CoRE Working Group                                         A. Castellani
Internet-Draft                                      University of Padova
Intended status: Informational                                 S. Loreto
Expires: January 5, 2012                                        Ericsson
                                                               A. Rahman
                                        InterDigital Communications, LLC
                                                              T. Fossati
                                                                 E. Dijk
                                                        Philips Research
                                                            July 4, 2011

          Best practices for HTTP-CoAP mapping implementation


   This draft aims at being a base reference documentation for HTTP-CoAP
   proxy implementors.  It details deployment options, discusses
   possible approaches for URI mapping, and provides useful
   considerations related to protocol translation.

Status of this Memo

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

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on January 5, 2012.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2011 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of

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   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
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   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   2.  Terminology  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   3.  Cross-protocol resource identification using URIs  . . . . . .  5
     3.1.  URI mapping  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       3.1.1.  Homogeneous mapping  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       3.1.2.  Embedded mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
   4.  HTTP-CoAP implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
     4.1.  Placement and deployment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
     4.2.  Basic mapping  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       4.2.1.  Caching and congestion control . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       4.2.2.  Use case: HTTP/IPv4-CoAP/IPv6 proxy  . . . . . . . . . 11
     4.3.  Multiple message exchanges mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
       4.3.1.  Relevant features of existing standards  . . . . . . . 13
       4.3.2.  Multicast mapping  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
       4.3.3.  Subscription mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
   5.  CoAP-HTTP implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
   6.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
     6.1.  Traffic overflow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
     6.2.  Cross-protocol security policy mapping . . . . . . . . . . 18
     6.3.  Handling secured exchanges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
     6.4.  Spoofing and Cache Poisoning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
     6.5.  Subscription . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
   7.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
   8.  References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
     8.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
     8.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

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1.  Introduction

   RESTful protocols, such as HTTP [RFC2616] and CoAP
   [I-D.ietf-core-coap], can interoperate through an intermediary proxy
   which performs cross-protocol mapping.

   A reference about the mapping process is provided in Section 8 of
   [I-D.ietf-core-coap].  However, depending on the involved
   application, deployment scenario, or network topology, such mapping
   could be realized using a wide range of intermediaries.

   Moreover, the process of implementing such a proxy could be complex,
   and details regarding its internal procedures and design choices
   deserve further discussion, which is provided in this document.

   This draft is organized as follows:

   o  Section 2 describes terminology to identify different mapping
      approaches and the related proxy deployments;

   o  Section 3 discusses impact of the mapping on URI and describes
      notable options;

   o  Section 4 and Section 5 respectively analyze the mapping from HTTP
      to CoAP and viceversa;

   o  Section 6 discusses possible security impact related to the

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

2.  Terminology

   A device providing cross-protocol HTTP-CoAP mapping is called an
   HTTP-CoAP cross-protocol proxy (HC proxy).

   Regular HTTP proxies are usually same-protocol proxies, because they
   can map from HTTP to HTTP.  CoAP same-protocol proxies are
   intermediaries for CoAP to CoAP exchanges.  However the discussion
   about these entities is out-of-scope of this document.

   At least two different kinds of HC proxies exist:

   o  One-way cross-protocol proxy (1-way proxy): This proxy translates
      from a client of a protocol to a server of another protocol but

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      not vice-versa.

   o  Two-way (or bidirectional) cross-protocol proxy (2-way proxy):
      This proxy translates from a client of both protocols to a server
      supporting one protocol.

   1-way and 2-way HC proxies are realized using the following general
   types of proxies:

   Forward proxy (F):  Is a proxy known by the client (either CoAP or
      HTTP) used to access a specific cross-protocol server
      (respectively HTTP or CoAP).  Main feature: server(s) do not
      require to be known in advance by the proxy (ZSC: Zero Server

   Reverse proxy (R):  Is a proxy known by the client to be the server,
      however for a subset of resources it works as a proxy, by knowing
      the real server(s) serving each resource.  When a cross-protocol
      resource is accessed by a client, the request will be silently
      forwarded by the reverse proxy to the real server (running a
      different protocol).  If a response is received by the reverse
      proxy, it will be mapped, if possible, to the original protocol
      and sent back to the client.  Main feature: client(s) do not
      require to be known in advance by the proxy (ZCC: Zero Client

   Transparent (or Intercepting) proxy (I):  This proxy can intercept
      any origin protocol request (HTTP or CoAP) and map it to the
      destination protocol, without any kind of knowledge about the
      client or server involved in the exchange.  Main feature:
      client(s) and server(s) do not require to be known in advance by
      the proxy (ZCC and ZSC).

