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Operational Aspects of Proxy ARP/ND in Ethernet Virtual Private Networks


(Martin Vigoureux)

No Objection

(Alissa Cooper)
(Deborah Brungard)
(Magnus Westerlund)

Note: This ballot was opened for revision 10 and is now closed.

Erik Kline
(was Discuss) No Objection
Comment (2021-07-18 for -14) Sent
This seems much improved in many ways; thanks very much.

[S3.5] [comment]

* For send-refresh of IPv6 addresses, I suspect the PE might use
  an IPv6 SA == unspecified address and an SLLA option with the
  MAC address equal to the PE sender MAC.  Alternatively, if the
  PE has an IPv6 link-local address in the BD then it can just do
  the normal NS dance.

  But I'll defer to Eric Vyncke as I'm sure he has more experience
  in this area (where a device wishes to be "transparent" at the IP

  Ah, I see in section 3.7 it's assumed that the PE has an IPv6
  link-local address configured in the BD.

[S3.7] [nit]

* "legit" -> "legitimate"
Murray Kucherawy
No Objection
Comment (2021-01-20 for -11) Sent
In addition to Barry's comments, I found that "BD" appears in the glossary twice, and "SLLA" appears in the glossary but nowhere else in the document.

Are "Address Resolution" and "Large Data Center" formal terms?  If not, they should be lowercase.

Alluding to a lot of things Alvaro pointed out: Many of the SHOULDs in this document are bare, in that they give the implementer a choice but no guidance on how to make that choice.  For instance:

   A Proxy-ARP/ND implementation SHOULD support static, dynamic and
   EVPN-learned entries.

How would I decide whether I've got a use case that justifies not doing one of those, and what are the interoperability implications of that decision?

I suggest reviewing these.
Roman Danyliw
No Objection
Comment (2021-01-20 for -11) Sent
Thanks to Russ Housley for the SECDIR review.

A few editorial nits:
** Abstract.  Please remove the reference [I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags] from the abstract as this section of the document is not permitted to have references.

** Section 3.1.b.  s/They SHOULD be learned out of/They SHOULD be learned from/

** Section 5.5.  s/almost all IXPs installed/almost all IXPs install/
Warren Kumari
No Objection
Comment (2021-01-20 for -11) Sent
Thank you for engaging with, and addressing the OpsDir review, and thanks to Joe for performing it...
Éric Vyncke
(was Discuss) No Objection
Comment (2021-10-06) Sent
Thanks to Jorge for addressing my previous DISCUSS and COMMENT issues.


Martin Vigoureux Former IESG member
Yes (for -10) Unknown

Alissa Cooper Former IESG member
No Objection
No Objection (for -11) Not sent

Alvaro Retana Former IESG member
No Objection
No Objection (2021-01-18 for -11) Sent
As mentioned in the Introduction:

   This document describes the Proxy-ARP/ND function in [RFC7432]
   networks, augmented by the capability of the ARP/ND Extended
   Community [I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags].  From that perspective this
   document updates [RFC7432].

Even with this statement, the purpose of this document and the relationship
between it, rfc7432 and I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags is not completely clear to
me.  I would like to understand the following:

- Why isn't this description included in I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags if the
  functionality is introduced there?

- This document formally Updates rfc7432, but I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags
  didn't. How can the description of the function Update rfc7432 if the
  functionality doesn't?  What exactly is the update to rfc7432?  

- The WG developed this document alongside I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags, but it
  is not referenced from there.  Why?

Besides those high-level questions, I have a set of comments that are mostly
related to the normative language used.  I would like to see these issues
addressed before publication.

(1) §3.1 recommends this:

   The provisioned static IP->MAC entry SHOULD be advertised in EVPN with an
   ARP/ND Extended Community where the Immutable ARP/ND Binding Flag flag (I) 
   is set to 1, as per [I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags].

...but I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags requires the behavior, from §3.1:

   o  If an IP->MAC pair is static (it has been configured) the
      corresponding MAC/IP Advertisement route MUST be sent along with
      an ARP/ND Extended Community with the I Flag set.

