DTN Research Group                                              V. Cerf
INTERNET-DRAFT                         Google/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
<draft-irtf-dtnrg-arch-04.txt>                              S. Burleigh
December 2005                                                  A. Hooke
Expires June 2006                                          L. Torgerson
                                         NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
                                                               R. Durst
                                                               K. Scott
                                                  The MITRE Corporation
                                                                K. Fall
                                                      Intel Corporation
                                                               H. Weiss
                                                           SPARTA, Inc.
Delay-Tolerant Network Architecture

Status of this Memo

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, each author represents that any
   applicable patent or other IPR claims of which he or she is aware
   have been or will be disclosed, and any of which he or she becomes
   aware will be disclosed, in accordance with Section 6 of BCP 79.

   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-

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

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

   The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at

   This document was produced by members of the IRTF's Delay Tolerant
   Networking Research Group (DTNRG).  Please see http://www.dtnrg.org.


   This document describes an architecture for delay-tolerant and
   disruption-tolerant networks, and is an evolution of the architecture
   originally designed for the Interplanetary Internet, a communication
   system envisioned to provide Internet-like services across
   interplanetary distances in support of deep space exploration.  This
   document describes an architecture that addresses a variety of
   problems with internetworks having operational and performance
   characteristics that make conventional (Internet-like) networking
   approaches either unworkable or impractical.  We define a message-
   oriented overlay that exists above the transport (or other) layers of
   the networks it interconnects.  The document presents a motivation
   for the architecture, an architectural overview, review of state
   management required for its operation, and a discussion of
   application design issues.

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Table of Contents
   Status of this Memo................................................1
   Table of Contents..................................................2
   1     Introduction.................................................4
   2     Why an Architecture for Delay-Tolerant Networking?...........5
   3     DTN Architectural Description................................6
         3.1  Virtual Message Switching using Store-and-Forward
         3.2  Nodes...................................................7
         3.3  Endpoint Identifiers (EIDs) and Registrations...........7
         3.4  Naming of Groups........................................9
         3.5  Priority Classes.......................................10
         3.6  Postal-Style Delivery Options and Administrative Records11
         3.7  Primary Bundle Fields..................................13
         3.8  Routing and Forwarding.................................14
         3.9  Fragmentation and Reassembly...........................16
         3.10 Reliability and Custody Transfer.......................17
         3.11 DTN Support for Proxies and Application Layer Gateways.18
         3.12 Time Stamps and Time Synchronization...................19
         3.13 Congestion and Flow Control at the Bundle Layer........19
         3.14 Security...............................................20
   4     State Management Considerations.............................22
         4.1  Application Registration State.........................22
         4.2  Custody Transfer State.................................22
         4.3  Bundle Routing and Forwarding State....................23
         4.4  Security-Related State.................................23
         4.5  Policy and Configuration State.........................24
   5     Application Structuring Issues..............................24
   6     Convergence Layer Considerations for Use of Underlying
   7     Summary.....................................................26
   8     Security Considerations.....................................26
   9     IANA Considerations.........................................26
   10    Normative References........................................26
   11    Informative References......................................26

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   John Wroclawski, David Mills, Greg Miller, James P. G. Sterbenz, Joe
   Touch, Steven Low, Lloyd Wood, Robert Braden, Deborah Estrin, Stephen
   Farrell, Melissa Ho, Ting Liu, Mike Demmer, Jakob Ericsson, Susan
   Symington and Craig Partridge all contributed useful thoughts and
   criticisms to previous versions of this document.  We are grateful
   for their time and participation.

   This work was performed in part under DOD Contract DAA-B07-00-CC201,
   DARPA AO H912; JPL Task Plan No. 80-5045, DARPA AO H870; and NASA
   Contract NAS7-1407.

Release Notes

draft-irtf-dtnrg-arch-00.txt, March 2003:

   -Revised model for delay tolerant network infrastructure security.
   -Introduced fragmentation and reassembly to the architecture.
   -Removed significant amounts of rationale and redundant text.  Moved
     bundle transfer example(s) to separate draft(s).

draft-irtf-dtnrg-arch-02.txt, July 2004:
   -Revised assumptions about reachability within DTN regions.
   -Added management endpoint identifiers for nodes.
   -Moved list of bundle header information to protocol spec document.

draft-irtf-dtnrg-arch-03.txt, July 2005:
   -Revised regions to become URI schemes
   -Added discussion of multicast and anycast
   -Revised motivation/introduction section (2) and
   -Much of the security discussion has moved to the security draft
   -Updated terminology to match current bundle protocol specification

draft-irtf-dtnrg-arch-04.txt, November 2005:
   -Further terminology updates and minor editing

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1  Introduction

   This document describes an architecture for delay and disruption-
   tolerant interoperable networking (DTN).  The architecture embraces
   the concepts of occasionally-connected networks that may suffer from
   frequent partitions and that may be comprised of more than one
   divergent set of protocols or protocol families.  The basis for this
   architecture lies with that of the Interplanetary Internet, which
   focused primarily on the issue of deep space communication in high-
   delay environments.  We expect the DTN architecture described here to
   be utilized in various operational environments, including those
   subject to disruption and disconnection and those with high-delay;
   the case of deep space is one specialized example of these, and is
   being pursued as a specialization of this architecture (See
   http://www.ipnsig.org and [SB03] for more details).

   Other networks to which we believe this architecture applies include
   sensor-based networks using scheduled intermittent connectivity,
   terrestrial wireless networks that cannot ordinarily maintain end-to-
   end connectivity, satellite networks with moderate delays and
   periodic connectivity, and underwater acoustic networks with moderate
   delays and frequent interruptions due to environmental factors.  A
   DTN tutorial [FW03], aimed at introducing DTN and the types of
   networks for which it is designed, is available to introduce new
   readers to the fundamental concepts and motivation.  More technical
   descriptions may be found in [KF03], [JFP04], [JDPF05] and [WJMF05].

