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Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05                                             
IETF fax WG                           G. Klyne, Baltimore Technologies
Internet draft                      D. Crocker, Brandenburg Consulting
                                                          13 June 2001
                                                Expires: December 2001


          Timely Completion for Internet Messaging Services
               <draft-ietf-fax-timely-delivery-03.txt>

Status of this memo

  This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
  all provisions of Section 10 of RFC 2026.

  Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
  Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that
  other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-
  Drafts.

  Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six
  months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other
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Copyright Notice

  Copyright (C) The Internet Society 2001.  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

  This proposal describes a way to request timely completion for
  Internet email, for services such as facsimile and voice messaging.
  It provides a deterministic service quality response, while
  preserving the traditional roles and responsibiltiies of the agents
  involved in e-mail transfers.

  It is essentially a profile of the DSN and DELIVERBY extentions for
  ESMTP, and a TIMELY option to DELIVERBY with a new deterministic
  service quality response.








Klyne & Crocker             Internet draft                    [Page 1]


Timely Completion for Internet Messaging                  13 June 2001
<draft-ietf-fax-timely-delivery-03.txt>


Discussion of this document

  Please send comments to:  <ietf-fax@imc.org>.

  To subscribe:  send a message with the body 'subscribe' to
  <ietf-fax-request@imc.org>.  The mailing list archive is at
  <http://www.imc.org/ietf-fax/>.
















































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Table of contents

1. Introduction.............................................4
  1.1 Structure of this document ...........................4
  1.2 Document terminology and conventions .................4
2. Background and goals.....................................5
  2.1 Background ...........................................6
  2.2 Basis for timely completion ..........................6
     2.2.1 The SMTP "contract"..............................7
     2.2.2 Framework for timely delivery....................7
  2.3 What does the TIMELY option add? .....................8
     2.3.1 DELIVERBY and timely disposition.................9
  2.4 Goals for timely completion ..........................9
3. Mechanisms for timely completion.........................10
  3.1 Transmitting a message for timely completion .........11
  3.2 Relaying a message ...................................12
  3.3 Accepting a message by the final MTA .................13
     3.3.1 Disposition timing...............................13
  3.4 Reporting failures ...................................14
  3.5 Timely confirmation ..................................15
4. Timely extension to ESMTP Deliver By extension...........17
4.1 Framework for TIMELY extension to DELIVERBY.............17
4.2 Extension to EHLO DELIVERBY keyword.....................17
4.3 MAIL FROM: TIMELY parameter.............................18
5. DSN reporting extensions.................................18
  5.1 New extended mail system status codes ................18
  5.2 'Retry-count' per-recipient DSN header ...............19
6. Implementation notes.....................................19
  6.1 Message state management .............................19
  6.2 Retransmission timing issues .........................21
  6.3 Delivery timing granularity ..........................22
  6.4 Partial success ......................................22
  6.5 Routing TIMELY and non-TIMELY messages ...............23
  6.6 Expediting message handling ..........................23
7. Examples.................................................23
  7.1 Timely delivery and confirmation .....................23
  7.2 Timely delivery achieved, no timely disposition ......26
  7.3 Timely delivery achieved, disposition delayed ........27
  7.4 Timely delivery could not be achieved ................28
  7.5 Timely delivery feature not supported ................30
8. IANA Considerations......................................31
9. Internationalization considerations......................32
10. Security considerations.................................32
11. Acknowledgements........................................32
12. References..............................................32
13. Authors' addresses......................................34
Appendix A: Amendment history...............................35
Full copyright statement....................................37





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1. Introduction

  RFC 1891 [4] defines an ESMTP extension for delivery status
  notifications, and RFC 2852 [5] defines one for requesting delivery
  of a message within a given interval.  This memo describes how to
  use those specifications, with some small extensions, to achieve
  timely completion of message delivery.

1.1 Structure of this document

  Section 2 gives the background, principal ideas and goals of this
  specification.

  Section 3 describes the mechanisms used, and how they are combined
  to achieve the timely delivery goals.

  Section 4 describes an addition to the ESMTP "Deliver by" extension
  which is one of the mechanisms used to achieve timely delivery.

  Section 5 describes extensions to the DSN reporting format and
  status codes used to report conditions related to timely delivery
  requests.

  Section 6 contains some non-normative discussion of implementation
  issues related to this specification.

  Section 7 contains some examples uses of this specification.

1.2 Document terminology and conventions

  The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
  "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED",  "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in
  this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [11].

  Timely delivery
       means a message is delivered to a recipient's MTA within a
       specified time interval.

  Timely disposition
       means a message is delivered to and processed by a recipient's
       user agent within a specified time interval.

  Timely completion
       means that notification of a requested timely disposition or
       timely delivery is received by the sender of a message within
       a determined time interval.  Non-receipt of notification
       within that interval is indicative of failure.






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  Delivery interval
       A period of time, measured in seconds, allowed for completion
       of message delivery and disposition.

  Best efforts
       Indicating that a system will ensure that an assigned task is
       successfully completed under all but the most catastrophic of
       failure circumstances.  Common failure modes, such as power
       failures, should not prevent eventual completion of a task.

  Reasonable efforts
       Indicating that a while system will try to complete an
       assigned task, it may also indulge in behaviours, or make
       operational decisions, that significantly reduce the certainty
       that an action will be completed in the face of disruptive
       circumstances.

  MTA, Mail Transfer Agent
       An email system component whose role is to receive and
       transfer a message.

  MUA, Mail User Agent
       An email system component whose role is to prepare and send,
       or to receive and process, a message.  MUAs are the endpoints
       between which emails are sent;  MTAs are relays on the path
       from a sending MUA to a receiving MUA.

  Delivery MTA
       In the context of a particular email transfer, the MTA that
       accepts the message and passes it to the receiving MUA.

       NOTE:  Comments like this provide additional nonessential
       information about the rationale behind this document.
       Such information is not needed for building a conformant
       implementation, but may help those who wish to understand
       the design in greater depth.

  [[[Editorial comments and questions about outstanding issues are
  provided in triple brackets like this.  These working comments
  should be resolved and removed prior to final publication.]]]


2. Background and goals

  RFC 2852 [5] provides a mechanism to request timely delivery of a
  message using SMTP.  While this is helpful, it falls short for some
  usage profiles, such as timely processing of fax messages.  These
  profiles are determined, in part, by the capabilities of
  traditional facsimile [8].






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2.1 Background

  Traditional e-mail [2] is open-loop.  The sender of a message
  normally has no certainty if or when a message is delivered.  (A
  separate memo [6] contains a discussion of some open- and closed-
  loop issues in e-mail.)

  To be more than just a hint to the message transfer system, timely
  completion requires a deterministic confirmation mechanism, to
  close the loop.  This is provided by DSN [4].

  Four kinds of timeliness can be identified:

  (a)  timely delivery to the recipient

  (b)  timely delivery to and processing by the recipient

  (c)  timely notification to the sender of delivery

  (d)  timely notification to the sender that the message has been
       delivered to and processed by the recipient

  From the sender's point of view, timely confirmation of delivery
  and processing is the most desirable requirement.

