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Versions: 00 01                                                         
TUBA Working Group                                  D. Piscitello
Internet Draft                           Core Competence, Inc.
Expires 26 November 1994                          26 May 1994

File name draft-ietf-tuba-mtu-01.txt

CLNP Path MTU Discovery

Status of this Memo

This document is an Internet Draft. Internet Drafts are
working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force
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Distribution of this memo is unlimited. Comments should be
submitted to the tuba@lanl.gov mailing list.


This memo describes a technique for dynamically discovering
the maximum transmission unit (MTU) of an arbitrary CLNP
path. The mechanism described here is applicable to both
"pure-stack" OSI as well as TUBA/CLNP [6] environments, i.e.,
environments where Internet transport protocols (UDP and TCP)
are operated over CLNP. This technique might not in all cases
discover the optimum Path MTU, but it will always choose a
Path MTU as accurate as, and in many cases more accurate
than, the Path MTU that would be chosen by current practice.


The mechanism proposed here was first suggested by Geof
Cooper,and incorporated into RFC 1191 [1], Path MTU
Discovery, by Jeff Mogul and Steve Deering. The excellent
work of these folks readily extends to CLNP-based internets.
Thanks also to Steve Deering and Mike Shand, for their
comments on early drafts.

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

1. Introduction

ISO/IEC 8473, Protocol for Providing the Connectionless
Network Service, [2] is a network layer datagram protocol. As
is the case for hosts in IP-based internets, a CLNP-based
host that has a large amount of data to send to another CLNP-
based host transmits that data as a series of CLNP datagrams.
The desire to reduce or eliminate fragmentation is the same
in CLNP-based internetworking environments as for IP [3].
(Refer to [4] for arguments against fragmentation.). It is
thus desirable to define a mechanism that determines the
largest size datagram that does not require fragmentation
anywhere along the path from the source to the destination;
this is referred to as the Path MTU (PMTU), and it is equal
to the minimum of the MTUs of each hop in the path.

A shortcoming of the OSI protocol suite is the lack of a
standard mechanism for a host to discover the PMTU of an
arbitrary path. This document addresses this shortcoming by
applying a mechanism demonstrated to be effective on IP-based

ISO/IEC 8473 indicates that minimum subnetwork service data
unit size an underlying service must offer to CLNP is 512
octets. This is as close as OSI comes to specifying a host
requirement on what is referred to in Internet literature as
a maximum segment size (MSS, [5]). The current practice in
CLNP-based internets is to use the smaller of 512 and the
first-hop MTU as the PMTU for any destination that is not
connected to the same subnetwork as the source. This often
results in the use of smaller CLNP datagrams than necessary,
because it is increasingly the case that paths supporting
CLNP offer a PMTU greater than 512. As is the case with IP, a
host that sends CLNP datagrams smaller than the Path MTU
allows wastes Internet resources and applications operating
on that host are provided suboptimal throughput.

Future routing protocols may be required to provide accurate
PMTU information within a routing domain, although perhaps
not across multi-level routing hierarchies. Like IP networks,
CLNP-based networks need a simple mechanism that discovers
PMTUs without wasting resources within a routing domain, and
in interdomain communications exchanges as well. The
mechanism described here should serve the community until
(and perhaps beyond) such time as routing protocol extensions
are developed and deployed.

The initial mechanism described does not rely on changes to
CLNP. Improvements in the mechanism can be achieved through
the addition of a new option to the CLNP Error Report.

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

2. Protocol overview

The RFC 1191 technique of using the Don't Fragment (DF) bit
in the IP header to dynamically discover the PMTU of an IP
path is easily extended to CLNP by using the Segmentation
Permitted (SP) flag in the CLNP header. A source CLNP host
initially assumes that the MTU of a path is the (known) MTU
of its first hop, and sends all datagrams on that path with
segmentation disabled (i.e., the SP = FALSE). If any of the datagrams are too
large to be forwarded without fragmentation by some router along the path, that
router will discard them and return a CLNP Error Report message with the Reason
for Discard parameter set to the value indicating "segmentation needed but not
permitted". Upon receipt of such a message (consistent with RFC 1191, this is
referred to as a "Datagram Too Big" message), the source host reduces its
assumed PMTU for the path. Since the mechanism relies on the generation of an
Error Report message by a router along the path, hosts MUST NOT suppress error
reporting (i.e., hosts MUST set the Error Report flag to TRUE in CLNP headers
when attempting Path MTU discovery.