   We define an end-to-end message-oriented overlay called the "bundle
   layer" that exists at a layer above the transport (or other) layers
   of the networks on which it is hosted and below applications. Devices
   implementing the bundle layer are called DTN nodes.  The bundle layer
   forms an overlay that employs persistent storage to help combat
   network interruption.  It includes a hop-by-hop transfer of reliable
   delivery responsibility and optional end-to-end acknowledgement.  It
   also includes a number of diagnostic and management features.  For
   interoperability, it uses a flexible naming scheme (based on Uniform
   Resource Identifiers [RFC3986]) capable of encapsulating different
   naming and addressing schemes in the same overall naming syntax.  It
   also has a basic security model, optionally enabled, aimed at
   protecting infrastructure from unauthorized use.

   The bundle layer provides functionality similar to the internet layer
   of gateways described in the original ARPANET/Internet designs
   [CK74].  It differs from ARPANET gateways, however, because it is
   layer-agnostic and is focused on virtual message forwarding rather
   than packet switching.  However, both generally provide
   interoperability between underlying protocols specific to one
   environment and those protocols specific to another, and both provide
   a store-and-forward forwarding service (with the bundle layer
   employing persistent storage for its store and forward function).

   In a sense, the DTN architecture provides a common method for
   interconnecting heterogeneous gateways or proxies that employ store-

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   and-forward message routing to overcome communication disruptions.
   It provides services similar to electronic mail, but with enhanced
   naming, routing, and security capabilities.  Nodes unable to support
   the full capabilities required by this architecture may be supported
   by application layer proxies acting as DTN applications.

2  Why an Architecture for Delay-Tolerant Networking?

   Our motivations for pursuing an architecture for delay tolerant
   networking stems from several factors.  These factors are summarized
   below; much more detail on their rationale can be explored in [SB03],
   [KF03], and [DFS02].

   The existing Internet protocols do not work well for some
   environments, due to some fundamental assumptions built into the
   Internet architecture:

   - that an end-to-end path between source and destination exists for
      the duration of a communication session
   - (for reliable communication) that retransmissions based on timely
      and stable feedback from data receivers is an effective means for
      repairing errors
   - that end-to-end loss is relatively small
   - that all routers and end stations support the TCP/IP protocols
   - that applications need not worry about communication performance
   - that endpoint-based security mechanisms are sufficient for meeting
      most security concerns
   - that packet switching is the most appropriate abstraction for
      interoperability and performance
   - that selecting a single route between sender and receiver is
      sufficient for achieving acceptable communication performance

   The DTN architecture is conceived to relax most of these assumptions,
   based on a number of design principles that are summarized here (and
   further discussed in [KF03]):

   - use variable-length (possibly long) messages (not streams or
      limited-sized packets) as the communication abstraction to help
      enhance the ability of the network to make good scheduling/path
      selection decisions when possible
   - use a naming syntax that supports a wide range of naming and
      addressing conventions to enhance interoperability
   - use storage within the network to support store-and-forward
      operation over multiple paths, and over potentially long
      timescales (i.e. to support operation in environments where many
      and/or no end-to-end paths may ever exist); do not require end-to-
      end reliability
   - provide security mechanisms that protect the infrastructure from
      unauthorized use by discarding traffic as quickly as possible
   - provide coarse-grained classes of service, delivery options, time
      stamps and an expression of the useful life for data to further
      allow the network to better serve the needs of applications

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   In addition to the principles guiding the design of the bundle layer
   itself, its use is also guided by a few application design

   - applications should minimize the number of round-trip exchanges
   - applications should cope with restarts after failure while network
      transactions remain pending

   These issues are discussed in further detail in Section 5.

3  DTN Architectural Description

   The previous section summarized the design principles that guide the
   definition of the DTN architecture.  This section presents a
   description of the major features of the architecture resulting from
   design decisions guided by the aforementioned design principles.

3.1 Virtual Message Switching using Store-and-Forward Operation

   A DTN-enabled application sends messages, also called Application
   Data Units or ADUs [CT90] of arbitrary length, subject to any
   implementation limitations. The relative order of messages might not
   be preserved.  Messages are transformed into protocol data units
   called "bundles" that contain ADUs and other information used to
   deliver bundles to their destination(s).  Messages are typically sent
   by and delivered to applications in complete units; bundles may be
   split up ("fragmented") into multiple constituent bundles (also
   called "fragments" or "bundle fragments") during transmission.

   Bundle sources and destinations are identified by (variable-length)
   Endpoint Identifiers (EIDs, described below), which identify the
   original sender and final destination(s) of bundles, respectively.
   Bundles also contain a "report-to" EID used when special operations
   are requested to direct diagnostic output to an arbitrary entity
   (e.g., other than the source).

   While IP networks are based on "store-and-forward" operation, there
   is an assumption that the "storing" will not persist for more than a
   modest amount of time, on the order of the queuing and transmission
   delay.  In contrast, the DTN architecture does not expect that
   network links are always available or reliable, and instead expects
   that nodes may choose to store messages for some time.  We anticipate
   that most DTN nodes will use some form of persistent storage for this
   -- disk, flash memory, etc., and that stored messages will survive
   system restarts.

   A message-oriented abstraction provides bundle layer routing with a-
   priori knowledge of the size and performance requirements of
   requested data transfers.  When there is a significant amount of
   queuing that can occur in the network (as is the case in the DTN
   version of store-and-forward), the advantage provided by knowing this
   information may be significant for making scheduling and path
   selection decisions [JFP04].  An alternative abstraction (i.e. of

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   stream-based delivery) would make such scheduling much more
   difficult.  Although packets provide some of the same benefits as
   messages, larger aggregates provide a way for the network to apply
   scheduling and buffer management to entire units of data that are
   useful to applications.

   An essential element of the message-based style of operation for
   networking is that messages have a place to wait in a queue until a
   communication opportunity ("contact") is available.  This highlights
   the following assumptions:

    1. that storage is available and well-distributed throughout the
    2. that storage is sufficiently persistent and robust to store
      messages until forwarding can occur, and
    3. (implicitly) that this 'store-and-forward' model is a better
      choice than attempting to effect continuous connectivity or other

   For a network to effectively support the DTN architecture, these
   assumptions must be considered and must be found to hold.

