Re: [L2tpext] Propagating IP/ECN field when L2TP sits between IP as both L2 payload and PSN

Bob Briscoe <> Wed, 31 May 2017 22:11 UTC

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To: "Carlos Pignataro (cpignata)" <>
Cc: Ignacio Goyret <>, "Black, David" <>, l2tp IETF list <>
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From: Bob Briscoe <>
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Date: Wed, 31 May 2017 23:11:50 +0100
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Subject: Re: [L2tpext] Propagating IP/ECN field when L2TP sits between IP as both L2 payload and PSN
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On 31/05/17 17:44, Carlos Pignataro (cpignata) wrote:
> Hi, Bob,
> Adding on a couple of bits on top of Ignacio's response.
> L2TPv2, RFC 2661, transports only PPP (and multi protocols within it, 
> including of course IP) and runs over UDP. In contrast, L2TPv3 
> transports directly a variety of protocols (Ethernet, HDLC, etc.) and 
> runs directly over IP protocol 115 or over UDP. RFC 3931 is the base 
> L2TPv3 specification but needs a protocol companion document. Some of 
> those protocols are finished, e.g. RFC 4719 but others like PPP or 
> "raw" IP are in Internet-Drafts.
Yup, got all that. Thanks.

I just didn't understand the implication of Ignacio's email that 
updating the v2 protocol (that solely supports PPP) could be more 
complex than updating the v3 protocol that I thought supported PPP and 
many more protocols. It implied (to me) that maybe v3 doesn't support 
PPP in some way.

> By the way you can find example of capabilities in subsections of 
> Section 5.1.1 of 
> I do not understand however why "Update", or what that implies to a 
> compliant implementation. Many features of L2TP are specified in 
> various WGs, not "Updating" the base specs.
By my understanding of the word extension, if a implementation that is 
compliant with RFC3931 does not implement an extension, it is still 
compliant with RFC3931. Is this how the word "extension" is used in L2TP 

Whereas, if one IP header encapsulates another, if the ECN field were 
processed in any way other than RFC6040, it would be invalid (unless 
another RFC were written to update RFC6040). Therefore, whenever L2TP is 
tunnelling IP in IP, it is mandatory to comply with RFC6040. So I am 
asking the L2TPext WG for advice on how you guys would make a mandatory 
update to L2TP, rather than 'just' an optional extension.


