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Path Aware Networking: Obstacles to Deployment (A Bestiary of Roads Not Taken)

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This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 9049.
Author Spencer Dawkins
Last updated 2018-10-15
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PANRG                                                    S. Dawkins, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                       Huawei Technologies
Intended status: Informational                          October 15, 2018
Expires: April 18, 2019

Path Aware Networking: Obstacles to Deployment (A Bestiary of Roads Not


   At the first meeting of the Path Aware Networking Research Group,
   Oliver Bonaventure led a discussion of mostly-unsuccessful attempts
   to exploit Path Awareness to achieve a variety of goals, for a
   variety of reasons, over the past decade.  At the end of that
   discussion, the research group agreed to catalog and analyze these
   ideas, in order to extract insights and lessons for path-aware
   networking researchers.

   This document contains that catalog and analysis.

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 April 18, 2019.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2018 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
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents

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   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  About this Document . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.2.  A Note for the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.3.  Architectural Guidance  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   2.  Summary of Lessons Learned  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Template for Contributions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   4.  Contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.1.  Integrated Services (IntServ) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       4.1.1.  Reasons for Non-deployment  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
       4.1.2.  Lessons Learned.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     4.2.  Quick-Start TCP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
       4.2.1.  Reasons for Non-deployment  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
       4.2.2.  Lessons Learned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     4.3.  Triggers for Transport (TRIGTRAN) . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
       4.3.1.  Reasons for Non-deployment  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       4.3.2.  Lessons Learned.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     4.4.  Shim6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       4.4.1.  Reasons for Non-deployment  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       4.4.2.  Lessons Learned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     4.5.  Next Steps in Signaling (NSIS)  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       4.5.1.  Reasons for Non-deployment  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
       4.5.2.  Lessons Learned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   5.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   6.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   7.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   8.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20

1.  Introduction

   At IETF 99, the Path Aware Networking Research Group [PANRG] held its
   first meeting [PANRG-99], and the first presentation in that session
   was "A Decade of Path Awareness" [PATH-Decade].  At the end of this
   discussion, two things were abundantly clear.

   o  The Internet community has accumulated considerable experience
      with many Path Awareness ideas over a long period of time, and

   o  Although some Path Awareness ideas have been successfully deployed
      (for example, Differentiated Services, or DiffServ [RFC2475]),
      most of these ideas haven't seen widespread adoption.  The reasons
      for non-adoption are many, and are worthy of study.

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   The meta-lessons from that experience were

   o  Path Aware Networking is more Research than Engineering, so
      establishing an IRTF Research Group for Path Aware Networking is
      the right thing to do [RFC7418].

   o  Analyzing a catalog of past experience to learn the reasons for
      non-adoption would be a great first step for the Research Group.

   Allison Mankin, the IRTF Chair, officially chartered the Path Aware
   Networking Research Group in July, 2018.

   This document contains the analysis performed by that research group
   (see Section 2), based on that catalog (see Section 4).

1.1.  About this Document

   This document is not intended to catalog every idea about Path Aware
   Networking that we can find.  Instead, we include enough ideas to
   provide background for new lessons to guide researchers in their
   work, in order to add those lessons to Section 2.

   There is no shame to having an idea included in this document.  As
   shown in Section 2, the quality of specific proposals had little to
   do with whether they were deployed or not.  The first contribution
   added to this document was for a proposal from the editor of this
   document Section 4.3, and it wasn't deployed.  When these proposals
   were made, the proponents were trying to engineer something when they
   should have been trying to research it.  Actual shame would be
   failing to learn from experience, and failing to share that
   experience with other networking researchers and engineers.

   We may stand on the shoulders of giants, but most of those giants'
   Path Aware Networking ideas weren't deployed, either!

   Discussion of specific contributed experiences and this document in
   general should take place on the PANRG mailing list.

1.2.  A Note for the Editor

   (Remove after taking these actions)

   The to-do list for upcoming revisions includes

   o  Confirm that the Summary of Lessons Learned makes sense and is
      complete, in consultation with the Research Group.

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   o  If the Research Group identifies technologies that provided
      lessons that aren't included in Section 2, solicit contributions
      for those technologies.

   o  Edit the contributed subsections for basic consistency (since they
      have different contributors providing initial material).