(2) §3.1: "An entry MAY associate a configured static IP to a list of 
potential MACs, i.e. IP1->(MAC1,MAC2..MACN)."   s/MAY/may  This is not a 
normative statement, but just a fact.

(3) The phrase "MUST/SHOULD be learned" is used several times, but the 
normative action doesn't seem to apply to learning, but to what is required 
to learn.  For example, from §3.1:

   a.  Proxy-ARP dynamic entries:

          They SHOULD be learned by snooping any ARP packet (Ethertype
          0x0806) received from the CEs attached to the BD.

A better wording would be something like: "The PE SHOULD snoop all ARP packets
received from the CEs in order to learn dynamic entries."   The normative 
action is clear: snoop!

Please review/update other places where this phrase is used.

(4) §3.1: "They SHOULD be learned by snooping any ARP packet..."  Why is this
action only recommended? When would a PE not snoop the ARP packets? IOW, why 
is MUST not used?  Note that neither rfc7432/I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags use
Normative language then talking about snooping.

(5) §3.1: "They SHOULD be learned out of the Target Address and TLLA information
in NA messages (Ethertype 0x86DD, ICMPv6 type 136) received from the CEs
attached to the BD."  Same questions...

(6) §3.1: "A Proxy-ND implementation SHOULD NOT learn IP->MAC entries from NS
messages, since they don't contain the R Flag required by the Proxy-ND reply
function."  If the R flag is required, when is it ok to learn from NS messages?
IOW, why is this action not a requirement?

(7) §3.1.1: "the node MUST remove that router from the Default Router specified in [RFC4861] section 7.3.3."   This is in fact already 
specified in rfc4861, there's no need to specify it here again.  s/MUST/must

(8) §3.1.1: "Static entries SHOULD have the R Flag information added by the
management interface.  The O Flag information MAY also be added by the
management interface."   It sounds as if the action here is to add the flag,
right?   Perhaps: "The R Flag information SHOULD be added...for static 
entries. ..."

When is it ok to not configure the flags?  Why is the configuration not
required?  The text in I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags seems to assume that it is 
a requirement (but no normative language is used there): "R and O Flag 
values...are...configured in case of static entries." (§3.1)   What if the 
value is not configured, what is the default?

(9) §3.2:

   a.  When replying to ARP Request or NS messages, the PE SHOULD use
       the Proxy-ARP/ND entry MAC address as MAC SA.  This is
       RECOMMENDED so that the resolved MAC can be learned in the MAC
       FIB of potential layer-2 switches sitting between the PE and the
       CE requesting the Address Resolution.

It seems to me that the use as MAC SA should be required and not just
recommended "so that the resolved MAC can be learned in...layer-2 switches".
Why is that not the case?

(10) §3.2: "A PE SHOULD NOT reply to ARP probes received from the CEs."  When 
is it ok for the PE to reply?  IOW, why is the behavior recommended and not

(11) §3.2: "A PE SHOULD only reply to ARP-Request and NS messages with the
format specified in [RFC0826] and [RFC4861] respectively."  When is it ok to
reply using a different format, and what format would that be?  

(12) §3.3: "The operator SHOULD be able to activate this option with one of 
the following parameters..."  For the operator to be able to do anything, the
implementation has to support the functionality.  It might be better to
recommend the implementation...

(13) §5.1: "Existing mitigation solutions, such as the ARP-Sponge daemon
[ARP-Sponge] MAY also be used in this scenario."   This seems to just be an
example: s/MAY/may

(14) §6: "IXPs MUST still employ additional security mechanisms that protect the
peering network..."  Which are the required mechanisms?

(15) §6: "IXPs...SHOULD follow established BCPs such as the ones described in
[Euro-IX-BCP]."  When is it ok to not follow "established BCPs"?  Seeing that
you are normatively recommending something, please add specific mechanisms, 
not just an example.

(16) The references to ARP-Sponge and Euro-IX-BCP don't include enough
information to access the documents.  Is there a stable link that can be
Barry Leiba Former IESG member
No Objection
No Objection (2021-01-19 for -11) Sent
Just some very small points; please consider them, but there’s no need to respond.