2.2 Basis for timely completion

  A key premise of this proposal is that timeliness CAN be achieved
  using existing protocols, with appropriate software design and
  operational management.  But the sender and receiver do not control
  all the relays used:

  o  The real issue is lack of determinism:  a message might be
     delivered quickly, or it might take hours or even days, or it
     might not be delivered at all;  the sender has little knowledge
     and no control.

  o  A second issue is post-delivery handling:  will the receiving
     user agent process the message in timely fashion?

  Then, assuming that the infrastructure is generally capable of
  achieving the desired timely completion, the main thrust of this
  memo is provide protocol enhancements that put the sender in
  complete control on those occasions when timeliness is not
  achieved.

  One challenge to achieving this is dealing with uncertain transit
  times of the confirmation message over the return path (which is
  not necessarily the same as the forward path).






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2.2.1 The SMTP "contract"

  On accepting a message, a normal SMTP message transfer agent (MTA)
  accepts responsibility to:

  (a)  use best efforts to ensure ultimate delivery of the message,
       or

  (b)  provide notification that delivery could not be achieved.

  This memo introduces mechanisms to allow this contract to be
  modified.  A timely-completion MTA accepts responsibility to:

  (a)  use reasonable efforts to ensure delivery and disposition
       within a specified time, and to provide timely confirmation of
       this, or

  (b)  provide timely notification that delivery and disposition were
       not achieved.

  The sender can then decide a recovery strategy

2.2.2 Framework for timely delivery

  The diagram shows typical SMTP message delivery and delivery status
  notification (DSN) paths.  Note that the confirmation path is not
  necessarily the same as the message delivery path.

                        Outbound message -->

         +-------+     +-----+     +-----+     +---------+
         |Sending|-->--|Relay| >>> |Relay|-->--|Receiving|
         | MTA   |     | MTA |     | MTA |     |   MTA   |
         +-------+     +-----+     +-----+     +---------+
           |                                     |     |
           ^                                     |     v
           |                                     |     |
     +-------+                                   |   +---------+
     |Sending|                                   |   |Receiving|
     |  UA   |-<-------------  <<<  -------------    |   UA    |
     +-------+                                       +---------+
                    <-- Return confirmation













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  As well as requesting timely delivery of a message, this proposal
  needs to take account of the possibly varying characteristics of
  relays of the outbound and return message paths.  Practically, it
  is possible to require that every relay on the outbound path
  recognizes timely completion semantics (using the ESMTP extension
  framework), but it is not possible to require this of every relay
  on the return path.  Thus, it may be necessary to make some
  assumptions about the confirmation return path.

       NOTE:  The uncertainty about return path characteristics
       might be removed by requiring an MTA to send any timely
       delivery notifcation to the MTA from which it was
       received, but this goes against trends in SMTP design and
       deployment.  This might also raise state maintenance and
       hence scalability concerns.

  The other issue apparent from the diagram is that providing timely
  delivery through the SMTP message relays does not ensure that the
  receiving UA will process the message in a timely fashion.  If the
  receiving MTA delivers to a POP mailbox, there is currently no way
  that it can guarantee timely disposition.

2.3 What does the TIMELY option add?

  The TIMELY option adds three elements to the DELIVERBY extension:

  o  it modifies the SMTP contract, permitting an MTA to commute its
     responsibility for delivering the message from "best effort" to
     "reasonable effort", with notification of outcome.

  o  it extends the reach of the timeliness constraint to cover the
     disposition step (see below).

  o  it establishes a basis for determining the allowable time
     interval for certain behaviours initiated by the receiver of a
     message (i.e. DELIVERBY interval for delivery status responses,
     and how long to wait for possible duplicate message
     transmissions).

  This is all consistent with the fundamental strategy of giving the
  sender control over the whole process:  if an MTA or the disposing
  agent cannot communicate the required guarantee, delivery is not
  completed and the sender is duly notified.

2.3.1 DELIVERBY and timely disposition

  Timely completion of delivery is handled by the DELIVERYBY ESMTP
  extension base specification [5].  However its scope ends with
  final delivery by SMTP, not covering receipt and processing
  disposition.  The TIMELY option modifies the DELIVERBY semantics to





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  cover the additional step needed to reach the recipient and process
  the message.

  Consider the following scenario:

     +------+     +-----+     +---------+    -------    +---------+
     |Sender|-->--|Relay|-->--|Receiving|->-(Message)->-|Disposing|
     | MTA  |     | MTA |     |  MTA    |   ( store )   |  agent  |
     +------+     +-----+     +---------+    -------    +---------+

            <------SMTP------->         <-------?------->

  The base DELIVERBY specification concerns itself with only
  participants in the SMTP transfers.  But for the purposes of timely
  completion of disposition, the sender must be able to specify the
  timeliness constraint to include this extra step.

  The TIMELY option requires that the receiving MTA communicates with
  the disposing agent (in some unspecified way), and that it confirms
  final delivery of the message only if the disposing agent confirms
  that it will deal with the message in timely fashion, or that it
  will return an indication to the receiving MTA if it fails to do
  so.  Simply putting the message into a POP mailbox would not meet
  this criterion.

2.4 Goals for timely completion

  The primary goal is to allow consenting parties to establish a
  relationship that carries a guarantee of message disposition a
  within a specified time, or timely notification that the
  disposition was not achieved.

  Further goals are:

  o  Provide "while-you-wait" delivery of messages by e-mail (where
     available infrastructure and connectivity permit).

  o  Deterministic behaviour.  A sender who requests timely completion
     should be able to determine with reasonable certainty, and in
     reasonable time, whether or not that request was successful.

  o  If the message cannot be delivered as requested, it should not be
     delivered at all.  This means that a sender can choose other
     strategies for message delivery (e.g. if timely delivery by email
     does not succeed, to resend the message as a traditional
     facsimile;  in such circumstances it is preferable that multiple
     copies of the message are not delivered.

  o  Operates within the existing ESMTP extension framework [3], using
     existing facilities where available.





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3. Mechanisms for timely completion

  Deterministic timely completion is achieved through a number of
  ESMTP extensions used in concert:

  o  Delivery Status Notification ("DSN"), per RFC 1891 [4].

  o  Deliver-by ("DELIVERBY"), per RFC 2852 [5]

  o  A new TIMELY extension to DELIVERBY, that serves to modify the
     SMTP contract and also to establish that the receiving user agent
     can process the message in timely fashion as required, or provide
     timely notification of its failure to do so

  The confirmation loop for succesful delivery looks something like
  this:

     +-----------+     +--------+     +--------+     +---------+
     |Originating|-->--|Relaying| ... |Relaying|-->--|Receiving|
     |    MTA    |     |  MTA   |     |  MTA   |   --|   MTA   |
     +-----------+     +--------+     +--------+  |  +---------+
            |                                     |       |
     +-------------+                              |  +---------+
     | Originating |--<--  ...   ....   ...  --<--   |Receiving|
     |     MUA     |                                 |   MUA   |
     +-------------+                                 +---------+

  The path through MTAs taken by the confirmation response is not
  defined, and may be different than the forward path of the original
  message.