1.3.  Architectural Guidance

   As background for understanding the Lessons Learned contained in this
   document, the reader is encouraged to become familiar with the
   Internet Architecture Board's documents on "What Makes for a
   Successful Protocol?"  [RFC5218] and "Planning for Protocol Adoption
   and Subsequent Transitions" [RFC8170].

   Although these two documents do not specifically target path-aware
   networking protocols, they are helpful resources on successful
   protocol adoption and deployment.

   Because there is an economic aspect to decisions about deployment,
   the IAB Workshop on Internet Technology Adoption and Transition
   [ITAT] report [RFC7305] also provides food for thought.

2.  Summary of Lessons Learned

   This section summarizes the Lessons Learned from the contributed
   sections in Section 4.

   Each Lesson Learned is tagged with one or more contributions that
   encountered this obstacle as a significant impediment to deployment.
   Other contributed technologies may have also encountered this
   obstacle, but this obstacle may not have been the biggest impediment
   to deployment.

   o  The benefit of Path Awareness has to be great enough to overcome
      entropy for already-deployed devices.  The colloquial American
      English expression, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a "best
      current practice" on today's Internet.  (See Section 4.2 and
      Section 4.3).

   o  Providing benefits for early adopters is key - if everyone must
      deploy a technology in order for the topology to provide benefits,
      or even to work at all, the technology is unlikely to be adopted.
      (See Section 4.1 and Section 4.2).

   o  "Follow the money."  If operators can't charge for a Path Aware
      technology in order to recover the costs of deploying it, the

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      benefits to the operator must be really significant.  (See
      Section 4.3).

   o  Impact of a Path Aware technology on operational practices can
      prevent deployment of promising technology.  (See Section 4.4).

   o  Per-connection state in intermediate devices is an impediment to
      adoption and deployment.  (See Section 4.1).

   o  Modern routers aren't designed to make heavy use of in-band
      signaling using mechanisms such as IPv4 and IPv6 Router Alert
      Options (RAO), so operators are reluctant to deploy technologies
      that rely on these signals.  (See Section 4.5).

   o  If endpoints can't be trusted, operators are reluctant to deploy
      technologies that rely on endpoints sending unauthenticated
      control signals to routers.  (See Section 4.5).

   o  If intermediate devices along the path can't be trusted, it's
      unlikely that endpoints will rely on signals from intermediate
      devices to drive changes to endpoint behaviors.  (See
      Section 4.3).

   o  The Internet is a distributed system, so the more a technology
      relies on information propagated from distant hosts and routers,
      the less likely that information is to be accurate.  (See
      Section 4.2).

   o  Transport protocol technologies may require information from
      applications, in order to work effectively, but applications may
      not know the information they need to provide.  (See Section 4.2).

3.  Template for Contributions

   There are many things that could be said about the Path Aware
   networking technologies that have been developed.  For the purposes
   of this document, contributors are requested to provide

   o  the name of a technology, including an abbreviation if one was

   o  if available, a long-term pointer to the best reference describing
      the technology

   o  a short description of the problem the technology was intended to

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   o  a short description of the reasons why the technology wasn't

   o  a short statement of the lessons that researchers can learn from
      our experience with this technology.

   This document is being built collaboratively.  To contribute your
   experience, please send a Github pull request to

4.  Contributions

   Additional contributions that provide Lessons Learned beyond those
   already captured in Section 2 are welcomed.

4.1.  Integrated Services (IntServ)

   The suggested references for IntServ are:

   o  RFC 1633 Integrated Services in the Internet Architecture: an
      Overview [RFC1633]

   o  RFC 2211 Specification of the Controlled-Load Network Element
      Service [RFC2211]

   o  RFC 2212 Specification of Guaranteed Quality of Service [RFC2212]

   o  RFC 2215 General Characterization Parameters for Integrated
      Service Network Elements [RFC2215]

   o  RFC 2205 Resource ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP) [RFC2205]

   In 1994, when the IntServ architecture document [RFC1633] was
   published, real-time traffic was first appearing on the Internet.  At
   that time, bandwidth was a scarce commodity.  Internet Service
   Providers built networks over DS3 (45 Mbps) infrastructure, and sub-
   rate (< 1 Mpbs) access was common.  Therefore, the IETF anticipated a
   need for a fine-grained QoS mechanism.

