RPL Storing Root-ACK

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Author Rahul Jadhav 
Last updated 2021-11-09
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ROLL                                                    R.A. Jadhav, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                           9 November 2021
Intended status: Standards Track                                        
Expires: 13 May 2022

                          RPL Storing Root-ACK


   This document explains problems with DAO-ACK handling in RPL Storing
   MOP and provides updates to RFC6550 to solve those problems.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on 13 May 2022.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Requirements Language and Terminology . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Problems with DAO-ACK in Storing MOP  . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.1.  End to End Path Establishment Indication  . . . . . . . .   4
     2.2.  Target node is unaware if it needs to retry the DAO . . .   5
     2.3.  RPL node acting as router for RULs  . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   3.  Requirements for Root-ACK handling in Storing MOP . . . . . .   6
   4.  Root-ACK from Root  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.1.  Transit Information Option update in DAO message  . . . .   6
     4.2.  Root sends Root-ACK addressed to Target . . . . . . . . .   7
   5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   6.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   7.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     7.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     7.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8

1.  Introduction

   RPL [RFC6550] specifies a proactive distance-vector routing scheme
   designed for LLNs (Low Power and Lossy Networks).  RPL enables the
   network to be formed as a DODAG and supports storing mode and non-
   storing mode of operations.  Non-storing mode allows reduced memory
   resource usage on the nodes by allowing non-BR nodes to operate
   without managing a routing table and involves use of source routing
   by the Root to direct the traffic along a specific path.  In storing
   mode of operation the routing happens on hop-by-hop basis and
   intermediate routers need to maintain routing tables.

   DAO messaging helps to install downstream routing paths in the DODAG.
   DAOs are generated on hop-by-hop basis.  DAO may contain multiple RPL
   Control Options.  The Target Option identifies the address prefix for
   which the route has to be installed and the corresponding Transit
   Information Option identifies the parameters (such as lifetime,
   freshness-counter, etc) for the target.  The DAO base object contains
   the 'K' flag indicating that a DAO-ACK is sought by the sender.  The
   DAO, DAO-ACK progresses on hop-by-hop basis all the way till Root.
   In non-storing MOP, the DAO from the target node is directly
   addressed to the Root and the Root responds with a DAO-ACK indicating
   path establishment status.  However, in storing MOP, the DAO-ACK is
   immediately sent by the upstream parent.  Thus in case of storing
   MOP, the target node cannot rely on DAO-ACK as an indication that the
   end to end (from the target node to Root) path has been established.

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   This draft highlights various issues with RPL DAO-ACK handling in
   Storing MOP.  Section 4 of [I-D.ietf-roll-rpl-observations] provides
   more context to the problem statement.  The draft provides
   requirements to solve the issues and provides an updates to RFC6550
   based on these requirements.

1.1.  Requirements Language and Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

   MOP: Mode of Operation

   NS-MOP: RPL Non-Storing Mode of Operation

   S-MOP: RPL Storing Mode of Operation

   Root-ACK: The Root-ACK syntax is same as DAO-ACK except that the
   Root-ACK is addressed directly to the peer who owns the target
   prefix.  DAO-ACK in contrast is always sent using link-local IPv6
   address in storing MOP.

   DelayDAO: Section 9.5 of RFC6550 introduces a delay before the DAO
   transmission is initiated.

   TIO: (Transit Information Option) Section 6.7.8 of RFC6550.  TIO is
   an option usually carried in DAO message and augments control
   information for the advertised Target.

   RUL: (RPL Unaware Leaf) [I-D.ietf-roll-unaware-leaves]

   This document uses terminology described in [RFC6550].

2.  Problems with DAO-ACK in Storing MOP

   Consider the following topology for the subsequent description:

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                                     / \
                                    /   \
                                   /     \
                                 (B)    -(C)
                                  |    /  |
                                  |   /   |
                                  |  /    |
                                 (D)-    (E)
                                   \      ;
                                    \    ;
                                     \  ;
                                      / \
                                     /   \
                                    /     \
                                  (G)     (H)

                         Figure 1: Sample topology

2.1.  End to End Path Establishment Indication

   Nodes need to know whether the end to end path till the Root has been
   established before they can initiate application traffic.  In case of
   NS-MOP, the DAO is addressed to the Root from the Target node and the
   Root sends DAO-ACK directly addressed back to the target node.  Thus
   in case of NS-MOP, the node can make use of this DAO-ACK as an
   indication whether the necessary routes have been installed.
   However, in case of Storing MOP, the DAO/DAO-ACK signaling happens at
   every hop.

                 Non-Storing MOP

                 | D ======== B ======== A ======== (Root)
                 |  ---------------DAO------------>
                 |  <-----------DAO-ACK------------

                   Figure 2: NS-MOP DAO/DAO-ACK handling

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                 Storing MOP

                 | D ======== B ======== A ======== (Root)
                 |  ---DAO--->
                 |  <-DAO-ACK-
                 |             ---DAO--->
                 |             <-DAO-ACK-
                 |                        ---DAO--->
                 |                        <-DAO-ACK-

                 Figure 3: Storing MOP DAO/DAO-ACK handling

   Note that in Storing-MOP, the DAO/DAO-ACK signaling happens on hop-
   by-hop basis and a DelayDAO timer is used before intermediate 6LRs
   generate the DAO.  This would mean that the DAO reaching the Root may
   take several seconds.  The target node should not generate the
   application traffic unless the end to end path is established.