   The proxy can be placed in the network at three different logical

   Server-side proxy (SS):  A proxy placed on the same network domain of
      the server;

   Client-side proxy (CS):  A proxy placed on the same network domain of
      the client;

   External proxy (E):  A proxy placed in a network domain external to
      both endpoints, it is in the network domain neither of the client
      nor of the server.

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3.  Cross-protocol resource identification using URIs

   A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) provides a simple and extensible
   means for identifying a resource.  It enables uniform identification
   of resources via a separately defined extensible set of naming
   schemes [RFC3986].

   URIs are formed of at least three components: scheme, authority and
   path.  The scheme is the first part of the URI, and it often
   corresponds to the protocol used to access the resource.  However, as
   noted in Section 1.2.2 of [RFC3986] the scheme does not imply that a
   particular protocol is used to access the resource.

   Clients supporting a protocol that uses URIs to identify target
   resources (e.g.  HTTP web browsers), may support the resolution of a
   limited set of schemes (i.e. "http:", "https:").  When such clients
   want to interoperate with resources available in another protocol
   (cross-protocol resources, e.g.  CoAP), the existence of a URI
   identifying the requested resource in a scheme natively supported by
   the client, is useful for interoperability with clients handling only
   the supported schemes.

   Both CoAP and HTTP expose resources through a REST interface, so the
   same resource can be made available in both protocols by simply
   applying protocol translation.  To this end the protocol by which the
   resource is actually served is not relevant at all for a client.

   In general two different methods can be used to access cross-protocol
   resources, i.e. resources offered by a server using a protocol (e.g.
   HTTP) different from the one supported by the client (e.g.  CoAP),

   Protocol-aware access:  The client accesses the cross-protocol
      resource using the URI with the native scheme using a cross-
      protocol proxy (e.g. uses coap: scheme URI embedded in the HTTP
      proxy request); both CoAP and HTTP support this access method.
      HTTP defines that proxy or servers MUST accept even an absolute-
      URI as request-target, see Section 4.1.2 of
      [I-D.ietf-httpbis-p1-messaging].  CoAP provides Proxy-URI option
      having absolute-URI as value, see Section 5.10.3 of

   Protocol-agnostic access:  The client accesses the cross-protocol
      resource as if it were available in the protocol supported by the
      client (e.g. uses "http:" scheme to access a CoAP resource), the
      actual protocol translation is provided by a cross-protocol proxy.
      In order to use this method a URI identifying an equivalent
      resource MUST exist.

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   No URI mapping is required when using protocol-aware access, the
   following section is focused on URI mapping techniques for protocol-
   agnostic access.

3.1.  URI mapping

   When accessing cross-protocol resources in a protocol-agnostic way,
   clients MUST use an URI with a scheme supported by the client and
   serving to them an equivalent resource.

   Because determination of equivalence or difference of URIs (e.g.
   whether or not they identify the same resource) is based on string
   comparison, URI domains using "coap:" and "http:" scheme are fully
   distinct: resources identified by the same authority and path tuple
   change when switching the scheme.

   Example: Assume that the following resource exists -
   "coap://".  The resource identified by
   "" may not exist or be not-
   equivalent to the one identified by the "coap:" scheme.

   If a cross-protocol URI exists providing an equivalent representation
   of the native protocol resource, it can be available at a completely
   different URI (in terms of authority and path).  The mapping of an
   URI between HTTP and CoAP is said HC URI mapping.

   Example: The HC URI mapping to HTTP of the CoAP resource identified
   by "coap://" is

   The HC URI mapping of a resource could be complex in general, and a
   proper mechanism to statically or dynamically (discover) map the
   resource HC URI mapping MAY be required.

   Two methods are proposed in the following subsections, that could in
   general reduce the complexity related to URI mapping.

3.1.1.  Homogeneous mapping

   The URI mapping between CoAP and HTTP is called homogeneous when the
   resource can be identified either using "http:", or "coap:" scheme
   without changing neither the authority or path.

   Example: The CoAP resource "//" can be
   accessed using CoAP at the URI "coap://",
   and using HTTP at the URI "".  When
   the resource is accessed using HTTP, the mapping from HTTP to CoAP is
   performed by an HC proxy

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   When homogeneous HC URI mapping is available HC-Intercepting (HC-I)
   proxies are easily implementable.