   In the IntServ architecture, some applications require service
   guarantees.  Therefore, those applications use the Resource
   Reservation Protocol (RSVP) [RFC2205] to signal bandwidth
   reservations across the network.  Every router in the network
   maintains per-flow state in order to a) perform call admission
   control and b) deliver guaranteed service.

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   Applications use Flow Specification (Flow Specs) [RFC2210] to
   describe the traffic that they emit.  RSVP reserves bandwidth for
   traffic on a per Flow Spec basis.

4.1.1.  Reasons for Non-deployment

   IntServ was never widely deployed because of its cost.  The following
   factors contributed to cost:

   o  IntServ must be deployed on every router within the QoS domain

   o  IntServ maintained per flow state

   As IntServ was being discussed, the following occurred:

   o  It became more cost effective to solve the QoS problem by adding
      bandwidth.  Between 1994 and 2000, Internet Service Providers
      upgraded their infrastructures from DS3 (45 Mbps) to OC-48 (2.4
      Gbps).  This meant that even if an endpoint was using IntServ in
      an IntServ-enabled network, its requests would never be denied, so
      endpoints and Internet Service Providers had little reason to
      enable IntServ.

   o  DiffServ [RFC2475] offered a more cost-effective, albeit less
      fine-grained, solution to the QoS problem.

4.1.2.  Lessons Learned.

   The following lessons were learned:

   o  Any mechanism that requires a router to maintain per-flow state is
      not likely to succeed.

   o  Any mechanism that requires an operator to upgrade all of its
      routers is not likely to succeed.

   IntServ was never widely deployed.  However, the technology that it
   produced was deployed for reasons other than bandwidth management.
   RSVP is widely deployed as an MPLS signaling mechanism.  BGP uses
   Flow Specs to distribute firewall filters.

4.2.  Quick-Start TCP

   The suggested references for Quick-Start TCP are:

   o  RFC 4782 Quick-Start for TCP and IP [RFC4782]

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   o  Determining an appropriate sending rate over an underutilized
      network path [SAF07]

   o  Fast Startup Internet Congestion Control for Broadband Interactive
      Applications [Sch11]

   Quick-Start [RFC4782] is an experimental TCP extension that leverages
   support from the routers on the path to determine an allowed sending
   rate, either at the start of data transfers or after idle periods.
   In these cases, a TCP sender cannot easily determine an appropriate
   sending rate, given the lack of information about the path.  The
   default TCP congestion control therefore uses the time-consuming
   slow-start algorithm.  With Quick-Start, connections are allowed to
   use higher sending rates if there is significant unused bandwidth
   along the path, and if the sender and all of the routers along the
   path approve the request.  By examining Time To Live (TTL) fields, a
   sender can determine if all routers have approved the Quick-Start
   request.  The protocol also includes a nonce that provides protection
   against cheating routers and receivers.  If the Quick-Start request
   is explicitly approved by all routers along the path, the TCP host
   can send at up to the approved rate; otherwise TCP would use the
   default congestion control.  Quick-Start requires modifications in
   the involved end-systems as well in routers.  Due to the resulting
   deployment challenges, Quick-Start was only proposed in [RFC4782] for
   controlled environments.

   The Quick-Start protocol is a lightweight, coarse-grained, in-band,
   network-assisted fast startup mechanism.  The benefits are studied by
   simulation in a research paper [SAF07] that complements the protocol
   specification.  The study confirms that Quick-Start can significantly
   speed up mid-sized data transfers.  That paper also presents router
   algorithms that do not require keeping per-flow state.  Later studies
   [Sch11] comprehensively analyzes Quick-Start with a full Linux
   implementation and with a router fast path prototype using a network
   processor.  In both cases, Quick-Start could be implemented with
   limited additional complexity.

