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Alternative Delta Time Encoding for CCNx Using Compact Floating-Point Arithmetic
draft-irtf-icnrg-ccnx-timetlv-05

Document Type Active Internet-Draft (icnrg RG)
Authors Cenk Gündoğan , Thomas C. Schmidt , David R. Oran , Matthias Wählisch
Last updated 2024-02-20 (Latest revision 2023-10-04)
Replaces draft-gundogan-icnrg-ccnx-timetlv
RFC stream Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)
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draft-irtf-icnrg-ccnx-timetlv-05
ICNRG                                                        C. Gündoğan
Internet-Draft                                                    Huawei
Updates: 8609 (if approved)                                  TC. Schmidt
Intended status: Experimental                                HAW Hamburg
Expires: 6 April 2024                                            D. Oran
                                     Network Systems Research and Design
                                                             M. Wählisch
                                                              TU Dresden
                                                          4 October 2023

 Alternative Delta Time Encoding for CCNx Using Compact Floating-Point
                               Arithmetic
                    draft-irtf-icnrg-ccnx-timetlv-05

Abstract

   CCNx utilizes delta time for a number of functions.  When using CCNx
   in environments with constrained nodes or bandwidth constrained
   networks, it is valuable to have a compressed representation of delta
   time.  In order to do so, either accuracy or dynamic range has to be
   sacrificed.  Since the current uses of delta time do not require both
   simultaneously, one can consider a logarithmic encoding.  This
   document updates RFC 8609 ("CCNx messages in TLV Format") to specify
   this alternative encoding.

   This document is a product of the IRTF Information-Centric Networking
   Research Group (ICNRG).

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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   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 6 April 2024.

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2023 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 (https://trustee.ietf.org/
   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
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Usage of Time Values in CCNx  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.1.  Relative Time in CCNx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.2.  Absolute Time in CCNx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  A Compact Time Representation with Logarithmic Range  . . . .   5
   5.  Protocol Integration of the Compact Time Representation . . .   7
     5.1.  Interest Lifetime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     5.2.  Recommended Cache Time  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   6.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   8.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     8.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     8.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   Appendix A.  Test Vectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   Appendix B.  Efficient Time Value Approximation . . . . . . . . .  11
   Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12

1.  Introduction

   CCNx is well suited for Internet of Things (IoT) applications
   [RFC7927].  LoWPAN adaptation layers (e.g., [RFC9139]) confirm the
   advantages of a space-efficient packet encoding for low-power and
   lossy networks.  CCNx utilizes absolute and delta time values for a
   number of functions.  When using CCNx in resource-constrained
   environments, it is valuable to have a compact representation of time
   values.  However, any compact time representation has to sacrifice
   accuracy or dynamic range.  For some time uses this is relatively
   straightforward to achieve, for other uses, it is not.  As a result
   of experiments in bandwidth-constrained IEEE 802.15.4 deployments
   [ICNLOWPAN], this document discusses the various cases of time

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   values, proposes a compact encoding for delta times, and updates
   [RFC8609] to utilize this encoding format in CCNx messages.

   This document has received fruitful reviews by the members of the
   research group (see the Acknowledgments section).  It is the
   consensus of ICNRG that this document should be published in the IRTF
   Stream of the RFC series.  This document does not constitute an IETF
   standard.

2.  Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and
   "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.

   This document uses the terminology of [RFC8569] and [RFC8609] for
   CCNx entities.

   The following terms are used in the document and defined as follows:

   byte:         synonym for octet

   time value:   a time offset measured in seconds

   time code:    an 8-bit encoded time value as defined in [RFC5497]

3.  Usage of Time Values in CCNx

3.1.  Relative Time in CCNx

   CCNx, as currently specified in [RFC8569], utilizes delta time for
   only the lifetime of an Interest message (see sections 2.1, 2.2,
   2.4.2, 10.3 of [RFC8569]).  It is a hop-by-hop header value, and is
   currently encoded via the T_INTLIFE TLV as a 64-bit integer
   ([RFC8609] section 3.4.1).  While formally an optional TLV, in all
   but some corner cases every Interest message is expected to carry the
   Interest Lifetime TLV, and hence having compact encoding is
   particularly valuable for keeping Interest messages short.

   Since the current uses of delta time do not require both accuracy and
   dynamic range simultaneously, one can consider a logarithmic encoding
   such as that specified in [IEEE.754.2019] and outlined in Section 4.
   This document updates _CCNx messages in TLV Format_ [RFC8609] to
   permit this alternative encoding for selected time values.

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3.2.  Absolute Time in CCNx

   CCNx, as currently specified in [RFC8569], utilizes absolute time for
   various important functions.  Each of these absolute time usages
   poses a different challenge for a compact representation.  These are
   discussed in the following subsections.

