Network Working Group                                       G. Fairhurst
Internet-Draft                                    University of Aberdeen
Intended status: Informational                                  M. Welzl
Expires: November 6, 2015                             University of Oslo
                                                            May 05, 2015

      The Benefits of using Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN)


   The goal of this document is to describe the potential benefits when
   applications use a transport that enables Explicit Congestion
   Notification (ECN).  The document outlines the principal gains in
   terms of increased throughput, reduced delay and other benefits when
   ECN is used over network paths that include equipment that supports
   ECN-marking.  It also describes methods that can help successful
   deployment of ECN.  It does not propose new algorithms to use ECN,
   nor does it describe the details of implementation of ECN in endpoint
   devices (Internet hosts), routers or other network devices.

Status of This Memo

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

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on November 6, 2015.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2015 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015                [Page 1]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   2.  Benefit of using ECN to avoid Congestion Loss . . . . . . . .   4
     2.1.  Improved Throughput . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.2.  Reduced Head-of-Line Blocking . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.3.  Reduced Probability of RTO Expiry . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.4.  Applications that do not Retransmit Lost Packets  . . . .   6
     2.5.  Making Incipient Congestion Visible . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     2.6.  Opportunities for new Transport Mechanisms  . . . . . . .   7
       2.6.1.  Benefits from other forms of ECN-Marking/Reactions  .   7
   3.  Network Support for ECN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.1.  Enabling ECN in Network Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     3.2.  Tunneling ECN and the use of ECN by Lower Layer Networks    9
     3.3.  Bleaching and Middlebox Requirements to deploy ECN  . . .   9
     3.4.  Impact on non-ECN flows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   4.  Using ECN across the Internet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     4.1.  Partial Deployment  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     4.2.  Verifying whether a Path Really Supports ECN  . . . . . .  11
     4.3.  Detecting ECN Receiver Feedback Cheating  . . . . . . . .  11
   5.  Summary: Enabling ECN in Network Devices and Hosts  . . . . .  12
   6.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   7.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   9.  Revision Information  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   10. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     10.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     10.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17

1.  Introduction

   Internet Transports (such as TCP and SCTP) are implemented in
   endpoints (Internet hosts) and have two ways to detect network
   congestion: the loss of an IP packet or, if Explicit Congestion
   Notification (ECN) [RFC3168] is enabled, the reception of a packet
   with a Congestion Experienced (CE)-marking in the IP header.  Both of
   these are treated by transports as indications of congestion.  ECN
   may also be enabled by other transports: UDP applications that
   provide congestion control may enable ECN when they are able to

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015                [Page 2]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   correctly process the ECN signals [ID.RFC5405.bis] (e.g., ECN with
   RTP [RFC6679]).

   Active Queue Management (AQM) [ID.RFC2309.bis] is a class of
   techniques that can be used by network devices (a router, middlebox,
   or other device that forwards packets through the network) to manage
   the size of queues in network buffers.  A network device that does
   not support AQM typically uses a drop-tail policy to drop excess IP
   packets when its queue becomes full.  The discard of packets serves
   as a signal to the end-to-end transport that there may be congestion
   on the network path being used.  This results in a congestion control
   reaction by the transport to reduce the maximum rate permitted by the
   sending endpoint.

   When an application uses a transport that enables use of ECN
   [RFC3168], the transport layer sets the ECT(0) or ECT(1) codepoint in
   the IP header of packets that it sends.  This indicates to network
   devices that they may mark, rather than drop the ECN-capable IP
   packets.  A network device can then signal incipient congestion
   (network queueing) at a point before a transport experiences
   congestion loss or additional queuing delay.  The marking is
   generally performed as the result of various AQM algorithms, where
   the exact combination of AQM/ECN algorithms does not need to be known
   by the transport endpoints.

