Skip to main content

Foreign Agent Error Extension for Mobile IPv4

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 4636.
Author Charles E. Perkins
Last updated 2020-01-21 (Latest revision 2005-09-21)
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Intended RFC status Proposed Standard
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
Stream WG state (None)
Document shepherd (None)
IESG IESG state Became RFC 4636 (Proposed Standard)
Action Holders
Consensus boilerplate Unknown
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD Margaret Cullen
Send notices to (None)
IETF Mobile IP Working Group                          Charles E. Perkins
INTERNET DRAFT                                     Nokia Research Center
                                                       20 September 2005

             Foreign Agent Error Extension for Mobile IPv4

Status of This Memo

   This document is a submission by the IETF MIPv4 Working Group Working
   Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).  Comments should
   be submitted to the mailing list.

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, each author represents that any
   applicable patent or other IPR claims of which he or she is aware
   have been or will be disclosed, and any of which he or she becomes
   aware will be disclosed, in accordance with Section 6 of BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note
   that other groups may also distribute working documents as

   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."

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

   The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at


   This document specifies a new extension for use by Foreign Agents
   operating Mobile IP for IPv4.  Currently, a foreign agent cannot
   supply status information without destroying the ability for a mobile
   node to verify authentication data supplied by the home agent.  The
   new extension solves this problem by making a better place for the
   foreign agent to provide its status information to the mobile node.

Perkins                  Expires 20 March 2006                  [Page i]

Internet Draft           FA Error Extension            20 September 2005

1. Introduction

   This document specifies a new non-skippable extension for use
   by Foreign Agents operating Mobile IP for IPv4 [4].  The new
   extension option allows a foreign agent to supply an error code
   without disturbing the data supplied by the Home Agent within the
   Registration Reply message.  In this way, the mobile node can verify
   that the Registration Reply message was generated by the Home Agent
   even in cases where the foreign agent is required by protocol to
   insert new status information into the Registration Reply message.

2. Terminology

   The keywords "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [1].  Other
   terminology is used as already defined in [4].

3. FA Error Extension Format

   The format of the FA Error Extension conforms to the Short Extension
   format specified for Mobile IPv4 [4].  The FA Error Extension is not

    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
   |     Type      |   Length      |    Sub-Type   |     Status    |


         <To Be Assigned by IANA>






         A status code used by the foreign agent to supply status
         information to the mobile node.

Perkins                  Expires 20 March 2006                  [Page 1]
Internet Draft           FA Error Extension            20 September 2005

4. Operation and Use of the FA Error Extension

   The FA Error extension is only valid for use within Mobile IPv4
   Registration Reply messages.  The FA Error Extension is not
   skippable.  A mobile node that cannot correctly interpret the
   contents of the FA Error Extension MUST NOT use the care-of
   address provided in the Registration Reply message, until another
   Registration Request message has been sent and a successful
   Registration Reply message received.

   Status codes allowable for use within the FA Error Extension are
   within the range 64-127.  The currently specified codes are as

       64 reason unspecified
       65 administratively prohibited
       66 insufficient resources
       68 home agent failed authentication
       71 poorly formed Reply
       77 invalid care-of address
       78 registration timeout

   as defined in RFC 3344 [4] for use by the Foreign Agent.  Status
   codes for use with the FA Error extensions must not be differently
   defined for use in the Code field of Registration Reply messages.

   When a foreign agent appends a FA Error Extension to the Registration
   Reply as received from the Home Agent, it has to update the UDP
   Length field in the UDP header [5] to account for the extra 4 bytes
   of length.

   This document updates the Mobile IP base specification [4] regarding
   the procedures followed by the foreign agent in the case that the
   home agent fails authentication.  Instead of modifying the "status"
   field of the Registration Reply to contain the value 68, now the
   foreign agent should append the Foreign Agent Error Extension
   containing the status value 68.

5. Mobile Node Considerations

   If a mobile node receives a successful Registration Reply (status
   code 0 or 1), with a FA Error extension indicating that the foreign
   agent is not honoring said Registration Reply, the mobile node SHOULD
   then send a deregistration message to the home agent.  In this way,
   the home agent will not maintain a registration status that is
   inconsistent with the status maintained by the foreign agent.

Perkins                  Expires 20 March 2006                  [Page 2]
Internet Draft           FA Error Extension            20 September 2005

6. Foreign Agent Considerations

   When denying a successful Registration Reply, the Foreign Agent
   SHOULD send the a Registration Revocation message [2] to the Home
   Agent if a mobility security association exists between them.
   For cases when the foreign agent does have the required security
   association, this way of informing the home agent does not have the
   vulnerability from detrimental actions by malicious foreign agents as
   noted in section 8.