3.2.1.  Signature Time and Expiry Time

   _Signature Time_ is the time the signature of a content object was
   generated (sections 8.2-8.4 [RFC8569]).  _Expiry Time_ indicates the
   expiry time of a content object (section 4 [RFC8569]).  Both values
   are content message TLVs and represent absolute timestamps in
   milliseconds since the POSIX epoch.  They are currently encoded via
   the T_SIGTIME and T_EXPIRY TLVs as 64-bit unsigned integers (see
   section 3.6.4.1.4.5 and 3.6.2.2.2 [RFC8609]).

   Both time values could be in the past, or in the future, potentially
   by a large delta.  They are also included in the security envelope of
   the message.  Therefore, it seems there is no practical way to define
   an alternative compact encoding that preserves its semantics and
   security properties; hence we don't consider it further as a
   candidate.

3.2.2.  Recommended Cache Time

   _Recommended Cache Time_ (RCT) for a content object (see section 4
   [RFC8569]) is a hop-by-hop header stating the expiration time for a
   cached content object in milliseconds since the POSIX epoch.  It is
   currently encoded via the T_CACHETIME TLV as a 64-bit unsigned
   integer (see section 3.4.2 [RFC8609]).

   A recommended cache time could be far in the future, but cannot be in
   the past and is likely to be a reasonably short offset from the
   current time.  Therefore, this document allows the recommended cache
   time to be interpreted as a relative time value rather than an
   absolute time, since the semantics associated with an absolute time
   value do not seem to be critical to the utility of this value.  This
   document therefore updates the recommended cache time with the
   following rule set:

   *  Use absolute time as per [RFC8609]

   *  Use relative time, if the compact time representation is used (see
      Section 4 and Section 5)

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   If relative time is used, the time offset recorded in a message will
   typically not account for residence times on lower layers (e.g., for
   processing, queuing) and link delays for every hop.  The recommended
   cache time can thus not be expressed as accurate as with absolute
   time.  This document targets low-power networks, where delay bounds
   are rather loose, or do not exist.  An accumulated error due to
   transmission delays in the range of milliseconds and seconds for the
   recommended cache time is still tolerable in these networks, and does
   not impact the protocol performance.

   Networks with tight latency bounds use dedicated hardware, optimized
   software routines, and traffic engineering to reduce latency
   variations.  Time offsets can then be corrected on every hop to yield
   exact cache times.

4.  A Compact Time Representation with Logarithmic Range

   This document uses the compact time representation of ICNLoWPAN (see
   section 7 of [RFC9139]) that is inspired by [RFC5497] and
   [IEEE.754.2019].  Its logarithmic encoding supports a representation
   ranging from milliseconds to years.  Figure 1 depicts the logarithmic
   nature of this time representation.

    || |  |   |    |     |      |       |        |         |          |
    +-----------------------------------------------------------------+
    milliseconds                                                  years

       Figure 1: A logarithmic range representation allows for higher
       precision in the smaller time ranges and still supports large
                                time deltas.

   Time codes encode exponent and mantissa values in a single byte, but
   in contrast to the representation in [IEEE.754.2019], time codes only
   encode non-negative numbers and hence do not include a separate sign
   bit.  Figure 2 shows the configuration of a time code: an exponent
   width of 5 bits, and a mantissa width of 3 bits.

                 <---          one byte wide          --->
                 +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
                 |      exponent (b)      | mantissa (a) |
                 +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
                   0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7

        Figure 2: A time code with exponent and mantissa to encode a
                   logarithmic range time representation.

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   The base unit for time values are seconds.  A time value is
   calculated using the following formula (adopted from [RFC5497] and
   [RFC9139]), where (a) represents the mantissa, (b) the exponent, and
   (C) a constant factor set to C := 1/32.

   Subnormal (b == 0):  (0 + a/8) * 2 * C

   Normalized (b > 0):  (1 + a/8) * 2^b * C

   The subnormal form provides a gradual underflow between zero and the
   smallest normalized number.  Eight time values exist in the subnormal
   range [0s,~0.0546875s] with a step size of ~0.0078125s between each
   time value.  This configuration also encodes the following convenient
   numbers in seconds: [1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, ...].  Appendix A
   further includes test vectors to illustrate the logarithmic range.

   An example algorithm to encode a time value into the corresponding
   exponent and mantissa is given as pseudo code in Figure 3.  Not all
   time values can be represented by a time code.  For these instances,
   the closest time code is chosen that is smaller than the value to
   encode.

      input: float v    // time value
     output:   int a, b // mantissa, exponent of time code

     (a, b) encode (v):

         if (v == 0)
             return (0, 0)

         if (v < 2 * C)                              // subnormal
             a = floor (v * 4 / C)                   // round down
             return (a, 0)
         else                                        // normalized
             if (v > (1 + 7/8) * 2^31 * C)           // check bounds
                 return (7, 31)                      // return maximum
             else
                 b = floor (log2(v / C))             // round down
                 a = floor ((v / (2^b * C) - 1) * 8) // round down
                 return (a, b)

                    Figure 3: Algorithm in pseudo code.

