Network Working Group                                        Bruce Davie
Internet Draft                                       Cisco Systems, Inc.
Expiration Date: September 1998
                                                           Yakov Rekhter
                                                     Cisco Systems, Inc.

                                                              Eric Rosen
                                                     Cisco Systems, Inc.

                                                        Arun Viswanathan
                                                     Lucent Technologies

                                                        Vijay Srinivasan
                                                               IBM Corp.

                                                            Steven Blake
                                                               IBM Corp.

                                                              March 1998

                   Use of Label Switching With RSVP


Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft.  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 documents at any
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   To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please check the
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   Directories on (Africa), (Europe), (Pacific Rim), (US East Coast), or (US West Coast).

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Internet Draft        draft-ietf-mpls-rsvp-00.txt             March 1998


   Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) allows labels to be bound to
   various granularities of forwarding information, including
   application flows. In this document we present a specification for
   allocating and binding labels to RSVP flows, and to distributing the
   appropriate binding information using RSVP messages.


    1      Introduction  ...........................................   2
    2      Specification  ..........................................   3
    2.1    Label Allocation  .......................................   3
    2.2    Choice of label for data forwarding  ....................   4
    2.3    Label space partitioning on shared media  ...............   5
    2.4    Label withdrawal  .......................................   5
    2.5    Reservation Styles  .....................................   5
    2.6    ATM-LSR considerations  .................................   6
    2.7    RSVP Object Definitions  ................................   8
    2.8    Non RSVP routers  .......................................   9
    3      Examples  ...............................................  10
    3.1    Unicast  ................................................  10
    3.2    Multicast  ..............................................  11
    4      Security Considerations  ................................  11
    5      References  .............................................  12
    6      Author's Addresses  .....................................  12

1. Introduction

   The purpose of this document is to propose a standard method for
   hosts and routers that support both label switching [1] and RSVP [4]
   to associate labels with RSVP flows. The goal is to enable label
   switching routers (LSRs) to be able to identify the appropriate
   reservation state for a packet based on its label value. To this end,
   the document describes a set of procedures for allocating and binding
   labels, and a way to distribute the bindings using RSVP messages.  It
   also defines two new RSVP Objects: RSVP_LABEL, to carry a label in an
   RSVP message, and HOP_COUNT, to enable TTL processing for RSVP flows
   which pass through ATM-LSRs.

   While there are several alternatives to mapping RSVP flows to labels,
   this document specifies a model in which, on a given link, each

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   sender to a single RSVP session is associated with one label. (There
   is one exception, described below.) The rationale for this choice is
   discussed below.

2. Specification

   As mentioned above, in a label switching environment it is desirable
   to associate each RSVP flow with a label.  An RSVP flow [4] is a
   simplex flow from a sending application to a set of receiving
   applications identified by an IP address (and perhaps a transport
   protocol port), and a session may contain several flows.  An RSVP
   reservation may be flow specific (fixed filter) or shared across
   flows (shared explicit and wildcard).

   For the purposes of this specification, we assume that all routers on
   a given link are capable of sending and receiving labeled packets
   over that link. Thus, for example, one would not enable labeling on
   some routers on a LAN but not on others.

2.1. Label Allocation

   The association between RSVP flows and labels involves the allocation
   of a label to a flow, which could in principle be initiated by either
   the upstream or downstream node. However, there are some strong
   arguments in favor of downstream allocation that arise from the need
   to coordinate label allocation for RSVP with other label allocation
   schemes, e.g., the allocation of labels for best effort traffic. If
   some labels were allocated by the receiver of data and some by the
   sender, race conditions could arise in which both sender and receiver
   allocated the same label for different purposes. This can most easily
   be avoided by leaving allocation to one party. Since the receiver of
   data allocates labels for best effort traffic, we believe this is
   also the best choice for traffic with resource reservations.