3.1.2.  Embedded mapping

   The mapping is said to be embedded, if the HC URI mapping of the
   resource embeds inside it the authority and path part of the native

   Example: The CoAP resource "coap://" can
   be accessed at
   "" or
   at "".

   It is usually selected to minimize mapping complexity in an HC
   reverse proxy.

4.  HTTP-CoAP implementation

4.1.  Placement and deployment

   In typical scenarios the HC proxy is expected to be server-side (SS),
   in particular deployed at the edge of the constrained network.

   The arguments supporting SS placement are the following:

   TCP/UDP:  Translation between HTTP and CoAP requires also a TCP to
      UDP mapping; UDP performance over the unconstrained Internet may
      not be adequate.  In order to minimize the number of required
      retransmissions and overall reliability, TCP/UDP conversion SHOULD
      be performed at a SS placed proxy.

   Caching:  Efficient caching requires that all the CoAP traffic is
      intercepted by the same proxy, thus an SS placement, collecting
      all the traffic, is strategical for this need.

   Multicast:  To support using local-multicast functionalities
      available in the constrained network, the HC proxy MAY require a
      network interface directly attached to the constrained network.

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                            |      |
                            | DNS  |
                            |      |
                                               //                  \\
                                              /    /---\       /---\ \
                                             /     CoAP        CoAP   \
                                            ||     \---/       \---/  ||
                                      +---------+                     ||
                                      |         |                /---\||
                                      |HTTP/CoAP|                CoAP ||
                                      |         |                \---/||
    +------+                          +---------+                     ||
    |HTTP  |                                ||   /---\                ||
    |Client|                                ||   CoAP                 ||
    +------+                                 \   \---/                /
                                              \           /---\      /
                                               \          CoAP      /
                                                \\        \---/   //

            Figure 1: Server-side HC proxy deployment scenario

   Other important aspects involved in the selection of which type of
   proxy deployment, whose choice impacts its placement too, are the

   Client/Proxy/Network configuration overhead:  Forward proxies require
      either static configuration or discovery support in every client.
      Reverse proxies require either static configuration, server
      discovery or embedded URI mapping in the proxy.  Intercepting
      proxies typically require single router configuration for a whole

   Scalability/Availability:  Both aspects are typically addressed using
      redundancy.  CS deployments, due to the limited catchment area and
      administrative-wide domain of operation, have looser requirements
      on this.  SS deployments, in dense/popular/critical environments,
      have stricter requirements and MAY need to be replicated.
      Stateful proxies (e.g. reverse) may be complex to replicate.

   Discussion about security impacts of different deployments is covered
   in Section 6.

   Table 1 shows some interesting HC proxy deployment scenarios, and

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   notes the advantages related to each scenario.

             | Feature                  | F CS | R SS | I SS |
             | TCP/UDP                  |    - |    + |    + |
             | Multicast                |    - |    + |    + |
             | Caching                  |    - |    + |    + |
             | Scalability/Availability |    + |  +/- |    + |
             | Configuration            |    - |    - |    + |

                 Table 1: Interesting HC proxy deployments

   Guidelines proposed in the previous paragraphs have been used to fill
   out the above table.  In the first three rows, it can be seen that SS
   deployment is preferred versus CS.  Scalability/Availability issues
   can be generally handled, but some complexity may be involved in
   reverse proxies scenarios.  Configuration overhead could be
   simplified when intercepting proxies deployments are feasible.

   When support for legacy HTTP clients is required, it may be
   preferrable using configuration/discovery free deployments.
   Discovery procedures for client or proxy auto-configuration are still
   under active-discussion: see [I-D.vanderstok-core-bc],
   [I-D.bormann-core-simple-server-discovery] or
   [I-D.shelby-core-resource-directory].  Static configuration of
   multiple forward proxies is typically not feasible in existing HTTP

4.2.  Basic mapping

   The mapping of HTTP requests to CoAP and of the response back to HTTP
   is defined in Section 8.2 of [I-D.ietf-core-coap].

   The mapping of a CoAP response code to HTTP is not straightforward,
   this mapping MUST be operated accordingly to Table 4 of

   No upper bound is defined for a CoAP server to provide the response,
   thus for long delays the HTTP client or any other proxy in between
   MAY timeout, further considerations are available in Section 7.1.4 of

   The HC proxy MUST define an internal timeout for each CoAP request
   pending, because the CoAP server MAY silently die before completing
   the request.