Please expand “EVPN” in the title, abstract, and introduction.

It’s also not necessary to include the abbreviations for IXP, DC, and BD (which is misspelled as “DB”) in the abstract, as they’re each only used once there and are included in Section 1.

Even after having “DC” and “IXP” defined, it seems better to me to spell them out in the section titles of 2.1 (“The Data Center Use Case”) and 2.2 (“The Internet Exchange Point Use Case”).  Maybe consider that for Sections 5.5 and 5.6 as well.

And throughout the document, “use case” doesn’t need a hyphen and shouldn’t have one.
Benjamin Kaduk Former IESG member
No Objection
No Objection (2021-01-19 for -11) Sent
Thanks for this clear and well-written document; the effort that went
into presenting the information really comes through.  I basically just
have editorial nits as comments, with a few substantive notes on the
security considerations section.

For most of the document I was convinced that I understood this point,
but then Section 5.5 led me to question myself: in the "static
provisioning" learning mode, is the IP->MAC mapping configured only at
the PE that the CE using those addresses will attach to, or at all PEs
in the BD?  I can follow up out-of-band with some editorial suggestions
either way.

Abstract (and Introduction)

   This document describes the EVPN Proxy-ARP/ND function, augmented by
   the capability of the ARP/ND Extended Community
   [I-D.ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags].  From that perspective this document
   updates [RFC7432].  [...]

nit: this paragraph doesn't do very much to tell me what the nature of
the update is.  If it's just to clarify how all the pieces fit together
we might add a clause at the end ", to provide more comprehensive
documentation of the operation of the system as a whole" or similar.
(Some parts of it might also have worked as an RFC 2026 Applicability
Statement, but it is probably not worth the trouble of trying to rework
things at this stage, especially since what we have is already nicely
laid out.)

Section 3

There's a lot of information packed into the Figure, and the surrounding
text does a great job describing it.  Thank you!

   The Proxy-ARP/ND function can be structured in six sub-functions or

(editorial) the text from here to the end of the section feels distinct
from the explanation of the figure; it might benefit from getting
promoted into a (sub)section of its own.

Section 3.1

   An entry MAY associate a configured static IP to a list of potential
   MACs, i.e. IP1->(MAC1,MAC2..MACN).  When there is more than one MAC
   in the list of allowed MACs, the PE will not advertise any IP->MAC in
   EVPN until a local ARP/NA message or any other frame is received from
   the CE.  [...]

(nit) would it be better to phrase this as "until a frame (including
local ARP/NA message) is received from the CE"?  That seems to emphasize
that any traffic will do, even if we expect that traffic to be ARP/NA.

Section 3.1.1

   o  Hosts build a Default Router List based on the received RAs and
      NAs with R Flag=1.  Each cache entry has an IsRouter flag, which
      must be set based on the R Flag in the received NAs.  A host can

nit: maybe "must be set for received RAs and is set based on the R flag

Section 3.6

   The distributed nature of EVPN and Proxy-ARP/ND allows the easy
   detection of duplicated IPs in the network, in a similar way to the
   MAC duplication function supported by [RFC7432] for MAC addresses.

nit: is this "MAC duplication detection function"?

       IP1->MAC2 in the Proxy-ARP/ND table.  Static IP->MAC entries,
       that is, locally provisioned or EVPN-learned entries (with I=1 in
       the ARP/ND Extended Community), are not subject to this
       procedure.  [...]

nit: I think the sentence is better without the parentheses, since the
presence of I=1 is critical for correct functioning and not intrinsic to
the entries being EVPN-learned.

       1.  The entry in duplicate detected state cannot be updated with
           new dynamic or EVPN-learned entries for the same IP.  The
           operator MAY override the entry though with a static IP->MAC.

nit: commas before and after "though".

