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IPv6 Performance Measurement with Alternate Marking Method

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Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft whose latest revision state is "Replaced".
Authors Giuseppe Fioccola , Gunter Van de Velde , Mauro Cociglio , Praveen Muley
Last updated 2018-02-26
Replaced by draft-fz-6man-ipv6-alt-mark
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V6OPS Working Group                                          G. Fioccola
Internet-Draft                                            Telecom Italia
Intended status: Standards Track                         G. Van de Velde
Expires: August 30, 2018                                           Nokia
                                                             M. Cociglio
                                                          Telecom Italia
                                                                P. Muley
                                                       February 26, 2018

       IPv6 Performance Measurement with Alternate Marking Method


   This document describes how the alternate marking method can be used
   as the passive performance measurement method in an IPv6 domain, and
   will discuss the strengths and the weaknesses of the implementation
   options available to network operations.

Requirements Language

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

Status of This Memo

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

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
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   Drafts is at

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

   This Internet-Draft will expire on August 30, 2018.

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2018 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  IPv6 application of Alternate Marking . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.1.  IPv6 Extension Headers as Marking Field . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.2.  IPv6 Addresses as Marking Field . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.3.  IPv6 Flow Label as Marking Field  . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       2.3.1.  IPv6 Tunnel Use Case  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       2.3.2.  SRv6 Use Case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   3.  Alternate Marking Method Operation  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     3.1.  Single Mark Measurement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.2.  Double Mark Measurement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   4.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   5.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   6.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   7.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     7.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     7.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9

1.  Introduction

   This document reports a summary on the possible implemetation options
   for the application of the alternate marking method in an IPv6

   [RFC8321] describes passive performance measurement method, which can
   be used to measure packet loss, latency and jitter on live traffic.
   Because this method is based on marking consecutive batches of
   packets the method often referred as Alternate Marking Method.

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   This document defines how the alternate marking method can be used to
   measure packet loss and delay metrics of IPv6 tunneled packets or
   SRv6 policies.

   The IPv6 Header Format defined in [RFC8200] and [RFC2460] introduces
   the availability of an 20-bit flow label, the format of IPv6
   addresses and the Extension Headers in the base IPv6 Header.

   For instance, considering the Flow Label, [RFC6294] makes a survey of
   Proposed Use Cases for the IPv6 Flow Label.  The flow label is an
   immutable field recommended to contain a pseudo-random value,
   however, often it has the default value of zero.  [RFC6436] and
   [RFC6437] open the door for IPv6 Flow Label to be used in a
   controlled environment and [RFC6438] describes the use of the IPv6
   Flow Label field for load distribution purpose, especially across
   Equal Cost Multi-Path (ECMP) and/or Link Aggregation Group (LAG)
   paths.  It is important to underline that these specifications
   encourage non-zero flow label values to be used and clearly defines
   how to set a non-zero value and it retains the rule that the flow
   label must not be changed en route but allows routers to set the
   label on behalf of hosts that do not do so.  Based on these
   considerations, it is allowed to use the flow label field in a
   managed domain, assuming that, when a packet leaves the domain, the
   original flow label value MUST be restored or the packet MUST be
   found invalid.

2.  IPv6 application of Alternate Marking

   The application of the alternate marking requires a marking field.
   The alternatives that can be taken into consideration for the choice
   of the marking field are the following:

   o  Extension Header

   o  IPv6 Address

   o  Flow Label

2.1.  IPv6 Extension Headers as Marking Field

   A new type of EH may be a solution space proposal (e.g.  [RFC8250]
   gives a chance).

   A possibility can be to use a Hop-By-Hop(HBH) Extension Header(EH).
   The assumption is that a HBH EH with an alternate marking measurement
   option can be defined.  The router processing can be optimized to
   handle this case.

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2.2.  IPv6 Addresses as Marking Field

   There is an advantage of using destination addresses (DA) to encode
   the alternate marking method.  In addition to identifying a host, a
   destination address is also and more fundamentally identifying an
   exit point from the forwarding domain.  It indicates where processing
   for forwarding to the DA stops, and where other processing of the
   packet is to occur.  Using the DA to encode this alternate marking
   processing means that it is easy to retrofit into existing devices
   and models.  There is no need to replace existing IPv6 forwarding
   devices, because they already support DA based forwarding.