The PMTU discovery process ends when a host's estimate of the
PMTU is low enough that its datagrams can be delivered
without fragmentation. Alternatively, the host could end the
discovery process by enabling segmentation (SP = TRUE) in the
datagram headers; it could do so, for example, because it is
willing to have datagrams fragmented in some circumstances.
Normally, the host continues to set SP = FALSE in all datagrams, so that if the
route changes and the new PMTU
is lower, the lower PMTU will be discovered.

2.1 Datagram Too Big message considerations

The Datagram Too Big message as originally specified in ICMP
[7] did not report the MTU of the hop for which the rejected
datagram was too big; the CLNP Error Report fails in this
regard as well, so again, the source host cannot tell exactly
how much to reduce its assumed PMTU given the information
returned in the Error Report. To remedy this, a new option
is defined for CLNP Error Reports in Appendix A. The Next-Hop-MTU option should
convey the same semantics as the corresponding parameter in the ICMP header as
specified in RFC 1191; i.e. This field is used to report the MTU of what RFC
1191 refers to as the "constricting (next) hop".

Although this is the only change needed for routers to fully
support CLNP PMTU Discovery, it will not be possible to take
advantage of this explicit feedback mechanism until all
routers are upgraded, because the processing of CLNP options

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

requires that Error Reports containing unrecognized options
be (silently) discarded. Until such time as routers are updated, hosts may
search for an accurate PMTU estimate by continuing to send datagrams with the SP
= FALSE while varying datagram sizes. By using the search strategy described in
Section 7, hosts can discover an optimum (or at least better) PMTU with good

This memo recommends that all hosts that implement PMTU MUST implement both the
search method described in section 7 and the option method described here and in
Appendix A, with preference given the option, if present in the Error Report.

2.2 Path MTU changes

The MTU of a path may change over time, due to changes in
the routing topology. Reductions of the PMTU are indicated by
Datagram Too Big messages.

Hosts that choose to implement MTU discovery and cease the
process by enabling segmentation (SP = TRUE) change the composition of the CLNP
header, by forcing the addition of a segmentation part. RFC 1191 suggests that
IP hosts that implement MTU discovery will normally continue to set the DF bit
in all datagrams to detect PMTU changes resulting from routing changes; it is
STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that under the same circumstances, CLNP hosts follow suit,
and to continue to transmit datagrams in the discovery mode.

A host may periodically increase its assumed PMTU to detect
increases in a PMTU. As is the case with IPv4, this will
almost always result in CLNP datagrams being discarded and
Datagram Too Big messages being generated, because in most
cases the PMTU of the path will not have changed, so the
increase "probe" should be done infrequently.

Note: this mechanism essentially guarantees that a CLNP host
will not receive fragments from a peer doing PMTU Discovery,
so a host that continues to operate in MTU discovery mode
will interoperate with "segmentation-challenged" hosts; i.e.,
hosts that are unable to reassemble fragmented datagrams as a
result of having implemented the non-segmenting subset rather
than the full version of CLNP.

3. Host specification

When a host receives a Datagram Too Big message, it MUST
reduce its estimate of the PMTU for the relevant path. The
precise behavior of a host in this circumstance is not
specified here, since different applications may have

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

different requirements, and different implementation
architectures may favor different strategies.

After receiving a Datagram Too Big message, a host MUST avoid
eliciting more such messages in the near future. The host has
two choices; (1) reduce the size of the datagrams it sends
along the path, or (2) set the segmentation flag in the CLNP
header and use segmentation. A host MUST force the PMTU
Discovery process to converge.

Hosts performing PMTU Discovery MUST detect decreases in Path
MTU as fast as possible. Hosts MAY detect increases in PMTU,
but since doing so requires sending datagrams larger than the
current estimated PMTU, and since it is likely is that the
PMTU will not have increased, this MUST be done at infrequent
intervals. Consistent with RFC 1191 recommendations for IP,
an attempt to detect an increase by sending a CLNP datagram
larger than the current estimate MUST NOT be done less than 5
minutes after a Datagram Too Big message has been received
for the given destination, or less than one minute after a
previous, successful attempted increase. The recommended
setting of these timers is twice their minimum values (10 and
2 minutes, respectively).