   Even when label allocation is performed by the downstream nodes, it
   may be necessary to communicate label bindings from upstream to
   downstream. For example, if two routers on a shared media LAN are
   receiving data for the same session, that data should be sent with
   the same label to both receivers. The best way to accomplish this
   while retaining downstream allocation is for one of the receivers to
   allocate a label, communicate the label-to-session binding to the
   sender(s) on the LAN using RESV messages, and then have the sender(s)
   communicate the binding to the receivers in PATH messages. The PATH
   message should be sent as soon as the reservation with the label
   binding is installed (rather than waiting for the normal PATH refresh

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   interval), so that receivers of labeled data will be notified at once
   of the fact that labeled data is about to arrive.

   It is possible in this case that two or more receivers might try to
   allocate the label for a single session. In this case, the upstream
   node(s) will receive RESV messages for the session advertising
   different labels. Any node receiving conflicting labels in this way
   must break the tie in some way. The only requirement on the tie-
   breaking is that it be consistent (i.e., once a choice has been made,
   it should not be reversed at some later time). Simply choosing the
   label in the first RESV message received is an adequate approach.
   Having broken the tie, the selected label will appear in subsequent
   PATH messages, and the recipients of these PATH messages must accept
   the result. If for some reason (e.g. hardware limitation) the
   assigned LABEL value was not acceptable to a recipient, it would need
   to generate a PATH error message. Methods outside the scope of this
   document (e.g. LDP) may be used to determine acceptable label ranges.

   One unfortunate consequence of this method of label distribution on
   shared media is that even nodes which do not wish to make
   reservations for some session may receive PATH messages corresponding
   to that session indicating that some other node has made a
   reservation and that data for that session will now arrive with a new
   (non-best effort) label. It seems  necessary for the node that made
   no reservation to accept the new label. At present, it is not clear
   how to make the sender of data aware that all nodes are ready to
   receive data with the new label. This is an area for further study.

2.2. Choice of label for data forwarding

   As soon as a LSR has installed a reservation on one of its interfaces
   and has received a label binding for that reservation (either for the
   whole session or for some flows in the session) it should use the
   chosen label for all appropriate flows. Any flows or sessions for
   which label bindings have not been received must be sent using the
   appropriate best effort label. This best effort label will have been
   advertised by some other mechanism, such as PIM (for multicast) or
   LDP (for unicast). When a router is forwarding packets out multiple
   interfaces, it may be the case that reservations are installed on
   some interfaces and not others. In this case, the best effort
   allocated label should be used on those interfaces for which no
   reservation is present.

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2.3. Label space partitioning on shared media

   To ensure that a single label is not allocated twice for different
   purposes by different routers, it is necessary to partition the label
   space among routers on a shared media, just as described in [2]. In
   fact, such partitioning is only needed for multicast sessions, and
   thus the exact mechanism described in [2] can be used. A router which
   has thus obtained a portion of the label space can decide
   unilaterally which labels from this space to use for multicast of
   best effort traffic and which to use for RSVP sessions. Similarly, in
   the unicast case, a router decides locally which labels it will
   allocate for best effort traffic and which for RSVP sessions.

2.4. Label withdrawal

   When the original allocator of a label no longer wishes to have a
   reservation for the corresponding flow or session, or if the
   allocator crashes, it will stop refreshing the reservation with RESV
   messages. It may also issue a ResvTear message. Upstream nodes which
   had been redistributing that label using PATH messages must stop
   doing so when the reservation times out or is torn down.  They will
   thus resume sending PATH messages with no labels, and any recipient
   of those PATH messages will be at liberty to allocate a new label and
   place it in a RESV message. However, it may be that the nodes that
   did not crash will keep refreshing the reservation using the old
   label. It is important that a router that is newly rebooted does not
   try to assign that label; this should be possible, since it will
   receive the PATH messages once it reboots.

   A label may be withdrawn without removing the reservation by sending
   a RESV message which contains  no label. This would similarly be
   propagated via PATH messages to other receivers, who would have the
   option of allocating a new label.

2.5. Reservation Styles

   So far we have glossed over the exact mapping between labels and
   sessions or labels and flows. It seems clear that for fixed filter
   (FF) style reservations, a label per sender is needed, since each
   sender has its own allocated resources. Because of the merging rules
   for SE reservations, we believe a label per sender is needed in this
   case also. The following example illustrates the point.

