Transport Area Working Group                                  B. Briscoe
Internet-Draft                                                  BT & UCL
Expires: August 31, 2006                               February 27, 2006

        Emulating Border Flow Policing using Re-ECN on Bulk Data

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006).


   Scaling per flow admission control to the Internet is a hard problem.
   A recently proposed approach combines Diffserv and pre-congestion
   notification (PCN) to provide a service slightly better than Intserv
   controlled load.  It scales to networks of any size, but only if
   domains trust each other to comply with admission control and rate
   policing.  This memo claims to solve this trust problem without
   losing scalability.  It describes bulk border policing that emulates
   per-flow policing with the help of another recently proposed
   extension to ECN, involving re-echoing ECN feedback (re-ECN).  With

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   only passive, bulk measurements at borders, sanctions can be applied
   against cheating networks.

Status (to be removed by the RFC Editor)

   This memo is posted as an Internet-Draft with the intent to
   eventually progress to informational status.  It is envisaged that
   the necessary standards actions to realise the system described would
   sit in three other documents currently being discussed (but not on
   the standards track) in the IETF Transport Area [Re-TCP], [RSVP-ECN]
   & [PCN].  The authors seek comments from the Internet community on
   whether combining PCN and re-ECN is a sufficient solution to the
   admission control problem.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   2.  Requirements Notation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   3.  The Problem  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     3.1.  The Traditional Per-flow Policing Problem  . . . . . . . .  5
     3.2.  Generic Scenario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
   4.  Re-ECN Protocol for an RSVP Transport  . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
     4.1.  Protocol Overview  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
     4.2.  Re-ECN Abstracted Network Layer Wire Protocol (IPv4 or
           v6)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     4.3.  Protocol Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
     4.4.  Aggregate Bootstrap  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
     4.5.  Flow Bootstrap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
   5.  Emulating Border Policing with Re-ECN  . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
     5.1.  Policing Overview  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
     5.2.  Pre-requisite Contractual Arrangements . . . . . . . . . . 21
     5.3.  Emulation of Per-Flow Rate Policing: Rationale and
           Limits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
     5.4.  Policing Dishonest Marking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
     5.5.  Competitive Routing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
     5.6.  Fail-safes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
   6.  Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
   7.  Extensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
   8.  Design Choices and Rationale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
   9.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
   10. Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
   11. Conclusions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
   12. Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
   13. Comments Solicited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
   14. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
     14.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
     14.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
   Appendix A.  Implementation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
     A.1.  Ingress Gateway Algorithm for Blanking the RE bit  . . . . 33
     A.2.  Bulk Downstream Congestion Metering Algorithm  . . . . . . 34
     A.3.  Algorithm for Sanctioning Negative Traffic . . . . . . . . 35
   Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
   Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements . . . . . . . . . . 37

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1.  Introduction

   The Internet community largely lost interest in the Intserv
   architecture after it was clarified that it would be unlikely to
   scale to the whole Internet [RFC2208].  Although Intserv mechanisms
   proved impractical, the services it aimed to offer are still very
   much required.

   A recently proposed approach [CL-arch] combines Diffserv and pre-
   congestion notification (PCN) to provide a service slightly better
   than Intserv controlled load [RFC2211].  It scales to any size
   network, but only if domains trust each other to comply with
   admission control and rate policing.  This memo describes border
   policing measures to sanction networks that cheat each other.  The
   approach provides a sufficient emulation of flow rate policing at
   trust boundaries but without per-flow processing.  The emulation is
   not perfect, but it is sufficient to ensure that the punishment is at
   least proportionate to the severity of the cheat.

   The aim is to be able to claim that controlled load service can scale
   to any number of endpoints, even though such scaling must take
   account of the increasing numbers of networks and users who may all
   have conflicting interests.  To achieve such scaling, this memo
   combines two recent proposals, both of which it briefly recaps:

   o  A framework for admission control over Diffserv using pre-
      congestion notification [CL-arch] describes how bulk pre-
      congestion notification on routers within an edge-to-edge Diffserv
      region can emulate the precision of per-flow admission control to
      provide controlled load service without unscalable per-flow

   o  Re-ECN: Adding Accountability to TCP/IP [Re-TCP].  The trick that
      addresses cheating at borders is to recognise that border policing
      is mainly necessary because cheating upstream networks will admit
      traffic when they shouldn't only as long as they don't directly
      experience the downstream congestion their misbehaviour can cause.
      The re-ECN protocol ensures upstream nodes honestly declare
      expected downstream congestion in all forwarded packets, which we
      then use to emulate border policing.

   Rather than the end-to-end arrangement used when re-ECN was specified
   for the TCP transport [Re-TCP], this memo specifies re-ECN in an
   edge-to-edge arrangement, making it applicable to the Diffserv
   admission control scenario in the framework.  Also, rather than using
   a TCP transport for regular congestion feedback, this memo specifies
   re-ECN using RSVP as the transport.  We use the proposed minor
   extension of RSVP that allows it to carry congestion feedback [RSVP-

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   ECN], which is much less frequent but more precise than TCP.

   Of course, network operators may choose to process per-flow
   signalling at their borders for their own reasons, such as per-flow
   accounting.  But the goal of this document is to show that per-flow
   processing at borders is no longer necessary in order to provide end-
   to-end QoS using flow admission control.  To be clear, we are
   absolutely opposed to standardisation of technology that embeds
   particular business models into the Internet.  Our aim here is to
   provide a new metric (downstream congestion) at trust boundaries.
   Given the well-known significance of congestion in economics,
   operators can then use this new metric in their interconnection
   contracts if they choose.  This will enable competitive evolution of
   new business models (for examples see&nbsp[IXQoS]), alongside more
   traditional models that depend on more costly per-flow processing at

   We specify this protocol solution in detail in Section 4, after
   specifying the inter-domain policing problem more precisely and
   briefly recapping the framework for providing admission control using
   pre-congestion notification in Section 3.

   Having described the solution, this memo continues as follows: {ToDo:

2.  Requirements Notation

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

3.  The Problem

3.1.  The Traditional Per-flow Policing Problem

   If we claim to be able to emulate per-flow policing with bulk
   policing at trust boundaries, we need to know exactly what we are
   emulating.  So, even though we expect it to become a historic
   practice, we will start from the traditional scenario with per-flow
   policing at trust boundaries to explain why it has always been
   considered necessary.

   To be able to take advantage of a reservation-based service such as
   controlled load, a source must reserve resources using a signalling
   protocol such as RSVP [RFC2205].  But, even if the source is
   authorised and admitted at the flow level, it cannot necessarily be

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   trusted to send packets within the rate profile it requested.  For
   instance, without data rate policing, a source could reserve
   resources for an 8kbps audio flow but transmit a 6Mbps video (theft
   of service).  More subtly, the sender could generate bursts that were
   outside the profile it had requested.

   In traditional architectures, per-flow packet rate-policing is
   expensive and unscalable but, without it, a network is vulnerable to
   such theft of service (whether malicious or accidental).  Perhaps
   more importantly, if flows are allowed to send more data than they
   were permitted, the ability of admission control to give assurances
   to other flows will break.

   A signalled request refers to a flow of packets by its flow ID tuple
   (filter spec [RFC2205]) (or its security parameter index (SPI)&
   nbsp[RFC2207] if port numbers are hidden by IPsec encryption).  But
   merely opening a pin-hole for packets that match an admitted flow ID
   is an insufficient policing mechanism.  The packet rate must also be
   policed to keep the flow within the requested flow spec [RFC2205].

   Just as sources need not be trusted to keep within their requested
   flow spec, whole networks might also try to cheat.  We will now set
   up a concrete scenario to illustrate such cheats.  Imagine
   reservations for unidirectional flows from senders, through at least
   two networks, an edge network and its downstream transit provider.
   Imagine the edge network charges its retail customers per reservation
   but also has to pay its transit provider a charge per reservation.
   Typically, both its selling and buying charges might depend on the
   duration and rate of each reservation.  The level of the actual
   selling and buying prices are irrelevant to our discussion (most
   likely the network will sell at a higher price than it buys, of

   A cheating ingress network could systematically reduce the size of
   its retail customers' reservation signalling requests before
   forwarding them to its transit provider (and systematically reinstate
   the responses on the way back).  It would then receive an honest
   income from its upstream retail customer but only pay for
   fraudulently smaller reservations downstream.  Equivalently, a
   cheating ingress network may feed the traffic from a number of flows
   into an aggregate reservation over the transit that is smaller than
   the total of all the flows.  Because of these fraud possibilities, in
   traditional QoS reservation architectures the downstream network
   polices at each border.  The policer checks that the actual sent data
   rate of each flow is within the signalled reservation.