RFC 1191 recommends that a host MUST never reduce its
estimate of the PMTU below 68 octets (the value of 68 octets
guarantees that 8 octets of data can be transmitted given an
IPv4 header of 60 octets, see RFC 791). CLNP implementations
SHOULD NOT allow the MTU size to be configured to be less
than 512 octets. A CLNP host SHOULD NEVER reduce its estimate
of the PMTU below 512 octets.

3.1. TCP MSS Option

A host performing CLNP PMTU Discovery must obey the rule that
it not send datagrams larger than 512 octets unless it has
permission from the receiver. For TCP connections, this means
that a TUBA/CLNP host must not send datagrams larger than 74
octets plus the Maximum Segment Size (MSS) sent by its peer.

Note: In RFC 879, the TCP MSS is defined to be the relevant
IP datagram size minus 40, where 40 represents what is
referred to as the "liberal or optimistic" assumption
regarding TCP and IP header size (20 octets each); the
default of 576 octets for the maximum IP datagram size in
this scenario yields a default of 536 octets for the TCP MSS.
Using CLNP, with a correspondingly liberal and optimistic
assumption about CLNP header size (54 octets), the default
CLNP MSS of 512 octets yields a default of 438 octets for the

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

Hosts SHOULD not lower the value they send in the MSS option;
doing so prevents the PMTU Discovery mechanism from
discovering PMTUs larger than the default TCP MSS. For
TUBA/CLNP hosts, the TCP MSS option should be 74 octets less
than the size of the largest datagram the host is able to
reassemble (MMS_R, as defined in RFC 1122 [8]). In many
cases, this will be the architectural limit of 65461 (65535 -
74) octets. A host MAY send an MSS value derived from the MTU
of its connected network (the maximum MTU over its connected
networks, for a multi-homed host); this should not cause
problems for PMTU Discovery, and may dissuade a broken peer
from sending enormous datagrams.

Note: RFC 1191 recommends that hosts refrain from sending an
MSS greater than the architectural limit of 65535 minus the
IP header size. This recomendation applies for TUBA/CLNP
hosts as well (i.e., do not use a value greater than 65461).

4. Router specification

When a router is unable to forward a datagram because (a) the
datagram length exceeds the MTU of the next-hop network, (b)
segmentation is disabled (SP = FALSE), and (c) the Suppress Error Reports flag
is reset, the router MUST attempt to return an Error Report message to the
source of the datagram, with the Reason for Discard parameter code set to
indicate "segmentation required but not permitted".

To support MTU discovery, all routers MUST recognize the option specified in
Appendix A and are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to be capable of generating the option.
Having all the routers recognize the option will allow the option to be returned
to the host engaged in MTU discovery. (It is recommended that a router's ability
to generate the option be operator-configurable; generation of the option can
then be implemented in an incremental fashion.).

5. Host processing of Error Report messages

RFC 1191 outlines several possible strategies a host may
follow upon receiving a Datagram Too Big message from a
router that has not implemented the next-hop-MTU parameter.
This section describes the strategies as they apply to
TUBA/CLNP hosts; however, the discussion here is limited to
the strategies that RFC 1191 identifies as tractable.

The simplest thing for a CLNP host to do in response to a
Datagram Too Big message is to assume that the PMTU is the
minimum of its currently-assumed PMTU and 512, and to enable
segmentation (SP = TRUE) in datagrams sent on that path.

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

Thus, the host falls back to the same PMTU as it would choose under current
practice. This strategy terminates quickly and does no worse than existing
practice, but it fails to avoid
fragmentation in some cases, and fails to make the most
efficient utilization of the internetwork in other cases.More
sophisticated strategies involve "searching" for an accurate
PMTU estimate, by continuing to send datagrams with SP = FALSE while varying
datagram sizes.

A good search strategy is one that obtains an accurate
estimate of the PMTU without causing many packets to be lost
in the process. The "MTU Plateau" strategy recommended in RFC
1191 for IP applies to CLNP hosts. The strategy begins with
the assumption that there are relatively few MTU values in
use in the Internet, so the search can be constrained to
include only the MTU values that are likely to appear. Mogul
and Deering make the assumption that designers tend to choose
MTUs in similar ways, so they collect groups of similar MTU
values and use the lowest value in the group as a search
"plateau", suggesting that it is better to underestimate an
MTU by a few per cent than to overestimate it by one.