   Consider the following arrangement of LSRs:

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   where data is flowing from left to right and there are at least 2
   senders to the session, S1 and S2.  Suppose one of the receivers
   downstream of R3 makes a shared explicit (SE) reservation for data
   coming from two senders S1 and S2, while a receiver downstream of R4
   makes a reservation for data coming from one sender S1. These would
   be merged at R2 as a single SE reservation before forwarding to R1.
   So, if we used a single label per session on the link from R1 to R2,
   there would be no way for R2 to distinguish packets from sender S1
   (which are covered by a reservation on both outgoing links) from
   those from S2 (which are covered by a reservation only on the link to
   R3. Thus, we need a label per sender for SE reservations.

   Finally, for the WF case, we might imagine that a single label could
   be used for the session, since all senders to the session are covered
   by the reservation. For a shared tree, this is true, but for source
   specific trees we need different labels for different senders since
   the fact that two trees share a link at some point does not mean they
   will not diverge at some later point on the way to a receiver. If we
   were to use a single label for all senders to a WF session on
   source-specific trees, it would be impossible to determine the
   appropriate forwarding action at a point where the trees diverge.

   Thus, the general rule is one label per sender to a session, with the
   exception being that one label can be used for all senders to a
   session with a WF reservation who are using a shared tree. Note that
   some senders to a session may use a shared tree while others may be
   on the source specific tree. The router allocating labels and sending
   them in RESV messages needs to know which senders are on which type
   of tree; it can find this out using the interface to routing
   described in [5].

2.6. ATM-LSR considerations

   In most respects, an ATM-LSR behaves like any other LSR that is
   connected to its neighbors with point to point links. One minor
   difference is that that, on ATM-LSRs which do not support VC-merge, a
   label per sender is needed for all reservation styles. In theory,
   this could be reduced to a label per ingress router per session for
   WF reservations on a shared tree, but procedures to allocate labels
   appropriately have not yet been defined.

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   Note that, in WF and SE styles, resources are allocated to
   reservations, not to specific senders. An ATM-LSR therefore needs to
   be able to allocate resources to a collection of labels to support
   these filter styles correctly.

   More significantly, ATM-LSRs which cannot perform VC merge create a
   problem when some but not all of their downstream neighors make
   reservations. For example, in the following arrangement of four LSRs:


   Assume R2 receives a reservation from R3 but not from R4. R2 will
   bind a label to the reservation and advertise it to R1. Packets from
   R1 which match that reservation will arrive at R2 carrying the label
   R2 assigned. Best effort packets from R1 will arrive at R2 carrying
   the best effort label. Both sets of packets should be sent to R4 with
   the best effort label. However, if R2 is not capable of VC merge,
   best effort packets and reserved packets will become interleaved on
   the way to R4.

   The problem could be averted by assigning an extra label for use on
   the link between R2 and R4 for each label that R2 creates on the link
   to R1. Since this label is for best effort traffic, it could be
   allocated using the Label Distribution Protocol in the downstream on
   demand mode. This enables R2 to force the label allocation without
   introducing the complexity of mixing upstream and downstream
   allocation. Note that this may cause allocation of numerous labels
   for best effort traffic on the R2-R4 link as a label per sender per
   session will be allocated on the R1-R2 link.

   When IP packets are label switched by ATM-LSRs, the TTL value in the
   IP header cannot be decremented, and no TTL is available in the ATM
   header. To enable TTL to be decremented by the number of ATM-LSR
   hops, the proposed HOP_COUNT Object is used to count the number of
   consecutive LSR hops. The object is inserted into the Path message by
   a non-ATM LSR whose next hop for the session is an ATM-LSR, and
   initialized with a hop count of 1. Subsequent ATM-LSRs increment the
   hop-count only if there is a label-switched path for that sender flow
   through that LSR.  All LSRs maintain the hop count in the Path State.
   The `egress' LSR, i.e., the first frame-based LSR to receive the
   HOP_COUNT object, uses the count to decrement the TTL on packets for
   that sender flow, and removes the HOP_COUNT object from the PATH

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2.7. RSVP Object Definitions

   As discussed above, labels may be carried in both PATH and RESV
   messages. When a label is to be associated with a single sender, it
   must immediately follow the FILTER_SPEC for that sender in the RESV
   or the SENDER_TEMPLATE in the PATH message.