2.3.  IPv6 Flow Label as Marking Field

   There are few other drawbacks to use Flow Label instead of an EH
   solution or IPv6 Addresses for IPv6 alternate marking:

   o  easier backward compatibility because nothing breaks if a transit
      router does not have the capability of understanding the Flow
      Label context (in that case the flow-label in the outer tunnel
      header is just a flow-label).

   o  having a EH seems less backward compatible, and will be less easy
      to use unless ALL routers in the domain support these type of

   o  using DA for marking seems expensive.

   o  For most of the routers the support nearly comes for free.

   o  Less bits on the wire (going SRv6 has already a significant bits-
      on-wire tax because of the outer IPv6 header and the SRv6 EH).

   So, using the flow-label in the outer IPv6 tunnel header (e.g.  SRv6
   header) gives some benefits.  The flow-label as marking field, is
   basically something that routers can do right now, and it does not
   break any IPv6 rules and is expected to be supported by the routers
   by default.  Indeed the solution proposed in the draft, is for the
   moment assumed to be exclusive from other usages (with exception of
   entropy) of the flow-label in the controlled operator domain.
   Currently, network operators traditionally do not use flow-label at
   all, hence the above assumption seems reasonable.

   So, the application of the Alternate Marking method in a managed and
   controlled domain could be realised with two fundamental assumptions:

   o  The original flow-label reconstructed when leaving the controlled

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   o  The usage of IPv6 tunnels (IPv6inIPv6, IPSec, IPv6 UDP, etc..) or
      SRv6 policies.

   The Figure 1 displays format of the possible Mark Field (2 bits from
   20 bit IPv6 flow-label field).

   |           Flow Label              | MF|

   Mark Field (MF) is:

    0   1
   | S | D |

                        Figure 1: Mark field format


   o  S - Single mark method;

   o  D - Double mark method.

   The use of the other 18 bits is not specified in this document
   because is out of scope here.  But it should follow [RFC6437], where
   flow-label based load balancing, ECMP or LAG is described.  The
   methodology SHOULD be used within a controlled domain where the load-
   balancing based on flow label is disabled.  Otherwise, the network
   elements MUST mask the Mark Field (MF), so it will not change hashing
   calculation for the same flow because only 18 bits + 2 zeros can be
   used for the entropy.

   In this case, the controlled domain reflects to the fact that it is a
   network operator choice that grabs control of packet handling within
   its own network.  The network operator adds through policy the outer
   SRv6 header and has in fact three options regarding flow label:

      1) Just do not do anything with Flow Label (leave it default).

      2) Alternate marking only and NO usage of entropy.

      3) Alternate marking and entropy (in this case the entropy SHOULD
      be based upon 18 bits instead of 20 bits because otherwise paths

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      may be changed when the marking changes (e.g. periods of 5 minutes
      per marking period).  This is however not a MUST because some
      operators do not care if because of marking change.

   The closed system here is defined by the IPv6 Tunnel or SRv6, in
   particular it is the network between the head-end (where the outer
   header is added) and the tail-end (where the outer header is

2.3.1.  IPv6 Tunnel Use Case

   The ingress router is the "source" of the IPv6 tunnel and impose the
   OUTER IPv6 header, so Ingress router can control 2 bits (Mark Field)
   from 20 bit flow-label field of OUTER IPv6 header.  The Egress router
   removes OUTER IPv6 header, restoring ORIGINAL payload and payload
   headers (IPv6, IPv4, L2 traffic, MBH, etc...).

   The flow-label is set "only" by the tunnel head-end router on the
   outer IPv6 header.  The tunnel head-end router can do this because it
   is the device that created the outer header.  The original IPv6
   packet is riding inside the tunnel, and as result the original flow-
   label and original IPv6 header is left untouched.

2.3.2.  SRv6 Use Case

   When IPv6 SRv6 Encapsulation is used, the outer SRv6 header uses 2
   bits (Mark Field) from 20 bit flow-label field.  Outer SRv6 header
   will be removed when exiting the SP domain and the original flow-
   label is restored at egress.