   Reservation signalling could be authenticated end to end, but this
   wouldn't prevent the aggregation cheat just described.  For this

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   reason, and to avoid the need for a global PKI, signalling integrity
   is typically only protected on a hop-by-hop basis &nbsp[RFC2747].

   A variant of the above cheat is where a router in an honest
   downstream network denies admission to a new reservation, but a
   cheating upstream network still admits the flow.  For instance, the
   networks may be using Diffserv internally, but Intserv admission
   control at their borders [RFC2998].  The cheat would only work if
   they were using bulk Diffserv traffic policing at their borders,
   perhaps to avoid the cost/complexity of Intserv border policing.  As
   far as the cheating upstream network is concerned, it gets the
   revenue from the reservation, but it doesn't have to pay any
   downstream wholesale charges and the congestion is in someone else's
   network.  The cheating network may calculate that most of the flows
   affected by congestion in the downstream network aren't likely to be
   its own.  It may also calculate that the downstream router is
   probably not actually congested, but rather it is denying admission
   to new flows to protect bandwidth assigned to other lower priority

   To summarise, in traditional reservation signalling architectures, if
   a network cannot trust a neighbouring upstream network to rate-police
   each reservation, it has to check for itself that the data fits
   within each of the reservations it has admitted.

3.2.  Generic Scenario

   We will now describe a generic internetworking scenario that we will
   use to describe and to test our bulk policing proposal.  It consists
   of a number of networks and endpoints that do not fully trust each
   other to behave.  In Section 6 we will tie down exactly what we mean
   by partial trust, and we will consider the various combinations where
   some networks do not trust each other and others are colluding

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    _    ___      _____________________________________       ___    _
   | |  |   |   _|__    ______    ______    ______    _|__   |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  |    |  |      |  |      |  |      |  |    |  |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  |    |  |Inter-|  |Inter-|  |Inter-|  |    |  |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  |    |  | ior  |  | ior  |  | ior  |  |    |  |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  |    |  |Domain|  |Domain|  |Domain|  |    |  |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  |    |  |  A   |  |  B   |  |  C   |  |    |  |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  |    |  |      |  |      |  |      |  |    |  |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  +----+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +----+  |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  |    |  |B|  |B|  |B|  |B|  |B|  |B|  |    |  |   |  | |
   | |==|   |==|Ingr|==|R|  |R|==|R|  |R|==|R|  |R|==|Egr |==|   |==| |
   | |  |   |  |G/W |  | |  | |  | |  | |  | |  | |  |G/W |  |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  +----+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +----+  |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  |    |  |      |  |      |  |      |  |    |  |   |  | |
   | |  |   |  |____|  |______|  |______|  |______|  |____|  |   |  | |
   |_|  |___|    |_____________________________________|     |___|  |_|

   Sx   Ingress               Diffserv region               Egress   Rx
   End  Access                                              Access  End
   Host Network                                            Network Host
                <-------- edge-to-edge signalling ------->
                          (for admission control)

   <-------------------end-to-end QoS signalling protocol------------->

   Figure 1: Generic Scenario (see text for explanation of terms)

   An ingress and egress gateway (Ingr G/W and Egr G/W in Figure 1)
   connect the interior Diffserv region to the edge access networks
   where routers (not shown) use per-flow reservation processing.
   Within the Diffserv region are three interior domains, A, B and C, as
   well as the inward facing interfaces of the ingress and egress
   gateways.  An ingress and egress border router (BR) is shown
   interconnecting each interior domain with the next.  There may be
   other interior routers (not shown) within each interior domain.

   In two paragraphs we now briefly recap how pre-congestion
   notification is intended to be used to control flow admission to a
   large Diffserv region.  The first paragraph describes data plane
   functions and the second describes signalling in the control plane.
   We omit many details from [CL-arch] including behaviour during
   routing changes.  For brevity here we assume other flows are already
   in progress across a path through the Diffserv region before a new
   one arrives, but how bootstrap works is described in Section 4.4.

   Figure 1 shows a single simplex reserved flow from the sending (Sx)
   end host to the receiving (Rx) end host.  The ingress gateway polices
   incoming traffic within its admitted reservation and remarks it to

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   turn on an ECN-capable codepoint&nbsp[RFC3168] and the controlled
   load (CL) Diffserv codepoint.  Together, these codepoints define
   which traffic is entitled to the enhanced scheduling of the CL
   behaviour aggregate on routers within the Diffserv region.  The CL
   PHB of interior routers consists of a scheduling behaviour and a new
   ECN marking behaviour that we call 'pre-congestion
   notification' [PCN].  The CL PHB simply re-uses the definition of
   expedited forwarding (EF)&nbsp[RFC3246] for its scheduling behaviour.
   But it incorporates a new ECN marking behaviour, which sets the ECN
   field of an increasing number of CL packets to the admission marked
   (AM) codepoint as they approach a threshold rate that is lower than
   the line rate.  The use of virtual queues ensures real queues have
   hardly built up any congestion delay.

   The level of marking detected at the egress of the Diffserv region,
   is then used by the signalling system in order to determine admission
   control.  The end-to-end QoS signalling (e.g.  RSVP) for a new
   reservation takes one giant hop from ingress to egress gateway,
   because interior routers within the Diffserv region are configured to
   ignore RSVP.  The egress gateway holds flow state because it takes
   part in the end-to-end reservation.  So it can classify all packets
   by flow and it can identify all flows that have the same previous
   RSVP hop (a CL-region-aggregate).  For each CL-region-aggregate of
   flows in progress, the egress gateway maintains a per-packet moving
   average of the fraction of pre-congestion-marked traffic.  Once an
   RSVP PATH message for a new reservation has hopped across the
   Diffserv region and reached the destination, an RSVP RESV message is
   returned.  As the RESV message passes, the egress gateway piggy-backs
   the relevant pre-congestion level onto it [RSVP-ECN].  Again,
   interior routers ignore the RSVP message, but the ingress gateway
   strips off the pre-congestion level.  If the pre-congestion level is
   above a threshold, the ingress gateway denies admission to the new
   reservation, otherwise it returns the original RESV signal back
   towards the data sender.

   Once a reservation is admitted, its traffic will always receive low
   delay service for the duration of the reservation.  This is because
   ingress gateways ensure that traffic not under a reservation cannot
   pass into the Diffserv region with the CL DSCP set.  So non-reserved
   traffic will always be treated with a lower priority PHB at each
   interior router.

4.  Re-ECN Protocol for an RSVP Transport

4.1.  Protocol Overview

   First we need to recap the way routers accumulate congestion marking

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   along a path.  Each ECN-capable router marks some packets with CE,
   the marking probability increasing with the length of the virtual
   queue at its egress link [PCN].  With multiple ECN-capable routers on
   a path, the ECN field accumulates the fraction of CE marking that
   each router adds.  The combined effect of the packet marking of all
   the routers along the path signals congestion of the whole path to
   the receiver.  So, for example, if one router early in a path is
   marking 1% of packets and another later in a path is marking 2%,
   flows that pass through both routers will experience approximately 3%

   The packets crossing an inter-domain trust boundary within the
   Diffserv region will all have come from different ingress gateways
   and will all be destined for different egress gateways.  We will show
   that the key to policing against theft of service is to be able to
   measure expected downstream pre-congestion on the paths between a
   border router and the egress gateways that packets are headed for.

   With the original ECN protocol, if CE markings crossing the border
   had been counted over a period, they would have represented the
   accumulated upstream pre-congestion that had already been experienced
   by those packets.  The general idea of re-ECN is for the ingress
   gateway to continuously encode path congestion into the IP header,
   where path means from ingress to egress gateway.  Then at any point
   on that path (e.g. between domains A & B in Figure 2 below), IP
   headers can be monitored to subtract upstream congestion from
   expected path congestion in order to give the expected downstream
   congestion still to be experienced until the egress gateway.