4.2.1.  Reasons for Non-deployment

   However, the experiments with Quick-Start in [Sch11] reveal several

   o  Having information from the routers along the path can reduce the
      risk of congestion, but cannot avoid it entirely.  Determining
      whether there is unused capacity is not trivial in actual router
      and host implementations.  Data about available bandwidth visible
      at the IP layer may be imprecise, and due to the propagation
      delay, information can already be outdated when it reaches the

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      sender.  There is a trade-off between the speedup of data
      transfers and the risk of congestion even with Quick-Start.

   o  For scalable router fast path implementation, it is important to
      enable parallel processing of packets, as this is a widely used
      method e.g. in network processors.  One challenge is
      synchronization of information between different packets, which
      should be avoided as much as possible.

   o  Only selected applications can benefit from Quick-Start.  For
      achieving an overall benefit, it is important that senders avoid
      sending unnecessary Quick-Start requests, e.g. for connections
      that will only send a small amount of data.  This typically
      requires application-internal knowledge.  It is a mostly unsolved
      question how a sender can indeed determine the data rate that
      Quick-Start shall request for.

   After completion of the Quick-Start specification, there have been
   large-scale experiments with an initial window of up to 10 MSS
   [RFC6928].  This alternative "IW10" approach can also ramp up data
   transfers faster than the standard TCP congestion control, but it
   only requires sender-side TCP modifications.  As a result, this
   approach can be easier and incrementally deployed in the Internet.
   While theoretically Quick-Start can outperform "IW10", the absolute
   improvement of data transfer times is rather small in many cases.
   After publication of [RFC6928], most modern TCP stacks have increased
   their default initial window.  There is no known deployment of Quick-
   Start TCP.

4.2.2.  Lessons Learned

   There are some lessons learned from Quick-Start.  Despite being a
   very light-weight protocol, Quick-Start suffers from poor incremental
   deployment properties, both regarding the required modifications in
   network infrastructure as well as its interactions with applications.
   Except for corner cases, congestion control can be quite efficiently
   performed end-to-end in the Internet, and in modern TCP stacks there
   is not much room for significant improvement by additional network

4.3.  Triggers for Transport (TRIGTRAN)

   The suggested references for TRIGTRAN are:



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   TCP [RFC0793] has a well-known weakness - the end-to-end flow control
   mechanism has only a single signal, the loss of a segment, and semi-
   modern TCPs (since the late 1980s) have interpreted the loss of a
   segment as evidence that the path between two endpoints has become
   congested enough to exhaust buffers on intermediate hops, so that the
   TCP sender should "back off" - reduce its sending rate until it knows
   that its segments are now being delivered without loss [RFC2581].
   More modern TCPs have added a growing array of strategies about how
   to establish the sending rate [RFC5681], but when a path is no longer
   operational, TCPs can wait many seconds before retrying a segment,
   even if the path becomes operational while the sender is waiting for
   its next retry.

   The thinking in Triggers for Transport was that if a path completely
   stopped working because its first-hop link was "down", that somehow
   TCP could be signaled when the first-hop link returned to service,
   and the sending TCP could retry immediately, without waiting for a
   full Retransmission Time Out (RTO) period.

4.3.1.  Reasons for Non-deployment

   Two TRIGTRAN BOFs were held, at IETF 55 [TRIGTRAN-55] and IETF 56
   [TRIGTRAN-56], but this work was not chartered, and there was no
   interest in deploying TRIGTRAN unless it was chartered and
   standardized in the IETF.

4.3.2.  Lessons Learned.

   The reasons why this work was not chartered provide several useful
   lessons for researchers.

   o  TRIGTRAN triggers are only provided when the first-hop link is
      "down", so TRIGTRAN triggers couldn't replace normal TCP
      retransmission behavior if the path failed because some link
      further along the network path was "down".  So TRIGTRAN triggers
      added complexity to an already complex TCP state machine, and
      didn't allow any existing complexity to be removed.

   o  The state of the art in the early 2000s was that TRIGTRAN triggers
      were assumed to be unauthenticated, so they couldn't be trusted to
      tell a sender to "speed up", only to "slow down".  This reduced
      the potential benefit to implementers.

   o  intermediate forwarding devices required modification to provide
      TRIGTRAN triggers, but operators couldn't charge for TRIGTRAN
      triggers, so there was no way to recover the cost of modifying,
      testing, and deploying updated intermediate devices.

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4.4.  Shim6

   The suggested references for Shim6 are:

   o  RFC5533 Shim6: Level 3 Multihoming Shim Protocol for IPv6

   The IPv6 routing architecture [RFC1887] assumed that most sites on
   the Internet would be identified by Provider Assigned IPv6 prefixes,
   so that Default-Free Zone routers only contained routes to other
   providers, resulting in a very small routing table.