   Since ECN makes it possible for the network to signal the presence of
   incipient congestion without incurring packet loss, it lets the
   network deliver some packets to an application that would otherwise
   have been dropped if the application or transport did not support
   ECN.  This packet loss reduction is the most obvious benefit of ECN,
   but it is often relatively modest.  However, enabling ECN can also
   result in a number of beneficial side-effects, some of which may be
   much more significant than the immediate packet loss reduction from
   ECN-marking instead of dropping packets.  Several benefits reduce
   latency (e.g., reduced Head-of-Line Blocking).  The remainder of this
   document discusses the potential for ECN to positively benefit an
   application without making specific assumptions about configuration
   or implementation.

   [RFC3168] describes a method in which a network device sets the CE
   codepoint of an ECN-Capable packet at the time that the network
   device would otherwise have dropped the packet.  While it has often
   been assumed that network devices should CE-mark packets at the same
   level of congestion at which they would otherwise have dropped them,
   [ID.RFC2309.bis] recommends that network devices allow independent
   configuration of the settings for AQM dropping and ECN marking.  Such
   separate configuration of the drop and mark policies is supported in
   some network devices.

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015                [Page 3]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   The focus of this document is on usage of ECN by transport and
   application layer flows, not its implementation in endpoint hosts, or
   in routers and other network devices.

1.1.  Terminology

   The following terms are used:

   Network device: A router, middlebox, or other device that forwards IP
   packets through the network.

   Endpoint: An Internet host that terminates a transport protocol
   connection across an Intenet path.

   non-ECN Capable: An IP packet with a zero value codepoint.  A non-ECN
   capable packet may be forwarded, dropped or queued by a network

   Incipient Congestion: The detection of congestion when it is
   starting, perhaps by noting that the arrival rate exceeds the
   forwarding rate.

   CE: Congestion Experienced codepoint, a value marked in the IP packet

   ECN-Capable: An IP packet with a header marked with a non-zero ECN
   value (i.e., with a ECT(0), ECT(1), or CE codepoint).  An ECN-capable
   network device may forward, drop or queue a packet and may choose to
   CE-mark an ECN-capable packet when there is incipient congestion.

2.  Benefit of using ECN to avoid Congestion Loss

   When a non-ECN capable packet would need to queue or discard as a
   result of incipient congestion, an ECN-enabled router may be expected
   to CE-mark, rather than drop an ECN-enabled IP packet
   [ID.RFC2309.bis].  An application can benefit from this marking in
   several ways:

2.1.  Improved Throughput

   ECN can improve the throughput of an application, although this
   increase in throughput offered by ECN is often not the most
   significant gain.

   When an application uses a light to moderately loaded network path,
   the number of packets that are dropped due to congestion is small.
   Using an example from Table 1 of [RFC3649], for a standard TCP sender
   with a Round Trip Time, RTT, of 0.1 seconds, a packet size of 1500

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015                [Page 4]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   bytes and an average throughput of 1 Mbps, the average packet drop
   ratio is 0.02 (i.e., 1 in 50 packets).  This translates into an
   approximate 2% throughput gain if ECN is enabled.  In heavy
   congestion, packet loss may be unavoidable with, or without, ECN.

   ECN avoids the inefficiency of dropping data that has already made it
   across at least part of the network path.

2.2.  Reduced Head-of-Line Blocking

   Many transports provide in-order delivery of received data segments
   to the applications they support.  When an AQM scheme drops a packet
   as a signal of incipient congestion, this triggers loss recovery and
   a congestion control response.  For a transport providing in-order
   delivery, this requires that the transport receiver stalls (or waits)
   for all data that was sent ahead of a particular segment to be
   correctly received before it can forward any later data to the
   application.  This is the usual requirement for TCP and SCTP.  PR-
   SCTP [RFC3758], UDP [RFC0768][ID.RFC5405.bis], and DCCP [RFC4340]
   provide a transport that does not have this requirement.  A
   congestive loss therefore creates a delay of at least one RTT after a
   loss event before data can be delivered to an application.  We call
   this Head-of-Line (HOL) blocking.