7. IANA Considerations

   This specification reserves one number for the FA Error extension
   (see section 3) from the space of numbers for non-skippable mobility
   extensions (i.e., 0-127) defined in the specification for Mobile
   IPv4 [4].

   This specification also creates a new number space of sub-types for
   the type number of this extension.  Sub-type zero is to be allocated
   from this number space for the protocol extension specified in this
   document.  Similar to the procedures specified for Mobile IP [4]
   number spaces, future allocations from this number space require
   expert review[3].

   The status codes which are allowable in the FA error extension are a
   subset of the status codes defined in the specification for Mobile
   IPv4 [4].  If, in the future, additional status codes are defined for
   Mobile IPv4, the definition for each new status code must indicate
   whether or not the new status code is allowable for use in the FA
   Error extension.

8. Security Considerations

   The extension in this document improves the security features
   of Mobile IPv4 by allowing the mobile node to be assured of the
   authenticity of the information supplied within a Registration
   Request.  Previously, whenever the foreign agent was required to
   provide status information to the mobile node, it could only do so by
   destroying the ability of the mobile device to verify the Mobile-Home
   Authentication Extension data.

   In many common cases, the mobile node will not have a security
   association with the foreign agent that has sent the extension.
   Thus, the mobile node will be unable to ascertain that the foreign
   agent sending the extended Registration Reply message is the same
   foreign agent that earlier received the associated Registration
   Request from the mobile node.  Because of this, a malicious foreign

Perkins                  Expires 20 March 2006                  [Page 3]
Internet Draft           FA Error Extension            20 September 2005

   agent could cause a mobile node to operate as if the registration had
   failed, when in fact its home agent and a correctly operating foreign
   agent had both accepted the mobile node's Registration Request.  In
   order to reduce the vulnerability to such maliciously transmitted
   Registration Reply messages with the unauthenticated extension, the
   mobile node MAY delay processing of such denied Registration Reply
   messages for a short while in order to determine whether another
   successful Registration Reply might be received from the foreign

9. Acknowledgements

   Thanks to Kent Leung and Henrik Lefkowetz for suggested improvements
   to this specification.


   [1] S. Bradner.  Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
       Levels.  RFC 2119, Internet Engineering Task Force, March 1997.

   [2] S. Glass and Madhavi Chandra.  Registration Revocation in Mobile
       IPv4.  RFC 3543, Internet Engineering Task Force, August 2003.

   [3] T. Narten and H. Alvestrand.  Guidelines for Writing an IANA
       Considerations Section in RFCs.  RFC 2434, Internet Engineering
       Task Force, October 1998.

   [4] Charles E. Perkins.  IP Mobility Support for IPv4.  RFC 3344,
       Internet Engineering Task Force, August 2002.

   [5] J. B. Postel.  User Datagram Protocol.  RFC 768, Internet
       Engineering Task Force, August 1980.

   All references are normative.

Perkins                  Expires 20 March 2006                  [Page 4]
Internet Draft           FA Error Extension            20 September 2005

Author Address

   Questions about this memo can be directed to the author:

      Charles E. Perkins
      Networking Technology Lab
      Nokia Research Center
      313 Fairchild Drive

      Mountain View, California 94043
      Phone:  +1-650 625-2986
      Fax:  +1 650 625-2502

Intellectual Property Statement

   The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any
   Intellectual Property Rights or other rights that might be claimed to
   pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in
   this document or the extent to which any license under such rights
   might or might not be available; nor does it represent that it has
   made any independent effort to identify any such rights.  Information
   on the procedures with respect to rights in RFC documents can be
   found in BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Copies of IPR disclosures made to the IETF Secretariat and any
   assurances of licenses to be made available, or the result of an
   attempt made to obtain a general license or permission for the
   use of such proprietary rights by implementers or users of this
   specification can be obtained from the IETF on-line IPR repository at

   The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any
   copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary
   rights that may cover technology that may be required to implement
   this standard.  Please address the information to the IETF at

Disclaimer of Validity

   This document and the information contained herein are provided

Perkins                  Expires 20 March 2006                  [Page 5]
Internet Draft           FA Error Extension            20 September 2005


Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).  This document is subject
   to the rights, licenses and restrictions contained in BCP 78, and
   except as set forth therein, the authors retain all their rights.

Perkins                  Expires 20 March 2006                  [Page 6]