DHC Working Group                                               Ted Lemon
INTERNET DRAFT                                                    Nominum
Expires: July 2005                                        Bill Sommerfeld
Internet Draft                                           Sun Microsystems
Document: <draft-ietf-dhc-3315id-for-v4-04.txt>
Category: Standards Track                                  February, 2005

             Node-Specific Client Identifiers for DHCPv4

Status of this Memo

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, I certify that any applicable
   patent or other IPR claims of which I am aware have been disclosed,
   or will be disclosed, and any of which I become aware will be
   disclosed, in accordance with RFC 3668.

   This document is a submission by the Dynamic Host Configuration
   Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Comments
   should be submitted to the dhcwg@ietf.org mailing list.

   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

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   This document specifies the format that is to be used for encoding
   DHCPv4 [RFC2131 and RFC2132] client identifiers, so that those
   identifiers will be interchangeable with identifiers used in the
   DHCPv6 protocol [RFC3315].


   This document specifies the way in which DHCPv4 clients should
   identify themselves.  DHCPv4 client implementations that conform to
   this specification use a DHCPv6-style DHCP Unique Identifier (DUID)
   encapsulated in a DHCPv4 client identifier option.   This supersedes
   the behaviour specified in RFC2131 and RFC2132.

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   The reason for making this change is that as we make the transition
   from IPv4 to IPv6, there will be network devices that must use both
   DHCPv4 and DHCPv6.  Users of these devices will have a smoother
   network experience if the devices identify themselves consistently,
   regardless of the version of DHCP they are using at any given
   moment.  Most obviously, DNS updates made by the DHCP server on
   behalf of the client will not be handled correctly.  This change
   also addresses certain limitations in the functioning of
   RFC2131/2132-style DHCP client identifiers.

   This document first describes the problem to be solved.  It then
   states the new technique that is to be used to solve the problem.
   Finally, it describes the specific changes that one would have to
   make to RFC2131 and RFC2132 in order for those documents not to
   contradict what is described in this document.

1.0 Applicability

   This document updates RFC2131 and RFC2132.  DHCPv4 server
   implementations SHOULD conform to this document.  DHCPv4 clients on
   network devices that are expected to support DHCPv6 in the future
   SHOULD conform to this document.  This document makes no changes to
   the behavior of DHCPv6 clients or servers.

   DHCPv4 clients and servers that are implemented according to this
   document should be implemented as if the changes specified in
   section 4.3 and 4.4 have been made to RFC2131 and RFC2132.

2.0 Problem Statement

2.1. Client identities are ephemeral

   RFC2132 recommends that client identifiers be generated by using
   the permanent link-layer address of the network interface that the
   client is trying to configure.  In cases where a network interface
   is removed from the client computer and replaced with a different
   network interface with a different permanent link-layer address,
   the identity of the client changes.  The client loses its IP
   address and any other resources associated with its old identifier
   - for example, its domain name as published through the DHCPv4

2.2. Clients can accidentally present multiple identities

   Consider a DHCPv4 client that has two network interfaces, one of
   which is wired and one of which is wireless.  The DHCPv4 client
   will succeed in configuring either zero, one, or two network
   interfaces.  Under the current specification, each network
   interface will receive a different IP address.  The DHCPv4 server
   will treat each network interface as a completely independent
   DHCPv4 client, on a completely independent host.

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   Thus, when the client presents some information to be updated in a
   network directory service, such as the DNS, the name that is
   presented will be the same on both interfaces, but the identity
   that is presented will be different.  What will happen is that one
   of the two interfaces will get the name, and will retain that name
   as long as it has a valid lease, even if it loses its connection to
   the network, while the other network interface will never get the
   name.  In some cases, this will achieve the desired result - when
   only one network interface is connected, sometimes its IP address
   will be published.  In some cases, the one connected interface's IP
   address will not be the one that is published.  When there are two
   interfaces, sometimes the correct one will be published, and
   sometimes not.

   This is likely to be a particular problem with modern laptops,
   which usually have built-in wireless ethernet and wired ethernet.
   When the user is near a wired outlet, he or she may want the
   additional speed and privacy provided by a wired connection, but
   that same user may unplug from the wired network and wander around,
   still connected to the wireless network.  When a transition like
   this happens, under the current scheme, if the address of the wired
   interface is the one that gets published, this client will be seen
   by hosts attempting to connect to it as if it has intermittent
   connectivity, even though it actually has continuous network
   connectivity through the wireless port.

2.3. RFC2131/2132 and RFC3315 identifiers are incompatible

   The 'client identifier' option is used by DHCPv4 clients and
   servers to identify clients.  In some cases, the value of the
   'client identifier' option is used to mediate access to resources
   (for example, the client's domain name, as published through the
   DHCPv4 server).  RFC2132 and RFC3315 specify different methods for
   deriving client identifiers.  These methods guarantee that the
   DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 identifier will be different.  This means that
   mediation of access to resources using these identifiers will not
   work correctly in cases where a node may be configured using DHCPv4
   in some cases and DHCPv6 in other cases.