   Consider Figure 1, when node D sends a DAO, the node B receives the
   DAO and instantly sends back DAO-ACK.  Node B then subsequently
   generates the DAO with Target as Node D and sends it to node A.  The
   DAO with Target as Node D may take time (since the DAO is scheduled
   with DelayDAO timer by every node) to finally reach the Root at which
   point the end to end path is established.  There is no way for node D
   to know when the end to end path is established.  This information is
   needed for node D to initiate its application traffic.  Initiating
   application traffic prior to this might almost certainly lead to
   application packet retries causing congestion in the network.

2.2.  Target node is unaware if it needs to retry the DAO

   It is possible that the intermediate 6LR goes down while attempting
   to generate DAO on behalf of the target node.  In this case, the
   target node has no way of knowing to retry the DAO, in which case the
   route installation may not happen until the target node's DAO
   lifetime expires.

   Consider Figure 1, assume that node A was generating DAO with Target
   node D and sending it to Root.  Node A reboots before attempting to
   send DAO to Root.  Node A has already sent DAO-ACK downstream to node
   B.  In this case, the target node D is not aware that sending DAO has
   failed somewhere upstream.  Note that as per RFC6550 upstream DAO is
   scheduled based on DelayDAO but DAO-ACK is sent instantaneously on
   DAO reception from downstream node.

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2.3.  RPL node acting as router for RULs

   An RPL node may act as a router for RPL unware leaves as described in
   [I-D.ietf-roll-unaware-leaves].  Ideally an RPL node should start
   accepting RULs solicitation only after making sure that it has
   established itself in the network first.  In Storing-MOP, there is no
   way to ascertain this.

3.  Requirements for Root-ACK handling in Storing MOP

   Following are the requirements:

   Indicate end to end path establishment  The Target node must know
      when to initiate the application traffic based on end to end path

   Handle multiple targets in DAOs  A DAO message may contain multiple
      Target Options.  The Root-ACK mechanism must handle multiple
      targets in DAO.

   Handle DAOs with address prefix  RPL DAO Target Option may contain an
      address prefix i.e., not the full address.

   Provide suitable way for target node to retry  The Target node must
      have a way to know and retry the DAO in case the DAO transmission
      fails enroute.

   Backward compatible with current DAO-ACK  The current per hop DAO-ACK
      must function as it is.  Legacy nodes should be able to operate
      without any changes.

4.  Root-ACK from Root

   The draft defines a way for the RPL Root to send the Root-ACK back
   directly addressed to the Target node.  The Target node can receive
   the Root-ACK directly thus getting an indication that the end to end
   path till the Root has been successfully established.  The Root-ACK
   uses the same syntax and message code as DAO-ACK.  The only
   difference is that the Root-ACK is directly addressed to the Target
   node who owns the advertised prefix in the Target Option.

4.1.  Transit Information Option update in DAO message

   The Target node indicates that it wishes to receive Root-ACK directly
   from Root by setting the newly defined 'K' flag in Transit
   Information Option.

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     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 = 0x06 | Option Length |E|I|K|  Flags  | Path Control  |
     | Path Sequence | Path Lifetime |

      Figure 4: Updated Transit Information Option (New K flag added)

   The K flag indicates that the Root of the RPLInstance MUST send a
   Root-ACK directly to the target node.

4.2.  Root sends Root-ACK addressed to Target

   On receiving a DAO with Transit Information Option with 'K' flag set,
   the Root MUST respond with a Root-ACK immediately to the address
   extracted from the corresponding Target Option.

   The Root-ACK MUST contain the Transit Information Option with
   parameters copied from the DAO's Transit Information Option based on
   which this Root-ACK was generated.  The PathSequence in the Transit
   Information Option helps the Target node to identify for which DAO it
   generated it has received the Root-ACK.  The DAOSequence in the base
   Root-ACK(DAO-ACK) base object is ignored by the Target node.

5.  IANA Considerations

   IANA is requested to allocate bit 2 from the Transit Information
   Option Flags registry for the 'K' flag (Section 4.1).

6.  Security Considerations

   This node introduces a new flag in response to which the Root of the
   DODAG would send a Root-ACK which serves as an indication for the
   target node that the end to end route/path is established.  The Root-
   ACK indication eventually would be used by the end node for
   application layer processing such as initiating the application
   traffic.  A malicious node could generate the Root-ACK pre-maturely
   i.e, before the end-to-end path is established and cause the
   application to do some processing pre-maturely.  However, the
   application layer would always account for application layer failures
   and thus shouldn't result in any security issues.  This could result
   in more control overhead which is currently the case where nodes do
   not support this specification.

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   A malicious 6LR or 6LN could set the 'K' flag indicating the Root to
   send a Root-ACK.  The Root would generate a Root-ACK for the
   indicated target.  The Root need not keep any additional state for
   handling the 'K' flag.

   This document assumes that the security mechanisms as defined in
   [RFC6550] are followed, which means that all the nodes are part of
   the RPL network because they have the required credentials.  A non-
   secure RPL network needs to take into consideration the risks
   highlighted in this section as well as those highlighted in

7.  References

7.1.  Normative References

              Thubert, P. and M. C. Richardson, "Routing for RPL
              (Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks)
              Leaves", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-
              roll-unaware-leaves-30, 22 January 2021,

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

   [RFC6550]  Winter, T., Ed., Thubert, P., Ed., Brandt, A., Hui, J.,
              Kelsey, R., Levis, P., Pister, K., Struik, R., Vasseur,
              JP., and R. Alexander, "RPL: IPv6 Routing Protocol for
              Low-Power and Lossy Networks", RFC 6550,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6550, March 2012,

7.2.  Informative References

              Jadhav, R. A., Sahoo, R. N., and Y. Wu, "RPL
              Observations", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-
              ietf-roll-rpl-observations-06, 3 June 2021,

Author's Address

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   Rahul Arvind Jadhav (editor)
   Bangalore 560037

   Email: rahul.ietf@gmail.com

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