   Using ECN, an application continues to receive data when there is
   incipient congestion.  Use of ECN avoids the additional reordering
   delay in a reliable transport.  (When a transport receives a CE-
   marked packet, it still requests the sender to make an appropriate
   congestion-response to reduce the maximum transmission rate for
   future traffic [ID.RFC5405.bis].)

2.3.  Reduced Probability of RTO Expiry

   A reduction in the possibility of packet loss can be significant for
   a reliable transport for a class of applications that send a burst of
   segments and then becomes idle (either because the application has no
   further data to send or the network prevents sending further data -
   e.g., flow or congestion control at the transport layer).

   Standard transport recovery methods (such as Fast Recovery (
   [RFC5681]) are often not able to recover from the loss of the last
   segment (or last few segments) of a traffic burst (also known as a
   "tail loss").  This is because the receiver is unaware that the lost
   segments were actually sent, and therefore generates no feedback
   [Fla13].  Retransmission of these segments therefore relies on expiry
   of a transport retransmission timer (e.g., expiry of the TCP or SCTP
   retransmission timeout, RTO [RFC5681]).

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015                [Page 5]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   A timer expiry results in the consequent loss of state about the
   network path being used.  This typically includes resetting path
   estimates such as the RTT, re-initialising the congestion window, and
   possibly updates to other transport state.  This can reduce the
   performance of the transport until it again adapts to the path.

   When incipient congestion occurs at the tail of a burst, an ECN-
   capable network device can CE-mark the packet(s), rather than
   triggering drop.  This allows the transport to avoid the
   retransmission timeout, which can reduce application level latency
   and improve the throughput for applications that send intermittent
   bursts of data and rely upon timer-based recovery of packet loss.
   The benefit is expected to be especially significant when ECN is used
   on TCP SYN/ACK packets [RFC5562] where the RTO interval may be large
   because in this case TCP cannot base the timeout period on prior RTT
   measurements from the same connection.

2.4.  Applications that do not Retransmit Lost Packets

   Some latency-critical applications do not retransmit lost packets,
   yet may be able to adjust the sending rate in the presence of
   incipient congestion.  Examples of such applications include UDP-
   based services that carry Voice over IP (VoIP), interactive video or
   real-time data.  The performance of many such applications degrades
   rapidly with increasing packet loss, and many therefore employ
   mechanisms (e.g., packet forward error correction, data duplication,
   or media codec error concealment) to mitigate the effect of
   congestion loss on the application.  However, relying on such
   mechanisms adds complexity and consumes additional network capacity,
   reducing the available capacity for application data and contributing
   to the path latency when congestion is experienced.

   By decoupling congestion control from loss, ECN can allow the
   transports supporting these applications to reduce their rate before
   the application experiences loss from congestion.  Because this
   reduces the negative impact of using loss-hiding mechanisms, ECN can
   have a direct positive impact on the quality experienced by the users
   of these applications.

2.5.  Making Incipient Congestion Visible

   A characteristic of using ECN is that it exposes the presence of
   congestion on a network path to the transport and network layers.
   This information can be used for monitoring the level of congestion
   along the path by a transport/application or a network operator.
   Metering packet loss is harder.  ECN measurements are used by
   Congestion Exposure (ConEx) [RFC6789].

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015                [Page 6]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   A network flow that only experiences CE-marking and no loss implies
   that the sending endpoint is experiencing only congestion and not
   other sources of packet loss (e.g., link corruption or loss in
   middleboxes).  The converse is not true - a flow may experience a
   mixture of ECN-marking and loss when there is only congestion, or
   when there is a combination of packet loss and congestion
   [ID.RFC2309.bis].  Recording the presence of CE-marked packets can
   therefore provide information about the current congestion level
   experienced on a network path.  However, it is important to note that
   any Internet path may also experience congestive loss (e.g., due to
   queue overflow, AQM methods that protect other flows, middlebox
   behaviours), so an absence of CE-marks does not indicate a path has
   not experienced congestion.