3.2 Nodes

   A DTN node (or simply "node" in this document) is an engine for
   sending and receiving bundles-- an implementation of the bundle
   layer.  Applications utilize DTN nodes to send or receive messages
   carried in bundles (or act as report-to destinations for diagnostic
   information carried in bundles).  Nodes are identified by one or more
   Endpoint Identifiers (EIDs).

3.3 Endpoint Identifiers (EIDs) and Registrations

   An Endpoint Identifier (EID) is a name, using the general syntax of
   URIs (see below), that refers to a set of DTN nodes.  Such a set is
   called a "DTN endpoint."  A node is able to determine from an EID the
   corresponding endpoint's "minimum reception group" (MRG).  The MRG of
   an endpoint is the set of nodes "in" the endpoint to which a bundle
   must be delivered in order to complete a data transfer.  In
   particular, the MRG of an endpoint may refer to one node (unicast),
   one of a group of nodes (anycast), or all of a group of nodes
   (multicast and broadcast).  A single node may be in the MRG of
   multiple endpoints and an endpoint may have an MRG with cardinality
   greater than one (e.g., for anycast and multicast delivery, see
   below).  Each node is also required to have at least one EID that
   uniquely identifies it.

   Applications send messages destined for an EID, and they may arrange
   for bundles sent to a particular EID to be delivered to them.
   Depending on the construction of the EID being used (see below),
   there may be a provision for wildcarding some portion of an EID,
   which is often useful for diagnostic and routing purposes.

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   An application's desire to receive traffic destined for a particular
   EID is called a "registration," and in general is maintained
   persistently by a DTN node.  This allows application registration
   information to survive application and operating system restarts.

   An application's attempt to establish a registration is not
   guaranteed to succeed.  For example, an application could request to
   register itself as a member of an endpoint by specifying an Endpoint
   ID that is uninterpretable or unavailable to the DTN node servicing
   the request.  Such requests are likely to fail.

3.3.1 URI Schemes

   Each Endpoint ID is expressed syntactically as a Uniform Resource
   Identifier (URI) [RFC3986].  The URI syntax has been designed as a
   way to express names or addresses for a wide range of purposes, and
   is therefore useful for constructing DTN names.

   In URI terminology, each URI begins with a scheme name.  The scheme
   name is an element of the set of globally-managed scheme names
   maintained by IANA [ISCHEMES].  Lexically following the scheme name
   in a URI is a series of characters constrained by the syntax defined
   by the scheme.  This portion of the URI is called the scheme-specific
   part (SSP), and can be quite general.  (See, as one example, the URI
   scheme for SNMP [RFC4088]).  Note that scheme-specific syntactical
   and semantic restrictions may be more constraining than the basic
   rules of RFC 3986.  Section 3.1 of RFC 3986 provides guidance on the
   syntax of scheme names.

   URI schemes are a key concept in the DTN architecture, and evolved
   from an earlier concept called regions, which were tied more closely
   to assumptions of the network topology.  Using URIs, significant
   flexibility is attained in the structuring of EIDs.  They might, for
   example, be constructed based on DNS names, or might look like
   "expressions of interest" or forms of database-like queries as in a
   directed diffusion-routed network [IGE00] or in intentional naming
   [WSBL99].  As names, EIDs are not required to be related to routing
   or topological organization.  Such a relationship is not prohibited,
   however, and in some environments using EIDs this way may be

   A single EID may refer to more than one DTN node, as suggested above.
   It is the responsibility of a scheme designer to define how to
   interpret the SSP of an EID so as to determine whether it refers to a
   unicast, multicast or anycast set of nodes.  See Section 3.4 for more

   URIs are constructed based on rules specified in RFC 3986, using the
   US-ASCII character set.  However, note this excerpt from RFC 3986,
   section 1.2.1, on dealing with characters that cannot be represented

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   by US-ASCII:  "Percent-encoded octets (Section 2.1) may be used
   within a URI to represent characters outside the range of the US-
   ASCII coded character set if this representation is allowed by the
   scheme or by the protocol element in which the URI is referenced.
   Such a definition should specify the character encoding used to map
   those characters to octets prior to being percent-encoded for the

3.3.2 Late Binding

   Binding means interpreting the SSP of an EID for the purpose of
   carrying an associated message to a recipient over some underlying
   protocol.  For example, binding might require mapping an EID to a
   lower-layer address or an alternate EID in a fashion similar to DNS
   name-to-address mappings in the Internet. "Late binding" means that
   this interpretation may take place relatively late in the delivery
   process of a message.  Late binding is in contrast with typical
   Internet communication sessions in which a DNS resolution takes place
   prior to data exchange at the IP layer.  Such a circumstance would be
   considered "early binding" because the name-to-address translation is
   performed prior to data being sent into the network.

   In a frequently-disconnected network, late binding may be
   advantageous because the transit time of a message may exceed the
   validity time of a binding.  Furthermore, use of name-based routing
   with late binding may reduce the amount of administrative (mapping)
   information that must propagate through the network, and may also
   limit the scope of mapping synchronization requirements to a local
   topological neighborhood of its origin.

3.4 Naming of Groups

   As mentioned above, an EID may refer to one node or a group of DTN
   nodes.  When referring to a group of nodes, the delivery semantics
   may be of either the anycast or multicast variety (broadcast is
   considered to be of the multicast variety).  For anycast group
   delivery, a message is delivered to one node among a group of
   potentially many nodes, and for multicast delivery it is intended to
   be delivered to all of them, subject to the normal DTN quality of
   service and maximum useful lifetime semantics.  Group join operations
   are initiated at receivers.

   Multicast group delivery in a DTN presents an unfamiliar issue with
   respect to group membership.  In relatively low-delay networks, such
   as the Internet, nodes may be considered to be part of the group if
   they have expressed interest to join it "recently."  In a DTN,
   however, nodes may wish to receive data sent to a group during an
   interval of time earlier than when they are actually able to receive
   it [ZAZ05].  More precisely, an application expresses its desire to
   receive data sent to EID e at time t.  Prior to this, during the
   interval [t0, t1], t > t1, data may have been generated for group e.
   For the application to receive any of this data, the data must be

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   available a potentially long time after senders have ceased sending
   to the group.  Thus, the data may need to be stored within the
   network in order to support temporal group semantics of this kind.
   How to design and implement this remains a research issue, as it is
   likely to be at least as hard as problems related to reliable

3.5 Priority Classes

   The DTN architecture offers *relative* measures of priority (low,
   medium, high) for delivering traffic.  These priorities differentiate
   traffic based upon an application's desire to affect the delivery
   urgency for messages.

