How widely is flow-id supported in networks? I thought that the 
SB> current position was that it was unreliable as an ECMP indicator
SB> and thus routers tended to glean information from the packet


      Note: if the original packet contained a Routing header, the
      Routing header should be used to determine the location of the
      destination address within the original packet.  If Segments
      is equal to zero, the destination address is in the Destination
      Address field in the IPv6 header.  If Segments Left is greater
      than zero, the destination address is the last address
      (Address[n]) in the Routing header.

SB> So this has the effect that a traffic engineered packet and
SB> a non-traffic engineered packet will have the lower of the 
SB> two PMTUs. This was all harmless when source routing was a
SB> as far as mainstream networking was concerned, but may be
SB> more of a problem as a result of the SPRING work.


5.3.  Purging stale PMTU information

   Internetwork topology is dynamic; routes change over time.  While
   local representation of a path may remain constant, the actual
   path(s) in use may change.  Thus, PMTU information cached by a
   can become stale.

   If the stale PMTU value is too large, this will be discovered
   immediately once a large enough packet is sent on the path.  No
   mechanism exists for realizing that a stale PMTU value is too
   so an implementation should "age" cached values.  When a PMTU
   has not been decreased for a while (on the order of 10 minutes),
   PMTU estimate should be set to the MTU of the first-hop link, and
   packetization layers should be notified of the change.  This will
   cause the complete Path MTU Discovery process to take place again.

SB> Should that be an RFC2119 SHOULD?
SB> The impact of this advice is going to be a disruption to what
SB> be a critical service every 10 mins.
SB> Should there be some advice along the lines of noting the 
SB> importance of service delivery as part of deciding whether to
SB> test for bigger PMTU vs improving efficiency?


Minor issues:

   IPv6 defines a standard mechanism for a node to discover the
   PMTU of an arbitrary path.

SB> Do you mean "This document defines ....."? Otherwise this needs
SB> a reference.


   An extension to Path MTU Discovery defined in this document can be
   found in [RFC4821].  It defines a method for Packetization Layer
SB> Rather than have the reader figure out what "It" is, perhaps
SB> s/It/RFC4821/

   Upon receipt of such a
   message, the source node reduces its assumed PMTU for the path
   on the MTU of the constricting hop as reported in the Packet Too

SB> We should perhaps state up front that this procedure
SB> hunts for the worst case of the ECMP set associated with the 
SB> ingress nodes PMTU classifier.

   If a node receives a Packet Too Big message reporting a next-hop
   that is less than the IPv6 minimum link MTU, it should discard it.

SB> Should that be an RFC2119 SHOULD?

5.2.  Storing PMTU information

   Ideally, a PMTU value should be associated with a specific path
   traversed by packets exchanged between the source and destination
   nodes.  However, in most cases a node will not have enough
   information to completely and accurately identify such a path.
   Rather, a node must associate a PMTU value with some local
   representation of a path.  It is left to the implementation to
   the local representation of a path.

SB> Is it worth noting the five tuple since that is how a lot of
SB> load balancers work?

   The set of paths in use to a
   particular destination is expected to be small, in many cases
   consisting of a single path.  

SB> I am not sure that remains true in modern networks.

   One approach to implementing PMTU aging is to associate a
   field with a PMTU value.  This field is initialized to a
   value, indicating that the PMTU is equal to the MTU of the first
   link.  Whenever the PMTU is decreased in response to a Packet Too
   message, the timestamp is set to the current time.

   Once a minute, a timer-driven procedure runs through all cached
   values, and for each PMTU whose timestamp is not "reserved" and is
   older than the timeout interval:

   -  The PMTU estimate is set to the MTU of the first hop link.

   -  The timestamp is set to the "reserved" value.

   -  Packetization layers using this path are notified of the

SB> Such detailed implementation advice is uncommon in modern RFCs. It
SB> the disadvantage of de-facto standardizing something that should
be left to
SB> the innovation of the implementer.


5.4.  TCP layer actions

SB> TCP implementations have moved on a lot since this section was
SB> written. Is this still current best practise?


5.5.  Issues for other transport protocols

   Some transport protocols (such as ISO TP4 [ISOTP]) are not allowed
   repacketize when doing a retransmission.  

SB> How much TP4 is there going over IPv6? Doesn't this example 
SB> show the IETF as not being in the modern age?


Nits/editorial comments: 

   upper layer         a protocol layer immediately above IPv6.
                       Examples are transport protocols such as TCP
                       UDP, control protocols such as ICMP, routing
                       protocols such as OSPF, and internet or lower-
                       layer protocols being "tunneled" over (i.e.,
                       encapsulated in) IPv6 such as IPX, AppleTalk,
                       IPv6 itself.

SB> Everything in the list above is in the well known list, except
SB> IPX, so technically it needs expansion. However it might be nice
SB> to use some modern example in common use.

   link                a communication facility or medium over which
                       nodes can communicate at the link layer, i.e.,
                       the layer immediately below IPv6.  Examples
                       Ethernets (simple or bridged); PPP links;
                       Frame Relay, or ATM networks; and internet (or
                       higher) layer "tunnels", such as tunnels over
                       IPv4 or IPv6 itself.

SB> Technically X.25 needs a reference, since it is not "well known"

   path                the set of links traversed by a packet between
                       source node and a destination node.

SB> Is it a set of links, or a set of links and nodes?

    the value of MMS_S, the "maximum send transport-message size". 
SB> The modern convention is full-name(abbreviation)


   The Sun Network File System (NFS) uses a Remote Procedure Call
   protocol [RPC] that, when used over UDP, in many cases will
   payloads that must be fragmented even for the first-hop link. 
   might improve performance in certain cases, but it is known to
   reliability and performance problems, especially when the client
   server are separated by routers.

SB> Perhaps this should point to RFC7530 (the current NFS Spec),
SB> the behaviour description is still correct.


   The former can be accomplished by associating a flag with the
   when a packet is sent on a path with this flag set, the IP layer
   not send packets larger than the IPv6 minimum link MTU.

SB> We do not normally give this level of implementation advice