   As an example: No specific time code for 0.063 exists, but this
   algorithm maps to the closest valid time code that is smaller, i.e.,
   exponent 1 and mantissa 0 (the same as for time value 0.0625).

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5.  Protocol Integration of the Compact Time Representation

   A straightforward way to accommodate the compact time approach is to
   use a 1-byte length field to indicate this alternative encoding while
   retaining the existing TLV registry entries.  This approach has
   backward compatibility problems, but is still considered for the
   following reasons:

   *  Both CCNx RFCs are experimental and not Standards Track, hence
      expectations for forward and backward compatibility are not as
      stringent.  "Flag day" upgrades of deployed CCNx networks, while
      inconvenient, are still feasible.

   *  The major use case for these compressed encodings are smaller-
      scale IoT and/or sensor networks where the population of
      consumers, producers, and forwarders is reasonably small.

   *  Since the current TLVs have hop-by-hop semantics, they are not
      covered by any signed hash and hence may be freely re-encoded by
      any forwarder.  That means a forwarder supporting the new encoding
      can translate freely between the two encodings.

   *  The alternative of assigning new TLV registry values does not
      substantially mitigate the interoperability problems anyway.

5.1.  Interest Lifetime

   The Interest Lifetime definition in [RFC8609] allows for a variable-
   length lifetime representation, where a length of 1 encodes the
   linear range [0,255] in milliseconds.  This document changes the
   definition to always encode 1-byte Interest lifetime values in the
   compact time value representation (Figure 4).

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                        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
   +---------------+---------------+---------------+---------------+
   |           T_INTLIFE           |           Length = 1          |
   +---------------+---------------+---------------+---------------+
   | COMPACT_TIME  |
   +---------------+
                        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
   +---------------+---------------+---------------+---------------+
   |           T_INTLIFE           |           Length > 1          |
   +---------------+---------------+---------------+---------------+
   /                                                               /
   /                      Lifetime (Length octets)                 /
   /                                                               /
   +---------------+---------------+---------------+---------------+

     Figure 4: Changes to the definition of the Interest Lifetime TLV.

5.2.  Recommended Cache Time

   The Recommended Cache Time definition in [RFC8609] specifies an
   absolute time representation that is of a length fixed to 8 bytes.
   This document changes the definition to always encode 1-byte
   Recommended Cache Time values in the compact relative time value
   representation (Figure 5).

                        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
   +---------------+---------------+---------------+---------------+
   |          T_CACHETIME          |           Length = 1          |
   +---------------+---------------+---------------+---------------+
   | COMPACT_TIME  |
   +---------------+
                        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
   +---------------+---------------+---------------+---------------+
   |          T_CACHETIME          |           Length = 8          |
   +---------------+---------------+---------------+---------------+
   /                                                               /
   /                    Recommended Cache Time                     /
   /                                                               /
   +---------------+---------------+---------------+---------------+

     Figure 5: Changes to the definition of the Recommended Cache Time
                                    TLV.

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   The packet processing is adapted to calculate an absolute time from
   the relative time code based on the absolute reception time.  On
   transmission, a new relative time code is calculated based on the
   current system time.

6.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

7.  Security Considerations

   This document makes no semantic changes to [RFC8569], nor to any of
   the security properties of the message encodings of [RFC8609], and
   hence has the same security considerations as those two existing
   documents.  Additional considerations need to be made in networks
   that deploy forwarders with support (updated forwarder) and without
   support (legacy forwarder) for this compact time representation:

   Interest Lifetime:  A legacy forwarder interprets a time code as an
      Interest lifetime between 0 and 255 milliseconds.  This may lead
      to a degradation of network performance, since Pending Interest
      Table (PIT) entries timeout quicker than expected.  An updated
      forwarder interprets short lifetimes set by a legacy forwarder as
      time codes, thus configuring timeouts of up to 4 years.  This
      leads to an inefficient occupation of state space.

   Recommended Cache Time:  A legacy forwarder considers a Recommended
      Cache Time with length 1 as a structural or syntactical error and
      it SHOULD discard the packet (section 10.3.9 [RFC8569]).
      Otherwise, a legacy forwarder interprets time codes as absolute
      time values far in the past, which impacts cache utilization.

8.  References

8.1.  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,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>.

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.