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   Even if the DNS protocol may not be used inside the constrained
   network, maintaining valid DNS entries describing the hosts available
   on such network helps offering the CoAP resources to HTTP clients.

   An example of the usefulness of such entries is described in
   Section 4.2.2.

   HTTP connection pipe-lining is transparent to the CoAP network, the
   HC proxy will sequentially serve the requests by issuing different
   CoAP requests.

4.2.1.  Caching and congestion control

   The HC proxy SHOULD limit the number of requests to CoAP servers by
   responding, where applicable, with a cached representation of the

   In the case of a multicast request, because of the inherent
   unreliable nature of the NON messages involved, and dynamic
   membership of multicast groups, immediately responding only with
   previously cached responses and without issuing a new request to the
   multicast group, could lead to duplicate partial representations of
   the multicast resource.

   Duplicate idempotent pending requests to the same resource SHOULD in
   general be avoided, by duplexing the response to the relevant hosts
   without duplicating the request.

   If the HTTP client times out and drops the HTTP session to the proxy
   (closing the TCP connection), the HC proxy SHOULD wait for the
   response and cache it if possible.  Further idempotent requests to
   the same resource can use the result present in cache, or if a
   response has still to come requests will wait on the open CoAP

   Traffic related to resources experiencing a recurrently high access
   rate MAY be reduced by establishing with that resources an observe
   session [I-D.ietf-core-observe], that will keep updated the cached
   representation of the target resource.

   Depending upon the particular deployment MAY exist server or
   resources highly impacted by congestion, i.e. multicast resources
   (see Section 4.3.2), popular servers.  Careful considerations are
   required about the caching policies for those resources, also
   considering possible security implications related to those specific

   To this end when traffic reduction obtained by the caching mechanism

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   is not adequate, the HC proxy could apply stricter policing by
   limiting the amount of aggregate traffic to the constrained network.
   More specifically the HC proxy SHOULD pose a strict upper limit to
   the number of concurrent CoAP request pending directed to the same
   constrained network, further request MAY either be queued or dropped.
   In order to successfully apply this congestion control, the HC proxy
   SHOULD be SS placed.

   Further discussion on congestion control can be found in

4.2.2.  Use case: HTTP/IPv4-CoAP/IPv6 proxy

   This section covers the expected common use case of when an HTTP/IPv4
   client desires to get access to a CoAP/IPv6 resource.

   Whereas HTTP/IPv4 is today the most widely adopted communication in
   the Internet, a pervasive deployment of constrained nodes exploiting
   the IPv6 address space is expected.

   Enabling direct interoperability of such technologies is valuable.
   An HC proxy supporting IPv4/IPv6 mapping is said to be a v4/v6 proxy.

   An HC v4/v6 proxy SHOULD always try to resolve the URI authority, and
   SHOULD prefer using the IPv6 resolution if available.  The authority
   section of the URI is thus used internally by the HC proxy and SHOULD
   not be mapped to CoAP.

   Figure 2 shows an HTTP client on IPv4 (C) accessing a CoAP server on
   IPv6 (S) through an HC proxy on IPv4/IPv6 (P).
   "" has an A record containing the IPv4 address
   of the HC proxy, and an AAAA record containing the IPv6 of the CoAP

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   C     P     S
   |     |     |
   |     |     |  Source: IPv4 of C
   |     |     |  Destination: IPv4 of P
   +---->|     |  GET /foo HTTP/1.1
   |     |     |  Host:
   |     |     |  ..other HTTP headers ..
   |     |     |
   |     |     |  Source: IPv6 of P
   |     |     |  Destination: IPv6 of S
   |     +---->|  CON GET
   |     |     |  URI-Path: foo
   |     |     |
   |     |     |  Source: IPv6 of S
   |     |     |  Destination: IPv6 of P
   |     |<----+  ACK
   |     |     |
   |     |     |  ... Time passes ...
   |     |     |
   |     |     |  Source: IPv6 of S
   |     |     |  Destination: IPv6 of P
   |     |<----+  CON 2.00
   |     |     |  "bar"
   |     |     |
   |     |     |  Source: IPv6 of P
   |     |     |  Destination: IPv6 of S
   |     +---->|  ACK
   |     |     |
   |     |     |  Source: IPv4 of P
   |     |     |  Destination: IPv4 of C
   |<----+     |  HTTP/1.1 200 OK
   |     |     |  .. other HTTP headers ..
   |     |     |
   |     |     |  bar
   |     |     |

                 Figure 2: HTTP/IPv4 to CoAP/IPv6 mapping

   The proposed example shows the HC proxy operating also the mapping
   between IPv4 to IPv6 using the authority information available in any
   HTTP 1.1 request.  Thus IPv6 connectivity is not required at the HTTP
   client when accessing a CoAP server over IPv6 only, which is a
   typical expected use case.