3.1 Transmitting a message for timely completion

  A transmitted message for which timely completion is required MUST
  include the following:

  o  an 'ENVID' parameter on the MAIL FROM command, per DSN [4]

  o  an 'ORCPT' parameter on the corresponding RCPT TO command(s), per
     DSN [4].  (This is to allow the sender to tell exactly which
     recipients were succesfully delivered.)

  o  a 'NOTIFY=SUCCESS,FAILURE' parameter on the corresponding RCPT TO
     command(s), per DSN [4]

  o  a 'BY' parameter on the MAIL FROM command, per [5], with a 'by-
     mode' value of 'R'.








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  o  a 'TIMELY' parameter on the MAIL FROM command, as described
     below, initially having the same time interval as specified for
     'BY'.

  The message MUST NOT be transmitted to any MTA that does not
  indicate support for all of these extensions in its response to the
  EHLO command.  In this case, a negative delivery status report MUST
  be generated, which SHOULD indicate the non-compliant MTA, the
  extensions that it does not support, and the name of the reporting
  MTA (per DSN, using the non-compliance reporting extensions noted
  later).

  Standard DNS MX-based message routing, per RFC 974, SHOULD be used
  when sending or relaying the message.

       NOTE:  Any strategies that vary standard MX routing
       should be used with care, and only with the goal of
       improving network transit times and timing consistency.
       These comments about mail routing apply especially to the
       handling of DSN responses.

       Ideally, there will be no intermediate relay between the
       sending and receiving MTAs, and in any case the number of
       such relays should be minimized to reduce timing
       variabilities on the transfer path.

3.2 Relaying a message

  An MTA that relays a message for timely completion MUST support all
  of the ESMTP extensions noted above, otherwise it should not be
  given the message in the first place.  When a relaying MTA accepts
  a message (by its 2xx status response to receipt of the message
  data), it becomes responsible for its onward delivery, including
  satisfying all of the options associated with the message.

  In order to relay such a message, an MTA MUST note when the message
  was received, and the time when the attempt to transmit the message
  to the next MTA is initiated, and reduce accordingly the time
  interval used for the BY parameter.  (The time interval should be
  taken to start with receipt of the MAIL FROM command.)

  If the DELIVERBY time interval is reduced to less than zero, (or
  less than some system-configurable value indicating that delivery
  within the indicated interval is unlikely to be achieved) then the
  message MUST NOT be relayed.  Instead, a negative delivery status
  report MUST be generated indicating that the time for delivery of
  the message has expired, and the reporting MTA (per DSN, using the
  deliver-by extensions and/or non-compliance reporting extensions
  noted below).






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  The above behaviour is as specified for the DELIVERBY ESMTP
  extension;  see RFC 2852 [5] for a definitive description of how to
  handle relaying of such messages.  The following additional
  considerations are applicable when the TIMELY option is used:

  The TIMELY parameter in the MAIL FROM command of a message in
  transit is copied unchanged when the message is retransmitted.
  Thus, any originally specified time interval is conveyed to the
  final MTA, to be used as a basis for selecting a delivery interval
  for returning a timely notification.

  Standard DNS MX-based message routing, per RFC 974, SHOULD be used
  when relaying the message. (See note at end of previous section.)

  If the first attempt to relay a message fails, the relaying MTA MAY
  assume that delivery within the desired time will not be achieved,
  and immediately indicate a delivery failure, indicating the name of
  the next-hop MTA.  Alternatively, the relaying MTA may wait and
  retry the transmission, provided that the retry attempt will be
  performed within the remaining delivery period;  if the
  transmission cannot be completed after one or more such retries
  then a negative DSN MUST be generated as noted above.

  Any negative DSN generated should indicate the number of retries
  attempted (where 0 means no retries).

  The choice to retry or not retry is installation dependent.
  Effectively, when a relay does not retry, any reposibility for
  overcoming the delivery failure is passed back to the original
  sender.  This strategy may be appropriate for cases where very
  rapid delivery is required or expected.

       NOTE:  The presence of a 'TIMELY' option may cause a
       relay to abandon a message that it would otherwise retry
       (even given a 'by-mode' value of 'R').  One purpose of
       this option is to establish that responsiveness to the
       sender is more important than getting the message
       through.  An effect of this may be to severely constrain
       the number and frequency of retry attempts.

3.3 Accepting a message by the final MTA

  The MTA that accepts final delivery of a message has responsibility
  for passing the message to a Mail User Agent.  The exact mechanism
  by which this is achieved is a local matter, and not defined here
  or by the Internet email specifications.  The final MTA is also
  responsible for generating any successful DSN message.

  Before generating a success DSN message, the final MTA must ensure
  that all of the conditions for delivery of the message have been





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  achieved.  Specifically, when the TIMELY option is used, it should
  ensure that final delivery to and processing by the MUA will be
  completed within the delivery interval indicated as the value of
  the BY parameter of the received MAIL FROM command.

  Final delivery to an MUA is expected to include some guarantee of
  timely processing.  Exactly what this constitutes may depend
  somewhat on the circumstances:  in a simple case, depositing the
  message in a local mailbox and immediately notifying the recipient
  probably constitutes final delivery and processing.  A more complex
  case would be that of a fax offramp, where final delivery may be
  completion of a successful outdial and transmission of the fax.

  The time interval for completion of final delivery and processing
  should be taken to start with receipt of the MAIL FROM command.

3.3.1 Disposition timing

  In the presence of a TIMELY option, final delivery should not be
  indicated unless the delivery MTA can establish that the receiving
  MUA will deal with the message promptly.  Here "promptly" means a
  reasonable waiting time for a human;  e.g. that the message (or at
  least the start of the message) will be available to its intended
  final recipient within a period of, say, 30 seconds.

  The relationship between the delivery MTA and receiving MUA can
  work in one of two ways:

  o  the MUA always processes the message promptly, barring
     exceptional circumstances.  Queuing a message to a network
     printer would constitute such processing -- normally the message
     will be printed within seconds, even though it might be delayed
     if the printer runs out of paper.  The delivery MTA can generate
     the final DSN when the MUA has accepted the message.

  o  the MUA attempts to process the message promptly and reports the
     outcome within the remaining DELIVERBY period.  If processing is
     not performed within the stated period, the message is abandoned
     and failure is signalled back to the delivery MTA.  The delivery
     MTA must hold off generating the final DSN until the MUA has
     provided a status report;  if no such report is provided within
     the remaining DELIVERBY interval, it should report failure.

3.4 Reporting failures

  When a relay or receiving MTA determines that a message cannot be
  delivered as requested to any recipient, a DSN report is sent back
  to the sender.







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  The following status codes indicated that message delivery has been
  abandoned, are used with DSN "Action: failed" for reporting
  conditions that are specific to timely delivery:

  5.4.7: Delivery time expired -- permanent failure.
       Message delivery could not be completed within the specified
       time interval.

  5.4.8???: MTA cannot honour required timely delivery guarantee.
       A relay MTA was encountered that did not support the range of
       capabilities required for timely completion.

  5.4.1: Next MTA not accepting messages.
       A relay MTA has been unable to contact a next-hop MTA, and has
       decided to abandon delivery. (See note in section 3.2 about a
       relay's options with respect to retries.)  This code SHOULD be
       accompanied by a 'Retry-Count' DSN field.

  5.3.3: Receiving MTA cannot honour required timely disposition.
       A message has been delivered to a receiving MTA within the
       required delivery interval, but that MTA is unable to ensure
       timely disposition or timely notification of failure to do so.