   The wildcard filter case is the most complicated. If all senders are
   using the shared tree, then only one label is needed, and can be
   placed immediately following the FLOW_SPEC in the RESV. In this case,
   all PATH messages must contain the same label, again following the

   If some senders to a WF session are not using the shared tree, then
   seperate labels need to be allocated for those senders and the
   bindings  distributed. It is necessary to enumerate the senders who
   are using source specific trees and associate a label with each one;
   this can be done by including a FILTER_SPEC object followed by an
   RSVP_LABEL object for each such sender. All senders using the shared
   tree will use the label that follows the single FLOW_SPEC in the

   The RSVP_LABEL object class conforms to the standard RSVP object

       RSVP_LABEL class = 16, C_Type = 1

                   0             1              2             3
            |       Length (bytes)      |  Class-Num  |   C-Type    |
            |                                                       |
            //                  (Object contents)                   //
            |                                                       |

   The contents of a Label object is a stack of labels, where each label
   is encoded right aligned in 4 octets. The top of the stack is in the
   rightmost 4 octets of the object contents. The label stack can be
   carried in packets using an encoding such as decribed in [7]. When an
   ATM link is used, the low order 28 bits of the top label in the stack
   are carried in the VPI/VCI field of the ATM cells.

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   When no labels have been allocated to a session, the PATH messages
   for that session must contain no RSVP_LABEL object. If labels have
   been allocated for some senders but not others in a session, then
   RSVP_LABEL objects should be included only after the SENDER_TEMPLATEs
   of those senders for who labels are assigned. This enables receivers
   of PATH messages to determine if a label has been assigned or if a
   label assignment is required.

   A node receiving a PATH message containing a label must use that
   label in subsequent RESV messages for the same sender or session. If
   for some reason it is unable to do this, it must generate a PATH
   error message.

   The HOP_COUNT object class conforms to the standard RSVP object

                HOP_COUNT object: Class = 17, C-Type = 1

                  0             1              2             3
            |       Length (bytes)      |  Class-Num  |   C-Type    |
            |  Hop Count  |                Reserved                 |

           Hop Count
                Counts the length (in ISR hops) of the switched path.

2.8. Non RSVP routers

   RSVP is designed to cope gracefully with non-RSVP routers anywhere in
   the path between senders and receivers. However, non-RSVP routers
   will not be able to receive label bindings conveyed in PATH or RESV
   messages. This means that if a LSR has a downstream neighbor who is
   not RSVP capable, it must not use labels advertised by RSVP messages
   when forwarding data to that neighbor. This includes the case where
   some routers on a LAN are RSVP capable and some are not; if an RSVP
   capable router on the LAN advertises a label binding in a RESV
   message, the recipient of that message cannot send labeled data using
   that label if there are any non-RSVP routers on the LAN that have
   joined the multicast group for that session.

   Also, when RESV messages are received by a non-RSVP router, it
   unwittingly passes them on towards the previous hop RSVP router. This

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   could result in a label being advertised to a router which was not
   directly connected to the advertiser of the label. Such a label would
   be useless for data forwarding. Thus, RESV messages containing label
   binding information must not be sent toward a previous hop when it
   would pass through non-RSVP routers on the way. [4] describes how
   routers may determine the presence of non-RSVP routers in a path.

3. Examples

3.1. Unicast

   The figure below shows a simple example network in which two hosts H1
   and H2 communicate through a sequence of label switched routers (R1,


   Following RSVP procedures, H1 sends a RSVP PATH messages to H2.  The
   PATH messages traverse through R1 and R2.