   When P is an intercepting HC proxy, the CoAP request SHOULD have the
   IPv6 address of C as source (IPv4 can always be mapped into IPv6).

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   The described solution takes into account only the HTTP/IPv4 clients
   accessing CoAP/IPv6 servers; this solution does not provide a full
   fledged mapping from HTTP to CoAP.

   In order to obtain a working deployment for HTTP/IPv6 clients, a
   different HC proxy access method may be required, or Internet AAAA
   records should not point to the node anymore (the HC proxy should use
   a different DNS database pointing to the node).

   When an HC intercepting proxy deployment is used this solution is
   fully working even with HTTP/IPv6 clients.

4.3.  Multiple message exchanges mapping

   This section discusses the mapping of some advanced CoAP features
   (e.g. multicast, observe) to HTTP which involves the need to
   asynchronously deliver multiple responses within the same HTTP

4.3.1.  Relevant features of existing standards

   Various features provided by existing standards are useful to
   efficiently represent sessions involving multiple messages.  Multipart messages

   In particular the "multipart/*" media type, defined in Section 5.1 of
   [RFC2046], is a suitable solution to deliver multiple CoAP responses
   within a single HTTP payload.  Each part of a multipart entity SHOULD
   be represented using "message/http" media type containing the full
   mapping of a single CoAP response as previously described.  Immediate message delivery

   An HC proxy may prefer to transfer each CoAP response immediately
   after its reception.  This is possible thanks to the HTTP Transfer-
   Encoding "chunked", that enables transferring single responses
   without any further delay.

   A detailed discussion on the use of chunked Transfer-Encoding to
   stream data over HTTP can be found in [RFC6202].  Large delays
   between chunks can lead the HTTP session to timeout, more details on
   this issue can be found in [I-D.thomson-hybi-http-timeout].

   The HC proxy MAY reduce internal buffering by providing responses to
   HTTP client without any delay; each CoAP response can be immediately
   streamed using HTTP chunked Transfer-Encoding.  This chunked encoding
   was not shown in order to simplify Figure 3, where the proxy returns

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   all responses in one payload after a timeout expires.  An example
   showing immediate delivery of CoAP responses using chunks is provided
   in Section 4.3.3, while describing its application to an observe
   session.  Detailing source information

   Under some circumstance responses may come from different sources
   (i.e. responses to a multicast request); in this case details about
   the actual source of each CoAP response SHOULD be provided to the
   client.  Source information can be represented using HTTP Web Linking
   as defined in [RFC5988], by adding the actual source URI into each
   response using Link option with "via" relation type.

4.3.2.  Multicast mapping

   In order to establish a multicast communication such a feature should
   be offered either by the network (i.e.  IP multicast, link-layer
   multicast, etc.) or by a gateway (i.e. the HC proxy).  Rationale on
   the methods available to obtain such a feature is out-of-scope of
   this document, and extensive discussion of group communication
   techniques is available in [I-D.rahman-core-groupcomm].

   Additional considerations related to handling multicast requests
   mapping are detailed in the following sections.  URI identification and mapping

   In order to successfully handle a multicast request, the HC proxy
   MUST successfully perform the following tasks on the URI:

   Identification:  The HC proxy MUST understand whether the requested
      URI identifies a group of nodes.

   Mapping:  The HC proxy MUST know how to distribute the multicast
      request to involved servers; this process is specific of the group
      communication technology used.

   When using IPv6 multicast paired with DNS, the mapping to IPv6
   multicast is simply done using DNS resolution.  If the group
   management is performed at the proxy, the URI or part of it (i.e. the
   authority) can be mapped using some static or dynamic table available
   at the HC proxy.  In Section 3.5 of [I-D.rahman-core-groupcomm]
   discusses a method to build and maintain a local table of multicast

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   When the HC proxy receives a request to a URI that has been
   successfully identified and mapped to a group of nodes, it SHOULD
   start a multicast proxying operation, if supported by the proxy.