   The (U.S. or similar) Postal Service provides a strong metaphor for
   the priority classes offered by the DTN architecture.  Traffic is
   generally not interactive and is often one-way.  There are generally
   no strong guarantees of timely delivery, yet there are some forms of
   class of service, reliability, and security.

   We have currently defined three relative priority classes.  These
   priority classes typically imply some relative scheduling
   prioritization among bundles in queue at a sender:

   - Bulk - Bulk bundles are shipped on a "least effort" basis.  No
      bundles of this class will be shipped until all bundles of other
      classes bound for the same destination and originating from the
      same source have been shipped.
   - Normal - Normal class bundles are shipped prior to any bulk class
      bundles and are otherwise the same as bulk bundles.
   - Expedited - Expedited bundles, in general, are shipped prior to
      bundles of other classes and are otherwise the same.

   Applications specify their requested priority class and data lifetime
   (see below) for each message they send.  This information, coupled
   with policy applied at DTN nodes that forward messages and routing
   algorithms in use, affects the overall likelihood and timeliness of
   message delivery.

   The priority class of a message is only required to relate to other
   messages from the same source.  This means that a high priority
   message from one source may not be delivered faster (or with some
   other superior quality of service) than a medium priority message
   from a different source.  It does mean that a high priority message
   from one source will be handled preferentially to a lower priority
   message sent from the same source.

   Depending on a particular DTN node's forwarding/scheduling policy,
   priority may or may not be enforced across different sources.  That
   is, in some DTN nodes, expedited bundles might always be sent prior
   to any bulk bundles, irrespective of source.  Many variations are

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3.6 Postal-Style Delivery Options and Administrative Records

   Continuing with the postal analogy of message delivery, the DTN
   architecture supports several delivery options that may be selected
   by an application when it requests the transmission of a message.  In
   addition, the architecture defines two types of administrative
   records: "status reports" and "signals."  These records are bundles
   that provide information about the delivery of other bundles, and are
   used in conjunction with the delivery options.

3.6.1 Delivery Options

   We have currently defined eight basic delivery options.  Applications
   sending a message may request any combination of the following:

   - Custody Transfer Requested - requests a bundle be delivered with
      enhanced reliability using custody transfer procedures.  A bundle
      will be transmitted by the bundle layer using reliable transfer
      protocols (if available), and the responsibility for reliable
      delivery of the bundle to its destination(s) may move among one or
      more "custodians" in the network.  This capability is described in
      more detail in Section 3.10.

   - Source Node Custody Acceptance Required - requires the source DTN
      node to provide custody transfer for the message being sent.  If
      custody transfer is not available at the source when this delivery
      option is requested, the requested transmission fails.  This
      provides a means for applications to insist that the source DTN
      node take custody of the message.

   - Report when Bundle Received - requests a Bundle Reception Status
      Report be generated when the subject bundle arrives at a DTN node.

   - Report when Bundle Custody Accepted  - requests a Custody
      Acceptance Status Report be generated when the subject bundle has
      been accepted using custody transfer.

   - Report when Bundle Forwarded - requests a Bundle Forwarding Status
      Report be generated when the subject bundle departs a DTN node
      that has forwarded it.

   - Report when Bundle Delivered - requests a Bundle Delivery Status
      Report be generated when the bundle reaches its intended
      recipient(s).  This request is also known as "return-receipt."

   - Report when Bundle Deleted - requests a Bundle Deletion Status
      Report be generated when the subject bundle is deleted at a DTN

   - Report when Bundle Acknowledged by Application - requests an
      Acknowledgement Status Report be generated when the subject bundle
      is acknowledged by a receiving application.  This only happens by
      action of the receiving application, and differs from the Bundle

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      Delivery Status Report.  It is intended for cases where the
      application may be acting as a form of application layer gateway
      and wishes to indicate the status of a protocol operation external
      to DTN back to the requesting source.

   If the security procedures defined in [DTNSEC] are also enabled, then
   three additional delivery options become available:

   - Confidentiality Required - requires a bundle's data be made secret
      from parties other than the source and the members of the
      destination EID

   - Authentication Required - requires all non-mutable fields in the
      headers of bundles (i.e., those which do not change as the bundle
      is forwarded) be made strongly verifiable (i.e. cryptographically
      strong).  This protects several fields, including the source and
      destination EIDs and the bundle's data.

   - Error Detection Required - requires modifications to a bundle's
      non-mutable fields be made detectable with high probability at
      each destination

3.6.2 Bundle Status Reports and Custody Signals

   Bundle Status Reports (BSRs) provide information and diagnostic
   responses in DTN and correspond (approximately) to the ICMP protocol
   in IP [RFC792].  In ICMP, however, messages are returned to the
   source.  In DTN, they are instead directed to the report-to EID,
   which might differ from the source's EID.  BSRs are sent as bundles
   with a source EID set to one of the EIDs associated with the DTN node
   generating the BSR.  In some cases, arrival of a single bundle or
   bundle fragment may elicit multiple BSRs (e.g., in the case where a
   bundle is replicated for multicast forwarding).  Many of the BSRs are
   used in forming responses to the delivery options discussed in the
   previous sub-section.

   The following BSRs are currently defined (also see [BSPEC] for more

   - Bundle Reception - sent when a bundle arrives at a DTN node

   - Custody Acceptance - sent when a node has accepted custody of a
      bundle with the Custody Transfer Requested option set

   - Bundle Forwarded - sent when a bundle containing a Report when
      Bundle Forwarded option departs from a DTN node after having been

   - Bundle Delivery - sent from a final recipient's (destination) node
      when a bundle containing a Report when Bundle Delivered option is
      consumed by an application

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   - Bundle Deletion - sent from a DTN node when a bundle containing a
      Report when Bundle Deleted option is discarded.  This can happen
      for several reasons, such as expiration

   - Acknowledged by application - sent from a DTN node when a bundle
      containing an Application Acknowledgment option has been processed
      by an application.  This generally involves specific action on the
      receiving application's part

   In addition to the status reports, a signal is currently defined to
   indicate the status of a custody transfer.  These are sent to the
   current-custodian EID contained in an arriving bundle:

   - Custody Signal - indicates that custody has been successfully
      transferred.  This signal appears as a Boolean indicator, and may
      therefore indicate either a successful or a failed custody
      transfer attempt

   The BSRs must reference a received bundle.  This is accomplished by a
   method for uniquely identifying bundles based on a transmission
   timestamp and sequence number discussed in Section 3.12.