   When H2 determines that it would like to setup a reservation for this
   particular session, it allocates a label, and sends a RESV message
   containing this label to R2. H2  stores this label as an identifier
   for the session, and can use it to demultiplex arriving data packets
   to the appropriate application or device.  When R2 receives the RESV
   message, along with normal RSVP processing, it stores the value of
   the label as part of the reservation state for this session and
   interface. This will be the outgoing label for data packets sent by
   R2 to H2.  R2 then allocates a label, and sends a RESV message
   containing this label to R1.  When R1 receives this message, it
   behaves similarly to R2, storing the label received from R2 and
   allocating a new label which it sends in a RESV message to H1.  Upon
   receiving the message, H1 proceeds to start sending the session's
   data with the label received from R1. R1 forwards the data to R2
   using the label it received from R2, and R2 sends data to H2 using
   the label received from H2.

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3.2. Multicast

   The figure below shows a network in which two senders H1 and H2 send
   traffic to two receivers H3 and H4. Routers R1, R2 and R3 are on a
   shared media LAN.


   Assume that H1 and H2 are using the shared multicast tree to send
   data.  H1 and H2 send PATH messages toward H3 and H4. Assume H3 makes
   a WF reservation by sending a RESV to R3. H3 allocates a label and
   includes it in the RESV message. R3 stores this label as the label to
   use for data traffic to H3 for this session. R3  allocates a label
   and includes it in the RESV that it sends to R1. R1 stores this label
   and includes it in subsequent PATH messages to R2 and R3. R1
   allocates a label for the session and sends it in RESV messages to H1
   and H2 (different labels may be used on different interfaces, as a
   matter of implementation choice).

   Assume H4 then makes a WF reservation. H4 allocates a label and sends
   it in a RESV message to R2. R2 stores this label and will use it for
   data packets to H4. R2 now sends a RESV to R1 using the label
   contained in the PATH message from R1.

4. Security Considerations

   Security considerations are not addressed in this version of the
   document.  We presume that the security procedures defined for RSVP
   will handle any security issues that arise with coupling label
   switching with RSVP.

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5. References

   [1] Rosen, E. et al. A Proposed Architecture for MPLS,  Internet
   Draft, draft-ietf-mpls-arch-00.txt, Aug. 1997.

   [2] Farinacci, D. Partitioning Tag Space among Multicast Routers on a
   Common Subnet, Internet Draft, draft-farinacci-multicast-tag-part-
   00.txt, Dec. 1996.

   [3] Farinacci, D. Multicast Tag Binding and Distribution using PIM,
   Internet Draft, draft-farinacci-multicast-tagsw-00.txt, Dec. 1996.

   [4] Braden, R. et al. Resource ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP) -- Version
   1 Functional Specification, RFC 2205, Sep. 1997.

   [5] Zappala, D. RSRR: A Routing Interface For RSVP, Internet Draft,
   draft-ietf-rsvp-routing-01.txt, Nov. 1996.

   [6] Davie, B. et al. Use of Label Switching With ATM, Internet Draft,
   draft-davie-mpls-atm-00.txt, Nov. 1997.

   [7] Rosen, E. et al. Label Switching: Label Stack Encodings, Internet
   Draft, draft-rosen-tag-stack-03.txt, July, 1997.

6. Author's Addresses

   Bruce Davie
   Cisco Systems, Inc.
   250 Apollo Drive
   Chelmsford, MA, 01824


   Yakov Rekhter
   Cisco Systems, Inc.
   170 Tasman Drive
   San Jose, CA, 95134


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Internet Draft        draft-ietf-mpls-rsvp-00.txt             March 1998

   Eric Rosen
   Cisco Systems, Inc.
   250 Apollo Drive
   Chelmsford, MA, 01824


   Vijay Srinivasan
   IBM Corporation
   P. O. Box 12195
   Research Triangle Park, NC 27709


   Arun Viswanathan
   Lucent Technologies
   101 Crawford Corner Rd., #4D-537
   Holmdel, NJ 07733


   Steven Blake
   IBM Corporation
   PO Box 12195
   Research Triangle Park, NC 27709


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