   Multicast request handling consists of the following steps:

   Multicast TX:  The HC proxy sends out the request on the CoAP side by
      using the methods offered by the specific group communication
      technology used in the constrained network;

   Collecting RXs:  The HC proxy collects every response related to the

   Timeout:  The HC proxy will pay special attention in multicast
      timing, detailed discussion about timing depends upon the
      particular group communication technology used;

   Distributing RXs to the client:  The HC proxy can distribute the
      responses in two different ways: batch delivering them at the end
      of the process or on timeout, or immediately delivering them as
      they are available.  Batch requires more caching and introduces
      delays but may lead to lower TCP overhead and simpler processing.
      Immediate is the converse.  A trade-off solution of partial batch
      delivery may also be feasible and efficient in some circumstances.  Example

   Figure 3 shows an HTTP client (C) requesting the resource "/foo" to a
   group of CoAP servers (S1/S2/S3) through an HC proxy (P) which uses
   IP multicast to send the corresponding CoAP request.

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C     P     S1    S2    S3
|     |     |     |     |
+---->|     |     |     |  GET /foo HTTP/1.1
|     |     |     |     |  Host:
|     |     |     |     |  .. other HTTP headers ..
|     |     |     |     |
|     +---->|---->|---->|  NON GET
|     |     |     |     |  URI-Path: foo
|     |     |     |     |
|     |<----------+     |  NON 2.00
|     |     |     |     |  "S2"
|     |     |     |     |
|     | X---------------+  NON 2.00
|     |     |     |     |  "S3"
|     |     |     |     |
|     |<----+     |     |  NON 2.00
|     |     |     |     |  "S1"
|     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |  ... Timeout ...
|     |     |     |     |
|<----+     |     |     |  HTTP/1.1 200 OK
|     |     |     |     |  Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="response"
|     |     |     |     |  .. other HTTP headers ..
|     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |  --response
|     |     |     |     |  Content-Type: message/http
|     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |  HTTP/1.1 200 OK
|     |     |     |     |  Link: <>; rel=via
|     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |  S2
|     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |  --response
|     |     |     |     |  Content-Type: message/http
|     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |  HTTP/1.1 200 OK
|     |     |     |     |  Link: <>; rel=via
|     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |  S1
|     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |  --response--
|     |     |     |     |

             Figure 3: Unicast HTTP to multicast CoAP mapping

   The example proposed in the above diagram does not make any
   assumption on which underlying group communication technology is

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   available in the constrained network.  Some detailed discussion is
   provided about it along the following lines.

   C makes a GET request to  This
   domain name MAY either resolve to the address of P, or to the IPv6
   multicast address of the nodes (if IP multicast is supported and P is
   an intercepting proxy), or the proxy P is specifically known by the
   client that sends this request to it.

   To successfully start multicast proxying operation, the HC proxy MUST
   know that the destination URI involves a group of CoAP servers, e.g.
   the authority is known to identify
   a group of nodes either by using an internal lookup table, using DNS
   paired with IPv6 multicast, or by using some other special technique.

   A specific implementation option is proposed to further explain the
   proposed example.  Assume that DNS is configured such that all
   subdomain queries to, such as group-of-, resolve to the address of P. P performs the
   HC URI mapping by removing the "coap" subdomain from the authority
   and by switching the scheme from "http" to "coap" (result:
   "coap://"); "group-of-" is resolved to an IPv6 multicast address to
   which S1, S2 and S3 belong.  The proxy handles this request as
   multicast and sends the request "GET /foo" to the multicast group .

4.3.3.  Subscription mapping


5.  CoAP-HTTP implementation

   Discussion about CoAP-HTTP mapping implementation considerations is
   available in Section 3 of [I-D.hartke-core-coap-http].

6.  Security Considerations

   The security concerns raised in Section 15.7 of [RFC2616] also apply
   to the HC proxy scenario.  In fact, the HC proxy is a trusted (not
   rarely a transparently trusted) component in the network path.  Also,
   a reverse proxy deployed at the boundary of constrained network is an
   easy single point of failure for reducing availability.  As such, a
   special care should be taken in designing, developing and operating
   it.  In most cases it could have fewer constraints than the
   constrained devices.

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   The following sub paragraphs categorize and argue about a set of
   specific security issues related to the translation, caching and
   forwarding functionality exposed by an HC proxy module.