  5.2.5???: Message delivered but disposition failed.
       The message has been delivered but the MUA has reported
       failure to complete disposition of the message as requested.

  5.2.6???: Message delivered but disposition not completed.
       The message has been delivered and the process of final
       disposition has been initiated but has not been completed.
       This status code signals that the receiving MTA is assuming
       that the disposition has failed.

  The following status code is used with DSN "Action: delayed" for
  reporting delayed message disposition following final delivery:

  4.2.6???: Message delivered pending final disposition.
       The message has been delivered and is in the process of final
       disposition, but that final disposition has not yet been
       completed.  This status code is defined for situations where a
       receiving MTA has initiated disposition, and has therefore
       committed to provide a timely confirmation response, but the
       disposing agent has not signalled completion.

       For example, a fax dial-out gateway may have been invoked
       assuming that the outdial leg would complete within a given
       period, but has failed to do so.

       A subsequent DSN should be sent when the disposition finally
       succeeds or fails.





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3.5 Timely confirmation

  Fully deterministic behaviour requires that the round-trip time to
  deliver a message and receive a response is completed within a
  known time interval.

  As noted above, it cannot be guaranteed that confirmation of
  delivery or non-delivery will be transferred in timely fashion,
  though it seems reasonable to assume that return path transit times
  will normally be comparable with forward path times.  Use of the
  DELIVERBY extension for a message MAY serve to expedite its
  forwarding.

  Further, it is likely that perfect determinism can never be
  achieved using SMTP;  e.g. see RFC 1047 [9].  Repeat deliveries are
  considered less harmful than lost messages, but even these should
  be minimized.

  The following behaviour is followed to achieve near-deterministic
  timely confirmation:

  o  Always fail forward delivery if a non-TIMELY MTA is encountered.

  o  A return DSN does not itself request delivery notification and
     has an empty return path (as required for DSN).

  o  Do NOT use the TIMELY option on any DSN return, so that
     notification delivery does not fail if a non-DELIVERBY or
     non-TIMELY MTA is encountered on the return path.

  o  Use the DELIVERBY option to request timely delivery for any DSN
     return, using a delivery interval 2 times the original forward
     path DELIVERBY time (taken from the received TIMELY parameter),
     specifying a 'by-mode' value of 'R'.  (The lack of a return path
     on the DSN response will mean that neither success or failure
     notification will be generated:  if thbe DSN cannot be returned
     within the time given, it is silently dropped.)

  o  The sender may assume that the message is lost after 3 times the
     original DELIVERBY interval has passed without notificaton.

       NOTE: The above timings are based on a working assumption
       that normal transit times do not vary by more than a
       factor of two.  There is nothing scientific about this
       choice of value, but laying down some assumption provides
       a basis for defining some operational parameters used by
       cooperating parties, which in turn provides some basis
       for deterministic behaviour.







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  The purpose of this specification is to give the sender control
  over the recovery strategy to be used if timely delivery does not
  succeed.  It is therefore beyond its scope to set out exactly what
  recovery action the sender should take.  One possible action is to
  retry the transmission, in which case the following additional
  considerations apply:

  o  Retries should be used very sparingly, as the likely cause of
     failure is either a permanent network condition or network
     congestion.  In the case of congestion, retries are likely to
     make things worse.  (The design of the TCP protocol takes account
     of many lessons about network behaviour that have been learned
     over the years.  A particularly important strategy used is
     exponential back-off when retransmitting.)

  o  The sender is required to provide envelope ID with message.  If
     it re-tries, it should use same envelope ID and should do so
     within a reasonable period of determining the original message
     has not been delivered.

  o  The receiver of a TIMELY message is strongly encouraged to keep
     note of received envelope ID for some period, for the purpose of
     weeding out duplicates.


4. Timely extension to ESMTP Deliver By extension

  The purpose of this extension is to allow a message sender to
  require that timely delivery semantics, described in this memo, be
  supported all along the path from message sender to recipient, in
  addition to the existing semantics of DELIVERBY.


4.1 Framework for TIMELY extension to DELIVERBY

  This extends the framework template for DELIVERBY, given in RFC
  2852 [5]:

  (1) ESMTP extension name:
      "Deliver by", extended for "timely completion"

  (2) EHLO keyword:
      DELIVERBY, extended as described below

  (3) EHLO keyword parameters:
      TIMELY (see 4.2 below)

  (4) SMTP command parameters:
      MAIL FROM: TIMELY (see 4.3 below)






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  (5) The maximum length of a MAIL FROM command line is increased by
      a further 17 characters for the TIMELY parameter (this being in
      addition to the 17 character extension for the basic DELIVERBY
      extension.

  (6) Additional SMTP commands:
      (none)


4.2 Extension to EHLO DELIVERBY keyword

  This specification defines an extension token for timely
  completion.  The extension token syntax (from RFC 2852 [5]) is
  extended thus:

     extension-token /= "TIMELY"

  An ESMTP server that supports this timely completion extension MUST
  also support the delivery status notification (DSN) ESMTP
  extension.

  Support for the timely completion extension indicates support for
  the MAIL FROM: TIMELY parameter, described below, and for all the
  associated processing semantics.


4.3 MAIL FROM: TIMELY parameter

  The MAIL FROM command TIMELY parameter MUST be used in conjunction
  with a BY parameter.  Its use imposes requirements on the receiving
  server's handling of the message that are in addition to those
  imposed by the BY parameter.

  TIMELY parameter syntax:

     timely-parameter = "TIMELY=" interval
     interval         = 1*9DIGIT

  The 'interval' is specified by the original sender of a message to
  be the same as the corresponding BY parameter value.

  A mail relay copies the received TIMELY value to the retransmitted
  message, unchanged.  In this way, the originally specified delivery
  interval is available to all MTAs that handle the message.

  The effect of a TIMELY parameter is to require that message
  processing is performed in accordance with the timely completion
  mechanisms described in section 3 above.







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5. DSN reporting extensions

  This specification defines some DSN reporting extensions to allow
  additional status information to be returned, which a sending
  system might use in choosing a recovery strategy.

5.1 New extended mail system status codes

  This memo defines the following additional enhanced mail system
  status codes, extending the range of those defined by RFC 1893
  [13]:

  5.4.8???: MTA cannot honour required timely delivery guarantee.

  5.2.5???: Message delivered but disposition failed.

  5.2.6???: Message delivered but disposition not completed.

  4.2.6???: Message delivered pending final disposition.

  See section 3.4 for more detailed descriptions.

5.2 'Retry-count' per-recipient DSN header

  This memo defines an additional per-recipient DSN report field
  'Retry-count':

     retry-count-field = "Retry-Count" ":" 1*3DIGIT

  This field is used in conjunction with status code 5.4.1 to
  indicate the number of retries attempted before delivery was
  abandoned.  A value of "0" means that no retries were attempted.
  The purpose of this is to provide information to the sender that
  can be used in deciding a recovery strategy.

       NOTE:  It is in the nature of timely completion that
       retries, if performed, would need to be more closely
       spaced than is normal for SMTP retries;  thus it may be
       necessary to reduce the number of retries to avoid
       overloading a relay.  Some relays may choose not attempt
       any retries for messages sent with the TIMELY option.  In
       such circumstances, a sender may wish to retry before
       attempting transmission by some alternative means.