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                _|__    ______    ______    ______    _|__
               |    |  |  A   |  |  B   |  |  C   |  |    |
               +----+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +----+
               |    |  |B|  |B|  |B|  |B|  |B|  |B|  |    |
               |Ingr|==|R|  |R|==|R|  |R|==|R|  |R|==|Egr |
               |G/W |  | |  | |: | |  | |  | |  | |  |G/W |
               +----+  +-+  +-+: +-+  +-+  +-+  +-+  +----+
               |    |  |      |: |      |  |      |  |    |
               |____|  |______|: |______|  |______|  |____|
                 |             :                       |
                 |<-upstream-->:<-expected downstream->|
                 | congestion  :      congestion       |
                 |     u               v ~= p - u      |
                 |                                     |
                 |<--- expected path congestion, p --->|

   Figure 2: Re-ECN concept

4.2.  Re-ECN Abstracted Network Layer Wire Protocol (IPv4 or v6)

   In this section we define the names of the various codepoints of the
   re-ECN protocol, deferring description of their semantics to the
   following sections.  First we recap the re-ECN wire protocol proposed
   in [Re-TCP].  It uses the two bit ECN field broadly as in
   RFC3168 [RFC3168].  It also uses a new re-ECN extension (RE) bit.
   The actual position of the RE bit is different between IPv4 & v6
   headers so we will use an abstraction of the IPv4 and v6 wire
   protocols by just calling it the RE bit.  [Re-TCP] proposes using bit
   48 (currently unused) in the IPv4 header for the RE bit, while it
   proposes an ECN extension header for IPv6.

   Unlike the ECN field, the RE bit is intended to be set by the sender
   and remain unchanged along the path, although it can be read by
   network elements that understand the re-ECN protocol.  In the
   scenario used in this memo, an ingress gateway changes the setting of
   the RE bit, acting as a proxy for the sender, as permitted in the
   specification of re-ECN.

   Although the RE bit is a separate, single bit field, it can be read
   as an extension to the two-bit ECN field; the three concatenated bits
   in what we will call the extended ECN field (EECN) make eight
   codepoints available.  When the RE bit setting is "don't care", we
   use the RFC3168 names of the ECN codepoints, but [Re-TCP] proposes
   the following six codepoint names for when there is a need to be more

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   |  ECN  | RFC3168    |  RE  | re-ECN      |      re-ECN meaning     |
   | field | codepoint  |  bit | codepoint   |                         |
   |   00  | Not-ECT    |   0  | NRECT       |    Not re-ECN-capable   |
   |       |            |      |             |        transport        |
   |   00  | Not-ECT    |   1  | NF          |       No feedback       |
   |       |            |      |             |                         |
   |   01  | ECT(1)     |   0  | Re-Echo     |   Re-echoed congestion  |
   |       |            |      |             |         and RECT        |
   |   01  | ECT(1)     |   1  | RECT        |      re-ECN capable     |
   |       |            |      |             |        transport        |
   |   10  | ECT(0)     |   0  | --CU--      |     Currently unused    |
   |       |            |      |             |                         |
   |   10  | ECT(0)     |   1  | --CU--      |     Currently unused    |
   |       |            |      |             |                         |
   |   11  | CE         |   0  | CE(0)       |  Congestion experienced |
   |       |            |      |             |       with Re-Echo      |
   |   11  | CE         |   1  | CE(-1)      |  Congestion experienced |

    Table 1: Re-cap of Default Extended ECN Codepoints Proposed for Re-

   As permitted by RFC3168, [PCN] proposes new semantics for the ECN
   codepoints when combined with a Diffserv codepoint (DSCP) that uses
   pre-congestion notification.  It also proposes various alternative
   encodings for these semantics, attempting to fit five states into the
   four available ECN codepoints by making various compromises.  The
   five states are Not-ECT, ECT (ECN-capable transport), the ECN Nonce,
   Admission Marking (AM) and Pre-emption Marking (PM).

   One of the five states was for the ECN Nonce [RFC3540], but the
   capability we describe in this memo supercedes any need for the
   Nonce.  The ECN Nonce is an elegant scheme, but it only allows a
   sending node (or its proxy) to detect suppression of congestion
   marking by a cheating receiver.  Thus the Nonce requires the sender
   or its proxy to be trusted to respond correctly to congestion.  But
   this is precisely the main cheat we want to protect against (as well
   as many others).

   One of the compromises that [PCN] explores ("Alternative 5") leaves
   out support for the ECN Nonce.  Therefore we use that one.  Then,
   with the addition of the RE bit, the 8 encodings of the extended ECN
   (EECN) field become those defined in the table below.  Note that
   these codepoints only take on the semantics in the table below when
   combined with a Diffserv codepoint that the operator has defined as
   supporting pre-congestion notification.

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   |   ECN  | PCN       |  RE  | re-ECN      |      re-ECN meaning     |
   |  field | codepoint |  bit | codepoint   |                         |
   |   00   | Not-ECT   |   0  | NRECT       |    Not re-ECN-capable   |
   |        |           |      |             |        transport        |
   |   00   | Not-ECT   |   1  | NF          |       No feedback       |
   |        |           |      |             |                         |
   |   01   | ECT(1)    |   0  | Re-Echo     |   Re-echoed congestion  |
   |        |           |      |             |         and RECT        |
   |   01   | ECT(1)    |   1  | RECT        |      re-ECN capable     |
   |        |           |      |             |        transport        |
   |   10   | AM        |   0  | AM(0)       |  Admission Marking with |
   |        |           |      |             |         Re-Echo         |
   |   10   | AM        |   1  | AM(-1)      |    Admission Marking    |
   |   11   | PM        |   0  | PM(0)       |   Pre-emption Marking   |
   |        |           |      |             |       with Re-Echo      |
   |   11   | PM        |   1  | PM(-1)      |   Pre-emption Marking   |

   Table 2: Extended ECN Codepoints if the Diffserv codepoint uses Pre-
                       congestion Notification (PCN)

   For the rest of this memo, we will not distinguish between Admission
   Marking and Pre-emption Marking (unless stated otherwise).  We will
   call both "congestion marking".  With the above encoding, congestion
   marking can be read to mean any packet with the left-most bit of the
   ECN field set.

   All but the "not re-ECN-capable transport" (NRECT) field imply the
   presence of an ECN-capable transport.  Congested PCN-capable routers
   must drop rather than mark packets carrying the NRECT codepoint.
   Note that adding PCN-capability to a router will involve checking the
   RE bit as well as the ECN field and DSCP before deciding whether to
   drop or to mark a packet during congestion.  Router implementations
   might well append the RE bit to their internal representation of the
   ECN field, treating them internally as one 3-bit extended ECN value.

4.3.  Protocol Operation

   In this section we will give an overview of the operation of the re-
   ECN protocol for an RSVP transport, deferring a detailed
   specification to the following sections.

   The re-ECN protocol involves a simple tweak to the action of the
   gateway at the ingress edge of the CL region.  In the framework just
   described [CL-arch], for each active traffic aggregate across the CL
   region (CL-region-aggregate) the ingress gateway will hold a fairly

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   recent Congestion-Level-Estimate that the egress gateway will have
   fed back to it, piggybacked on the signalling that sets up each flow.
   For instance, one aggregate might have been experiencing 3% pre-
   congestion (that is, congestion marked octets whether Admission
   Marked or Pre-emption Marked).  In this case, the ingress gateway
   MUST clear the RE bit to "0" for the same percentage of octets of CL-
   packets (3%) and set it to "1" in the rest (97%).  Appendix A.1 gives
   a simple pseudo-code algorithm that the ingress gateway may use to do

   The RE bit is set and cleared this way round for incremental
   deployent reasons (see [Re-TCP]).  To avoid confusion we will use the
   term `blanking' (rather than marking) when the RE bit is cleared to
   "0", so we will talk of the `RE blanking fraction' as the fraction of
   octets with the RE bit cleared to "0".

       |         RE blanking fraction
    3% |    +----------------------------+====+
       |    |                            |    |
    2% |    |                            |    |
       |    | congestion marking fraction|    |
    1% |    |     +----------------------+    |
       |    |     |                           |
    0% +----+=====+---------------------------+------>
            ^   <--A---> <---B---> <---C--->  ^        domain
            |     ^                      ^    |
        ingress   |                      |    egress
                1.00%                 2.00%          marking fraction

   Figure 3: Example Re-ECN Codepoint Marking fractions (Imprecise)

   Figure 3 illustrates our example.  The horizontal axis represents the
   index of each congestible resource (typically queues) along a path
   through the Internet.  The two superimposed plots show the fraction
   of each ECN codepoint observed along this path, assuming two
   congested routers somewhere within domans A and C. And the table
   below shows the downstream pre-congestion measured at various border
   observation points along the path.  These figures are actually
   reasonable approximations derived from more precise formulae given in
   Appendix A of [Re-TCP].  The RE bit is not changed by interior
   routers, so it can be seen that it acts as a reference against which
   the congestion marking fraction can be compared along the path.