6.1.  Traffic overflow

   Due to the generally constrained nature of a CoAP network, particular
   attention SHOULD be posed in the implementation of traffic reduction
   mechanisms (see Section 4.2.1), because inefficient implementations
   can be targeted by unconstrained Internet attackers.  Bandwidth or
   complexity involved in such attacks is very low.

   An amplification attack to the constrained network MAY be triggered
   by a multicast request generated by a single HTTP request mapped to a
   CoAP multicast resource, as considered in Section XX of

   The impact of this amplification technique is higher than an
   amplification attack carried out by a malicious constrained device
   (i.e.  ICMPv6 flooding, like Packet Too Big, or Parameter Problem on
   a multicast destination [RFC4732]), since it does not require direct
   access to the constrained network.

   The feasibility of this attack, disruptive in terms of CoAP server
   availability, can be limited by access controlling the exposed HTTP
   multicast resource, so that only known/authorized users access such

6.2.  Cross-protocol security policy mapping

   At the moment of this writing, CoAP and HTTP are missing any cross-
   protocol security policy mapping.

   The HC proxy SHOULD flexibly support security policies between the
   two protocols, possibly as part of the HC URI mapping function, in
   order to statically map HTTP and CoAP security policies at the proxy.

   Example: This can be provided using mod_rewrite-like syntax:

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   Sec_Context_DTLS_1 {
       # define credentials, supported ciphersuite, etc.

   # Map 'https://my/mote-5/path_and_query' to
   # 'coap://mote-5/path_and_query' using the
   # security policy defined in 'Sec_Context_DTLS_1'
   MapRule ^https://my/mote-([0-9])/(.*$)  \
               coap://mote-$1/$2           \

   # Apply homogeneous mapping of URLs in the http schema,
   # with no security policy.
   MapRule ^http://.*$      \
               coap://$1    \

6.3.  Handling secured exchanges

   It is possible that the request from the client to the HC proxy is
   sent over a secured connection.  However, there may or may not exist
   a secure connection mapping to the other protocol.  For example, a
   secure distribution method for multicast traffic is complex and MAY
   not be implemented (see [I-D.rahman-core-groupcomm]).

   An HC proxy SHOULD reject secured request if there is not a
   corresponding secure mapping.  The HC proxy MAY still decide to
   process an incoming secured request, even in the absence of a secure

   Example: Assume that CoAP nodes are isolated behind a secure firewall
   (e.g. as the SS HC proxy deployment shown in Figure 1), and the HC
   proxy cannot perform any secure CoAP mapping.  In this scenario, the
   HC proxy may be configured to translate anyway the incoming HTTPS
   request using CoAP NoSec mode, as the internal CoAP network is
   believed to be secure.

   The HC URI mapping MUST NOT map to HTTP (see Section 3.1) a CoAP
   resource intended to be accessed only using HTTPS.

   A secured connection that is terminated at the HC proxy, i.e. the
   proxy decrypts secured data locally, raises an ambiguity about the
   cacheability of the requested resource.  The HC proxy SHOULD NOT
   cache any secured content to avoid any leak of secured information.
   However in some specific scenario, a security/efficiency trade-off
   could motivate caching secured information; in that case the caching
   behavior MAY be tuned to some extent on a per-resource basis (see

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   Section 6.2).

6.4.  Spoofing and Cache Poisoning

   In web security jargon, the "cache poisoning" verb accounts for
   attacks where an evil user causes the proxy server to associate
   incorrect content to a cached resource, which work through especially
   crafted HTTP requests or request/response combos.

   When working in CoAP NoSec mode, the use of UDP makes cache poisoning
   on the constrained network easy and effective, simple address
   spoofing by a malicious host is sufficient to perform the attack.
   The implicit broadcast nature of typical link-layer communication
   technologies used in constrained networks lead this attack to be
   easily performed by any host, even without the requirement of being a
   router in the network.  The ultimate outcome depends on both the
   order of arrival of packets (legitimate and rogue); attackers
   targeting this weakness may have less requirements on timing, thus
   leading the attack to succeed with high probability.

   In case the threat of a rogue mote acting in the constrained network
   can't be winded up by appropriate procedural means, the only way to
   avoid such attacks is for any CoAP server to work at least in
   MultiKey mode with a 1:1 key with the HC proxy.  SharedKey mode would
   just mitigate the attack, since a guessable MIDs and Tokens
   generation function at the HC proxy side would make it feasible for
   the evil mote to implement a "try until succeed" strategy.  Also,
   (authenticated) encryption at a lower layer (MAC/PHY) could be
   defeated by a slightly more powerful attacker, a compromised router

6.5.  Subscription

   As noted in Section 7 of [I-D.ietf-core-observe], when using the
   observe pattern, an attacker could easily impose resource exhaustion
   on a naive server who's indiscriminately accepting observer
   relationships establishment from clients.  The converse of this
   problem is also present, a malicious client may also target the HC
   proxy itself, by trying to exhaust the HTTP connection limit of the
   proxy by opening multiple subscriptions to some CoAP resource.