Section 7 provides a table of representative MTU plateaus for
use in PMTU estimation, derived from RFC 1191, but extended
to include technologies that have emerged since its
publication. With this table, convergence is as good as
binary search in the worst case, and is far better in common
cases. Since the plateaus lie near powers of two, if an MTU
is not represented in this table, the algorithm will not
underestimate it by more than a factor of 2.

In RFC 1191, Mogul and Deering note that any search strategy
must have some "memory" of previous estimates in order to
choose the next one, and suggest that the information
available in the Datagram Too Big message itself can be used
for this purpose. Like ICMP Destination Unreachable messages,
CLNP Error report messages contain the header of the original datagram, which
contains the Total Length of the datagram too big to be forwarded without
fragmentation (note: when SP = FALSE, the total length of the CLNP datagram is
recorded in the Segment Length field). Since this Total Length may be less than
the current PMTU estimate, but is nonetheless larger than the actual PMTU, it
may be a good input to the method for choosing the next PMTU estimate.

Consistent with the strategy recommended for IP in RFC 1191, CLNP hosts shall
use as the next PMTU estimate the greatest plateau value that is less than the
returned Total Length field.

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

6. Host implementation

The RFC 1191 discussion of how PMTU Discovery is implemented
in host software is relevant here. The issues that are applicable to CLNP MTU
Discovery include:

- What layer or layers implement PMTU Discovery?
- Where is the PMTU information cached?
- How is stale PMTU information removed?
- What must transport and higher layers do?

6.1. Layering

In the IP architecture, the choice of what size datagram to
send is made by a transport or higher layer protocol, i.e., a
layer above IP. Mogul and Deering call such protocols
"packetization protocols", and explain how implementing PMTU
Discovery in the packetization layers simplifies some of the
inter-layer issues, but has several drawbacks, and conclude
that the IP layer should store PMTU information and that the
ICMP layer should process received Datagram Too Big messages.

In OSI, the functions ascribed to ICMP and IP are both
provided in the network layer. The division of function between the
packetization and network layer changes slightly. The packetization layers must
still respond to changes in the Path MTU by changing the size of the datagrams
they send, and must also be able to specify when segmentation of datagrams is
not permitted (SP = FALSE). (As is the case with IP, the network (CLNP) layer
does not simply set SP = FALSE in every packet, since it is possible that a
packetization layer, i.e., UDP or an application outside the kernel, is unable
to change its datagram size.)

To support this layering in CLNP, packetization layers require an extension of
the network service interface defined in [8]. The extension provides a way to
learn of changes in the value of MMS_S, the "maximum send transport-message
size", which is derived from the Path MTU by subtracting the minimum CLNP header
size (52 octets). This interaction might take the form of an OSI network service
primitive; i.e., an N-MSS_S-CHANGE.indication. (For completeness, one may wish
extend the N-UNITDATA.request primitive in [9] to allow
transport-entities to control the setting of the SP flag.)

6.2. Storing PMTU information

The general guidelines for storing PMTU information are the
same for CLNP as IP. The network (CLNP) layer should
associate each PMTU value that it has learned with a specific

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

path, identified by a source address, a destination address,
a CLNP quality-of-service, and if implemented, a security
classification. This association can be stored as a field in
the routing table entries. A host will not have a route for
every possible destination, but it should be able to cache a
per-host route for every active destination (A requirement
already imposed by the need to process ES-IS Redirects [10].)

PMTU storage guidelines for IP also apply to CLNP. When the first packet is sent
to a host for which no per-host route exists, a route is chosen either from the
set of per-network routes, or from the set of default routes. The PMTU fields in
these route entries should be initialized to be the MTU of the associated
first-hop data link, and must never be changed by the PMTU Discovery process.
(PMTU Discovery only creates or changes entries for per-host routes). The PMTU
associated with the initially-chosen route is presumed to be accurate until a
Datagram Too Big message is received.

When a Datagram Too Big message is received, the network
layer determines a new estimate for the Path MTU. If a per-
host route for this path does not exist, then one is created
(as if a per-host ES-IS Redirect is being processed; the new
route uses the same first-hop router as the current route).
If the PMTU estimate associated with the per-host route is
higher than the new estimate, then the value in the routing
entry is changed.