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   | Border observation point | Approximate Downstream pre-congestion |
   |       ingress -- A       |              3% - 0% = 3%             |
   |          A -- B          |              3% - 1% = 2%             |
   |          B -- C          |              3% - 1% = 2%             |
   |        C -- egress       |              3% - 3% = 0%             |

   Note that the ingress determines the RE blanking fraction for each
   aggregate using the most recent feedback from the relevant egress,
   arriving with each new reservation, or each refresh.  These arrive
   relatively infrequently compared to the speed with which congestion
   changes.  Although this feedback will always be out of date, on
   average positive errors will cancel out negative over a sufficiently
   long duration.

   In summary, the network adds pre-congestion marking in the forward
   data path, the egress feeds its level back to the ingress in RSVP,
   then the ingress gateway re-echoes it into the forward data path by
   blanking the RE bit.  Hence the name re-ECN.  Then at any border
   within the Diffserv region, the pre-congestion marking that every
   passing packet will be expected to experience downstream can be
   measured to be the RE blanking fraction minus the congestion marking

4.4.  Aggregate Bootstrap

   When a new reservation PATH message arrives at the egress, if there
   are currently no flows in progress from the same ingress, there will
   be no state maintaining the current level of pre-congestion marking
   for the aggregate.  While the reservation signalling continues onward
   towards the receiving host, the egress gateway returns an RSVP
   message to the ingress with a flag [RSVP-ECN] asking the ingress to
   send a specified number of data probes between them.  This bootstrap
   behaviour is all described in the framework [CL-arch].

   However, with our new re-ECN scheme, the ingress does not know what
   proportion of the data probes should have the RE bit blanked, because
   it has no estimate yet of pre-congestion for the path across the
   Diffserv region.

   To be conservative, following the guidance for specifying other re-
   ECN transports in [Re-TCP], the ingress SHOULD set the NF codepoint
   of the extended ECN header in all probe packets (Table 2).  As per
   the framework, the egress gateway measures the fraction of
   congestion-marked probe octets and feeds back the resulting pre-
   congestion level to the ingress, piggy-backed on the returning

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   reservation response (RESV) for the new flow.  Probe packets are
   identifiable by the egress because they have the ingress as the
   source and the egress as the destination in the IP header.

   It may seem inadvisable to expect the NF codepoint to be set on
   probes, given legacy firewalls etc. might discard such packets
   (because this flag had no prevous legitimate use).  However, in the
   deployment scenarios envisaged for this admission control framework,
   each domain in the Diffserv region has to be explicitly configured to
   support the controlled load service.  So, before deploying the
   service, the operator MUST reconfigure such a misbehaving middlebox
   to allow through packets with the RE bit set.

   Note that we have said SHOULD rather than MUST for the NF setting
   behaviour of the ingress for probe packets.  This entertains the
   possibility of an ingress implementation having the benefit of other
   knowledge of the path, which it re-uses for a newly starting
   aggregate.  For instance, it may hold cached information from a
   recent use of the aggregate that is still sufficiently current to be

   It might seem pedantic worrying about these few probe packets, but
   this behaviour ensures the system is safe, even if the proportion of
   probe packets becomes large.

4.5.  Flow Bootstrap

   It might be expected that a new flow within an active aggregate would
   need no special bootstrap behaviour.  If there was an aggregate
   already in progress between the gateways the new flow was about to
   use, it would inherit the prevailing RE blanking fraction.  And if
   there were no active aggregate, the aggregate bootstrap behaviour
   would be appropriate and sufficient for the new flow.

   However, for a number of reasons, at least the first packet of each
   new flow SHOULD be set to the NF codepoint, irrespective of whether
   it is joining an active aggregate or not.  If the first packet is
   unlikely to be reliably delivered, a number of NF packets MAY be sent
   to increase the probability that at least one is delivered to the
   egress gateway.

   If each flow does not start with an NF packet, it will be seen later
   that sanctions may be incorrectly applied at the interface before the
   egress gateway.  It will often be possible to apply sanctions at the
   granularity of aggregates rather than flows, but in an internetworked
   environment it cannot be guaranteed that aggregates will be
   identifiable in remote networks.  So setting NF at the start of each
   flow is a safe strategy.  For instance, a remote network may have

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   equal cost multi-path (ECMP) routing enabled, causing flows between
   the same gateways to traverse different paths.

   After an idle period of more than 1 second, the ingress gateway
   SHOULD set the EECN field of the next packet it sends to NF.  This
   REQUIREMENT allows the design of network policers to be

   If the ingress gateway can guarantee that the network(s) that will
   carry the flow to its egress gateway all use a common identifier for
   the aggregate (e.g. a single MPLS network without ECMP routing), it
   MAY NOT set NF when it adds a new flow to an active aggregate and an
   NF packet need only be sent if a whole aggregate has been idle for
   more than 1 second.

5.  Emulating Border Policing with Re-ECN

   Note: In the rest of this memo, where the context makes it clear, we
   will loosely use the term 'congestion' rather than using the stricter
   'downstream pre-congestion'.  Also we will loosely talk of positive
   or negative traffic, meaning traffic where the moving average of the
   downstream pre-congestion metric is persistently positive or negative

   The notion of positive and negative downstream pre-congestion is
   because downstream pre-congestion is calculated by subtracting the
   congestion marking fraction from the RE blanking fraction.  Therefore
   packets can be considered to have a 'value multiplier' of +1, 0 or
   -1.  Blanking the RE bit increments the 'value multiplier' of a
   packet.  Congestion marking a packet decrements 'the value
   multiplier' (whether admission marking or pre-emption marking).  Both
   together cancel each other out (a neutral or zero 'value-
   multiplier').  The NF codepoint is an exception.  It has the same
   positive 'value multiplier' as a re-echoed packet.  The table below
   specifies unambiguously the value multipliers of each extended ECN

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   |  ECN  |  RE  | re-ECN      | 'Value       |     re-ECN meaning    |
   | field |  bit | codepoint   | multiplier'  |                       |
   |   00  |   0  | NRECT       | n/a          |   Not re-ECN-capable  |
   |       |      |             |              |       transport       |
   |   00  |   1  | NF          | +1           |      No feedback      |
   |   01  |   0  | Re-Echo     | +1           |  Re-echoed congestion |
   |       |      |             |              |        and RECT       |
   |   01  |   1  | RECT        | 0            |     re-ECN capable    |
   |       |      |             |              |       transport       |
   |   10  |   0  | AM(0)       | 0            |   Admission Marking   |
   |       |      |             |              |      with Re-Echo     |
   |   10  |   1  | AM(-1)      | -1           |   Admission Marking   |
   |   11  |   0  | PM(0)       | 0            |  Pre-emption Marking  |
   |       |      |             |              |      with Re-Echo     |
   |   11  |   1  | PM(-1)      | -1           |  Pre-emption Marking  |

                Table 4: 'Sign' of Extended ECN Codepoints

   Just as we will loosely talk of positive and negative traffic when we
   mean the level of downstream pre-congestion in the stream of traffic,
   we will also talk of positive or negative packets, meaning whether a
   packet contributes positively or negatively to downstream pre-

5.1.  Policing Overview

   To emulate border policing, the general idea is for each domain to
   apply financial penalties to its upstream neighbour in proportion to
   the amount of downstream pre-congestion that the upstream network
   sends across the border.  This seems to encourage everyone to
   understate downstream pre-congestion to reduce the penalties they
   incur.  But it is in the last domain's interest to create a balancing
   upward pressure by applying sanctions to flows where the marking
   fraction goes negative before the egress gateway.

   Of course, some domains may trust other domains to comply without
   applying sanctions or penalties.  In these cases, no penalties need
   be applied.  The re-ECN protocol ensures downstream pre-congestion
   marking is passed on correctly whether or not penalties are applied
   to it, so the system works just as well with a mixture of some
   domains trusting each other and others not.