2.6.  Opportunities for new Transport Mechanisms

   Loss is regarded as the standard signal from a network device
   experiencing congestion.  In contrast, CE-marked packets carry an
   indication that network queues are filling, without incurring loss.
   This introduces the possibility to provide richer feedback (more
   frequent and fine-grained indications) to transports.  This could
   utilise new thresholds and algorithms for ECN-marking.  ECN therefore
   provides a mechanism that can benefit evolution of transport

2.6.1.  Benefits from other forms of ECN-Marking/Reactions

   ECN requires a definition of both how network devices CE-mark packets
   and how applications/transports react to reception of these CE-marked
   packets.  ECN-capable receiving endpoints therefore need to provide
   feedback indicating that CE-marks were received.[RFC3168]provides a
   method that signals once each round trip time that CE-marked packets
   have been received.  An endpoint may provide more detailed feedback
   describing the set of received ECN codepoints using Accurate ECN
   Feedback [ID.Acc.ECN].  This can provide more information to a
   congestion control mechanism at the sending endpoint.

   Loss and CE-marking are both used as an indication for congestion.
   However, while the amount of feedback that is provided by loss ought
   naturally to be minimized, this is not the case for ECN.  With ECN, a
   network device could provide richer and more frequent feedback on its
   congestion state.  This could be used by the control mechanisms in
   the transport to make a more appropriate decision on how to react to
   congestion, allowing it to react faster to changes in congestion

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015                [Page 7]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   Precise feedback about the number of packet marks encountered is
   supported by the Real Time Protocol (RTP) when used over UDP
   [RFC6679] and proposed for SCTP [ST14] and TCP [ID.Acc.ECN].

   Benefit has been noted when packets are CE-marked earlier using an
   instantaneous queue, and if the receiver provides feedback about the
   number of packet marks encountered, an improved sender behavior has
   been shown to be possible (e.g, Datacenter TCP (DCTCP) [AL10]).
   DCTCP is targeted at confined environments such as a datacenter.  It
   is currently unknown whether or how such behaviour could be safely
   introduced into the Internet.

3.  Network Support for ECN

   For an application to use ECN requires that the endpoint first
   enables ECN within the transport.

   The ability to use ECN requires network devices along the path to at
   least forward IP packets with any ECN codepoint (i.e., packets with
   ECT(0), ECT(1), or with a CE-mark), see also Section 3.3.

   For an application to gain benefit from using a transport that
   enables ECN, network devices need to enable ECN.  However, not all
   network devices along the path need to enable ECN.  Any network
   device that does not CE-mark an ECN-enabled packet can be expected to
   drop packets under congestion.  Applications that experience
   congestion in these network devices do not see any benefit from using
   ECN, but would see benefit if the congestion were to occur within a
   network device that did support ECN.

   There is opportunity to design an AQM method for ECN that differs
   from one designed to drop packets (e.g., Random Early Detection uses
   a smoothed queue length because it was designed for loss and a
   congestion control that halves its sending rate on congestion)
   [ID.RFC2309.bis].  IETF-specified AQM algorithms also need to be
   designed to work with network paths that may contain multiple
   bottlenecks.  Transports can therefore experience dropped or CE-
   marked packets from more than one network device related to the same
   network flow [ID.AQM.eval].

   ECN can be deployed both in the general Internet and in controlled

   o  ECN can be incrementally deployed in the general Internet.  The
      IETF has provided guidance on configuration and usage in
      [ID.RFC2309.bis].  A recent survey reported a growing support for
      network paths to pass ECN codepoints [TR15].

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015                [Page 8]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   o  ECN may also be deployed within a controlled environment, for
      example within a data centre or within a well-managed private
      network.  In this case, the use of ECN may be tuned to the
      specific use-case.  An example is Datacenter TCP (DCTCP) [AL10]

   Some mechanisms can assist in using ECN across a path that only
   partially supports ECN.  These are noted in Section 4.  Applications
   and transports (such as TCP or SCTP) can be designed to fall-back to
   not using ECN when they discover they are using a path that does not
   allow use of ECN (e.g., a firewall or other network device configured
   to drop the ECN codepoint) Section 4.2.