The packetization layers must be notified about decreases in
the PMTU (for example, through an implementation equivalent
of the primitive earlier described). Any packetization layer
instance (for example, a TCP connection) that is actively
using the path must be notified if the PMTU estimate is
decreased. Even if the Datagram Too Big message contains an
original datagram header that refers to a UDP packet, the TCP
layer must be notified if any of its connections use the
given path. (The same would be true for CLTP and TP-4
connections in OSI internets.)

The packetization layer instance that sent the CLNP datagram
that elicited the Datagram Too Big message should be notified
that its datagram has been dropped, even if the PMTU estimate
has not changed, so that it may retransmit the dropped
datagram. This notification can be asynchronously generated
by the network (CLNP) layer, or the notification can be
postponed until the packetization instance next attempts to
send a CLNP datagram larger than the PMTU estimate. In the
latter approach, if one assumes that an N-UNITDATA.request is
used to model the request to send a datagram, and the
primitive is extended to include the ability to twiddle the

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

SP flag, and the datagram is larger than the PMTU estimate,
the send function should fail and return a suitable error
indication. In RFC 1191, Mogul and Deering suggest that this
approach may be more suitable to a connectionless
packetization layer (such as one using UDP), which may be
hard to "notify" from the ICMP (or network) layer; this
should not be the case for CLNP, however, if so, the normal
timeout-based retransmission mechanisms would be used to
recover from the dropped datagrams.

Mogul and Deering are careful to note that the notification
to the packetization layer instances using the path about the
change in the PMTU is distinct from the notification of a
specific instance that a packet has been dropped. The latter
should be done as soon as practical (i.e., asynchronously
from the point of view of the packetization layer instance),
while the former may be delayed until a packetization layer
instance wants to create a packet. Retransmission should be
done for only those packets that are known to be dropped, as
indicated by a Datagram Too Big message. This applies to CLNP
Path MTU discovery for TUBA/CLNP environments as well.

6.3. Purging stale PMTU information

RFC 1191 provides guidelines for aging PMTU information.
Similar guidelines apply for TUBA/CLNP MTU discovery.

Because (under normal circumstances) a host performing CLNP
PMTU Discovery always disables segmentation, a stale PMTU value (one that is too
large) will be discovered almost immediately once a datagram is sent to the
given destination. No such mechanism exists for determining that a stored PMTU
value is too small, so an implementation SHOULD "age" cached PMTU values. When a
PMTU value has not decreased for some time (on the order of 10 minutes), the
PMTU estimate SHOULD be set to the first-hop data-link MTU, and the
packetization layers should be notified of the change. This will cause the
complete PMTU Discovery process to take place again.

Note: an implementation should provide a means for changing
the timeout duration, including setting it to "infinity". In
RFC 1191, Mogul and Deering cite the example of hosts
attached to an FDDI network, which is then attached to the
rest of the Internet via a slow serial line; such hosts will
never discover a larger, non-local PMTU, so they should not
be subjected to dropped datagrams every 10 minutes.

An upper layer MUST not retransmit datagrams in response to
an increase in the PMTU estimate, since this increase never
comes in response to an indication of a dropped datagram.

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

RFC 1191 and this memo recommend that PMTU aging be
implemented by adding a timestamp field to the routing table
entry. This field SHOULD be initialized to a "reserved" value
that indicates that the PMTU has never been changed. Whenever
the PMTU is decreased in response to a Datagram Too Big
message, the timestamp is set to the current time. Once a
minute thereafter, a timer-driven procedure should run
through the routing table, and for each entry whose timestamp
is not "reserved" and is older than the timeout interval,

- set the PMTU estimate to the MTU of the associated first

- notify the packetization layers using this route of the

PMTU estimates may disappear from the routing table if the
per-host routes are removed; this can happen in response to
an ES-IS Redirect message, or because certain routing-table
daemons delete old routes after several minutes. Also, on a
multi-homed host a topology change may result in the use of a
different source interface. When this happens, if the
packetization layer is not notified then it may continue to
use a cached PMTU value that is now too small. RFC 1191 and
this memo suggest that the packetization layer be notified of
a possible PMTU change whenever a Redirect message causes a
route change, and whenever a route is deleted from the
routing table.