   Figure 4 uses the same example as in previous sections to show the
   downstream pre-congestion marking fraction, v, across a path through
   the Internet.  Downward arrows show the pressure for each domain to

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   underdeclare downstream pre-congestion in traffic they pass to the
   next domain, because of the penalties.  Note that at the last egress
   of the Diffserv region, domain C should not agree to pay any
   penalties to the egress gateway for pre-congestion passed to the
   egress gateway.  Downstream pre-congestion to the egress gateway
   should have reached zero here, so if domain C agreed to pay for any
   downstream pre-congestion, it would give the egress gateway an
   incentive to overdeclare pre-congestion feedback and take the
   resulting profit from domain C.

   Providers should be free to agree the contractual terms they wish
   between themselves, so this memo does not propose to standardise how
   these penalties would be applied.  It is sufficient to standardise
   the re-ECN protocol so the downstream pre-congestion metric is
   available if providers choose to use it.  However, Section 5.2 gives
   some examples of how these penalties might be implemented.

               p e n a l t i e s
              /        |        \
       A     :         :         :
       |     |  <--A---> <---B---> <---C--->           domain
       |     V         :         :         :
    3% |    +-----+    |         |         :
       |    |     |    V         V         :
    2% |    |     +----------------------+ :
       |    |  downstream pre-congestion | :
    1% |    |     :                      | :
       |    |     :                      | :
    0% +----+----------------------------+====+------>
            :     :                      : A  :
            :     :                      : |  :
        ingress   :                      : :  egress
                1.00%                 2.00%:         pre-congestion

   Figure 4: Policing Framework, showing creation of opposing pressures
   to underdeclare and overdeclare downstream pre-congestion, using
   penalties and sanctions

   Any traffic that persistently goes negative by the time it leaves a
   domain must not have been marked correctly in the first place.  A
   domain that discovers such traffic can adopt a range of strategies to
   protect itself.  Which strategy it uses will depend on policy,
   because it cannot immediately assume malice---there may be an
   innocent configuration error somewhere in the system.  So this memo
   also does not propose to standardise any particular mechanism, but
   Section 5.4 does give examples of how the underlying re-ECN protocol

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   could be used to apply sanctions to persistently negative traffic.
   The ultimate sanction would be to drop such negative traffic
   indiscriminately, without regard to flows.  A less drastic sanction
   might be to focus drop on specific packets in specific flows to
   remove the negative bias while doing minimal harm.

   In all cases a management alarm SHOULD be raised on detecting
   persistently negative traffic and any automatic sanctions taken
   SHOULD be logged.  Even if the chosen policy is to take no automatic
   action, the cause can then be investigated manually.

   The incentive for domains not to tolerate negatively marked traffic
   depends on financial penalties never being negative.  That is, any
   level of negative marking only equates to zero penalty.  In other
   words, penalties are always paid in the same direction as the data,
   and never against the data flow.  This is consistent with the
   definition of physical congestion; when a resource is underutilised,
   it is not negatively congested, its congestion is just zero.  So,
   although short periods of negative marking can be tolerated to
   correct temporary overdeclarations due to lags in the feedback
   system, persistent downstream negative congestion can have no
   physical meaning and therefore must signify a problem.

   The upward arrow at the egress of domain C at its border with the
   egress gateway in Figure 4 represents this incentive not to allow
   negative traffic.  But the same upward pressure applies at every
   domain border (arrows not shown).

   With the above penalty system, each domain seems to have a perverse
   incentive to fake pre-congestion.  For instance domain B's profit
   depends on the difference between pre-congestion at its ingress (its
   revenue) and at its egress (its cost).  So if B overstates internal
   pre-congestion it seems to increase its profit.  However, we can
   assume that domain A could bypass B, routing through other domains to
   reach the egress.  So the competitive discipline of least-cost
   routing can ensure that any domain tempted to fake pre-congestion for
   profit risks losing all its usage revenue.  The least congested route
   would eventually be able to win this competitive game, only as long
   as it didn't declare more fake pre-congestion than the next most
   competitive route.

   Again, this memo does need to standardise any particular mechanism
   for routing based on re-ECN.  Section 5.5 explains why no new
   standards would be needed for congestion routing as long as re-ECN
   marking had been standardised.  That section also points to papers
   concerning optimising routing in the presence of usage charging.

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5.2.  Pre-requisite Contractual Arrangements

   The re-ECN protocol has been chosen to solve the policing problem
   because it embeds a downstream pre-congestion metric in passing CL
   traffic that is difficult to lie about and can be measured in bulk.
   The ability to emulate border policing depends on network operators
   choosing to use this metric as one of the elements in their contracts
   with each other.

   Already many inter-domain agreements involve a capacity and a usage
   element.  The usage element may be based on volume or various
   measures of peak demand.  We expect that those network operators that
   choose to use pre-congestion notification for admission control would
   also be willing to consider using this downstream pre-congestion
   metric as a usage element in their interconnection contracts for
   admission controlled traffic.

   Appendix A.2 gives a suggested algorithm for metering downstream
   congestion at a border router.  It could hardly be simpler.  It
   involves accumulating the volume of packets with the RE bit blanked
   and the volume of those with congestion marking and subtracting the
   two.  In order to discard a persistent negative balance (see above),
   time is slotted into periods of say 10secs (or a time sufficient for
   a few rounds of feedback depending on the level of aggregation).
   Every timeslot, a positive balance between the two counters is
   accumulated into a long-term counter and reset.  Whereas, if the
   balance during any timeslot is negative, it is discarded and a
   management alarm SHOULD also be raised.  Over an accounting period
   (say a month) the single metric in the long term counter represents
   all the downstream congestion caused by traffic passing the border

   Congestion has the dimension of [byte], being the product of volume
   transferred [byte] and percentage pre-congestion [dimensionless].
   The above algorithm effectively gives a measure of the volume
   transferred, but modulated by pre-congestion expected downstream.  So
   volume transferred during off-peak periods counts as nearly nothing,
   while volume transferred at peak times counts very highly.  The re-
   ECN protocol allows one network to measure how much pre-congestion
   has been 'dumped' into it by another network.  And then in turn how
   much of that pre-congestion it dumped into the next downstream

   Once this downstream pre-congestion metric is available, operators
   are free to choose how they incorporate it into their interconnection
   contracts&nbsp[IXQoS].  Some may include a threshold volume of pre-
   congestion as a quality measure in their service level agreement,
   perhaps with a penalty clause if the upstream network exceeds this

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   threshold over, say, a month.  Others may agree a set of tiered
   monthly thresholds, with increasing penalties as each threshold is
   exceeded.  But, it would be just as easy and more precise to do away
   with discrete thresholds, and instead make the penalty rise smoothly
   with the volume of pre-congestion by applying a price to pre-
   congestion itself.  Then the usage element of the interconnection
   contract would directly relate to the volume of pre-congestion caused
   by the upstream network.

   Typically, where capacity charges are concerned, lower tier customer
   networks pay higher tier provider networks.  So money flows from the
   edges to the middle of the internetwork where there is greater
   connectivity.  But penalties or charges for usage normally follow the
   same direction as the data flow---the direction of control at the
   network layer.  So, where a tier 2 provider sends data into a tier 3
   customer network, we would expect the penalty clauses for sending too
   much pre-congestion to be against the tier 3 network, even though it
   is the provider.

   The relative direction of penalties and charges is a constant source
   of confusion.  It may help to remember that data will be flowing in
   the other direction too.  So the provider network has as much
   opportunity to levy usage penalties as its customer, and it can set
   the price or strength of its own penalties higher if it chooses.
   Usage charges in both directions tend to cancel each other out, which
   confirms that usage-charging is less to do with revenue raising and
   more to do with encouraging load control discipline in order to
   smooth peaks and troughs, improving utilisation and quality.

   To focus the discussion, from now on, unless otherwise stated, we
   will assume a downstream network charges its upstream neighbour in
   proportion to the pre-congestion it sends, B_v, using the notation of
   Appendix A.2.  If they previously agreed the (fixed) price per byte
   of pre-congestion would be L, then the bill at the end of the month
   will simply be the product L.B_v, plus any fixed charges they may
   also have agreed.

   We are well aware that the IETF tries to avoid standardising
   technology that depends on a particular business model.  But our aim
   is merely to show that border policing can at least work with this
   one model, then we can assume that operators might experiment with
   the metric in other models.  Effectively tiered thresholds are just
   more coarse-grained approximations of the fine-grained case we choose
   to examine.  Of course, operators are free to complement this pre-
   congestion-based usage element of their charges with traditional
   capacity charging, and we expect they will.