3.7 Primary Bundle Fields

   The bundles carried between and among DTN nodes obey a standard
   bundle protocol specified in [BSPEC].  Here we provide an overview of
   most of the fields carried with every bundle.  The protocol is
   designed with a mandatory primary header, an optional payload header
   (which contains the payload itself), and a set of optional extension
   headers.  Headers may be cascaded in a way similar to IPv6.  The
   following selected fields are all present in the primary header, and
   therefore are present for every bundle and fragment:

  - Creation Timestamp - a concatenation of the bundle's creation time
     and a monotonically increasing sequence number such that the
     creation timestamp is guaranteed to be unique for each bundle
     originating from the same source.  The creation timestamp is based
     on the time-of-day an application requested a message to be sent
     (and a bundle containing the message was formed by the sender's DTN
     node).  DTN nodes are assumed to have a basic time synchronization
     capability (see Section 3.11).

  - Lifespan - the time-of-day at which the message is no longer
     useful.  If a bundle is stored in the network (including the
     source's DTN node) when its lifespan is reached, it may be
     discarded.  The lifespan of a bundle is expressed as an offset
     relative to its creation time.

  - Class of Service Flags - indicates the delivery options and
     priority class for the bundle.  Priority classes may be one of
     bulk, normal, or expedited.  See Section 3.6.1.

  - Source EID - EID of the source (the first sender)

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  - Destination EID - EID of the destination (the final intended

  - Report-To Endpoint ID - an EID identifying where reports (return-
     receipt, route-tracing functions) should be sent.  This may or may
     not identify the same node as the Source EID.

  - Custodian EID - EID of the current custodian of a bundle (if any)

   The payload header indicates information about the contained payload
   (e.g. its length) and, somewhat unusually, includes the payload
   itself.  In addition to the fields found in the primary and payload
   headers, each bundle may have fields in the extension headers carried
   with each bundle.  See [BSPEC] for additional details.

3.8 Routing and Forwarding

   The DTN architecture provides a framework for routing and forwarding
   at the bundle layer for unicast, anycast, and multicast messages.
   Because nodes in a DTN network might be interconnected using more
   than one type of underlying network technology, a DTN network  is
   best described abstractly using a *multigraph* (a graph where
   vertices may be interconnected with more than one edge).  Edges in
   this graph are, in general, time-varying with respect to their delay
   and capacity and directional because of the possibility of one-way
   connectivity.  When an edges has zero capacity, it is considered to
   not be connected.

   Because edges in a DTN graph may have significant delay, it is
   important to distinguish where time is measured when expressing an
   edge's capacity or delay.  We adopt the convention of expressing
   capacity and delay as functions of time where time is measured at the
   point where data is inserted into a network edge.  For example,
   consider an edge having capacity C(t) and delay D(t) at time t.  If B
   bits are placed in this edge at time t, they arrives at time t + D(t)
   + (1/C(t))*B.

   Because edges may vary between positive and zero capacity, it is
   possible to describe a period of time (interval) during which the
   capacity is strictly positive, and the delay and capacity can be
   considered to be constant [AF03].  This period of time is called a
   "contact."  In addition, the product of the capacity and the interval
   is known as a contact's "volume."  If contacts and their volumes are
   known ahead of time, intelligent routing and forwarding decisions can
   be made (optimally for small networks) [JPF04].  Optimally using a
   contact's volume, however, requires the ability to divide large
   messages into smaller routable units.  This is provided by DTN
   fragmentation (see Section 3.9).

   When delivery paths through a DTN graph are lossy or contact
   intervals and volumes are not known precisely ahead of time, routing
   computations become especially challenging.  How to handle these

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   situations is an active area of work in the (emerging) research area
   of delay tolerant networking.

3.8.1  Types of Contacts

   Contacts typically fall into one of several categories, based largely
   on the predictability of their performance characteristics and
   whether some action is required to bring them into existence.  To
   date, the following major types of contacts have been defined:

   Persistent Contacts

   Persistent contacts are always available (i.e., no connection-
   initiation action is required to instantiate a persistent contact).
   An 'always-on' Internet connection such as a DSL or Cable Modem
   connection would be representatives of this class.

   On-Demand Contacts

   On-Demand contacts require some action in order to instantiate, but
   then function as persistent contacts until terminated. A dial-up
   connection is an example of an On-Demand contact (at least, from the
   viewpoint of the dialer; it may be viewed as an Opportunistic Contact
   - below - from the viewpoint of the dial-up service provider).

   Intermittent - Scheduled Contacts

   A scheduled contact is an agreement to establish a contact at a
   particular time, for a particular duration.  An example of a
   scheduled contact is a link with a low-earth orbiting satellite.  A
   node's list of contacts with the satellite can be constructed from
   the satellite's schedule of view times, capacities and latencies.
   Note that for networks with substantial delays, the notion of the
   "particular time" is delay-dependent.  For example, a single
   scheduled contact between Earth and Mars would not be at the same
   instant in each location, but would instead be offset by the (non-
   negligible) propagation delay.

   Intermittent - Opportunistic Contacts

   Opportunistic contacts are not scheduled, but rather present
   themselves unexpectedly.  For example, an unscheduled aircraft flying
   overhead and beaconing, advertising its availability for
   communication, would present an opportunistic contact.  Another type
   of opportunistic contact might be via an infrared or BlueTooth
   communication link between a personal digital assistant (PDA) and a
   kiosk in an airport concourse.  The opportunistic contact begins as
   the PDA is brought near the kiosk, lasting an undetermined amount of
   time (i.e., until the link is lost or terminated).