   For a single-homed site, this could work well.  A multi-homed site
   with only one upstream provider could also work well, although BGP
   multihoming from a single upstream provider was often a premium
   service (costing more than twice as much as two single-homed sites),
   and if the single upstream provider went out of service, all of the
   multi-homed paths could fail simultaneously.

   IPv4 sites often multihomed by obtaining Provider Independent
   prefixes, and advertising these prefixes through multiple upstream
   providers.  With the assumption that any multihomed IPv4 site would
   also multihome in IPv6, it seemed likely that IPv6 routing would be
   subject to the same pressures to announce Provider Independent
   prefixes, resulting in a global IPv6 routing table that exhibited the
   same problems as the global IPv4 routing table.  During the early
   2000s, work began on a protocol that would provide the same benefits
   for multihomed IPv6 sites without requiring sites to advertise
   Provider Independent prefixes into the global routing table.

   This protocol, called Shim6, allowed two endpoints to exchange
   multiple addresses ("Locators") that all mapped to the same endpoint
   ("Identity").  After an endpoint learned multiple Locators for the
   other endpoint, it could send to any of those Locators with the
   expectation that those packets would all be delivered to the endpoint
   with the same Identity.  Shim6 was an example of an "Identity/Locator
   Split" protocol.

   Shim6, as defined in [RFC5533] and related RFCs, provided a workable
   solution for IPv6 multihoming using Provider Assigned prefixes,
   including capability discovery and negotiation, and allowing end-to-
   end application communication to continue even in the face of path
   failure, because applications don't see Locator failures, and
   continue to communicate with the same Identity using a different

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4.4.1.  Reasons for Non-deployment

   Note that the problem being addressed was "site multihoming", but
   Shim6 was providing "host multihoming".  That meant that the decision
   about what path would be used was under host control, not under
   router control.

   Although more work could have been done to provide a better technical
   solution, the biggest impediments to Shim6 deployment were
   operational and business considerations.  These impediments were
   discussed at multiple network operator group meetings, including
   [Shim6-35] at [NANOG-35].

   The technology issues centered around scaling concerns that Shim6
   relied on the host to track all the TCP connections and the file
   descriptions with associated HTTP state, while also tracking
   Identity/Locator mappings in the kernel, and tracking failures to
   recognize that a backup path has failed.

   The operator issues centered around concerns that operators were
   performing traffic engineering, but would have no visibility or
   control over hosts when they chose to begin using another path, and
   relying on hosts to engineer traffic exposed their networks to
   oscillation based on feedback loops, as hosts move from path to path.
   At a minimum, traffic engineering policies must be pushed down to
   individual hosts.  In addition, the usual concerns about firewalls
   that expected to find a transport-level protocol header in the IP
   payload, and won't be able to perform firewalling functions because
   its processing logic would have to look past the Identity header.

   The business issues centered removing or reducing the ability to sell
   BGP multihoming service, which is often more expensive than single-
   homed connectivity.

4.4.2.  Lessons Learned

   It is extremely important to take operational concerns into account
   when a path-aware protocol is making decisions about path selection
   that may conflict with existing operational practices and business

   We also note that some path-aware networking ideas recycle.  Stream
   Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) has provided support for
   multihoming since 2000 [RFC2960], but was designed to transport PSTN
   signaling messages over IP networks.  SCTP was capable of broader
   applications, but because multi-homed hosts in the 1990s were
   uncommon, and deployment of new transport protocols such as SCTP
   required either operating system kernel support or access to raw IP

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   packets until a UDP encapsulation for SCTP [RFC6951] was produced in
   2013, SCTP multihoming did not stir up the same operator concerns
   that Shim6 encountered.  Although Shim6 did not achieve significant
   deployment, the IETF chartered a working group to specify "Multipath
   TCP" [MP-TCP] in 2009, and Multipath TCP allows general-purpose TCP
   applications to control path selection, with many of the same
   advantages and disadvantages of Shim6.

