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Information Refresh Time Option for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for IPv6 (DHCPv6)

The information below is for an old version of the document that is already published as an RFC.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 4242.
Authors Stig Venaas , Bernie Volz , Tim Chown
Last updated 2015-10-14 (Latest revision 2005-01-11)
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
Stream WG state (None)
Document shepherd (None)
IESG IESG state RFC 4242 (Proposed Standard)
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Responsible AD Margaret Cullen
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Internet Engineering Task Force                                S. Venaas
Internet Draft                                 University of Southampton
Expiration Date: July 2005
                                                                T. Chown
                                               University of Southampton

                                                                 B. Volz
                                                     Cisco Systems, Inc.

                                                            January 2005

               Information Refresh Time Option for DHCPv6


Status of this Memo

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, I certify that any applicable
   patent or other IPR claims of which I am aware have been disclosed,
   or will be disclosed, and any of which I become aware will be
   disclosed, in accordance with RFC 3668.

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005). All Rights Reserved.

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   This document describes a DHCPv6 option for specifying an upper bound
   for how long a client should wait before refreshing information
   retrieved from DHCPv6.  It is used with stateless DHCPv6 as there are
   no addresses or other entities with lifetimes that can tell the
   client when to contact the DHCPv6 server to refresh its

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  ...............................................   2
   2.  Terminology  ................................................   3
   3.  Information refresh time option definition  .................   3
     3.1.  Constants  ..............................................   4
     3.2.  Client behaviour  .......................................   4
     3.3.  Server behaviour  .......................................   5
     3.4.  Option format  ..........................................   5
   4.  IANA Considerations  ........................................   6
   5.  Acknowledgements  ...........................................   6
   6.  Security Considerations  ....................................   6
   7.  References  .................................................   6
     7.1.  Normative References  ...................................   6
     7.2.  Informative References  .................................   7
   Authors' Addresses  .............................................   7
   Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements  .................   7

1. Introduction

   DHCPv6 [RFC 3315] specifies stateful autoconfiguration for IPv6
   hosts.  However, many hosts will use stateless autoconfiguration as
   specified in [RFC 2462] for address assignment, and use DHCPv6 only
   for other configuration data, see [RFC 3736].  This other
   configuration data will typically have no associated lifetime, hence
   there may be no information telling a host when to refresh its DHCPv6
   configuration data.  Therefore, an option that can be used from
   server to client to inform the client when it should refresh the
   other configuration data is needed.

   This option is useful in many situations:

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       - Unstable environments where unexpected changes are likely to

       - For planned changes, including renumbering.  An administrator
         can gradually decrease the time as the event nears.

       - Limit the amount of time before new services or servers are
         available to the client, such as the addition of a new NTP
         server or a change of address of a DNS server.  See

2. Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14, RFC 2119 [RFC

3. Information refresh time option definition

   The information refresh time option specifies an upper bound for how
   long a client should wait before refreshing information retrieved
   from DHCPv6.  It is only used in Reply messages in response to
   Information-Request messages.  In other messages there will usually
   be other options that indicate when the client should contact the
   server, e.g. addresses with lifetimes.

   Note that it is only an upper bound.  If the client has any reason to
   make a DHCPv6 request before the refresh time expires, it should
   attempt to refresh all the data.

   A client may contact the server before the refresh time expires.
   Reasons it may do this include the need for additional configuration
   parameters (such as by an application), a new IPv6 prefix announced
   by a router, or that it has an indication it may have moved to a new

   The refresh time option specifies a common refresh time for all the
   data.  It doesn't make sense to have different refresh time values
   for different data, since when the client has reason to refresh some
   of its data, it should also refresh the remaining data.  Because of
   this, the option must only appear in the options area of the Reply

   The expiry of the refresh time in itself does not in any way mean
   that the client should remove the data.  The client should keep its

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   current data while attempting to refresh it.  The client is however
   free to fall back to other mechanisms than DHCPv6 if it cannot
   refresh the data within a reasonable amount of time.

   When a client receives a Reply to an Information-Request that
   contains configuration information, it should install that new
   configuration information after removing any previously received
   configuration information.  It should also remove information that is
   missing from the new information set, e.g. an option might be left
   out or contain only a subset of what it did previously.

3.1. Constants

   We define two constants for use by the protocol.  How they are used
   is specified in the sections below.