   Intermittent - Predicted Contacts

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   Predicted contacts are based on no fixed schedule, but rather are
   predictions of likely contact times and durations based on a history
   of previously observed contacts or some other information.  Given a
   great enough confidence in a predicted contact, routes may be chosen
   based on this information.  This is an active research area, and a
   few approaches having been proposed [LFC05].

3.9 Fragmentation and Reassembly

   DTN fragmentation and reassembly is designed to improve the
   efficiency of message transfers by ensuring that contact volumes are
   fully utilized and by avoiding re-transmission of partially-forwarded
   messages.  There are two forms of DTN fragmentation/reassembly:

   Proactive Fragmentation

     A DTN node may divide a block of application data into multiple
     smaller blocks and transmit each such block as an independent
     bundle.  In this case the *final destination(s)* are responsible
     for extracting the smaller blocks from incoming bundles and
     reassembling them into the original larger bundle.  This approach
     is called proactive fragmentation because it is used primarily when
     contact volumes are known (or predicted) in advance.

   Reactive Fragmentation

     DTN nodes sharing an edge in the DTN graph may fragment a bundle
     cooperatively when a bundle is only partially transferred.  In this
     case, the receiving bundle layer modifies the incoming bundle to
     indicate it is a fragment, and forwards it normally.  The previous-
     hop sender may learn that only a portion of the bundle was
     delivered to the next hop, and send the remaining portion(s) when
     subsequent contacts become available (possibly to different next-
     hops if routing changes).  This is called reactive fragmentation
     because the fragmentation process occurs after an attempted
     transmission has taken place.

   The reactive fragmentation capability is not required to be available
   in every DTN implementation.  It presents significant challenges with
   respect to handling digital signatures and authentication codes on
   messages because a signed message may be only partially received,
   thereby causing most message authentication codes to fail.  When DTN
   security is present and enabled, it may therefore be necessary to
   proactively fragment large bundles into smaller units that are more
   convenient for digital signatures.

   Even if reactive fragmentation is not present in an implementation,
   the ability to re-assemble fragments at a destination is required in
   order to support DTN fragmentation.  Furthermore, for contacts with
   volumes that are small compared to typical bundle sizes, some
   incremental delivery approach must be used (e.g. checkpoint/restart)
   to prevent data delivery livelock.  Reactive fragmentation is one

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   such approach, but other protocol layers could potentially handle
   this issue as well.

3.10 Reliability and Custody Transfer

   The most basic service provided by the bundle layer is
   unacknowledged, prioritized (but not guaranteed) unicast message
   delivery.  It also provides two options for enhancing delivery
   reliability:  end-to-end acknowledgments and custody transfer.
   Applications wishing to implement their own end-to-end message
   reliability mechanisms are free to utilize the acknowledgment.  The
   custody transfer feature of the DTN architecture only specifies a
   coarse-grained retransmission capability, described next.

   Transmission of bundles with the Custody Transfer Requested option
   specified generally involves moving the responsibility for reliable
   delivery of the message among different DTN nodes in the network.
   For unicast delivery, this will typically involve moving a copy of
   the message "closer" (in terms of some routing metric) to its
   ultimate destination.  The nodes receiving these copies along the way
   (and agreeing to accept the reliable delivery responsibility) are
   called "custodians."  The movement of a message (and its delivery
   responsibility) from one node to another is called a "custody
   transfer."  It is analogous to a database commit transaction [FHM03].
   The exact meaning and design of custody transfer for multicast and
   anycast delivery remains to be fully explored.

   Custody transfer allows the source to delegate retransmission
   responsibility and recover its retransmission-related resources
   relatively soon after sending a bundle (on the order of the minimum
   round-trip time to the first bundle hop(s)).  Not all nodes in a DTN
   are required by the DTN architecture to accept custody transfers, so
   it is not a true 'hop-by-hop' mechanism.  For example, some nodes may
   have sufficient storage resources to sometimes act as custodians, but
   may elect to not offer such services when congested or running low on

   The existence of custodians can alter the way DTN routing is
   performed.  In some circumstances, it may be beneficial to move a
   message to a custodian as quickly as possible even if it is further
   away (in terms of distance, time or some routing metric) from the
   final destination(s).  Designing a system with this capability
   involves constructing more than one routing graph, and is an area of
   continued research.

   Custody transfer in DTN not only provides a method for tracking
   messages that require special handling and identifying DTN nodes that
   participate in custody transfer, it also provides a (weak) mechanism
   for enhancing the reliability of message delivery.  Generally
   speaking, custody transfer relies on underlying reliable delivery
   protocols of the networks that it operates over to provide the
   primary means of reliable transfer from one bundle node to the next
   (set).  However, when custody transfer is requested, the bundle layer

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   provides an additional coarse-grained timeout and retransmission
   mechanism and an accompanying (bundle-layer) custodian-to-custodian
   acknowledgment signaling mechanism.  When an application does *not*
   request custody transfer, this bundle layer timeout and
   retransmission mechanism is typically not employed, and successful
   bundle layer delivery depends solely on the reliability mechanisms of
   the underlying protocols.

   When a node accepts custody for a bundle that contains the Custody
   Transfer Requested option, a Custody Transfer Accepted Signal is sent
   by the bundle layer to the Current Custodian EID contained in the
   bundle header.  In addition, the Current Custodian EID is updated to
   contain one of the forwarding node's (unicast) EIDs before the bundle
   is forwarded.

   When an application requests a message to be delivered with custody
   transfer, the request is advisory.  In some circumstances, a source
   of a bundle for which custody transfer has been requested may not be
   able to provide this service.  In such circumstances, the subject
   bundle may traverse multiple DTN nodes before it obtains a custodian.
   Bundles in this condition are specially marked with their Current
   Custodian EID field set to a null endpoint.  In cases where
   applications wish to require the source to take custody of the bundle
   they may supply the Source Node Custody Acceptance Required delivery
   option.  This may be useful to applications that desire a continuous
   "chain" of custody or that wish to exit after being ensured their
   data is safely held in a custodian.