6.4. TCP layer actions

RFC 1191 provides guidelines for TCP layers when Path MTU
discovery is being performed. Similar guidelines apply for
TUBA/CLNP MTU discovery.

The TCP layer must track the PMTU for the destination of a
connection; it should not send datagrams that would be larger
than this. A simple implementation could ask the network
(CLNP) layer for this value (using a TUBA/CLNP equivalent of
the GET_MAXSIZES interface described in [8]) each time it
created a new segment, but this could be inefficient.
Moreover, TCP implementations that follow the "slow-start"
congestion-avoidance algorithm [11] typically calculate and
cache several other values derived from the PMTU. It may be
simpler to receive asynchronous notification when the PMTU
changes, so that these variables may be updated.

A TCP implementation must also store the MSS value received
from its peer (which defaults to 440), and not send any
segment larger than this MSS, regardless of the PMTU.

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

When a Datagram Too Big message is received, it implies that
a datagram was dropped by the router that sent the Error
Report message. It is sufficient to treat this as any other
dropped segment, and wait until the retransmission timer
expires to cause retransmission of the segment. If the PMTU
discovery process requires several steps to estimate the
right PMTU, this could delay the connection by many round-
trip times. Alternatively, the retransmission could be done
in immediate response to a notification that the Path MTU has
changed, but only for the specific connection specified by
the Datagram Too Big message. The datagram size used in the
retransmission should be no larger than the new PMTU.

Note: Retransmissions MUST not be sent in response to every
Datagram Too Big message. A burst of oversized segments will give rise to
several such messages and hence several retransmissions of the same data; if the
new estimated PMTU is still wrong, the process repeats, and there is an
exponential growth in the number of superfluous segments sent. This means that
he TCP layer must be able to recognize when a Datagram Too Big notification
actually decreases the PMTU that it has already used to send a datagram on the
given connection, and should ignore any other notifications.

Many TCP implementations now incorporate "congestion
advoidance" and "slow-start" algorithms to improve
performance [11, 12]. Unlike a retransmission caused by a TCP
retransmission timeout, a retransmission caused by a Datagram
Too Big message should not change the congestion window. It
should, however, trigger the slow-start mechanism (i.e., only
one segment should be retransmitted until acknowledgements
begin to arrive again).

TCP performance can be reduced if the sender's maximum window
size is not an exact multiple of the segment size in use
(this is not the congestion window size, which is always a
multiple of the segment size). In many systems (such as those
derived from 4.2BSD), the segment size is often set to 1024
octets, and the maximum window size (the "send space") is
usually a multiple of 1024 octets, so the proper relationship
holds by default. If PMTU Discovery is used, however, the
segment size may not be a submultiple of the send space, and
it may change during a connection; this means that the TCP
layer may need to change the transmission window size when
PMTU Discovery changes the PMTU value. The maximum window
size should be set to the greatest multiple of the segment
size (PMTU - 74) that is less than or equal to the sender's
buffer space size.

PMTU Discovery does not affect the value sent in the TCP MSS

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

option, because that value is used by the other end of the
connection, which may be using an unrelated PMTU value.

6.5. Issues for other transport protocols

Some transport protocols (such as OSI TP4 [13]) are not
allowed to repacketize when doing a retransmission; once an
attempt is made to transmit a datagram of a certain size, its
contents cannot be split into smaller datagrams for
retransmission. In such a case, the original CLNP datagram
should be retransmitted with segmentation enabled, allowing
it to be fragmented as necessary to reach its destination.
Subsequent datagrams, when transmitted for the first time,
should be no larger than allowed by the Path MTU, and should
have the SP = FALSE.

The Sun Network File System (NFS) uses a Remote Procedure
Call (RPC) protocol [14] that, in many cases, sends datagrams
that must be fragmented even for the first-hop link. This
might improve performance in certain cases, but it is known
to cause reliability and performance problems, especially
when the client and server are separated by routers. NFS
implementations SHOULD use PMTU Discovery whenever routers
are involved. Most NFS implementations allow the RPC datagram
size to be changed at mount-time (indirectly, by changing the
effective file system block size), but might require some
modification to support changes later on.

Also, since a single NFS operation cannot be split across
several UDP datagrams, certain operations (primarily, those
operating on file names and directories) require a minimum
datagram size that may be larger than the PMTU. NFS
implementations SHOULD NOT reduce the datagram size below
this threshold, even if PMTU Discovery suggests a lower
value. (In this case datagrams should not be sent with segmentation disabled.)