4.5.  Next Steps in Signaling (NSIS)

   The suggested references for NSIS are:

   o  the concluded working group charter [NSIS-CHARTER-2001]

   o  RFC 5971 GIST: General Internet Signalling Transport [RFC5971]

   o  RFC 5973 NAT/Firewall NSIS Signaling Layer Protocol (NSLP)

   o  RFC 5974 NSIS Signaling Layer Protocol (NSLP) for Quality-of-
      Service Signaling [RFC5974]

   o  RFC 5981 "Authorization for NSIS Signaling Layer Protocols

   The Next Steps in Signaling (NSIS) Working Group worked on signaling
   technologies for network layer resources (e.g., QoS resource
   reservations, Firewall and NAT traversal).

   When RSVP [RFC2205] was used in deployments, a number of questions
   came up about its perceived limitations and potential missing
   features.  The issues noted in the NSIS Working Group charter
   [NSIS-CHARTER-2001] include interworking between domains with
   different QoS architectures, mobility and roaming for IP interfaces,
   and complexity.  Later, the lack of security in RSVP was also
   recognized ([RFC4094]).

   The NSIS Working Group was chartered to tackle those issues and
   initially focused on QoS signaling as its primary use case.  However,
   over time a new approach evolved that introduced a modular
   architecture using application-specific signaling protocols (the NSIS
   Signaling Layer Protocol (NSLP)) on top of a generic signaling
   transport protocol (the NSIS Transport Layer Protocol (NTLP)).

   The NTLP is defined in [RFC5971].  Two NSLPs are defined: the NSIS
   Signaling Layer Protocol (NSLP) for Quality-of-Service Signaling
   [RFC5974] as well as the NAT/Firewall NSIS Signaling Layer Protocol
   (NSLP) [RFC5973].

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4.5.1.  Reasons for Non-deployment

   The obstacles for deployment can be grouped into implementation-
   related aspects and operational aspects.

   o  Implementation-related aspects:

   Although NSIS provides benefits with respect to flexibility,
   mobility, and security compared to other network signaling
   technologies, hardware vendors were reluctant to deploy this
   solution, because it would require additional implementation effort
   and would result in additional complexity for router implementations.

   The NTLP mainly operates as path-coupled signaling protocol, i.e, its
   messages are processed at the intermediate node's control plane that
   are also forwarding the data flows.  This requires a mechanism to
   intercept signaling packets while they are forwarded in the same
   manner (especially along the same path) as data packets.  One reason
   for the non-deployment of NSIS is the usage of the IPv4 and IPv6
   Router Alert Option (RAO) to allow for an efficient interception of
   those path-coupled signaling messages: This option requires router
   implementations to correctly understand and implement the handling of
   RAOs, e.g., to only process packet with RAOs of interest and to leave
   packets with irrelevant RAOs in the fast forwarding processing path
   (a comprehensive discussion of these issues can be found in
   [RFC6398]).  The latter was an issue with some router implementations
   at the time of standardization.

   Another reason is that path-coupled signaling protocols that interact
   with routers and request manipulation of state at these routers (or
   any other network element in general) are under scrutiny: a packet
   (or sequence of packets) out of the mainly untrusted data path is
   requesting creation and manipulation of network state.  This is seen
   as potentially dangerous (e.g., opens up a Denial of Service (DoS)
   threat to a router's control plane) and difficult for an operator to
   control.  End-to-end signaling approaches were considered problematic
   (see also section 3 of [RFC6398]).  There are recommendations on how
   to secure NSIS nodes and deployments (e.g., [RFC5981]).

   o  Operational Aspects:

   End-to-end signaling technologies not only require trust between
   customers and their provider, but also among different providers.
   Especially, QoS signaling technologies would require some kind of
   dynamic service level agreement support that would imply (potentially
   quite complex) bilateral negotiations between different Internet
   service providers.  This complexity was currently not considered to
   be justified and increasing the bandwidth capacity (and thus avoiding

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   bottlenecks) was cheaper than actively managing network resource
   bottlenecks by using path-coupled QoS signaling technologies.
   Furthermore, an end-to-end path typically involves several provider
   domains and these providers need to closely cooperate in cases of

4.5.2.  Lessons Learned

   One goal of NSIS was to decrease the complexity of the signaling
   protocol, but a path-coupled signaling protocol comes with the
   intrinsic complexity of IP-based networks, beyond the complexity of
   the signaling protocol itself.  Sources of intrinsic complexity

   o  the presence of asymmetric routes between endpoints and routers

   o  the lack of security and trust at large in the Internet

   o  the presence of different trust boundaries,

   o  the effects of best-effort networks (e.g., packet loss)

   o  divergence from the fate sharing principle (e.g., state within the

   Any path-coupled signaling protocol has to deal with these realities.