   In a DTN network where one or more custodian-to-custodian hops are
   strictly one directional (and cannot be reversed), the DTN custody
   transfer mechanism will be affected over such hops due to the lack of
   any way to receive a custody signal (or any other information) back
   across the path, resulting in the expiration of the bundle at the
   ingress to the one-way hop.  This situation does not necessarily mean
   the bundle has been lost; nodes on the other side of the hop may
   continue to transfer custody, and the bundle may be delivered
   successfully to its destination(s).  However, in this circumstance a
   source that has requested to receive expiration BSRs for this bundle
   will receive an expiration report for the bundle, and possibly
   conclude (incorrectly) the bundle has been discarded and not
   delivered.  Although this problem cannot be fully solved in this
   situation, a mechanism is provided to help ameliorate the seemingly
   incorrect information that may be reported when the bundle expires
   after having been transferred over a one-way hop.  This is
   accomplished by the node at the ingress to the one-way hop reporting
   the existence of a known one-way path using a variant of a bundle
   status report.  These types of reports are provided if the subject
   bundle requests the report using the 'report when bundle forwarded'
   delivery option.

3.11 DTN Support for Proxies and Application Layer Gateways

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   One of the aims of DTN is to provide a common method for
   interconnecting application layer gateways and proxies.  In cases
   where existing Internet applications can be made to tolerate delays,
   local proxies can be constructed to benefit from the existing
   communication capabilities provided by DTN [S05, T02].  Making such
   proxies compatible with DTN reduces the burden on the proxy author
   from being concerned with how to implement routing and reliability
   management and allows existing TCP/IP-based applications to operate
   unmodified over a DTN-based network.

   When DTN is used to provide a form of tunnel encapsulation for other
   protocols, it can be used in constructing overlay networks comprised
   of application layer gateways.  The application acknowledgment
   capability is designed for such circumstances.  This provides a
   common way for remote application layer gateways to signal the
   success or failure of non-DTN protocol operations initiated as a
   result of receiving DTN messages.  Without this capability, such
   indicators would have to implemented by applications themselves in
   non-standard ways.

3.12 Time Stamps and Time Synchronization

   The DTN architecture depends on time synchronization among DTN nodes
   (supported by external, non-DTN protocols) for four primary purposes:
   bundle and fragment identification, routing with scheduled or
   predicted contacts, bundle expiration time computations, and
   application registration expiration.

   Bundle identification and expiration are supported by placing a
   creation timestamp and an explicit expiration field (expressed in
   seconds after the source time stamp) in each bundle header.  The
   origination time stamp on an arriving bundle is made available to
   consuming applications by some system interface function.  Each
   bundle is required to contain a timestamp unique to the bundle
   sender's EID.  The concatenation of the Source EID and the creation
   timestamp serves as a unique identifier for a particular bundle, and
   is used for a number of purposes, including custody transfer and
   reassembly of bundle fragments.

   Time is also used in conjunction with application registrations.
   When an application expresses its desire to receive data for a
   particular EID, this registration is only maintained for a finite
   period of time, and may be specified by the application.  For
   multicast registrations, an application may also specify a time range
   or "interest interval" for its registration.  In this case, traffic
   sent to the specified EID any time during the specified interval will
   eventually be delivered to the application (unless such traffic has
   expired due to the expiration time provided by the application at the
   source or some other reason prevents such delivery).

3.13 Congestion and Flow Control at the Bundle Layer

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   The subject of congestion control and flow control at the bundle
   layer is one on which the authors of this document have not yet
   reached complete consensus.  We have unresolved concerns about the
   efficiency and efficacy of congestion and flow control schemes
   implemented across long and/or highly variable delay environments,
   especially with the custody transfer mechanism that may require nodes
   to retain messages for long periods of time.

   For the purposes of this document, we define "flow control" as a
   means of assuring that the average rate at which a sending node
   transmits data to a receiving node does not exceed the average rate
   at which the receiving node is prepared to receive data from that
   sender. (Note that this is a generalized notion of flow control,
   rather than one that applies only to end-to-end communication.)  We
   define "congestion control" as a means of assuring that the aggregate
   rate at which all traffic sources inject data into a network does not
   exceed the maximum aggregate rate at which the network can deliver
   data to destination nodes over time.  If flow control is propagated
   backward from congested nodes toward traffic sources, then the flow
   control mechanism can be used as at least a partial solution to the
   problem of congestion as well.

   DTN flow control decisions must be made within the bundle layer
   itself based on information about resources (in this case, primarily
   persistent storage) available within the bundle node.  When storage
   resources become scarce, a DTN node has only a certain degree of
   freedom in handling the situation.  It can always discard bundles
   which have expired-- an activity DTN nodes should perform regularly
   in any case.  If it ordinarily is willing to accept custody for
   bundles, it can cease doing so.  It can also discard bundles which
   have not expired but for which it has not accepted custody.  A node
   must avoid discarding bundles for which it has accepted custody.
   Determining when a node should engage in or cease to engage in
   custody transfers is a resource allocation and scheduling problem of
   current research interest.

   In addition to the bundle layer mechanisms described above, a DTN
   node may be able to avail itself of support from lower layer
   protocols in affecting its own resource utilization.  For example, a
   DTN node receiving a bundle using TCP/IP might intentionally slow
   down its receiving rate by performing read operations less frequently
   in order to reduce its offered load.  This is possible because TCP
   provides its own flow control, so reducing the application data
   consumption rate could effectively implement a form of hop-by-hop
   flow control.  Unfortunately, it may also lead to head-of-line
   blocking issues, depending on the nature of bundle multiplexing
   within a TCP connection.  A protocol with more relaxed ordering
   constraints (e.g. SCTP [RFC2960]) might be preferable in such

3.14 Security

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   The possibility of severe resource scarcity in some delay-tolerant
   networks dictates that some form of authentication and access control
   to the network itself is required in many circumstances.  It is not
   acceptable for an unauthorized user to flood the network with traffic
   easily, possibly denying service to authorized users.  In many cases
   it is also not acceptable for unauthorized traffic to be forwarded
   over certain network links at all.  This is especially true for
   exotic, mission-critical links.  In light of these considerations,
   several goals are established for the security component of the DTN

  - Promptly prevent unauthorized applications from having their data
     carried through the DTN
  - Prevent unauthorized applications from asserting control over the
     DTN infrastructure
  - Prevent otherwise authorized applications from sending bundles at a
     rate or class of service for which they lack permission
  - Promptly discard bundles that are damaged or improperly modified in
  - Promptly detect and de-authorize compromised entities

   Many existing authentication and access control protocols designed
   for operation in low-delay, connected environments may not perform
   well in DTNs.  In particular, updating access control lists and
   revoking ("blacklisting") credentials may be especially difficult.
   Also, approaches that require frequent access to centralized servers
   to complete an authentication or authorization transaction are not
   attractive.  The consequences of these difficulties include delays in
   the onset of communication, delays in detecting and recovering from
   system compromise, and delays in completing transactions due to
   inappropriate access control or authentication settings.