   The flow label of the original packet is untouched.  The flow label
   that is set in this proposal is done at the SRv6 tunnel head-end
   which imposes the SRv6 encapsulation header.  So basically, it is
   just the SRv6 tunnel outer encap header which is used for alternate
   marking.  And this is set only one time by the original SRv6 tunnel
   head-end router (which is the source address of the IPv6 SRv6
   tunnel).  This outer SRv6 header is removed when the packet exits the
   SRv6 domain, and the original flow label appears again untouched.
   So, in this proposal there is no device which is changing flow-labels
   at all.  It is only during the imposing of the SRv6 outer header,
   that the flow label field is set once for Alternate marking purposes
   inside the outer SRv6 tunnel header.

3.  Alternate Marking Method Operation

   [RFC8321] describes in detail the methodology, that we briefly
   illustrate also here.

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3.1.  Single Mark Measurement

   As explained in the [RFC8321], marking can be applied to delineate
   blocks of packets based either on equal number of packets in a block
   or based on equal time interval.  The latter method offers better
   control as it allows better account for capabilities of downstream
   nodes to report statistics related to batches of packets and, at the
   same time, time resolution that affects defect detection interval.

   If the Single Mark measurement used, then the D flag MUST be set to
   zero on transmit and ignored by monitoring point.

   The S flag is used to create alternate flows to measure the packet
   loss by switching value of the S flag.  Delay metrics MAY be
   calculated with the alternate flow using any of the following

   o  First/Last Batch Packet Delay calculation: timestamps are
      collected based on order of arrival so this method is sensitive to
      packet loss and re-ordering.

   o  Average Packet Delay calculation: an average delay is calculated
      by considering the average arrival time of the packets within a
      single block.  This method only provides single metric for the
      duration of the block and it doesn't give information about the
      delay distribution.

3.2.  Double Mark Measurement

   Double Mark method allows more detailed measurement of delays for the
   monitored flow but it requires more nodal and network resources.  If
   the Double Mark method used, then the S flag MUST be used to create
   the alternate flow.  The D flag MUST be used to mark single packets
   to measure delay jitter.

   The first marking (S flag alternation) is needed for packet loss and
   also for average delay measurement.  The second marking (D flag is
   put to one) creates a new set of marked packets that are fully
   identified and dedicated for delay.  This method is useful to have
   not only the average delay but also to know more about the statistic
   distribution of delay values.

4.  Security Considerations


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5.  Acknowledgements

   The authors would like to thank Brian Carpenter, Fred Baker, Tom
   Herbert, Mark Smith, Joel Halpern, Fernando Gont, Xiaohu Xu and Joel
   Jaeggli for their comments and feedbacks.

6.  IANA Considerations

7.  References

7.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

7.2.  Informative References

   [RFC2460]  Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6
              (IPv6) Specification", RFC 2460, DOI 10.17487/RFC2460,
              December 1998, <>.

   [RFC6294]  Hu, Q. and B. Carpenter, "Survey of Proposed Use Cases for
              the IPv6 Flow Label", RFC 6294, DOI 10.17487/RFC6294, June
              2011, <>.

   [RFC6436]  Amante, S., Carpenter, B., and S. Jiang, "Rationale for
              Update to the IPv6 Flow Label Specification", RFC 6436,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6436, November 2011,

   [RFC6437]  Amante, S., Carpenter, B., Jiang, S., and J. Rajahalme,
              "IPv6 Flow Label Specification", RFC 6437,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6437, November 2011,

   [RFC6438]  Carpenter, B. and S. Amante, "Using the IPv6 Flow Label
              for Equal Cost Multipath Routing and Link Aggregation in
              Tunnels", RFC 6438, DOI 10.17487/RFC6438, November 2011,

   [RFC8200]  Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6
              (IPv6) Specification", STD 86, RFC 8200,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8200, July 2017,

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   [RFC8250]  Elkins, N., Hamilton, R., and M. Ackermann, "IPv6
              Performance and Diagnostic Metrics (PDM) Destination
              Option", RFC 8250, DOI 10.17487/RFC8250, September 2017,

   [RFC8321]  Fioccola, G., Ed., Capello, A., Cociglio, M., Castaldelli,
              L., Chen, M., Zheng, L., Mirsky, G., and T. Mizrahi,
              "Alternate-Marking Method for Passive and Hybrid
              Performance Monitoring", RFC 8321, DOI 10.17487/RFC8321,
              January 2018, <>.

Authors' Addresses

   Giuseppe Fioccola
   Telecom Italia


   Gunter Van de Velde


   Mauro Cociglio
   Telecom Italia


   Praveen Muley
   Mountain View


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