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Zeroconf Multicast Address Allocation Problem Statement and Requirements

Document Type Active Internet-Draft (pim WG)
Authors Nathan Karstens , Dino Farinacci , Mike McBride
Last updated 2024-05-08
Replaces draft-karstens-pim-zeroconf-mcast-addr-alloc-ps
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
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Network Working Group                                        N. Karstens
Internet-Draft                                      Garmin International
Intended status: Standards Track                            D. Farinacci
Expires: 9 November 2024                           
                                                              M. McBride
                                                              8 May 2024

Zeroconf Multicast Address Allocation Problem Statement and Requirements


   This document describes a network that requires unique multicast
   addresses to distribute data.  Various challenges are discussed, such
   as the use of multicast snooping to ensure efficient use of
   bandwidth, limitations of switch hardware, problems associated with
   address collisions, and the need to avoid user configuration.  After
   all limitations were considered it was determined that multicast
   addresses need to be dynamically-assigned by a decentralized, zero-
   configuration protocol.

   Requirements and recommendations for suitable protocols are listed
   and specific considerations for assigning IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are
   reviewed.  The document closes with several solutions that are
   precluded from consideration.

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
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   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 9 November 2024.

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2024 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 (
   license-info) 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 Revised BSD License text as
   described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are
   provided without warranty as described in the Revised BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Requirements Language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Address Collisions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Protocol Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  IPv6 Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  IPv4 Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   6.  Excluded Solutions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   8.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   9.  Acknowledgement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   10. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     10.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     10.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7

1.  Introduction

   Marine networks contain a combination of sensors, controls, and
   displays.  Installations vary widely depending on the design and
   intended purpose of the boat and the amount of redundancy required.
   Sensors on these networks can be a mix of low-cost, low-bandwidth
   devices, like temperature or fluid sensors, and high-bandwidth
   devices, like radar, sonar, and video cameras.  In most cases, these
   networks use a single subnet and therefore require layer-2 switches
   to be deployed.

   The most optimal way to distribute sensor data to all displays on the
   network is multicast.  However, use of traditional switches can be
   problematic when both high-bandwidth and low-bandwidth devices are
   installed.  Low-bandwidth devices are commonly designed with a low-
   speed link to reduce cost, and the multicast stream from the high-
   bandwidth device can overwhelm this link.  Switch hardware at the low

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   price points that are acceptable to the market do not support source-
   specific multicast.  Instead, multicast streams are differentiated by
   destination address and switches with multicast snooping [RFC4541] in
   a default-block configuration are used to isolate multicast streams
   to the ports with devices that request the data.

   This technique presents several challenges.  First, defining an
   industry-standard set of pre-allocated addresses is not practical due
   to the wide variety of network designs.  Manually configuring
   addresses for each device is not a user-friendly solution.  MADCAP
   [RFC2730] could be used to dynamically assign addresses, but its
   reliance on a dedicated server results in a single point of failure
   for the system, which is not acceptable for the target environment.
   Finally, this method is susceptible to link-layer address collisions
   (see Section 2 for further discussion).

   The desired solution needs to be a decentralized, zero-configuration
   protocol for dynamically assigning multicast addresses.  This
   document serves as a basis for developing suitable protocols by
   defining the problem, discussing constraints, and listing

1.1.  Requirements Language

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP
   14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

2.  Address Collisions

   Link-layer address collisions are a concern in two cases.

   First, many Ethernet chips include the ability to filter out unwanted
   traffic.  This is typically configured by the network stack in
   response to an application joining a multicast group.  Any link-layer
   address collision would require that the network stack use CPU time
   to filter out traffic by its IPv6 multicast address, which may cause
   poor performance.

   Networks that use multicast snooping switches are also susceptible to
   address collisions.  According to Section 4 of [RFC4541], most switch
   vendors forward multicast traffic based only on the link-layer
   address (see the results for Q2 and Q3).  This means that unwanted
   data will be transmitted over the link and, depending on the nature
   of the data, may result in a low-bandwidth link being saturated by a
   high-bandwidth stream.

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3.  Protocol Requirements

   A decentralized, zero-configuration protocol for dynamic multicast
   address assignment MUST have the following characteristics:

   1.  Does not rely on a single point of failure

   2.  Does not depend on user configuration

   3.  Coexists with other multicast address assignment protocols

   4.  Supports operation on a single subnet

   5.  Does not require an Internet connection

   6.  Supports multiple applications on the same host

   7.  Detects and resolves address collisions

   Note that an extreme case of address collision may occur after a
   network partition, when intermittent link failure temporarily divides
   the network into multiple segments.