   Operators view the use of IPv4 and IPv6 Router Alert Option (RAO) to
   signal routers along the path from end systems with suspicion,
   because these end systems are usually not authenticated and heavy use
   of RAOs can easily increase the CPU load on routers that are designed
   to process most packets using a hardware "fast path".

5.  Security Considerations

   This document describes ideas that were not adopted and widely
   deployed on the Internet, so it doesn't affect the security of the

   If this document meets its goals, we may develop new ideas for Path
   Aware Networking that would affect the security of the Internet, but
   security considerations for those ideas will be described in the
   corresponding RFCs that propose them.

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6.  IANA Considerations

   This document makes no requests of IANA.

7.  Acknowledgments

   Initial material for Section 4.1 on IntServ was provided by Ron

   Initial material for Section 4.2 on Quick-Start TCP was provided by
   Michael Scharf.

   Initial material for Section 4.3 on Triggers for Transport (TRIGTRAN)
   was provided by Spencer Dawkins.

   Section 4.4 on Shim6 builds on initial material describing obstacles
   provided by Erik Nordmark, with background added by Spencer Dawkins.

   Initial material for Section 4.5 on Next Steps In Signaling (NSIS)
   was provided by Roland Bless and Martin Stiemerling.

   Our thanks to Roland Bless, Ruediger Geib, and Joe Touch, who
   provided review comments on previous versions.

8.  Informative References

   [ITAT]     "IAB Workshop on Internet Technology Adoption and
              Transition (ITAT)", December 2013,

   [MP-TCP]   "Multipath TCP Working Group Home Page", n.d.,

              "North American Network Operators Group NANOG-35 Agenda",
              October 2005,

              "Next Steps In Signaling Working Group Charter", March

   [PANRG]    "Path Aware Networking Research Group (Home Page)", n.d.,

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              "Path Aware Networking Research Group - IETF-99", July

              Bonaventure, O., "A Decade of Path Awareness", July 2017,

   [RFC0793]  Postel, J., "Transmission Control Protocol", STD 7,
              RFC 793, DOI 10.17487/RFC0793, September 1981,

   [RFC1633]  Braden, R., Clark, D., and S. Shenker, "Integrated
              Services in the Internet Architecture: an Overview",
              RFC 1633, DOI 10.17487/RFC1633, June 1994,

   [RFC1887]  Rekhter, Y., Ed. and T. Li, Ed., "An Architecture for IPv6
              Unicast Address Allocation", RFC 1887,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC1887, December 1995,

   [RFC2205]  Braden, R., Ed., Zhang, L., Berson, S., Herzog, S., and S.
              Jamin, "Resource ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP) -- Version 1
              Functional Specification", RFC 2205, DOI 10.17487/RFC2205,
              September 1997, <>.

   [RFC2210]  Wroclawski, J., "The Use of RSVP with IETF Integrated
              Services", RFC 2210, DOI 10.17487/RFC2210, September 1997,

   [RFC2211]  Wroclawski, J., "Specification of the Controlled-Load
              Network Element Service", RFC 2211, DOI 10.17487/RFC2211,
              September 1997, <>.

   [RFC2212]  Shenker, S., Partridge, C., and R. Guerin, "Specification
              of Guaranteed Quality of Service", RFC 2212,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2212, September 1997,

   [RFC2215]  Shenker, S. and J. Wroclawski, "General Characterization
              Parameters for Integrated Service Network Elements",
              RFC 2215, DOI 10.17487/RFC2215, September 1997,

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   [RFC2475]  Blake, S., Black, D., Carlson, M., Davies, E., Wang, Z.,
              and W. Weiss, "An Architecture for Differentiated
              Services", RFC 2475, DOI 10.17487/RFC2475, December 1998,

   [RFC2581]  Allman, M., Paxson, V., and W. Stevens, "TCP Congestion
              Control", RFC 2581, DOI 10.17487/RFC2581, April 1999,