3.1.  Enabling ECN in Network Devices

   All network devices need to be configured not to drop packets solely
   because the ECT(0) or ECT(1) codepoints are used.

   The ECN behaviour of a network device should be configurable
   [ID.RFC2309.bis].  An AQM algorithm that supports ECN needs to define
   the threshold and algorithm for ECN-marking.

   A network device must not set the CE-mark in a packet, except to
   signal incipient congestion, since this will be interpreted as
   incipient congestion by the transport endpoints.

3.2.  Tunneling ECN and the use of ECN by Lower Layer Networks

   Some networks may use ECN internally or tunnel ECN (e.g., for traffic
   engineering or security).  Guidance on the correct use of ECN in this
   case is provided in [RFC6040].

   Further guidance on the encapsulation and use of ECN by non-IP
   network devices is provided in [ID.ECN-Encap].

3.3.  Bleaching and Middlebox Requirements to deploy ECN

   Cases have been noted where a sending endpoint marks a packet with a
   non-zero ECN mark, but the packet is received with a zero ECN
   codepoint by the remote endpoint [TR15].  This could be a result of a
   policy that erases or "bleaches" the ECN codepoint values at a
   network edge (resetting the codepoint to zero).

   Bleaching may occur for various reasons (including normalising
   packets to hide which equipment supports ECN).  The current IPv4 and
   IPv6 specifications assign usage of 2 bits in the IP header to carry
   the ECN codepoint.  This 2-bit field was reserved in [RFC2474] and
   assigned in [RFC3168].  A previous usage assigned these bits as a

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015                [Page 9]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   part of the now deprecated Type of Service (ToS) field [RFC1349].  A
   network device that conforms to this older specification may remark
   or erase the ECN codepoints, and such equipment needs to be updated
   to the current specifications to support ECN.

   This policy prevents use of ECN by applications.  A network device
   should therefore not remark an ECT(0) or ECT(1) mark to zero.  This
   can result in IP packets that were originally marked as ECN-capable
   being dropped by ECN-capable network devices further along the path,
   and eliminates the advantage of using of ECN.

   A network device must not change a packet with a CE mark to a zero
   codepoint (if the CE marking is not propagated, a CE-marked packet
   must be discarded) [ID.RFC2309.bis].  A CE-marked packet should be
   expected to have already received ECN treatment in the network, and
   remarking it would then hide the congestion signal from the receiving
   endpoint.  This eliminates the benefits of ECN.  It can also slow
   down the response to congestion compared to using AQM, because the
   transport will only react if it later discovers congestion by some
   other mechanism.  (Note that ECN-enabled network devices need to drop
   excessive traffic [ID.RFC2309.bis], even when this is marked as ECN-

3.4.  Impact on non-ECN flows

   A simple AQM scheme could place ECN-capable and non-ECN capable flows
   withing the same queue.  Since an ECN AQM scheme would normally CE-
   mark packets during incipient congestion, these packets would not be
   removed from a queue, in contrast to discarding the IP packet in a
   drop-based AQM scheme.  Design of an appropriate queue management
   system needs to therefore consider when packets are dropped due to
   incipient congestion, and seek to provide appropriate fairness
   between ECN and non-ECN traffic, e.g. using more advanced AQM methods
   or including flow isolation using scheduling [ID.RFC2309.bis].

4.  Using ECN across the Internet

   This section describes partial deployment of ECN.

   Early use of ECN by transports/applications encountered a number of
   operational difficulties when the network path either failed to
   transfer ECN-capable packets or the remote endpoint did not fully
   support use of ECN.  The remainder of the section describes transport
   mechanisms that allow ECN-enabled endpoints to continue to work
   effectively over a path with misbehaving network devices or to detect
   and react to non-conformant paths.