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6. Implementation notes

  This section is not a normative part of this specification.

  The timely completion mechanism is a response to requests for
  improved performance in certain uses of email.

  Ultimately, achieving the desired performance levels is dependent
  on quality of implementation and operational deployment factors.
  If a system capable of handling 1000 messages-per-hour is subjected
  to periods of demand for 2000 messages-per-hour throughput, then
  the performance goals are bound to be substantially under-achieved,
  whatever the protocol specification may demand.

  The rest of this section discusses some of the implementation
  issues and choices raised by this memo, and indicates some ways in
  which the performance goals can be addressed.

6.1 Message state management

  All requirements for extended-term state rentention are in the
  sending and receiving MTAs -- at or close to the edge of the
  network.  Ideally, these would be the the only MTAs involved, so
  provisioning of the service would be entirely under the control of
  the organizations who use (or sell) it.

  Where intermediate relays are used, there is no requirement to
  maintain information about a message after it has been relayed.
  Thus there are no scalability problems created by a need for state
  maintenance;  performance comes down to message throughput.  The
  requirement for "reasonable effort" rather than "best effort"
  delivery for TIMELY messages means that some message handling
  requirements can be relaxed.  Rather than copying message data to
  disk for re-transmission, it can be held in memory -- it might even
  be streamed through to the next relay;  loss of message data is not
  critical because reporting failure back to the sender is an allowed
  option.

  When a TIMELY MTA is subjected to high load factors, it needs a
  strategy for dealing with this.

  The design for timely confirmation to the sender depends on
  reasonably consistent transit times on the forward and return
  message paths.  Delays on the forward path are picked up and
  responses can be generated.  Delays on the return path will result
  in loss of confirmation;  losing failure responses should not be
  too damaging as the sender will time out and invoke a recovery
  strategy.  Losing success responses is more harmful, as it may
  cause unnecessary additional network traffic.






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  In view of the above, the following message handling strategy is
  suggested:

  o  Give top priority to forwarding timely status notifications;
     i.e. messages with a BY parameter and no return path address.

  o  Give next priority to receiving new messages.  Under conditions
     of excessively high load, incoming messages with the TIMELY
     option should be rejected immediately;  e.g. SMTP [2] response
     [[[421???]]] to any incoming MAIL FROM command with a TIMELY
     parameter.  Non-TIMELY messages can be moved to persistent
     storage for later attention.

  o  Give next priority to processing accepted messages using the
     TIMELY option.

  o  Give next priority yto forwarding messages using the DELIVERBY
     option.

  o  Finally, forward ordinary messages

  If confirmation for a message sent using the TIMELY option is not
  received within the expected interval, the sender should be very
  copnservative about simply retrying.  The reason for non-receipt of
  confirmation is probably:

  (a)  because of mail system congestion, in which case
       retransmission will just make things worse, or

  (b)  some other network problem, in which case a retry won't help.

  Since the motivation for this proposal is to provide message
  delivery while the sender waits, a reasonable approach would be to
  give the sender an option to retry later, send by regular email or
  use some other delivery mechanism.

6.2 Retransmission timing issues

  Even allowing for the caution stated above about the problems of
  simply retransmitting a failed message, it may be that some limited
  retransmission by the original sender is appropriate as part of a
  recovery strategy.

       NOTE:  this section draws on some well-known TCP
       strategies, but the primary intent is different.  TCP
       specifies a retransmission strategy to achieve
       reliability.  This specification aims for deterministic
       behaviour as far as the sender is concerned, and limits
       on retransmission to reduce congestion and duplicate
       delivery.





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  In order not to exacerbate congestion of intermediate relays, the
  following approach is suggested:

  o  A first retry should not be attempted before 4x the original
     DELIVERBY interval has expired.

  o  Subsequent retry attempts should be attempted at exponentially
     increasing intervals;  e.g. 8x original interval for the 2nd
     retry, 16x for the 3rd retry, etc.

  o  The requested delivery interval should be increased exponentially
     for each retry.

  o  The total number of retries attempted should be kept reasonably
     small;  e.g. a maximum of 3-4 retries.  If a timely delivery is
     not achieved within a few attempts, it is probably not achievable
     at all within a reasonable time.

  o  The receiver of a message should keep a record of the received
     message identifier for some period of time, at least 8 times the
     original DELIVERBY interval, for the purpose of weeding out
     duplicates.  It is not possible to state an absolute upper bound
     on this period, but it should be as long as the receiver can
     reasonably manage, but probably no more than a few days.

  More specific recommendations for retransmission strategies may
  emerge from deployment experience with this protocol.  The basic
  approach outlined above uses lessons learned from TCP, notably that
  exponential back-off is important to avoid exacerbating congestion
  conditions that may be the reason for failure in the first place.

6.3 Delivery timing granularity

  This proposal uses seconds for its time interval values.  The best
  possible timing resolution for each relay is a whole number of
  seconds.  Careless handling of these time intervals could lead to
  timing errors of a second or worse at each relay.

  In general, it is expected that delivery time intervals will be of
  the order of 10s of seconds, not less than 10 seconds.  The effects
  of cummulative timing errors should not be significant if the
  number of MTAs involved is kept small (e.g. no more than 2
  intermediate relays).

  The following procedure is suggested for dealing with timing
  through relay MTAs:

  o  On receipt of a MAIL FROM command, note the time at which it was
     received, preferably with a sub-second granularity.






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  o  When the message is subsequently forwarded, note the time
     immediately prior to generating the new MAIL FROM command, and
     use the difference from time of receipt to calculate the transit
     delay.  The calculated transit delay should be rounded up to a
     whole number of seconds.

  o  Generate a new MAIL FROM command with the BY parameter 'by-time'
     value decreased by the transit delay value.

  Rounding up the transit delay should mean that the BY interval is
  always decreased by at least 1 when passing through a relay.  This
  should mean that if many relays are involved, the overall timing
  becomes more conservative.  This is consistent with the idea that
  responsiveness to the sender is considered more important than
  actually achieving delivery.

6.4 Partial success

  Messages sent to more than one recipient using the TIMELY option
  may succeed or fail independently.

  Systems must be designed to handle this possibility.  E.g. a
  sending agent that gives the user an option to resend, or send by
  another route, should be capable of recognizing (and reporting)
  that some messages have been transferred successfully, and only
  attempt an alternative transfer for those that did not (unless, of
  course, the user directs otherwise).

6.5 Routing TIMELY and non-TIMELY messages

  The use of MX mail routing means that TIMELY and non-TIMELY
  messages to the same domain will be routed via the same servers.
  It may be desirable to use separate servers for TIMELY messages.
  One way to achieve this operationally would be to use a different
  email domain for TIMELY messages, but this may not be ideal from te
  users' view of the service.

6.6 Expediting message handling

  Invoking the DELIVERBY extension for a given message may be used by
  an MTA as a signal to expedite message delivery.  But note that
  status reports are part of the timely completion cycle, and while
  these are sent using the DELIVERBY extension, they do not use the
  TIMELY option.  Unlike forward-path delays, any delays on the
  return path may directly result in the silent loss of a message
  status report.