       2.  The PE SHOULD alert the operator and stop responding ARP/NS
           for the duplicate IP until a corrective action is taken.

nit: "stop responding to".

           for IP1.  Since the AS-MAC is a managed MAC address known by
           all the PEs in the EVI, all the PEs MAY apply filters to drop

nit: this seems to be the first time that we talk about the AS-MAC being
a managed address and being known to all PEs in the EVI; it might be
worth rewording in light of that or mentioning that in the definition of

Section 5.2

   This scenario minimizes flooding while enabling dynamic learning of
   IP->MAC entries.  The Proxy-ARP/ND function is enabled in the BDs of
   the EVPN PEs, so that the PEs intercept and respond to CE requests.

nit: from context it seems like the "dynamic learning" here refers to
the EVPN-learned entries, but in §3.1 we reserved the term "dynamic" for
entries learned by local snooping.  Since the next paragraph talks about
snooping as an optional addition, we run into semi-conflicting usage of
the term "dynamic".  I would suggest (assuming the above is correct)
rewording this to "while enabling learning of IP->MAC entries over the
EVPN" or similar.

Section 5.5

                         These rules are often called port security.
   Port security summarizes different operational steps that limit the
   access to the IXP-LAN, to the customer router and controls the kind
   of traffic that the routers are allowed to exchange (e.g., Ethernet,

nit: this list lacks parallel structure; going with "limit the access to
the IXP-LAN and the customer router, and controls the kind of traffic"
would be okay.

Section 6

I think it would be useful to reiterate that the security considerations
of RFC 7432 and draft-ietf-bess-evpn-na-flags continue to apply (in
addition to the useful text that is already present here).  I guess ARP
and IPv6 ND are arguably also applicable (AFAICT the security properties
of the proxied scheme are very similar to those of native usage, in an
environment that already has to trust the PEs and provider network that
supply the EVPN to the same extent that one would otherwise trust an IP

It would also be my personal preference (though I do not insist upon it)
to note that EVPN does not inherently provide cryptographic protection
(including confidentiality protection) despite the word "private"
appearing in the name.  (This is really a topic that should be addressed
via a long-term IETF-wide shift towards just "virtual network" instead
of "virtual private network", but I try to mention it when I can so as
to socialize the idea.)

I appreciate the discussion (earlier in the document) of the use of
dummy MACs to suppress unknown ARP-Request/NS flooding, added in
response to the opsdir review.  Is it worth calling out the
security/availability considerations of that technique from this
section?  ("No" is a perfectly fine answer.)

Is it too banal to repeat that configuring the unicast-forwarding and/or
flooding sub-functions to be disabled risks blocking service for a CE if
the static configuration is broken?

   The solution also provides protection against Denial Of Service
   attacks that use ARP/ND-spoofing as a first step.  [...]

Are these DoS attacks described anywhere that we might reference for
further reading?  ("No" is a perfectly fine answer.)

   When EVPN and its associated Proxy-ARP/ND function are used in IXP
   networks, they provide ARP/ND security and mitigation.  IXPs MUST

If I understand correctly, this security/mitigation is provided in the
face of malicious CE devices, but the system still requires that PEs are
trusted and does not provide cryptographic or independently verifiable
assurances of correct IP->MAC bindings.  I would suggest being explicit
about the threat that is being protected against, since by itself
the term "security" is so vague so as to become almost meaningless.

   For example, IXPs should disable all unneeded control protocols, and
   block unwanted protocols from CEs so that only IPv4, ARP and IPv6

I suggest the parenthetical "so that (for example) only"; we do not
really have much reason to preclude other ethertypes if desired by the
Deborah Brungard Former IESG member
No Objection
No Objection (for -11) Not sent

Magnus Westerlund Former IESG member
No Objection
No Objection (for -11) Not sent

Martin Duke Former IESG member
No Objection
No Objection (2021-01-15 for -11) Sent
Please expand the following acronyms on first use, or in Section 1: EVPN, PE, EVI, VPLS.

Similarly, CE is expanded in Section 2.2, which is not the first use.

In Section 5.5, you use the term "white-listed". While not required, I ask that you change this to "allow-listed", which some have argued is a more inclusive term.
Robert Wilton Former IESG member
No Objection
No Objection (2021-01-20 for -11) Not sent
Thank you for this document, I found it easy to read and understand.