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015               [Page 10]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

4.1.  Partial Deployment

   ECN has been designed to allow incremental partial deployment
   [RFC3168].  Any network device may choose to use either ECN or some
   other loss-based policy to manage its traffic.  Similarly,
   negotiation allows senders and receivers at the transport layer to
   choose whether ECN is to be used to manage congestion for a
   particular network flow.

   Usability problems were reported in early deployment of ECN and have
   been observed to diminish with time, but may still be encountered on
   some Internet paths [TR15].

4.2.  Verifying whether a Path Really Supports ECN

   ECN transport and applications need to implement mechanisms to verify
   ECN support on the entire path that they use (including the remote
   endpoint) and fall back to not using ECN when it would not work.
   This is expected to be a normal feature of IETF-defined transports
   supporting ECN.

   Before a transport relies on the presence or absence of CE-marked
   packets, it may need to verify that any ECN marks applied to packets
   passed by the path are indeed delivered to the remote endpoint.  This
   could be achieved by the sender setting known ECN codepoints into
   specific packets in a network flow and then verifying that these
   reach the remote endpoint [ID.Fallback], [TR15].

   The design of any transport/application also needs to be robust to
   path changes.  A change in the set of network devices along a path
   could impact the ability to effectively signal or use ECN across the
   path, e.g., when a path changes to use a middlebox that bleaches ECN
   codepoints.  As a necessary, but short term fix, transports could
   implement mechanisms that detect this and fall-back to disabling use
   of ECN [BA11].

4.3.  Detecting ECN Receiver Feedback Cheating

   It is important that receiving endpoints accurately report the loss
   they experience when using a transport that uses loss-based
   congestion control.  So also, when using ECN, a receiver must
   correctly report the congestion marking that it receives by providing
   a mechanism to feed this congestion information back to the sending

   The transport at endpoint receivers must not try to conceal reception
   of CE-marked packets in the ECN feedback information that they
   provide to the sending endpoint [ID.RFC2309.bis].  Transport

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015               [Page 11]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   protocols are actively encouraged to include mechanisms that can
   detect and appropriately respond to such misbehavior (e.g., disabling
   use of ECN, and relying on loss-based congestion detection [TR15]).

5.  Summary: Enabling ECN in Network Devices and Hosts

   This section provides a list of key requirements to achieve ECN
   deployment.  It also summarises the benefits of deploying and using
   ECN within the Internet.

   Network devices should enable ECN and people configuring host stacks
   should also enable ECN [ID.RFC2309.bis].

   Prerequisites for network devices (including IP routers) to enable
   use of ECN include:

   o  must not change a packet with a CE mark to a zero codepoint (if
      the CE marking is not propagated, the packet must be discarded).

   o  should not reset the ECN codepoint to zero by default (see
      Section 3.3).

   o  should correctly update the ECN codepoint in the presence of
      congestion [ID.RFC2309.bis].

   o  may support alternate ECN semantics [RFC4774].

   Prerequisites for network endpoints to enable use of ECN include:

   o  should use transports that can set and receive ECN marks.

   o  when ECN is used, must correctly return feedback indicating
      congestion to the sending endpoint.

   o  when ECN is used, must use transports that react appropriately to
      received ECN feedback (see Section 4.3).

   o  when ECN is used, should use transports that can detect misuse of
      ECN and detect paths that bleach ECN, providing fallback to loss-
      based congestion detection when ECN is not supported (see
      Section 4.2).

   Application developers should where possible use transports that
   enable the benefits of ECN.  Applications that directly use UDP need
   to provide support to implement the functions required for ECN
   [ID.RFC5405.bis].  Once enabled, an application that uses a transport
   that supports ECN will experience the benefits of ECN as network
   deployment starts to enable ECN.  The application does not need to be

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015               [Page 12]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   rewritten to gain these benefits.  Table 1 summarises some of these

   | Section | Benefit                                             |
   |   2.1   | Improved throughput                                 |
   |   2.2   | Reduced Head-of-Line blocking                       |
   |   2.3   | Reduced probability of RTO Expiry                   |
   |   2.4   | Applications that do not retransmit lost packets    |
   |   2.5   | Making incipient congestion visible                 |
   |   2.6   | Opportunities for new transport mechanisms          |

   Table 1: Summary of Key Benefits

6.  Acknowledgements

   The authors were part-funded by the European Community under its
   Seventh Framework Programme through the Reducing Internet Transport
   Latency (RITE) project (ICT-317700).  The views expressed are solely
   those of the authors.