> Thanks,
> Sent from my iPad
> On May 30, 2017, at 10:48 PM, Bob Briscoe < 
> <>> wrote:
>> Ignacio,
>> Thanks for your rapid response.
>> On 31/05/17 02:51, Ignacio Goyret wrote:
>>> I am a little confused by the double negative in "non-optional".
>>> Do you mean "mandatory"? If so, why not just say that?
>> Yes, mandatory.
>> That language was not in the draft; only in my email.
>>> The lack of a capabilities AVP that you were looking for is mainly
>>> because it hasn't been needed so far. You are welcome to submit a
>>> draft with something like that. Generally speaking, adding a simple
>>> binary AVP is easy and simpler to handle.
>> Good.
>>> I have no problem with the new suggested AVP, but can you explain
>>> why is it important to know if the remote supports or not this
>>> extension? Can't a tunnel end deduce this information by observing
>>> the IP header received?
>> I'm afraid not. It is critical for the ingress (in each direction) to 
>> check that the egress decap will correctly propagate the outer ECN 
>> field into the forwarded payload protocol. Otherwise explicit 
>> congestion signals added by a node within the tunnel could just get 
>> stripped at decap. With congestion feedback black-holed, the load 
>> would continue to increase until overload and tail drop.
>> BTW, the forwarded ECN field after decap has to be a combination of 
>> the ECN fields in the outer and inner IP headers (RFC6040 gives a 4x4 
>> matrix of all the combinations of the two 2-bit ECN codepoints). So I 
>> am interested to know whether this might present problems for L2TP 
>> implementations (ECN propagation on decap has been implemented OK in 
>> Linux for similar structures like VXLAN).
>>> Regarding the extension vs update question: if it is an update,
>>> then why negotiate support? Wouldn't ECN propagation be mandated
>>> by this update?
>> Unfortunately, a mandatory update still has to cope with the above 
>> incremental deployment problem.
>>> There is no section for L2TPv2 (RFC2661) or any further suggestion
>>> on how to handle it. I'm not saying that it is necessary, but since
>>> it is mentioned earlier in the document, you may want to add a few
>>> words. Note that things are a bit more complicated in v2 because
>>> it transports PPP packets, which may include IP packets (or portions
>>> of PPP packets if using Multilink). I have no issue punting on L2TPv2
>>> details.
>> * Given you say L2TPv2 is more complicated cos it transports PPP 
>> packets, that seems to imply that L2TPv3 does not transport PPP, 
>> which doesn't sound right?
>> I don't fully understand the relationship between L2TPv2 & v3 (I have 
>> come across L2TP a lot in an operational context, but never really 
>> studied it as a protocol until now).
>> * Is there still a lot of L2TPv2 around?
>> * Would it be believable that a L2TPv2 implementation might be 
>> updated for ECN support but not updated to L2TPv3?
>> Cheers
>> Bob
>>> -Ignacio
>>> At 15:49 5/30/2017, Bob Briscoe wrote:
>>>> Hi l2tpext list,
>>>> [repeating previous post, but with self-explanatory subject line]
>>>> This is a plea for help on a short subsection of a short draft that 
>>>> updates L2TP (amongst other tunnel protocols).
>>>> In the Transport Area WG (tsvwg) we have been working on defining 
>>>> propagation of the ECN field between IP headers separated by shim 
>>>> header(s):
>>>>    draft-ietf-tsvwg-rfc6040update-shim
>>>> L2TP is one such protocol (when the payload of the L2 protocol is 
>>>> IP, and the outer PSN is IP). This is particularly relevant at the 
>>>> moment, because of the low latency (L4S) work based on ECN and 
>>>> because deployment of ECN has finally taken off {Note 1}.
>>>> I presented this tunnelling work in intarea just under a year ago. 
>>>> Since then tsvwg has adopted the draft and asked that we include 
>>>> specific update text for each affected tunnel protocol. I just 
>>>> posted my first attempt at L2TP update text:
>>>>    <>draft-ietf-tsvwg-rfc6040update-shim-01
>>>> Specific questions:
>>>> Prize for the best answer to all 3 questions: you get to become a 
>>>> co-author (if you want :)
>>>> Q1. L2TP is meant for all sorts of outers and inners, so it is not 
>>>> clear where to define behaviour for the special (but very common) 
>>>> case of IP as the L2 payload and IP and as the PSN. That is:
>>>>     IP    :    [UDP]    :    L2TP    :    L2-specific-sublayer    : 
>>>>    L2    :    IP
>>>> I decided on updating <Specific%20questions:>S.4.5 of RFC3931, but 
>>>> suggestions for a better place are welcome.
>>>> Q2. L2TP is usually extended not updated. However, in this case, 
>>>> compliance with RFC6040 is non-optional, so I think update rather 
>>>> than extension is appropriate. Reason: Although RFC6040 is 
>>>> non-optional it includes a compatibility mode that defines what has 
>>>> to happen when a tunnel endpoint doesn't support ECN propagation.
>>>> Pls read the (short) draft and, if you disagree, suggest how an 
>>>> extension can be non-optional.
>>>> Q3. The tunnel initiator needs to check that the other end supports 
>>>> ECN propagation. I have proposed an Attribute Value Pair (AVP) for 
>>>> this that is effectively just a boolean choice from each end (Yes 
>>>> or silence). I expected to find an AVP with per-control-connection 
>>>> flags for tunnel endpoint capabilities that I could just extend 
>>>> with one more flag, but there doesn't seem to be such a thing 
>>>> already in L2TP. Did I miss it?
>>>> Cheers
>>>> Bob
>>>> {Note 1}: ~70% of Web servers, ~50% of Apple client devices on 
>>>> fixed or WiFi access, and now increasing router deployment of ECN 
>>>> is appearing.
>> -- 
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Bob Briscoe
>> _______________________________________________
>> L2tpext mailing list
>> <>

Bob Briscoe