  This means that return path messages should be processed at least
  as expeditiously as the original message.  Hence messages sent






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  using the TIMELY option should not be given a higher priority than
  messages


7. Examples

  In the following examples, 'C:' prefixes commands sent from the
  SMTP client to the server in a mail transaction, and 'S:' prefixes
  responses from the server back to the client.

  The notation '\' at the end of a command example indicates that it
  continues on the next line.  The actual SMTP command must be
  presented on a single line.

7.1 Timely delivery and confirmation

  This example is of a successful timely delivery and confirmation.

     +----------+     +----------+     +----------+
     |Lemas.com |-->--|Benden.net|-->--|Harper.org|
     +----------+     +----------+     +----------+

  First hop transfer:

     S: 220 Benden.net ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Lemas.com
     S: 250-Benden.net
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 10,TIMELY
     S: 250 DSN
     C: MAIL FROM:<Asgenar@Lemas.com> BY=20;R TIMELY=20 \
        ENVID=EE271828 RET=HDRS
     S: 250 OK to attempt delivery within 20 seconds
     C: RCPT TO:<Robinton@Harper.org> NOTIFY=SUCCESS,FALURE \
        ORCPT=rfc822;Robinton@Harper.org
     S: 250 OK
     C: DATA
     S: 354 Send data
     C: (message data goes here)
         :
        .
     S: 250 Message received














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  At this point, the receiving server Benden.net has accepted
  responsibility to deliver the message to its destination or send a
  failure report back to the sender.  Assuming that the next hop is
  initiated after a delay of 4 seconds, it may look like this:

     S: 220 Harper.org ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Benden.net
     S: 250-Harper.org
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 10,TIMELY
     S: 250 DSN
     C: MAIL FROM:<Asgenar@Lemas.com> BY=16;R TIMELY=20 \
        ENVID=EE271828 RET=HDRS
     S: 250 OK
     C: RCPT TO:<Robinton@Harper.org> NOTIFY=SUCCESS,FALURE \
        ORCPT=rfc822;Robinton@Harper.org
     S: 250 OK
     C: DATA
     S: 354 Send data
     C: (message data goes here)
         :
        .
     S: 250 Message received

  At this point, the delivery MTA Harper.org has accepted
  responsibility to achieve message disposition and report success or
  to report a failure within 16 seconds of receiving the MAIL FROM
  command.  This will depend on some kind of cooperation with the
  receiving user agent.  When disposition is completed within the
  specified interval, a DSN report is sent in the following fashion:

     S: 220 Benden.net ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Harper.org
     S: 250-Benden.net
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 10,TIMELY
     S: 250 DSN
     C: MAIL FROM:<> BY=40;R
     S: 250 OK
     C: RCPT TO:<Asgenar@Lemas.com> NOTIFY=NEVER
     S: 250 OK
     C: DATA
     S: 354 Send data














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     C: To: Asgenar@Lemas.com
        From: Message-handling@Harper.org
        Subject: Disposition OK for Robinton@Harper.org
        Content-type: multipart/report; boundary=next;
                      report-type=delivery-status
        MIME-version: 1.0

        --next
        Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

        Your message (EE271828) to <Robinton@Harper.org> was processed
        --next
        Content-type: message/delivery-status

        reporting-MTA: dns; mail-receiver.Harper.org
        Original-Envelope-ID: EE271828

        Original-recipient: rfc822;Robinton@Harper.org
        Final-recipient: rfc822;Robinton@Harper.org
        Action: delivered
        Status: 2.0.0
        --next--
        .
     S: 250 Message received

  On receipt of this confirmation message, the sender's user agent
  will be able to correlate with the original using the 'Original-
  Envelope-ID' and 'Original-recipient' values, and confirm to the
  sender that the message has been delivered and processed.

7.2 Timely delivery achieved, no timely disposition

  This example follows the same sequence as the previous one, up to
  the point that the delivery MTA Harper.org has accepted
  responsibility to achieve message disposition or to report a
  failure.  In this case, having accepted the message for delivery,
  disposition cannot be achieved in the desired interval so a failure
  DSN must be sent:

     S: 220 Benden.net ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Harper.org
     S: 250-Benden.net
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 10,TIMELY
     S: 250 DSN
     C: MAIL FROM:<> BY=40;R
     S: 250 OK
     C: RCPT TO:<Asgenar@Lemas.com> NOTIFY=NEVER
     S: 250 OK
     C: DATA
     S: 354 Send data





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     C: To: Asgenar@Lemas.com
        From: Message-handling@Harper.org
        Subject: Disposition failed for Robinton@Harper.org
        Content-type: multipart/report; boundary=next;
                      report-type=delivery-status
        MIME-version: 1.0

        --next
        Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

        Your message (EE271828) to <Robinton@Harper.org> could not
        be processed within the requested time.
        --next
        Content-type: message/delivery-status

        reporting-MTA: dns; mail-receiver.Harper.org
        Original-Envelope-ID: EE271828

        Original-recipient: rfc822;Robinton@Harper.org
        Final-recipient: rfc822;Robinton@Harper.org
        Action: failed
        Status: 5.2.5???
        --next--
        .
     S: 250 Message received

  Because this is a specific failure condition being sent to a source
  that has used the timely delivery extension, and the message can be
  correlated with the original by means of the 'Original-Envelope-ID'
  and 'Original-Recipient' values, no part of the original message is
  returned with the DSN report.
























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7.3 Timely delivery achieved, disposition delayed

  This example is similar to the previous one, except that
  disposition is in progress but its completion is delayed.  In this
  case, the message cannot be recalled, so a notification report is
  sent to the sender indicating, within the requested delivery
  period, indicating that the message is delivered and in
  disposition.  Later, a final delivery status message will be sent.

     S: 220 Benden.net ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Harper.org
     S: 250-Benden.net
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 10,TIMELY
     S: 250 DSN
     C: MAIL FROM:<> BY=40;R
     S: 250 OK
     C: RCPT TO:<Asgenar@Lemas.com> NOTIFY=NEVER
     S: 250 OK
     C: DATA
     S: 354 Send data
     C: To: Asgenar@Lemas.com
        From: Message-handling@Harper.org
        Subject: Disposition delayed for Robinton@Harper.org
        Content-type: multipart/report; boundary=next;
                      report-type=delivery-status
        MIME-version: 1.0

        --next
        Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

        Your message (EE271828) to <Robinton@Harper.org> is being
        processed but not completed within the requested time.
        --next
        Content-type: message/delivery-status

        reporting-MTA: dns; mail-receiver.Harper.org
        Original-Envelope-ID: EE271828

        Original-recipient: rfc822;Robinton@Harper.org
        Final-recipient: rfc822;Robinton@Harper.org
        Action: delayed
        Status: 4.2.6???
        --next--
        .
     S: 250 Message received










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7.4 Timely delivery could not be achieved

  This example is of a failed attempt to achieve timely delivery
  because the message could not be forwarded within the requested
  interval.