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   [RFC8569]  Mosko, M., Solis, I., and C. Wood, "Content-Centric
              Networking (CCNx) Semantics", RFC 8569,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8569, July 2019,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8569>.

   [RFC8609]  Mosko, M., Solis, I., and C. Wood, "Content-Centric
              Networking (CCNx) Messages in TLV Format", RFC 8609,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8609, July 2019,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8609>.

8.2.  Informative References

   [ICNLOWPAN]
              Gündoğan, C., Kietzmann, P., Schmidt, T., and M. Wählisch,
              "Designing a LoWPAN convergence layer for the Information
              Centric Internet of Things", Computer Communications, Vol.
              164, No. 1, p. 114–123, Elsevier, December 2020,
              <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comcom.2020.10.002>.

   [IEEE.754.2019]
              Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, C/MSC -
              Microprocessor Standards Committee, "Standard for
              Floating-Point Arithmetic", June 2019,
              <https://standards.ieee.org/content/ieee-standards/en/
              standard/754-2019.html>.

   [RFC5497]  Clausen, T. and C. Dearlove, "Representing Multi-Value
              Time in Mobile Ad Hoc Networks (MANETs)", RFC 5497,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5497, March 2009,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5497>.

   [RFC7927]  Kutscher, D., Ed., Eum, S., Pentikousis, K., Psaras, I.,
              Corujo, D., Saucez, D., Schmidt, T., and M. Waehlisch,
              "Information-Centric Networking (ICN) Research
              Challenges", RFC 7927, DOI 10.17487/RFC7927, July 2016,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7927>.

   [RFC9139]  Gündoğan, C., Schmidt, T., Wählisch, M., Scherb, C.,
              Marxer, C., and C. Tschudin, "Information-Centric
              Networking (ICN) Adaptation to Low-Power Wireless Personal
              Area Networks (LoWPANs)", RFC 9139, DOI 10.17487/RFC9139,
              November 2021, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9139>.

Appendix A.  Test Vectors

   The test vectors in Table 1 show sample time codes and their
   corresponding time values according to the algorithm outlined in
   Section 4.

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                   +===========+======================+
                   | Time Code | Time Value (seconds) |
                   +===========+======================+
                   |    0x00   |            0.0000000 |
                   +-----------+----------------------+
                   |    0x01   |            0.0078125 |
                   +-----------+----------------------+
                   |    0x04   |            0.0312500 |
                   +-----------+----------------------+
                   |    0x08   |            0.0625000 |
                   +-----------+----------------------+
                   |    0x15   |            0.2031250 |
                   +-----------+----------------------+
                   |    0x28   |            1.0000000 |
                   +-----------+----------------------+
                   |    0x30   |            2.0000000 |
                   +-----------+----------------------+
                   |    0xF8   |     67108864.0000000 |
                   +-----------+----------------------+
                   |    0xFF   |    125829120.0000000 |
                   +-----------+----------------------+

                          Table 1: Test Vectors

Appendix B.  Efficient Time Value Approximation

   A forwarder frequently converts compact time into milliseconds to
   compare Interest lifetimes and the duration of cache entries.  On
   many architectures, multiplication and division perform slower than
   addition, subtraction, and bit shifts.  The following equations
   approximate the formulas in Section 4, and scale from seconds into
   the milliseconds range by applying a factor of 2^10 instead of 10^3.
   This results in an error of 2.4%.

   b == 0:   2^10 * a * 2^-3 * 2^1 * 2^-5
             = a << 3

   b > 0:    (2^10 + a * 2^-3 * 2^10) * 2^b * 2^-5
             = (1 << 5 + a << 2) << b

Acknowledgments

   We would like to thank the active members of the ICNRG research group
   for constructive thoughts.  In particular, we thank Marc Mosko and
   Ken Calvert for their valuable feedback on the encoding scheme and
   the protocol integration.  Special thanks also to Carsten Bormann for
   his constructive in-depth comments during the IRSG review.

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Authors' Addresses

   Cenk Gündoğan
   Huawei Technologies Duesseldorf GmbH
   Riesstrasse 25
   D-80992 Munich
   Germany
   Email: cenk.gundogan@huawei.com

   Thomas C. Schmidt
   HAW Hamburg
   Berliner Tor 7
   D-20099 Hamburg
   Germany
   Email: t.schmidt@haw-hamburg.de
   URI:   http://inet.haw-hamburg.de/members/schmidt

   Dave Oran
   Network Systems Research and Design
   4 Shady Hill Square
   Cambridge, MA 02138
   United States of America
   Email: daveoran@orandom.net

   Matthias Wählisch
   TUD Dresden University of Technology
   Helmholtzstr. 10
   D-01069 Dresden
   Germany
   Email: m.waehlisch@tu-dresden.de

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