   Effective strategies to reduce success of such a DoS on the HTTP side
   (by forcing prior identification of the HTTP client via usual web
   authentication mechanisms), must always be weighted against an
   acceptable level of usability of the exposed CoAP resources.

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7.  Acknowledgements

   Thanks to Klaus Hartke, Zach Shelby, Carsten Bormann, Michele Rossi,
   Nicola Bui, Michele Zorzi, Peter Saint-Andre, Cullen Jennings, Kepeng
   Li, Brian Frank, Peter Van Der Stok, Kerry Lynn, Linyi Tian, Dorothy
   Gellert for helpful comments and discussions that have shaped the

8.  References

8.1.  Normative References

              Shelby, Z., Hartke, K., Bormann, C., and B. Frank,
              "Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)",
              draft-ietf-core-coap-06 (work in progress), May 2011.

              Hartke, K. and Z. Shelby, "Observing Resources in CoAP",
              draft-ietf-core-observe-02 (work in progress), March 2011.

              Fielding, R., Gettys, J., Mogul, J., Nielsen, H.,
              Masinter, L., Leach, P., Berners-Lee, T., and J. Reschke,
              "HTTP/1.1, part 1: URIs, Connections, and Message
              Parsing", draft-ietf-httpbis-p1-messaging-14 (work in
              progress), April 2011.

              Rahman, A. and E. Dijk, "Group Communication for CoAP",
              draft-rahman-core-groupcomm-05 (work in progress),
              May 2011.

              Thomson, M., Loreto, S., and G. Wilkins, "Hypertext
              Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Timeouts",
              draft-thomson-hybi-http-timeout-00 (work in progress),
              March 2011.

   [RFC2046]  Freed, N. and N. Borenstein, "Multipurpose Internet Mail
              Extensions (MIME) Part Two: Media Types", RFC 2046,
              November 1996.

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

   [RFC2616]  Fielding, R., Gettys, J., Mogul, J., Frystyk, H.,

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              Masinter, L., Leach, P., and T. Berners-Lee, "Hypertext
              Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1", RFC 2616, June 1999.

   [RFC3986]  Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R., and L. Masinter, "Uniform
              Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax", STD 66,
              RFC 3986, January 2005.

   [RFC5988]  Nottingham, M., "Web Linking", RFC 5988, October 2010.

8.2.  Informative References

              Bormann, C., "CoRE Simple Server Discovery",
              draft-bormann-core-simple-server-discovery-00 (work in
              progress), March 2011.

              Eggert, L., "Congestion Control for the Constrained
              Application Protocol (CoAP)",
              draft-eggert-core-congestion-control-01 (work in
              progress), January 2011.

              Hartke, K., "Accessing HTTP resources over CoAP",
              draft-hartke-core-coap-http-00 (work in progress),
              March 2011.

              Shelby, Z. and S. Krco, "CoRE Resource Directory",
              draft-shelby-core-resource-directory-00 (work in
              progress), June 2011.

              Stok, P. and K. Lynn, "CoAP Utilization for Building
              Control", draft-vanderstok-core-bc-03 (work in progress),
              March 2011.

   [RFC4732]  Handley, M., Rescorla, E., and IAB, "Internet Denial-of-
              Service Considerations", RFC 4732, December 2006.

   [RFC6202]  Loreto, S., Saint-Andre, P., Salsano, S., and G. Wilkins,
              "Known Issues and Best Practices for the Use of Long
              Polling and Streaming in Bidirectional HTTP", RFC 6202,
              April 2011.

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Authors' Addresses

   Angelo P. Castellani
   University of Padova
   Via Gradenigo 6/B
   Padova  35131


   Salvatore Loreto
   Hirsalantie 11
   Jorvas  02420


   Akbar Rahman
   InterDigital Communications, LLC


   Thomas Fossati
   Via di Sabbiuno 11/5
   Bologna  40136

   Phone: +39 051 644 82 68

   Esko Dijk
   Philips Research


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