     +----------+     +----------+     +----------+
     |Ruatha.com|-->--|Fort.net  |-->--|Harper.org|
     +----------+     +----------+     +----------+

  First hop transfer:

     S: 220 Fort.net ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Ruatha.com
     S: 250-Fort.net
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 15,TIMELY
     S: 250 DSN
     C: MAIL FROM:<Jaxom@Ruatha.com> BY=20;R TIMELY=20 \
        ENVID=EE271828 RET=HDRS
     S: 250 OK to attempt delivery within 20 seconds
     C: RCPT TO:<Sebell@Harper.org> NOTIFY=SUCCESS,FALURE \
        ORCPT=rfc822;Sebell@Harper.org
     S: 250 OK
     C: DATA
     S: 354 Send data
     C: (message data goes here)
         :
        .
     S: 250 Message received

  After a delay of 12 seconds (with 8 seconds of the original
  delivery interval remaining), the server Fort.net attempts to relay
  the message:

     S: 220 Harper.org ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Fort.net
     S: 250-Harper.org
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 10,TIMELY
     S: 250 DSN
     C: QUIT
     S: 221 <Harper.org> closing channel














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  The minimum delivery interval declared by the server Harper.org is
  greater than the time remaining to complete delivery, so Fort.net
  does not even attempt to send the message.  Instead, it returns a
  failure report back to Ruatha.com:

     S: 220 Ruatha.com ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Fort.net
     S: 250-Ruatha.com
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 10,TIMELY
     S: 250 DSN
     C: MAIL FROM:<> BY=40;R
     S: 250 OK
     C: RCPT TO:<Jaxom@Ruatha.com> NOTIFY=NEVER
     S: 250 OK
     C: DATA
     S: 354 Send data
     C: To: Jaxom@Ruatha.com
        From: Message-handling@Fort.net
        Subject: Delivery failed for Sebell@Harper.org
        Content-type: multipart/report; boundary=next;
                      report-type=delivery-status
        MIME-version: 1.0

        --next
        Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

        Your message (EE271828) to <Sebell@Harper.org> could not be
        delivered within the requested time.
        --next
        Content-type: message/delivery-status

        reporting-MTA: dns; mail-relay.Fort.net
        Original-Envelope-ID: EE271828

        Original-recipient: rfc822;Sebell@Harper.org
        Final-recipient: rfc822;Sebell@Harper.org
        Action: failed
        Status: 5.4.7
        Retry-count: 0
        --next--
        .
     S: 250 Message received

  The retry count value is returned to give the sender an indication
  about whether it might retry this path before switching to an
  alternative delivery strategy.









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7.5 Timely delivery feature not supported

  This final example shows failure of a timely delivery request
  because a receiving MTA does not support the capability:

     +----------+     +----------+     +----------+
     |Lemas.com |-->--|Benden.net|-->--|Miners.org|
     +----------+     +----------+     +----------+

  First hop transfer:

     S: 220 Benden.net ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Lemas.com
     S: 250-Benden.net
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 10,TIMELY
     S: 250 DSN
     C: MAIL FROM:<Asgenar@Lemas.com> BY=20;R TIMELY=20 \
        ENVID=EE271828 RET=HDRS
     S: 250 OK to attempt delivery within 20 seconds
     C: RCPT TO:<Nicat@Miners.org> NOTIFY=SUCCESS,FALURE \
        ORCPT=rfc822;Nicat@Miners.org
     S: 250 OK
     C: DATA
     S: 354 Send data
     C: (message data goes here)
         :
        .
     S: 250 Message received

  Five seconds later, Benden.net attempts to forward the message:

     S: 220 Minbers.org ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Benden.net
     S: 250-Harper.org
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 60
     S: 250 DSN
     C: QUIT
     S: 221 <Miners.org> closing channel

















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  The Miners.org server does not support timely delivery, so
  Benden.net does not attempt to send the message.  Instead, it sends
  a failure report back to Lemas.com:

     S: 220 Lemas.com ESMTP server
     C: EHLO Benden.net
     S: 250-Lemas.com
     S: 250-DELIVERBY 10,TIMELY
     S: 250 DSN
     C: MAIL FROM:<> BY=40;R
     S: 250 OK
     C: RCPT TO:<Asgenar@Lemas.com> NOTIFY=NEVER
     S: 250 OK
     C: DATA
     S: 354 Send data
     C: To: Asgenar@Lemas.com
        From: Message-handling@Benden.net
        Subject: Delivery failed for Nicat@Miners.org
        Content-type: multipart/report; boundary=next;
                      report-type=delivery-status
        MIME-version: 1.0

        --next
        Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

        Your message (EE271828) to <Nicat@Miners.org> could not be
        delivered within the requested time.
        --next
        Content-type: message/delivery-status

        reporting-MTA: dns; mail-relay.Benden.net
        Original-Envelope-ID: EE271828

        Original-recipient: rfc822;Nicat@Miners.org
        Final-recipient: rfc822;Nicat@Miners.org
        Action: failed
        Status: 5.4.8???
        --next--
        .
     S: 250 Message received


8. IANA Considerations

  This specification introduces some new protocol elements for which
  IANA registration be required or desirable:

  o  Extension to DELIVERBY ESMTP extension: see section 4.

  o  New extended mail system status codes: see section 5.1.





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  o  New DSN report per-recipient field: see section 5.2.

  [[[What to do about these?]]]


9. Internationalization considerations

  This specification introduces no new internationalization
  considerations other than those already present in DSN, which,
  through MIME, provides for charset identification and language
  tagging of the human readable part of a DSN report.


10. Security considerations

  See also RFC 1894 [12], RFC 2852 [5].

  To offer timely handling of messages may require some dedication of
  resource.  It is conceivable that systems supporting this feature
  may be more susceptible to denial of service attacks from a flood
  of messages requesting timely completion.  (See also section 6.1.)

  There is a distant possibility that responses to time-sensitive
  requests may disclose information about the loading or topology of
  the network accessed.  This is unlikely to be any worse than for
  web acces protocols (but note that HTTP has been shown to allow
  certain kinds of timing attack on private information about a
  client's network activities.).

  Systems that depend on the physical presence of a user to achieve
  timely disposition should not accept a message for such disposition
  without the user's explicit permission (c.f. automated generation
  of MDN responses in RFC 2998 [14]).


11. Acknowledgements

  The authors thank Hiroshi Tamura-san for undertaking the task of
  reviewing a very rough, early draft and making several pertinent
  observations.  The authors also acknowledge helpful comments by Dan
  Wing, [[[...]]]


12. References

[1]  RFC 2542, "Terminology and Goals for Internet Fax"
     L. Masinter, Xerox Corporation
     March 1999.







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[2]  RFC 821, "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol"
     Jonathan B. Postel, ISI/USC
     August 1982.

[3]  RFC 1651, "SMTP Service Extensions"
     J. Klensin, MCI
     N. Freed, Innosoft
     M. Rose, Dover Beach Consulting, Inc.
     E. Stefferud, Network Management Associates, Inc.
     D. Crocker, Silicon Graphics, Inc.
     July 1994.

[4]  RFC 1891, "SMTP Service Extension for Delivery Status
     Notifications"
     K. Moore, University of Tennessee
     January 1996.

[5]  RFC 2852, "Deliver By SMTP Service Extension"
     D. Newman, Sun Microsystems
     June 2000

[6]  "Content Negotiation for Internet Messaging Services"
     G. Klyne, Baltimore Technologies
     R.Iwazaki, Toshiba TEC
     D. Crocker, Brandenburg Consulting
     Internet draft: draft-ietf-fax-content-negotiation-03.txt
     Work in progress: January 2001.