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5.3.  Emulation of Per-Flow Rate Policing: Rationale and Limits

   The important feature of charging in proportion to congestion volume
   is that the penalty aggregates and deaggregates correctly along with
   packet flows.  This is because the penalty rises linearly with bit
   rate and linearly with congestion, because it is the product of them
   both.  So if the packets crossing a border consist of a thousand
   flows, and one of those flows doubles its rate, the ingress gateway
   forwarding that flow will have to put twice as much congestion
   marking into the packets of that flow.  And this extra congestion
   marking will add proportionately to the charges levied at every
   border the flow crosses in proportion to the amount of pre-congestion
   remaining on the path.

   As importantly, pre-congestion itself rises super-linearly with
   utilisation of a particular resource.  So if someone tries to push
   another flow into a path that is already signalling enough pre-
   congestion to warrant admission control, the penalty will be a lot
   greater than it would have been to add the same flow to a less
   congested path.  So, the system as a whole is fairly insensitive to
   the actual level of pre-congestion that each ingress chooses for
   triggering admission control.  The deterrent against exceeding
   whatever threshold is chosen rises very quickly with a small amount
   of cheating.

   These are the properties that allow re-ECN to emulate per-flow border
   policing of both rate and admission control.  When a whole inter-
   network is operating at normal (typically very low) congestion, the
   pre-congestion marking from virtual queues will be a little higher---
   still low, but more noticeable.  But this does not imply that usage
   /charges/ must also be low.  That depends on the /price/ L.

   For instance, combining capacity and volume charges is quite a common
   feature of interconnection agreements in today's Internet,
   particularly since p2p file-sharing became popular.  Imagine that the
   monthly payment between two networks is made up of a volume charge
   and a capacity charge, and they usually turn out to be in a ratio of
   about 1:2 (not atypical).  If charging for volume were replaced with
   charging for congested volume, one would expect the price of
   congestion to be arranged so that the total charge for usage remained
   about the same---still about one third of the total settlement.
   Because that is obviously the charge that the market has found is
   necessary to push back against usage.  So, if an average pre-
   congestion fraction turned out to be 0.1%, one would expect that the
   price L per byte of pre-congestion would be about 1000 times the
   previously used per byte price for volume (before congestion metrics
   were available).

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   From the above example it can be seen why operators will become
   acutely sensitive to the congestion they cause in other networks,
   which is of course the desired effect to encourage networks to
   /control/ the congestion they allow their users to cause to others.

   Effectively, usage charges will continuously flow from ingress
   gateways to the places where there is mild pre-congestion, in
   proportion to the data rates from those gateways and to the path pre-

   If anyone sends even one flow at higher rate, they will immediately
   have to pay proportionately more usage charges.  Because there is no
   knowledge of reservations within the Diffserv region, no interior
   router can police whether the rate of each flow is greater than each
   reservation.  So the system doesn't truly emulate rate-policing of
   each flow.  But there is no incentive to pack a higher rate into a
   reservation, because the charges are directly proportional to rate,
   irrespective of the reservation.

   However, if virtual queues start to fill on any path, even though
   real queues will still be able to provide low latency service, pre-
   congestion marking will rise fairly quickly.  It may eventually reach
   the threshold where the ingress gateway would deny admission to new
   flows.  If the ingress gateway cheats and continues to admit new
   flows, the affected virtual queues will rapidly fill, even though the
   real queues will still be little worse than they were when admission
   control should have been invoked.  The ingress gateway will have to
   pay the penalty for such an extremely high pre-congestion level, so
   the pressure to invoke admission control should become unbearable.

   The above mechanisms protect against rational operators.  In
   Section 5.6 we discuss how networks can protect themselves from
   accidental or deliberate misconfiguration in neighbouring networks.

5.4.  Policing Dishonest Marking

   As CL traffic leaves the last network before the egress gateway
   (domain C) the RE blanking fraction should match the congestion
   marking fraction, when averaged over a sufficiently long duration
   (perhaps ~10s to allow a few rounds of feedback through regular
   signalling of new and refreshed reservations).

   If domain C doesn't trust the networks around it to behave honestly,
   it should install a monitor at its egress.  This monitor aims to
   detect flows of CL packets that are persistently negative.  If flows
   are positive, domain C need take no action---this simply means an
   upstream network must be paying more penalties than it needs to.
   Appendix A.3 gives a suggested algorithm for the monitor.

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   Note that the monitor operates on flows but we would like it not to
   require per-flow state.  This is why we have been careful to ensure
   that all flows MUST start with a packet marked with the NF codepoint.
   If a flow does not start with the NF codepoint, a monitor is likely
   to treat it unfavourably.  This incentivises setting of the NF

   This also means that a monitor will be resistant to state exhaustion
   attacks from other networks, as the monitor never creates state
   unless an NF packet arrives.  And an NF packet counts positive, so it
   will cost a lot for a network to send many of them.

   Monitor algorithms will often maintain an average fraction of RE
   blanked packets across flows.  When maintaining an average across
   flows, a monitor MUST ignore packets with the NF codepoint set.  An
   ingress gateway sets the NF codepoint when it does not have the
   benefit of feedback from the ingress.  So counting packets with FE
   cleared would be likely to make the average unnecessarily positive,
   providing headroom (or should we say footroom?) for dishonest
   (negative) traffic.

   If the monitor detects a persistently negative flow, it could drop
   sufficient negative and neutral packets to force the flow to not be
   negative.  This is the approach taken for the 'egress dropper' in
   [Re-TCP], but for the scenario in this memo, where everyone would
   expect everyone else to keep to the protocol it is probably more
   advisable to raise a management alarm.  So all ingresses cannot
   understate downstream pre-congestion without getting logged.  Then
   the network operator can deal with the offending network at the human
   level, out of band.

5.5.  Competitive Routing

   Goldenberg et al [Smart_rtg] refers to various commercial product and
   presents its own algorithms for moving traffic between multihomed
   routes based on usage charges.  None of these systems require any
   changes to standards protocols because the choice between the
   available border gateway protocol (BGP) routes is based on a
   combination of local knowledge of the charging regime and local
   measurement of traffic levels.  If, as we propose, charges or
   penalties were based on the level of re-ECN measured in passing
   traffic, a similar optimisation could be achieved without requiring
   any changes to standard routing protocols.

   We must be clear that applying pre-congestion-based routing to this
   admission control system remains an open research issue.  Traffic
   engineering based on congestion requires careful damping to avoid
   oscillations, and should not be attempted without adult supervision

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   :) Mortier & Pratt [ECN-BGP] have analysed traffic engineering based
   on congestion.  Without the benefit of re-ECN, they they had to add a
   path attribute to BGP to advertise a route's downstream congestion
   (actually they proposed that BGP should advertise the charge for
   congestion, which we believe wrongly embeds an assumption into BGP
   that congestion will be charged for).

5.6.  Fail-safes

   The mechanisms described so far create incentives for rational
   operators to behave.  That is, one operator aims to make another
   behave responsibly by applying penalties and expecting a rational
   response that trades off costs against benefits.  It is usually
   reasonable to assume that other network operators behave rationally
   (policy routing can avoid those that might not).  But this approach
   does not protect against the misconfigurations and accidents of other

   Therefore, we propose the following two similar mechanisms at a
   network's borders to provide "defence in depth":

   Highly positive flows RE blanked packets should be sampled and a
      small regular sample picked randomly as they cross a border
      interface.  Then subsequent packets matching the same source and
      destination address and DSCP should be monitored.  If the RE
      blanking rate is well above a threshold (to be determined by
      operational practice), a management alarm SHOULD be raised, and
      the flow MAY be automatically subject to focused drop.

   Persistently negative flows congestion marked packets should be
      sampled and a small regular sample picked randomly as they cross a
      border interface.  Then subsequent packets matching the same
      source and destination address and DSCP should be monitored.  If
      the RE blanking rate minus the congestion marking rate is
      persistently negative, a management alarm SHOULD be raised, and
      the flow MAY be automatically subject to focused drop.

   Both these mechanisms rely on the fact that highly postive (or
   negative) flows will appear more quickly in the sample by selecting
   randomly solely from positive (or negative) packets.

   Note that there is no assumption that users behave rationally.  The
   system is protected from the vagiaries of irrational user behaviour
   by the ingress gateways, which transform internal penalties into a
   deterministic, admission control mechanism that prevents users from
   misbehaving, by directly engineered means.