   [RFC2960]  Stewart, R., Xie, Q., Morneault, K., Sharp, C.,
              Schwarzbauer, H., Taylor, T., Rytina, I., Kalla, M.,
              Zhang, L., and V. Paxson, "Stream Control Transmission
              Protocol", RFC 2960, DOI 10.17487/RFC2960, October 2000,

   [RFC4094]  Manner, J. and X. Fu, "Analysis of Existing Quality-of-
              Service Signaling Protocols", RFC 4094,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4094, May 2005,

   [RFC4782]  Floyd, S., Allman, M., Jain, A., and P. Sarolahti, "Quick-
              Start for TCP and IP", RFC 4782, DOI 10.17487/RFC4782,
              January 2007, <>.

   [RFC5218]  Thaler, D. and B. Aboba, "What Makes for a Successful
              Protocol?", RFC 5218, DOI 10.17487/RFC5218, July 2008,

   [RFC5533]  Nordmark, E. and M. Bagnulo, "Shim6: Level 3 Multihoming
              Shim Protocol for IPv6", RFC 5533, DOI 10.17487/RFC5533,
              June 2009, <>.

   [RFC5681]  Allman, M., Paxson, V., and E. Blanton, "TCP Congestion
              Control", RFC 5681, DOI 10.17487/RFC5681, September 2009,

   [RFC5971]  Schulzrinne, H. and R. Hancock, "GIST: General Internet
              Signalling Transport", RFC 5971, DOI 10.17487/RFC5971,
              October 2010, <>.

   [RFC5973]  Stiemerling, M., Tschofenig, H., Aoun, C., and E. Davies,
              "NAT/Firewall NSIS Signaling Layer Protocol (NSLP)",
              RFC 5973, DOI 10.17487/RFC5973, October 2010,

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   [RFC5974]  Manner, J., Karagiannis, G., and A. McDonald, "NSIS
              Signaling Layer Protocol (NSLP) for Quality-of-Service
              Signaling", RFC 5974, DOI 10.17487/RFC5974, October 2010,

   [RFC5981]  Manner, J., Stiemerling, M., Tschofenig, H., and R. Bless,
              Ed., "Authorization for NSIS Signaling Layer Protocols",
              RFC 5981, DOI 10.17487/RFC5981, February 2011,

   [RFC6398]  Le Faucheur, F., Ed., "IP Router Alert Considerations and
              Usage", BCP 168, RFC 6398, DOI 10.17487/RFC6398, October
              2011, <>.

   [RFC6928]  Chu, J., Dukkipati, N., Cheng, Y., and M. Mathis,
              "Increasing TCP's Initial Window", RFC 6928,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6928, April 2013,

   [RFC6951]  Tuexen, M. and R. Stewart, "UDP Encapsulation of Stream
              Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) Packets for End-Host
              to End-Host Communication", RFC 6951,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6951, May 2013,

   [RFC7305]  Lear, E., Ed., "Report from the IAB Workshop on Internet
              Technology Adoption and Transition (ITAT)", RFC 7305,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7305, July 2014,

   [RFC7418]  Dawkins, S., Ed., "An IRTF Primer for IETF Participants",
              RFC 7418, DOI 10.17487/RFC7418, December 2014,

   [RFC8170]  Thaler, D., Ed., "Planning for Protocol Adoption and
              Subsequent Transitions", RFC 8170, DOI 10.17487/RFC8170,
              May 2017, <>.

   [SAF07]    Sarolahti, P., Allman, M., and S. Floyd, "Determining an
              appropriate sending rate over an underutilized network
              path", Computer Networking Volume 51, Number 7, May 2007.

   [Sch11]    Scharf, M., "Fast Startup Internet Congestion Control for
              Broadband Interactive Applications", Ph.D. Thesis,
              University of Stuttgart, April 2011.

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              Meyer, D., Huston, G., Schiller, J., and V. Gill, "IAB
              IPv6 Multihoming Panel at NANOG 35", NANOG North American
              Network Operator Group, October 2005,

              "Triggers for Transport BOF at IETF 55", July 2003,

              "Triggers for Transport BOF at IETF 56", November 2003,

Author's Address

   Spencer Dawkins (editor)
   Huawei Technologies


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