   The authors would like to thank the following people for their
   comments on prior versions of this document: Bob Briscoe, David
   Collier-Brown, John Leslie, Colin Perkins, Richard Scheffenegger,
   Dave Taht, Wes Eddy, Fred Baker, Mikael Abrahamsson, Mirja
   Kuehlewind, John Leslie, and other members of the TSVWG.

7.  IANA Considerations


   This memo includes no request to IANA.

8.  Security Considerations

   This document introduces no new security considerations.  Each RFC
   listed in this document discusses the security considerations of the
   specification it contains.

9.  Revision Information

   XXX RFC-Ed please remove this section prior to publication.

   Revision 00 was the first WG draft.

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015               [Page 13]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   Revision 01 includes updates to complete all the sections and a
   rewrite to improve readability.  Added section 2.  Author list
   reversed, since Gorry has become the lead author.  Corrections
   following feedback from Wes Eddy upon review of an interim version of
   this draft.

   Note: Wes Eddy raised a question about whether discussion of the ECN
   Pitfalls could be improved or restructured - this is expected to be
   addressed in the next revision.

   Revision 02 updates the title, and also the description of mechanisms
   that help with partial ECN support.

   We think this draft is ready for wider review.  Comments are welcome
   to the authors or via the IETF AQM or TSVWG mailing lists.

   Revision 03 includes updates from the mailing list and WG discussions
   at the Dallas IETF meeting.

   The section "Avoiding Capacity Overshoot" was removed, since this
   refers primarily to an AQM benefit, and the additional benefits of
   ECN are already stated.  Separated normative and infoirmative

   Revision 4 (WG Review during WGLC)

   Updated the abstract.

   Added a table of contents.

   Addressed various (some conflicting) comments during WGLC with new

   The section on Network Support for ECN was moved, and some
   suggestions for rewording sections were implemented.

   Decided not to remove section headers for 2.1 and 2.2 - to ensure the
   document clearly calls-out the benefits.

   Updated references.  Updated text to improve consistency of terms and
   added deifinitions for key terms.

   Note: The group suggested this document should not define
   recommendations for end hosts or routers, but simply state the things
   needs to enable deployment to be sucessful.

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015               [Page 14]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

10.  References

10.1.  Normative References

              Baker, F. and G. Fairhurst, "IETF Recommendations
              Regarding Active Queue Management", Internet-draft draft-
              ietf-aqm-recommendation-06, October 2014.

              Eggert, Lars., Fairhurst, Gorry., and Greg. Shepherd,
              "Unicast UDP Usage Guidelines", 2015.

   [RFC2474]  "Definition of the Differentiated Services Field (DS
              Field) in the IPv4 and IPv6 Headers".

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

   [RFC6040]  Briscoe, B., "Tunnelling of Explicit Congestion
              Notification", RFC 6040, November 2010.

10.2.  Informative References

   [AL10]     Alizadeh, M., Greenberg, A., Maltz, D., Padhye, J., Patel,
              P., Prabhakar, B., Sengupta, S., and M. Sridharan, "Data
              Center TCP (DCTCP)", SIGCOMM 2010, August 2010.

   [BA11]     Bauer, Steven., Beverly, Robert., and Arthur. Berger,
              "Measuring the State of ECN Readiness in Servers, Clients,
              and Routers, ACM IMC", 2011.