6.6. Management interface

In RFC 1191, Mogul and Deering suggest that an implementation
provide a way for a system utility program to:

- Specify that PMTU Discovery not be done on a given route

- Change the PMTU value associated with a given route

The former can be accomplished by associating a flag with the
routing entry; when a packet is sent via a route with this
flag set, the IP layer leaves the DF bit clear no matter what
the upper layer requests. The same can be provided for CLNP

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

PMTU discovery; when a packet is sent via a route with a
"suppress PMTU discovery" flag set, the CLNP layer leaves the
SP flag reset irrespective of upper layer requests. (The implementation should
also provide a way to change the
timeout period for aging stale PMTU information.)

7. Likely values for Path MTUs

The algorithm recommended in section 5 for "searching" the
space of Path MTUs is based on a table of values that
severely restricts the search space. In RFC 1191, Mogul and
Deering describe a table of MTU values that represented all
major data-link technologies in use in the Internet.

In this memo, Table 7-1 has been revised to consider
technologies that have been introduced to the Internet since
the publication of RFC 1191. The author has also removed
technologies that seem unlikely transmission media for CLNP;
notably, 1822/ARPANET, ARCNET, SLIP, Experimental Ethernets, and WIDEBAND.
Implementors should also make it convenient for customers without source code to
update the table values in their systems.

    Plateau     MTU      Comments                  Reference
    ------      ---      --------                  ---------
                65535    Official maximum MTU      RFC 791
                65535    Official maximum NSDU     ISO 8348
                65535    Hyperchannel              RFC 1044
    32000                Just in case
                17914    16Mb IBM Token Ring       (RFC 1191)
                 9180    SMDS                      RFC 1209
                 9180    ATM over AAL5             RFC iiii
                 8166    IEEE 802.4                RFC 1042
                 4464    IEEE 802.5 (4Mb max)      RFC 1042
                 4352    FDDI (Revised)            RFC 1188
                 1600    Frame Relay (recommended) RFC 1490
                 1600    X.25 Networks             RFC 1356
                 1500    Ethernet Networks         RFC  894
                 1500    Point-to-Point (default)  RFC 1548
                 1492    IEEE 802.3                RFC 1042
                  512    NETBIOS                   RFC 1088
                  512    Minimum SNSDU size        ISO 8473
               Table 7-1: CLNP MTUs in the Internet

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

Table 7-1 lists data links in order of decreasing MTU, and
groups them so that each set of similar MTUs is associated
with a "plateau" equal to the lowest MTU in the group. As
indicated in RFC 1191, the values in the table, especially
for higher MTU levels, will not remain valid forever; they
are presented here as an implementation suggestion, NOT as a
specification or requirement. Implementors should use up-to-
date references to pick a set of plateaus. It is important
that the table not contain too many entries or the process of
searching for a PMTU might waste Internet resources.

7.1. A better way to detect PMTU increases

Rather than detecting increases in the PMTU value by
periodically increasing the PMTU estimate to the first-hop
MTU, it is possible to periodically increase a PMTU estimate
to the lesser of the next-highest value in the plateau table
or the first-hop MTU. If the increased estimate is wrong, at
most one round-trip time is wasted before the correct value
is rediscovered. If the increased estimate is still too low,
a higher estimate will be attempted somewhat later.

Because it may take several such periods to discover a
significant increase in the PMTU, a short timeout period
should be used after the estimate is increased, and a longer
timeout be used after the PTMU estimate is decreased because
of a Datagram Too Big message. For example, after the PTMU
estimate is decreased, the timeout should be set to 10
minutes; once this timer expires and a larger MTU is
attempted, the timeout can be set to a much smaller value
(say, 2 minutes). In no case should the timeout be shorter
than the estimated round-trip time, if this is known.

8. Security considerations

A malicious party could cause problems if it could stop a
victim from receiving legitimate Datagram Too Big messages,
but in this case there are simpler denial-of-service attacks.
Other, more likely forms of denial-of-service attacks against
an IP host attempting MTU discovery are based on tampering
with the value announced in the ICMP NEXT-HOP-MTU parameter
(see also Appendix A).