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6.  Analysis

   The domains in Figure 1 are not expected to be completely malicious
   towards each other.  After all, we can assume that they are all co-
   operating to provide an internetworking service to the benefit of
   each of them and their customers.  Otherwise their routing polices
   would not interconnect them in the first place.  However, we assume
   that they are also competitors of each other.  So a network may try
   to contravene our proposed protocol if it would gain or make a
   competitor lose, or both, but only if it can do so without being
   caught.  Therefore we do not have to consider every possible random
   attack one network could launch on the traffic of another, given
   anyway one network can always drop or corrupt packets that it
   forwards on behalf of another.

   Therefore, we only consider new opportunities for /gainful/ attack
   that our proposal introduces.  But to a certain extent we can also
   rely on the in depth defences we have described (Section 5.6 )
   intended to mitigate the potential impact if one network accidentally
   misconfiguring the workings of this protocol.

   In the generic scenario we introduced in Figure 1 the ingress and
   egress gateways are shown in the most generic arrangement, without
   any surrounding network.  This allows us to consider more specific
   cases where these gateways and a neighbouring network are operated by
   the same player.  As well as cases where the same player operates
   neighbouring networks, we will also consider cases where the two
   gateways collude as one player and where the sender and receiver
   collude as one.  Collusion of other sets of domains are less likely,
   but we will consider such cases.  In the general case, we will assume
   none of the nine trust domains across the figure fully trust any of
   the others.

   Taking the generic scenario in Figure 1, as we only propose to change
   routers within the Diffserv region, we assume the operators of
   networks outside the region will be doing per-flow policing.  That
   is, we assume the networks outside the Diffserv region and the
   gateways around its edges can protect themselves.  So our primary
   concern is to be able to protect networks that don't do per-flow
   policing from those that do.  The ingress and egress gateways are the
   only way the outer 'enemy' can get at the middle victim, so we can
   consider the gateways as the representatives of the 'enemy' as far as
   domains A, B and C are concerned.  We will call this trust scenario
   'edges against middles'.

   Earlier in this memo, we outlined the classic border rate policing
   problem (Section 3).  It will now be useful to spell out the
   motivations that would create the lack of trust as the root cause of

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   the problem.  The more reservations a gateway can allow, the more
   revenue it receives.  The middle networks want the edges to comply
   with the admission control protocol when they become so congested
   that their service to others might suffer.  The middle networks also
   want to ensure the edges cannot steal more service from them than
   they pay for.

   In the context of this 'edges aginst middles' scenario, the re-ECN
   protocol has two main effects:

   o  The more pre-congestion there is on a path across the Diffserv
      region, the higher the ingress gateway has to declare downstream
      pre-congestion v_0.

   o  because downstream pre-congestion should on average be zero at the

   An executive summary of our security analysis can be stated in two
   parts, distinguished by the type of collusion considered.  In the
   first case collusion is limited to neighbours in the feedback loop.
   In other words, two neighbouring networks can be assumed to act as
   one.  Or the egress gateway might collude with domain C. Or the
   ingress gateway might collude with domain A. Or ingress and egress
   gateways might collude with each other.

   In these cases where only neighbours in the feedback loop collude,
   all parties have a positive incentive to declare downstream pre-
   congestion truthfully, and the ingress gateway has a positive
   incentive to invoke admission control when congestion rises above the
   admission threshold in any network in the region (including its own).
   No party has an incentive to send more traffic than declared in
   reservation signalling (even though only the gateways read this
   signalling).  In short, no party can gain at the expense of another.

   In the case of other forms of collusion (e.g. between domain A and C)
   it would be possible for say A & B to create a tunnel between
   theselves so that A would gain at the expense of B. But C would then
   lose the gain that A had made.  Therefore the value to A & C of
   colluding to mount this attack seems questionable.  It is made more
   questionable, because the attack can be statistically detected by B
   using the second defence in depth mechanism mentioned already.  Note
   that C can effectively prevent A attacking it through a tunnel, by
   treating the tunnel end point as a direct link to a neighbouring
   network, which falls back to the regular scenario without collusion.

   {ToDo: Due to lack of time, the full write up of the security
   analysis is deferred to the next version of this memo.}

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   Finally, it is well known that the best person to analyse the
   security of a system is not the designer.  Therefore, our confident
   claims must be hedged with doubt until others with an incentive to
   break it have mounted a full analysis.

7.  Extensions

   If a different signalling system, such as NSIS, were used, but
   providing admission control in a similar way using pre-congestion
   notification (e.g. with RMD [NSIS-RMD]) a similar approach to re-ECN
   could be used.

8.  Design Choices and Rationale

   The case for using re-feedback (a generalisation of re-ECN) to police
   congestion response and provide QoS is made in [Re-fb].  Essentially,
   the insight is that congestion crosses layers from the physical
   upwards.  Therefore re-feedback polices congestion response based on
   physical interfaces not addresses.  That is, the congestion leaving a
   physical interface can be policed at the interface, rather than the
   congestion on packets that claim to come from an address, which may
   be spoofed.  Also, re-feedback does not actually require feedback.  A
   source must act conservatively before it gets feedback.

   On the subject of lack of feedback, the no feedback (NF) codepoint is
   motivated by arguments for a state set-up bit in IP to prevent state
   exhaustion attacks.  This idea was first put forward by David Clark
   and documented in [Handley_Steps_DoS].  The idea is that network
   layer datagrams should signal explicitly when they require state to
   be created in the layer above (e.g. at flow start).  Then the higher
   layer can refuse to create any state unless a datagram declares this
   intent.  We believe the NF codepoint can be used to serve the same
   purpose as the proposed more generic state-set-up bit.

   The re-feedback paper [Re-fb] also makes the case for using an
   economic interpretation of congestion, which is the basis of the
   incentives-based approach used in this memo.  That paper also makes
   the case against the use of classic feedback if the economic
   interpretation of congestion is to be realised.  The problem with
   using classic feedback for policing congestion is that it opens up
   receiving networks to `denial of funds' attacks.

   {ToDo: Further Design Rationale will be included in future versions
   of this memo}

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9.  IANA Considerations

   {ToDo:}This memo includes no request to IANA (yet).

10.  Security Considerations

   This whole memo concerns the security of a scalable admission control
   system.  In particular the analysis section.  Below some specific
   security issues are mentioned that did not fit elsewhere in the memo
   or which comment on the robustness of the security provided by the

   Firstly, we must repeat the statement of applicability in the
   analysis: that we only consider new opportunities for /gainful/
   attack that our proposal introduces.  Despite only involving a few
   bits, there is sufficient complexity in the whole system that there
   are numerous possibilities for attacks not catered for.  But as far
   as we are aware, none reap any benefit to the attacker.  It will
   always be possible for one network to cause damage to another
   neighbouring network's traffic by dropping or corrupting it as it
   forwards it.  Therefore we do not believe networks would set their
   routing policies to interconnect in the first place if they didn't
   trust the other networks not to damage their traffic without any
   /direct/ gain to themselves.

   Having said this, we do want to highlight some of the weaker parts of
   our argument.  We have argued that networks will be dissuaded from
   faking congestion marking by the possibility that upstream networks
   will route round them.  As we have said, these arguments are
   intuitive and will remain fairly tenuous until proved in practice,
   particularly close to the egress where less competitive routing is

   We should also point out that the approach in this memo was only
   designed to be robust for admission control.  We do not claim the
   incentives will always be strong enough to force correct flow pre-
   emption behaviour.  This is because pre-emption of flows tends to be
   associated with much higher damage to an operator's reputation for
   robust quality than denying admission.  However, in general the
   incentives for correct flow pre-emption are similar to those for
   admission control.

   Finally, it may seem that the 8 codepoints that have been made
   available by extending the ECN field with the RE bit have been used
   rather wastefully.  In effect the RE bit has been used as an
   orthogonal single bit in nearly all cases.  The only exception being
   when the ECN field is cleared to "00".  The mapping of the codepoints

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   in an earlier version of this proposal used the codepoint space more
   efficiently, but the scheme became vulnerable to a network operator
   focusing its congestion marking to mark more positive than neutral
   packets in order to reduce its penalties.

   {ToDo: More security considerations will undoubtedly be added in
   future versions of this memo.}

11.  Conclusions

   Using pre-congestion is a promising technique to control flow
   admissions that will scale to any size network.  However, it requires
   a mechanism to ensure that networks can interconnect even if they do
   not trust each to keep to the admission control protocols.  We claim
   that the re-ECN protocol provides such a mechanism, so that one
   network can detect and prevent another network in the system fro
   cheating for its own gain.