     IRT_DEFAULT 86400
          In some cases the client uses a default refresh time
          IRT_DEFAULT.  The recommended value for IRT_DEFAULT is 86400
          (24 hours).  The client implementation SHOULD allow for this
          value to be configurable.

     IRT_MINIMUM 600
          This defines a minimum value for the refresh time.

3.2. Client behaviour

   A client MUST request this option in the Option Request Option (ORO)
   when sending Information-Request messages to the DHCPv6 server.  A
   client MUST NOT request this option in the ORO in any other messages.

   If the Reply to an Information-Request message does not contain this
   option, the client MUST behave as if the option with value
   IRT_DEFAULT was provided.

   A client MUST use the refresh time IRT_MINIMUM if it receives the
   option with a value less than IRT_MINIMUM.

   As per section 5.6 of [RFC 3315], the value 0xffffffff is taken to
   mean "infinity" and implies that the client should not refresh its
   configuration data without some other trigger (such as detecting
   movement to a new link).

   If a client contacts the server to obtain new data or refresh some
   existing data before the refresh time expires, then it SHOULD also
   refresh all data covered by this option.

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   When the client detects that the refresh time has expired, it SHOULD
   try to update its configuration data by sending an Information-
   Request as specified in section 18.1.5 of [RFC 3315], except that the
   client MUST delay sending the first Information-Request by a random
   amount of time between 0 and INF_MAX_DELAY.

   A client MAY have a maximum value for the refresh time, where that
   value is used whenever the client receives this option with a value
   higher than the maximum.  This also means that the maximum value is
   used when the received value is "infinity".  A maximum value might
   make the client less vulnerable to attacks based on forged DHCP
   messages.  Without a maximum value, a client may be made to use wrong
   information for a possibly infinite period of time.  There may
   however be reasons for having a very long refresh time, so it may be
   useful for this maximum value to be configurable.

3.3. Server behaviour

   A server sending a Reply to an Information-Request message SHOULD
   include this option if it is requested in the ORO of the Information-

   The option value MUST NOT be smaller than IRT_MINIMUM.  The server
   SHOULD give a warning if it is configured with a smaller value.

   The option MUST only appear in the options area of Reply messages.

3.4. Option format

   The format of the information refresh time option is:

      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
     |          option-code          |           option-len          |
     |                    information-refresh-time                   |

          OPTION_INFORMATION_REFRESH_TIME (to be decided)


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          Time duration relative to the current time, expressed in units
          of seconds

4. IANA Considerations

   IANA is requested to assign an option code for the information
   refresh time option from the DHCPv6 option-code space [RFC 3315].

5. Acknowledgements

   The authors thank Mat Ford, Tatuya Jinmei, Ted Lemon, Thomas Narten,
   Joe Quanaim and A.K. Vijayabhaskar for valuable discussions and

6. Security Considerations

   Section 23 of [RFC 3315] outlines the DHCPv6 security considerations.
   This option does not change these in any significant way.  An
   attacker could send faked Reply messages with a low information
   refresh time value, which would trigger use of IRT_MINIMUM to
   minimize this threat.  Another attack might be to send a very large
   value, to make the client use forged information for a long period of
   time.  A possible maximum limit at the client is suggested, which
   would reduce this problem.

7. References

7.1. Normative References

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

   [RFC 2462]  S. Thomson, T. Narten, "IPv6 Stateless Address
               Autoconfiguration", RFC 2462, December 1998.

   [RFC 3315]  R. Droms, Ed., J. Bound, B. Volz, T. Lemon, C. Perkins,
               M. Carney, "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for IPv6
               (DHCPv6)", RFC 3315, July 2003.

   [RFC 3736]  R. Droms, "Stateless Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
               (DHCP) Service for IPv6", RFC 3736, April 2004.

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7.2. Informative References

   [RENUMREQS] T. Chown, S. Venaas, A.K. Vijayabhaskar, "Renumbering
               Requirements for Stateless DHCPv6", work-in-progress,
               March 2004.

Authors' Addresses

   Stig Venaas
   University of Southampton
   School of Electronics and Computer Science
   Southampton, Hampshire  SO17 1BJ
   United Kingdom

   Tim Chown
   University of Southampton
   School of Electronics and Computer Science
   Southampton, Hampshire  SO17 1BJ
   United Kingdom

   Bernard Volz
   Cisco Systems, Inc.
   1414 Massachusetts Ave.
   Boxborough, MA  01719

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