9. References

[1]  Mogul, J., and S. Deering. Path MTU Discovery, RFC 1191,
     Internet Network Information Center, November 1990.

[2]  ISO/IEC 8473-1992. ISO - Data Communications - Protocol
     Providing the Connectionless Network Service, Edition 2.

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

[3]  Postel, J. Internet Protocol. RFC 791, Internet Network
     Information Center, September 1981.

[4]  Kent, C., and J. Mogul. Fragmentation Considered
     Harmful. Proc. SIGCOMM '87 Workshop on Frontiers in
     Computer Communications Technology. August, 1987.

[5]  Postel, J. The TCP Maximum Segment Size and Related
     Topics. RFC 879, Internet Network Information Center,
     Nov. 1983.

[6]  Piscitello, D. Use of ISO CLNP in TUBA Environments, RFC
     1561, Internet Network Information Center, Dec. 1993.

[7]  Postel, J. Internet Control Message Protocol. RFC 792,
     Internet Network Information Center, September, 1981.

[8]  R. Braden, ed. Requirements for Internet Hosts --
     Communication Layers. RFC 1122, Internet Network
     Information Center, October, 1989.

[9]  ISO/IEC 8348-1992. International Standards Organization.
     OSI Network Service Definition.

[10] ISO/IEC 9542-1992. International Standards Organization.
     End-system to Intermediate-system exchange protocol
     for use in conjunction with ISO/IEC 8473..

[11] Jacobson, V. Congestion Avoidance and Control. In Proc.
     SIGCOMM '88 Symposium on Communications Architectures
     and Protocols, pages 314-329. Stanford, CA, Aug. 1988.

[12] Van Jacobson, R. Braden, D, Borman. RFC 1323, TCP
     Extensions for High Performance, Internet Network
     Information Center, May 1992.

[13] ISO/IEC 8072-1986. International Standards Organization.
     ISO Transport Protocol Specification.

[14] Sun Microsystems, Inc. Remote Procedure Call Protocol.
     RFC 1057, SRI Network Information Center, June, 1988.

Author's Address

David M. Piscitello
Core Competence, Inc.
1620 Tuckerstown Road
Dresher, PA 19025 USA

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TUBA Working Group                    CLNP Path MTU Discovery

Appendix A. NEXT-HOP-MTU parameter for CLNP Error Reports

To support Path MTU Discovery more efficiently, a new
parameter is defined for CLNP Error Reports. The "Next-Hop-MTU" parameter has
the same semantics as the corresponding parameter in the ICMP header as
specified in RFC 1191; i.e., this field shall be used to report the
"constricting (next) hop" MTU. As part of its specification, ISO/IEC 8473 MUST
indicate that a router MUST include the MTU of the constricting next-hop network
in the new parameter in the
Error Report header. The format of the parameter is:

        0          1          2          3
        01234567 89012345 67890123 45678901
       |   Code | Length |   (value of)    |
       |11000010|  (4)   |  Next-Hop-MTU   |

The value of the Next-Hop MTU field is the size in octets of
the largest CLNP datagram that could be forwarded, along the
path of the original datagram, without being fragmented at
this router. The size includes the CLNP header and data, and
does not include any lower level headers. This field MUST
never contain a value less than 512. When a host receives a
Datagram Too Big message, it MUST reduce its estimate of the
PMTU for the relevant path, based on the value of the Next-
Hop-MTU field in the Error Report

The specification of this parameter introduces additional
security considerations for PMTU Discovery. CLNP Path MTU
Discovery mechanism will be vulnerable to the same denial-of-
service attacks as IP. Both attacks are based on a malicious
party sending false Datagram Too Big messages to a host. The
RFC 1191 description of these attacks is repeated here.

In the first attack, the false message indicates a PMTU much
smaller than reality. This should not entirely stop data
flow, since the victim host should never set its PMTU
estimate below the absolute minimum. Since the minimum MTU is
512, this has less impact than with IP but is nonetheless
intrusive. In the other attack, the false message indicates a
larger PMTU than reality. If believed, this could cause
temporary blockage as the victim sends datagrams that will be
dropped by some router. The host would discover its mistake
within one RTT, by receiving Datagram Too Big messages, but
frequent repetition of this attack could cause many discards.
A hostshould never raise its estimate of the PMTU based on a
Datagram Too Big message, so should not be vulnerable to this

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