2.4. RFC2131 does not require the use of a client identifier

   RFC2131 allows the DHCPv4 server to identify clients either by
   using the client identifier option sent by the client, or, if the
   client did not send one, the client's link-layer address.  Like the
   client identifier format recommended by RFC2131, this suffers from
   the problems previously described in (2) and (3).

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3. Requirements

   In order to address the problems stated in section 2, DHCPv4 client
   identifiers must have the following characteristics:

   - They must be persistent, in the sense that a particular host's
     client identifier must not change simply because a piece of
     network hardware is added or removed.

   - It must be possible for the client to represent itself as having
     more than one network identity - for example so that a client
     with two network interfaces can express to the DHCPv4 server that
     these two network interfaces are to receive different IP
     addresses, even if they happen to be connected to the same link.

   - In cases where the DHCPv4 client is expressing more than one
     network identity at the same time, it must nevertheless be
     possible for the DHCPv4 server to determine that the two network
     identities belong to the same host.

   - It must be possible for a client that is prepared to handle the
     case where two or more network interfaces have the same IP
     address to use exactly the same identifier for each interface.

   - DHCPv4 servers that do not conform to this specification, but that
     are compliant with the older client identifier specification,
     must correctly handle client identifiers sent by clients that
     conform to this specification.

   - DHCPv4 servers that do conform to this specification must
     interoperate correctly with DHCPv4 clients that do not conform to
     this specification, except that when configuring such clients,
     behaviors such as those described in section two may occur.

   - The use by DHCPv4 clients of the chaddr field of the DHCPv4 packet
     as an identifier must be deprecated.

   - DHCPv4 client identifiers used by dual-stack hosts that also use
     DHCPv6 must use the same host identification string for both
     DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 - for example, a DHCPv4 server that uses the
     client's identity to update the DNS on behalf of a DHCPv4 client
     must register the same client identity in the DNS that would be
     registered by the DHCPv6 server on behalf of the DHCPv6 client
     running on that host, and vice versa.

   In order to satisfy all but the last of these requirements, we need
   to construct a DHCPv4 client identifier out of two parts.  One part
   must be unique to the host on which the client is running.  The
   other must be unique to the network identity being presented.  The
   DHCP Unique Identifier (DUID) and Identity Association Identifier
   (IAID) specified in RFC3315 satisfy these requirements.  And in

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   order to satisfy the last requirement, we must use the DUID to
   identify the DHCPv4 client.  So, taking all the requirements
   together, the DUID and IAID described in RFC3315 are the only
   possible solution.

4. Implementation

   Here we specify changes to the behavior of DHCPv4 clients and
   servers.   We also specify changes to the wording in RFC2131 and
   RFC2132.   DHCPv4 clients, servers and relay agents that conform to
   this specification must implement RFC2131 and RFC2132 with the
   wording changes specified in sections 4.3 and 4.4.

4.1. DHCPv4 Client behavior

   DHCPv4 clients conforming to this specification MUST use stable
   DHCPv4 node identifiers in the dhcp-client-identifier option.
   DHCPv4 clients MUST NOT use client identifiers based solely on
   layer two addresses that are hard-wired to the layer two device
   (e.g., the ethernet MAC address) as suggested in RFC2131, except as
   allowed in section 9.2 of RFC3315.  DHCPv4 clients MUST send a
   'client identifier' option containing an Identity Association
   Unique Identifier, as defined in section 10 of RFC3315, and a DHCP
   Unique Identifier, as defined in section 9 of RFC3315.  These
   together constitute an RFC3315-style binding identifier.

   The general format of the DHCPv4 'client identifier' option is
   defined in section 9.14 of RFC2132.

   To send an RFC3315-style binding identifiier in a DHCPv4 'client
   identifier' option, the type of the 'client identifier' option is
   set to 255.  The type field is immediately followed by the IAID,
   which is an opaque 32-bit quantity.  The IAID is immediately
   followed by the DUID, which consumes the remaining contents of the
   'client identifier' option.  The format of the 'client identifier'
   option is as follows:

      Code  Len  Type  IAID                DUID
      | 61 | n  | 255 | i1 | i2 | i3 | i4 | d1 | d2 |...

   Any DHCPv4 or DHCPv6 client that conforms to this specification
   SHOULD provide a means by which an operator can learn what DUID the
   client has chosen.  Such clients SHOULD also provide a means by
   which the operator can configure the DUID.  A device that is
   normally configured with both a DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 client SHOULD
   automatically use the same DUID for DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 without any
   operator intervention.

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   DHCPv4 clients that support more than one network interface SHOULD
   use the same DUID on every interface.  DHCPv4 clients that support
   more than one network interface SHOULD use a different IAID on
   each interface.