12.  Acknowledgements

   All the following have given helpful comments and some may become co-
   authors of later drafts: Arnaud Jacquet, Alessandro Salvatori, Steve
   Rudkin, David Songhurst, John Davey, Ian Self, Anthony Sheppard (BT),
   Stephen Hailes (UCL), Francois Le Faucheur, Anna Charny (Cisco),
   Jozef Babiarz, Kwok-Ho Chan, Corey Alexander (Nortel), David Clark,
   Bill Lehr, Sharon Gillett (MIT) and comments from participants in the
   CFP/CRN inter-provider QoS and broadband working groups.

13.  Comments Solicited

   Comments and questions are encouraged and very welcome.  They can be
   addressed to the IETF Transport Area working group's mailing list
   <>, and/or to the authors.

14.  References

14.1.  Normative References

   [PCN]      Briscoe, B., Eardley, P., Songhurst, D., Le Faucheur, F.,
              Charny, A., Liatsos, V., Babiarz, J., Chan, K., and S.
              Dudley, "Pre-Congestion Notification",
              draft-briscoe-tsvwg-cl-phb-01 (work in progress),
              March 2006.

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

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

   [RFC3168]  Ramakrishnan, K., Floyd, S., and D. Black, "The Addition
              of Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) to IP",
              RFC 3168, September 2001.

   [RFC3246]  Davie, B., Charny, A., Bennet, J., Benson, K., Le Boudec,
              J., Courtney, W., Davari, S., Firoiu, V., and D.
              Stiliadis, "An Expedited Forwarding PHB (Per-Hop
              Behavior)", RFC 3246, March 2002.

              Le Faucheur, F., Charny, A., Briscoe, B., Eardley, P.,
              Babiarz, J., and K. Chan, "RSVP Extensions for Admission
              Control over Diffserv using Pre-congestion Notification",
              draft-lefaucheur-rsvp-ecn-00 (work in progress),
              October 2005.

   [Re-TCP]   Briscoe, B., Jacquet, A., and A. Salvatori, "Re-ECN:
              Adding Accountability for Causing Congestion to TCP/IP",
              draft-briscoe-tsvwg-re-ecn-tcp-01 (work in progress),
              March 2006.

14.2.  Informative References

   [CL-arch]  Briscoe, B., Eardley, P., Songhurst, D., Le Faucheur, F.,
              Charny, A., Babiarz, J., and K. Chan, "A Framework for
              Admission Control over DiffServ using Pre-Congestion
              Notification", draft-briscoe-tsvwg-cl-architecture-02
              (work in progress), March 2006.

   [ECN-BGP]  Mortier, R. and I. Pratt, "Incentive Based Inter-Domain
              Routeing", Proc Internet Charging and QoS Technology
              Workshop (ICQT'03) pp308--317, September 2003, <http://

   [IXQoS]    Briscoe, B. and S. Rudkin, "Commercial Models for IP
              Quality of Service Interconnect", BT Technology Journal
              (BTTJ) 23(2)171--195, April 2005,

              Bader, A., Westberg, L., Karagiannis, G., Kappler, C., and
              T. Phelan, "RMD-QOSM - The Resource Management in Diffserv

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              QOS Model", draft-ietf-nsis-rmd-06 (work in progress),
              February 2006.

   [RFC2205]  Braden, B., Zhang, L., Berson, S., Herzog, S., and S.
              Jamin, "Resource ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP) -- Version 1
              Functional Specification", RFC 2205, September 1997.

   [RFC2207]  Berger, L. and T. O'Malley, "RSVP Extensions for IPSEC
              Data Flows", RFC 2207, September 1997.

   [RFC2208]  Mankin, A., Baker, F., Braden, B., Bradner, S., O'Dell,
              M., Romanow, A., Weinrib, A., and L. Zhang, "Resource
              ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP) Version 1 Applicability
              Statement Some Guidelines on Deployment", RFC 2208,
              September 1997.

   [RFC2747]  Baker, F., Lindell, B., and M. Talwar, "RSVP Cryptographic
              Authentication", RFC 2747, January 2000.

   [RFC2998]  Bernet, Y., Ford, P., Yavatkar, R., Baker, F., Zhang, L.,
              Speer, M., Braden, R., Davie, B., Wroclawski, J., and E.
              Felstaine, "A Framework for Integrated Services Operation
              over Diffserv Networks", RFC 2998, November 2000.

   [RFC3540]  Spring, N., Wetherall, D., and D. Ely, "Robust Explicit
              Congestion Notification (ECN) Signaling with Nonces",
              RFC 3540, June 2003.

   [Re-fb]    Briscoe, B., Jacquet, A., Di Cairano-Gilfedder, C.,
              Salvatori, A., Soppera, A., and M. Koyabe, "Policing
              Congestion Response in an Internetwork Using Re-Feedback",
              ACM SIGCOMM CCR 35(4)277--288, August 2005, <http://

              Goldenberg, D., Qiu, L., Xie, H., Yang, Y., and Y. Zhang,
              "Optimizing Cost and Performance for Multihoming", ACM
              SIGCOMM CCR 34(4)79--92, October 2004,

Appendix A.  Implementation

A.1.  Ingress Gateway Algorithm for Blanking the RE bit

   The ingress gateway receives regular feedback reporting the fraction
   of congestion marked octets for each aggregate arriving at the

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   egress.  So for each aggregate it should blank the RE bit on the same
   fraction of octets.  It is more efficient to calculate the reciprocal
   of this fraction when the signalling arrives, Z_0 = 1 / Congestion-
   Level-Estimate, which will be the number of bytes of packets the
   ingress should send with the RE bit set between those it sends with
   the RE bit blanked.  Z_0 will also take account of the sustainable
   rate reported during the flow pre-emption process, if necessary.

   A suitable pseudo-code algorithm for the ingress gateway is as

   B_i = 0                 /* interblank volume                     */
   for each packet {
       b = readLength()    /* set b to packet size                  */
       B_i += b            /* accumulate interblank volume          */
       if B_i < b * Z_0 {  /* test whether interblank volume...     */
       } else {            /* ...exceeds blank RE spacing * pkt size*/
           writeRE(0)      /* ...and if so, clear RE                */
           B_i = 0         /* ...and re-set interblank volume       */

A.2.  Bulk Downstream Congestion Metering Algorithm

   To meter the bulk amount of downstream pre-congestion in passing
   traffic an algorithm is needed that accumulates the size of packets
   with RE blanked (or NF set) and subtracts the size of congestion
   marked packets, but ignores a persistently negative balance over a
   duration of T ~ 10secs, say.  Three counters need to be maintained:

      B_v: accumulated pre-congestion volume

      B_s: pre-congestion volume in timeslot

      B_t: total data volume

   A suitable pseudo-code algorithm for a border router is as follows:

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   B_v = 0
   B_s = 0
   B_t = 0
   t = timeNow() + T           /* divide into timeslots of few secs */
   for each packet {
       b = readLength()            /* set b to packet size          */
       B_t += b                    /* accumulate total volume       */
       if readRE() == 0 || readEECN() == NF {
           B_s += b                /* increment...                  */
       } elseif readECN() == 1X {
           B_s -= b                /* ...or decrement B_s...        */
       }                           /*...depending on EECN field     */
       if timeNow() > t {      /* every timeslot...                 */
           if B_v > 0 {        /* count a negative balance as zero  */
               B_v += B_s      /* otherwise accumulate the balance  */
           B_s = 0                 /* re-set the temp counter...    */
           t += T                  /* ...for the next timeslot      */

   At the end of an accounting period this counter B_v represents the
   pre-congestion volume that penalties could be applied to, as
   described in Section 5.2.

   For instance, accumulated volume of pre-congestion through a border
   interface over a month might be B_v = 5PB (petabyte = 10^15 byte).
   This might have resulted from an average downstream pre-congestion
   level of 1% on an accumulated total data volume of B_t = 500PB.

A.3.  Algorithm for Sanctioning Negative Traffic

   {ToDo: Write up dropper with flow management algorithm and variant
   with bounded flow state.}

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Author's Address

   Bob Briscoe
   BT & UCL
   B54/77, Adastral Park
   Martlesham Heath
   Ipswich  IP5 3RE

   Phone: +44 1473 645196

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