[7]  RFC 2234, "Augmented BNF for Syntax Specifications: ABNF"
     D. Crocker (editor), Internet Mail Consortium
     P. Overell, Demon Internet Ltd.
     November 1997.

[8]  "Procedures for document facsimile transmission in the general
     switched telephone network"
     ITU-T Recommendation T.30 (1996), including Amendment 1 (1997),
     Amendment 2 (1997), Amendment 3 (1998) and Amendment 4 (1999)
     International Telecommunications Union.

[9]  RFC 1047, "Duplicate messages and SMTP"
     C. Partridge
     February 1988.

[10] RFC 974, "Mail routing and the domain system"
     C. Partridge
     January 1986.









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[11] RFC 2119, "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
     Levels"
     S. Bradner, Harvard University
     March 1997.

[12] RFC 1894, "An Extensible Format for Delivery Status
     Notifications"
     K. Moore, University of Tennessee
     G. Vaudreuil, Octel Network Services
     January 1996.

[13] RFC 1893, "Enhanced Mail System Status Codes"
     G. Vaudreuil, Octel Network Services
     January 1996.

[14] RFC 2298, "An Extensible Message Format for Message Disposition
     Notifications"
     R. Fajman, National Institutes of Health
     March 1998.


13. Authors' addresses

  Graham Klyne (editor)
  Baltimore Technologies - Content Security Group,
  1220 Parkview,
  Arlington Business Park
  Theale
  Reading, RG7 4SA
  United Kingdom.
  Telephone: +44 118 930 1300
  Facsimile: +44 118 930 1301
  E-mail:    GK@ACM.ORG

  David H. Crocker
  Brandenburg Consulting
  675 Spruce Drive
  Sunnyvale
  CA 94086
  USA.
  Telephone: +1 408 246 8253
  Facsimile: +1 408 273 6464
  E-mail:    dcrocker@brandenburg.com












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Appendix A: Amendment history

  00a  22-Oct-1999  Memo initially created.

  01a  13-Sep-1999  Incorporate review comments.  Update references.
                    Changed title.  Incorporate material from IETF
                    meeting presentations.

  02a  25-Jan-2001  Update author details.  Simplify COMPLIANCE
                    extension to a TIMELY extension of DELIVERBY.  Add
                    original interval parameter to TIMELY option.
                    Strengthen description of mechanism for timely
                    confirmation.  Add template decsription for TIMELY
                    extension.  Refer to the goal of this
                    specification as "timely completion" rather than
                    just "timely delivery" (to clearly distinguish
                    from basic DELIVERBY).  Added subsection dealing
                    with final MTA/MUA interaction.  Defined DSN
                    extension header and status codes for reporting
                    timely delivery failures.  Drafted some
                    implementation notes.

  02b  30-Jan-2001  Add examples.  Update some references.  Other
                    editorial drafting.

  02c  31-Jan-2001  Fold in review comments.  Added implementation
                    note about using DELIVERBY to expedite message
                    handling (6.5).

  02d  01-Feb-2001  More editorial changes.

  02e  01-Feb-2001  Revised text dealing with time-out;  move
                    discussion of retries to implementation notes.

  03a  16-Feb-2001  Editorial changes.  Added some clarifying text to
                    introductory section 2.2.

  03b  13-Jun-2001  Editorial changes.

  TODO:

  o  Define a mechanism to allow a MAIL FROM with TIMELY option to be
     rejected immediately, for congestion control?

  o  Finalize status codes (look for 'x.x.x???')

  REVIEW CHECKLIST:

  (Points to be checked or considered more widely on or before final
  review.)





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  o  Are there any deployed mechanisms that MTAs may use to recognize
     expedited message relay?

  o  Possible minor revision to DELIVERBY spec?  If a DELIVERBY MTA
     fails message delivery because the delivery time has expired, AND
     the message has an empty SMTP sender address/return path, the
     message should be siletly discarded (c.f. RFC 1891, section 6.2;
     I think the considerations noted there seem less applicable.).
     If this doesn't work, try next...

  o  Consider addition of new 'by-mode' value for return DSNs;  e.g.
     'E' for expedite:  try to deliver within interval given, or
     abandon delivery, but don't notify success or failure.
     (Currently specify 'R' without return-path.)  A notification
     should not be abandoned if a non-DELIVERBY MTA is encountered.

  o  Try to model system behaviour under high-load/backlog conditions.
     Especially w.r.t. section 3.5.

  o  What lessons to learn from IP QoS efforts?

  o  Query use of enhanced status codes 4.x.x and 5.x.x;  Use by
     DELIVERBY seems at odds with RFC 1893.

  o  Note use of status 5.4.1 not in line with expectations of RFC
     1893.

  o  Use new code instead of 5.3.3?

  o  Special considerations for fax offramp gateay?  How to deal with
     uncertain dial-out times.

  o  Check new status code values (currently n???).  Should there be
     an IANA registry for Enhanced Mail System Status codes (RFC
     1893)?

  o  Apparently, DSN extension fields must be registered with IANA,
     but there appears to be no registry for them.

  o  Use of alternative port? (e.g. like message submission).

  o  Allow MTAs to impose size limit on messages for timely delivery?

  o  Allow for separate delivery and disposition times?  (e.g. 10
     second transfer + 60 second disposition would leave a sender
     waiting for a long time to determine failure.)

  o  Operational issues surrounding selection of delivery interval?







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  o  DISCUSS:  In environments where the timing of final delivery of
     the message is outside the control of the final MTA (e.g. the
     time required for an outdial, or waiting for a client to collect
     the message), an interim DSN report may be generated indicating
     that the message has been received pending final delivery.   This
     report should be clear whether final delivery is dependent on the
     receiving user (e.g. mail collection) or some other unknown
     infrastructure delay (e.g. fax out-dial or external e-mail
     environment).

     This is covered somewhat by section 3.3.1:  is this adequate?

  o  MX configuration -- uniform routing for TIMELY/non-TIMELY.  Is a
     differential routing option required;  e.g. SRV records?

  o  Can use of ORCPT be relaxed?  If partial success occurs for
     multiple recipients, it is important to be able to tell which
     were successful and which were not.

  o  When a timely-delivery failure message is sent back, it is
     addressed to the sender of the original message;  thus it becomes
     the sender UA responsibility to handle the failure of timely
     delivery -- does this cause any problems?

  o  Check examples.  (Should relays declare mail-domain or host name?
     Does it matter?  Should the From: header for DSNs always be
     'postmaster', or is any appropriate mailbox OK?)


Full copyright statement

  Copyright (C) The Internet Society 2001.  All Rights Reserved.

  This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
  others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain
  it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied,
  published and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction
  of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this
  paragraph are included on all such copies and derivative works.
  However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, such
  as by removing the copyright notice or references to the Internet
  Society or other Internet organizations, except as needed for the
  purpose of developing Internet standards in which case the
  procedures for copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process
  must be followed, or as required to translate it into languages
  other than English.

  The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
  revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.






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  This document and the information contained herein is provided on
  an "AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET
  ENGINEERING TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR
  IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF
  THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED
  WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

















































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