   A protocol SHOULD ideally have the following characteristics:

   1.  Supports operation across multiple subnets

   2.  Does not require significant changes to existing standards

   3.  Uses functionality commonly available on a variety of platforms

   4.  Uses capabilities commonly provided to unprivileged applications

   5.  Avoids depending on configuration data loaded during device

   6.  Minimizes network traffic

4.  IPv6 Considerations

   The IPv6 multicast address guidelines specified in [RFC3307] are
   well-structured and robust.  Section 2 defines the lower 32 bits of
   the IPv6 address, which are mapped directly to the link-layer, as the
   group ID, and then assigns ranges of group ID values based on how
   they are allocated.  Section 4.3 describes dynamic assignment of
   group ID values and lists two different approaches (server allocation
   and host allocation).  However, both approaches are assigned the same
   range of group ID values, which means they cannot coexist without

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   risking an address collision.  Also concerning is that the range for
   dynamic assignment overlaps with the range used for solicited-node
   multicast addresses (see Section 2.7.1 of [RFC4291]).

5.  IPv4 Considerations

   Section 6.4 of [RFC1112] recognizes that more than one IPv4 multicast
   address can be mapped to the same Ethernet multicast address.  This
   is because the lowest 23 bits are mapped to the Ethernet multicast
   address.  A 32-bit IPv4 multicast address has a 4-bit prefix, which
   leaves 5 bits inconsequential to the operation, or 32 addresses.

   The guidelines for allocating IPv4 multicast addresses in [RFC5771]
   did not anticipate a need to avoid address collisions.  As such, the
   recommendation for all new designs using dynamic assignment is to use
   IPv6.  If this is not feasible, then the recommendation is for the
   protocol to assign addresses from a suitable range in the
   Administratively Scoped Block ( and be aware of other
   applications on the network using addresses it may collide with.

6.  Excluded Solutions

   The prefix for IPv4 and IPv6 multicast messages being transmitted on
   Ethernet are specified in [RFC1112], Section 6.4 and [RFC2464],
   Section 7, respectively.  Allowing a different prefix would support
   at least two solutions that are being excluded from consideration.

   First, reducing the size of the prefix would increase the size of the
   group ID, thereby reducing the probability of an address collision.

   Because link-layer addresses are only relevant on the local subnet,
   it would also be possible to develop a new protocol to dynamically
   map network-layer multicast addresses to link-layer multicast
   addresses in an operation somewhat analogous to DHCP.  Multicast
   packets routed from outside the network could have the address mapped
   at ingress without any assignment protocol.

   Ultimately, using a different prefix seemed like a significant change
   that would only gain widespread platform support after significant

   With IPv4, reserving 32 separate address ranges in the registry could
   prevent address collisions.  However, [RFC5771] cautions that IPv4
   multicast address space is limited and this approach seemed

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7.  Security Considerations

   Security considerations will be discussed by any proposed zero-
   configuration multicast address allocation algorithm.

8.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

9.  Acknowledgement

   Special thanks to the National Marine Electronics Association for
   their contributions in developing marine industry standards and their
   support for this research.

   Thanks also to the members of the PIM working group for their early
   brainstorming sessions and review of this draft.

10.  References

10.1.  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,

   [RFC3307]  Haberman, B., "Allocation Guidelines for IPv6 Multicast
              Addresses", RFC 3307, DOI 10.17487/RFC3307, August 2002,

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <>.

10.2.  Informative References

   [RFC1112]  Deering, S., "Host extensions for IP multicasting", STD 5,
              RFC 1112, DOI 10.17487/RFC1112, August 1989,

   [RFC2464]  Crawford, M., "Transmission of IPv6 Packets over Ethernet
              Networks", RFC 2464, DOI 10.17487/RFC2464, December 1998,

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   [RFC2730]  Hanna, S., Patel, B., and M. Shah, "Multicast Address
              Dynamic Client Allocation Protocol (MADCAP)", RFC 2730,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2730, December 1999,

   [RFC4291]  Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IP Version 6 Addressing
              Architecture", RFC 4291, DOI 10.17487/RFC4291, February
              2006, <>.

   [RFC4541]  Christensen, M., Kimball, K., and F. Solensky,
              "Considerations for Internet Group Management Protocol
              (IGMP) and Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) Snooping
              Switches", RFC 4541, DOI 10.17487/RFC4541, May 2006,

   [RFC5771]  Cotton, M., Vegoda, L., and D. Meyer, "IANA Guidelines for
              IPv4 Multicast Address Assignments", BCP 51, RFC 5771,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5771, March 2010,

Authors' Addresses

   Nate Karstens
   Garmin International

   Dino Farinacci

   Mike McBride

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