4.2. DHCPv4 Server behavior

   This document does not require any change to DHCPv4 or DHCPv6
   servers that follow RFC2131 and RFC2132.  However, some DHCPv4
   servers can be configured not to conform to RFC2131 and RFC2131, in
   the sense that they ignore the 'client identifier' option and use
   the client's hardware address instead.

   DHCPv4 servers that conform to this specification MUST use the
   'client identifier' option to identify the client if the client
   sends it.

   DHCPv4 servers MAY use administrator-supplied values for chaddr and
   htype to identify the client in the case where the administrator is
   assigning a fixed IP address to the client, even if the client
   sends an client identifier option.  This is ONLY permitted in the
   case where the DHCPv4 server administrator has provided the values
   for chaddr and htype, because in this case if it causes a problem,
   the administrator can correct the problem by removing the offending
   configuration information.

4.3. Changes from RFC2131

   In section 2 of RFC2131, on page 9, the text that reads "; for
   example, the 'client identifier' may contain a hardware address,
   identical to the contents of the 'chaddr' field, or it may contain
   another type of identifier, such as a DNS name" is deleted.

   In section 4.2 of RFC2131, the text "The client MAY choose to
   explicitly provide the identifier through the 'client identifier'
   option.  If the client supplies a 'client identifier', the client
   MUST use the same 'client identifier' in all subsequent messages,
   and the server MUST use that identifier to identify the client.  If
   the client does not provide a 'client identifier' option, the
   server MUST use the contents of the 'chaddr' field to identify the
   client." is replaced by the text "The client MUST explicitly
   provide a client identifier through the 'client identifier'
   option.   The client MUST use the same 'client identifier' option
   for all messages."

   In the same section, the text "Use of 'chaddr' as the client's
   unique identifier may cause unexpected results, as that identifier
   may be associated with a hardware interface that could be moved to
   a new client.  Some sites may choose to use a manufacturer's serial
   number as the 'client identifier', to avoid unexpected changes in a
   clients network address due to transfer of hardware interfaces

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   among computers.  Sites may also choose to use a DNS name as the
   'client identifier', causing address leases to be associated with
   the DNS name rather than a specific hardware box." is replaced by
   the text "The DHCP client MUST NOT rely on the 'chaddr' field to
   identify it."

   In section 4.4.1 of RFC2131, the text "The client MAY include a
   different unique identifier" is replaced with "The client MUST
   include a unique identifier".

   In sections 3.1, item 4 and 6, 3.2 item 3 and 4, and 4.3.1, where
   RFC2131 says that 'chaddr' may be used instead of the 'client
   identifier' option, the text that says "or 'chaddr'" and "'chaddr'
   or" is deleted.

   Note that these changes do not relieve the DHCPv4 server of the
   obligation to use 'chaddr' as an identifier if the client does not
   send a 'client identifier' option.  Rather, they oblige clients
   that conform with this document to send a 'client identifier'
   option, and not rely on 'chaddr' for identification.  DHCPv4
   servers MUST use 'chaddr' as an identifier in cases where 'client
   identifier' is not sent, in order to support old clients that do
   not conform with this document.

4.4. Changes from RFC2132

   The text in section 9.14, beginning with "The client identifier MAY
   consist of" through "that meet this requirement for uniqueness." is
   replaced with "the client identifier consists of a type field whose
   value is normally 255, followed by a four-byte IA_ID field, followed
   by the DUID for the client as defined in RF3315, section 9."  The
   text "its minimum length is 2" in the following paragraph is deleted.

5. Security Considerations

   This document raises no new security issues.  Potential exposure to
   attack in the DHCPv4 protocol are discussed in section 7 of the
   DHCP protocol specification [RFC2131] and in Authentication for
   DHCP messages [RFC3118].  Potential exposure to attack in the
   DHCPv6 protocol is discussed in section 23 of RFC3315.

6. IANA Considerations

   This document defines no new name spaces that need to be
   administered by the IANA.  This document deprecates all 'client
   identifier' type codes other than 255, and thus there is no need
   for the IANA to track additional possible values for the type field
   of the 'client identifier' option.

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7. Normative References

   [RFC2131] Droms, R., "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol", RFC 2131,
             March 1997.
   [RFC2132] S. Alexander, R. Droms, "DHCP Options and BOOTP Vendor
             Extensions", RFC2132, March, 1997
   [RFC3315] Droms, R., Bound, J., Volz, B., Lemon, T., Perkins, C.,
             Carney, M., "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for
             IPv6 (DHCPV6)", July, 2003

8. Informative References

   [RFC3118] Droms, R., Arbaugh, W., "Authentication for DHCP
             Messages", RFC3118, June, 2001

Author's Addresses

   Ted Lemon
   2385 Bay Road
   Redwood City, CA 94063 USA
   +1 650 381 6000

   Bill Sommerfeld
   Sun Microsystems
   1 Network Drive
   Burlington, MA 01824
   +1 781 442 3458

Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003-2005).  This document is
   subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions contained in BCP
   78, and except as set forth therein, the authors retain all their

   This document and the information contained herein are provided on


   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

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