   [Fla13]    Flach, Tobias., Dukkipati, Nandita., Terzis, Andreas.,
              Raghavan, Barath., Cardwell, Neal., Cheng, Yuchung., Jain,
              Ankur., Hao, Shuai., Katz-Bassett, Ethan., and Ramesh.
              Govindan, "Reducing web latency: the virtue of gentle
              aggression.", SIGCOMM 2013, October 2013.

              Kuhn, Nicolas., Natarajan, Preethi., Ros, David., and
              Naeem. Khademi, "AQM Characterization Guidelines (Work-in-
              progress, draft-ietf-aqm-eval-guidelines)", 2015.

              Briscoe, Bob., Scheffeneger, Richard., and Mirja.
              Kuehlewind, "More Accurate ECN Feedback in TCP, Work-in-

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015               [Page 15]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

              Bensley, S., Eggert, Lars., and D. Thaler, "Microsoft's
              Datacenter TCP (DCTCP): TCP Congestion Control for
              Datacenters (Work-in-progress, draft-bensley-tcpm-dctcp)",

              Briscoe, B., Kaippallimalil, J., and P. Thaler,
              "Guidelines for Adding Congestion Notification to
              Protocols that Encapsulate IP", Internet-draft, IETF work-
              in-progress draft-ietf-tsvwg-ecn-encap-guidelines.

              Kuehlewind, Mirja. and Brian. Trammell, "A Mechanism for
              ECN Path Probing and Fallback, draft-kuehlewind-tcpm-ecn-
              fallback, Work-in-Progress".

   [RFC0768]  Postel, J., "User Datagram Protocol", 1980.

   [RFC1349]  "Type of Service in the Internet Protocol Suite".

   [RFC3649]  Floyd, S., "HighSpeed TCP for Large Congestion Windows",
              RFC 3649, December 2003.

   [RFC3758]  Stewart, R., Ramalho, M., Xie, Q., Tuexen, M., and P.
              Conrad, "Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP)
              Partial Reliability Extension", RFC 3758, May 2004.

   [RFC4340]  Kohler, E., Handley, M., and S. Floyd, "Datagram
              Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP)", RFC 4340, March 2006.

   [RFC4774]  Floyd, S., "Specifying Alternate Semantics for the
              Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) Field", BCP 124,
              RFC 4774, November 2006.

   [RFC5562]  Kuzmanovic, A., Mondal, A., Floyd, S., and K.
              Ramakrishnan, "Adding Explicit Congestion Notification
              (ECN) Capability to TCP's SYN/ACK Packets", RFC 5562, June

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

   [RFC6679]  Westerlund, M., Johansson, I., Perkins, C., O'Hanlon, P.,
              and K. Carlberg, "Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN)
              for RTP over UDP", RFC 6679, August 2012.

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015               [Page 16]

Internet-Draft               Benefits of ECN                    May 2015

   [RFC6789]  Briscoe, B., Woundy, R., and A. Cooper, "Congestion
              Exposure (ConEx) Concepts and Use Cases", RFC 6789,
              December 2012.

   [ST14]     Stewart, R., Tuexen, M., and X. Dong, "ECN for Stream
              Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP)", Internet-draft
              draft-stewart-tsvwg-sctpecn-05.txt, January 2014.

   [TR15]     Tranmmel, Brian., Kuehlewind, Mirja., Boppart, Damiano,
              Learmonth, Iain., and Gorry.  Fairhurst, "Enabling
              internet-wide deployment of Explicit Congestion
              Notification Tramwell, B., Kuehlewind, M., Boppart, D.,
              Learmonth, I., Fairhurst, G. & Scheffnegger, Passive and
              Active Measurement Conference (PAM)", March 2015.

Authors' Addresses

   Godred Fairhurst
   University of Aberdeen
   School of Engineering, Fraser Noble Building
   Aberdeen  AB24 3UE


   Michael Welzl
   University of Oslo
   PO Box 1080 Blindern
   Oslo  N-0316

   Phone: +47 22 85 24 20

Fairhurst & Welzl       Expires November 6, 2015               [Page 17]