   To help satisfy these security requirements in light of the
   challenges, the DTN architecture adopts a standard but optionally
   deployed security architecture [DTNSEC] that utilizes hop-by-hop and
   end-to-end authentication and integrity mechanisms.  The purpose of
   using both approaches is to be able to handle access control for data
   forwarding separately from application-layer data integrity.  While
   the end-to-end mechanism provides authentication for a principal such
   as a user (of which there may be many), the hop-by-hop mechanism is
   intended to authenticate DTN nodes as legitimate transceivers of
   bundles to each-other.  Note that it is conceivable to construct a
   DTN in which only a subset of the nodes participate in the security
   mechanisms, resulting in a secure DTN overlay existing atop an
   insecure DTN overlay.  This idea is relatively new and is still being

   In accordance with the goals listed above, DTN nodes discard traffic
   as early as possible if authentication or access control checks fail.
   This approach meets the goals of removing unwanted traffic from being
   forwarded over specific high-value links, but also has the associated
   benefit of making denial-of-service attacks considerably harder to
   mount more generally, as compared with conventional Internet routers.

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   However, the obvious cost for this capability is potentially larger
   computation and storage overhead required at DTN nodes.

4  State Management Considerations

   An important aspect of any networking architecture is its management
   of state.  This section describes the state managed at the bundle
   layer and discusses how it is established and removed.

4.1 Application Registration State

   In long/variable delay environments, an asynchronous application
   interface seems most appropriate. Such interfaces typically include
   methods for applications to register callback actions when certain
   triggering events occur (e.g. when messages arrive).  These
   registrations create state information called application
   registration state.

   Application registration state is typically created by explicit
   request of the application, and is removed by a separate explicit
   request, but may also be removed by an application-specified timer
   (it is thus "firm" state). In most cases, there must be a provision
   for retaining this state across application and operating system
   termination/restart conditions because a client/server message round-
   trip time may exceed the requesting application's execution time (or
   hosting system's uptime).  In cases where applications are not
   automatically restarted but application registration state remains
   persistent, a method must be provided to indicate to the system what
   action to perform when the triggering event occurs (e.g. restarting
   some application, ignoring the event, etc.).

   To initiate a registration and thereby establish application
   registration state, an application specifies an Endpoint ID for which
   it wishes to receive messages, along with an optional time value
   indicating how long the registration should remain active.  This
   operation is somewhat analogous to the bind() operation in the common
   sockets API.

   For registrations to groups (i.e., joins), a time interval may also
   be specified.  The time interval refers to the range of origination
   times of messages sent to the specified EID.  See Section 3.4 above
   for more details.

4.2 Custody Transfer State

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   Custody transfer state includes information required to keep account
   of bundles for which a node has taken custody, as well as the
   protocol state related to transferring custody for one or more of
   them.  The accounting-related state is created when a bundle is
   received.  Custody transfer retransmission state is created when a
   transfer of custody is initiated by forwarding a bundle with the
   custody transfer requested delivery option specified.  Retransmission
   state and accounting state may be released upon receipt of one or
   more Custody Transfer Succeeded signals, indicating custody has been
   moved.  In addition, the bundle's expiration time (possibly mitigated
   by local policy) provides an upper bound on the time when this state
   is purged from the system in the event that it is not purged
   explicitly due to receipt of a signal.

4.3 Bundle Routing and Forwarding State

   As with the Internet architecture, we distinguish between routing and
   forwarding.  Routing refers to the execution of a (possibly
   distributed) algorithm for computing routing paths according to some
   objective function (see [JFP04], for example).  Forwarding refers to
   the act of moving a message from one DTN node to another.  Routing
   makes use of routing state (the RIB, or routing information base),
   while forwarding makes use of state derived from routing, and is
   maintained as forwarding state (the FIB, or forwarding information
   base).  The structure of the FIB and the rules for maintaining it are
   implementation choices.  In some DTNs exchange of information used to
   update state in the RIB may take place on network paths distinct from
   those where exchange of application data takes place.

   The maintenance of state in the RIB is dependent on the type of
   routing algorithm being used.  A routing algorithm may consider
   requested class of service and the location of potential custodians
   (for custody transfer, see section 3.10), and this information will
   tend to increase the size of the RIB.  The separation between FIB and
   RIB is not required by this document, as these are implementation
   details to be decided by system implementers. The choice of routing
   algorithms is still under study.

   Bundles may occupy queues in nodes for a considerable amount of time.
   For unicast or anycast delivery, the amount of time is likely to be
   the interval between when a bundle arrives at a node and when it can
   be forwarded to its next hop.  For multicast delivery of bundles,
   this could be significantly longer, up to a bundle's expiration time.
   This situation occurs when multicast delivery is utilized in such a
   way that nodes joining a group can obtain information previously sent
   to the group.  In such cases, some nodes may act as "archivers" that
   provide copies of bundles to new participants that have already been
   delivered to other participants.

4.4 Security-Related State

   The DTN security approach described in [DTNSEC], when used, requires
   maintenance of state in all DTN nodes that use it.  All such nodes

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   are required to store their own private information (including their
   own policy and authentication material) and a block of information
   used to verify credentials. Furthermore, in most cases, DTN nodes
   will cache some public information (and possibly the credentials) of
   their next-hop (bundle) neighbors.  All cached information has
   expiration times, and nodes are responsible for acquiring and
   distributing updates of public information and credentials prior to
   the expiration of the old set (in order to avoid a disruption in
   network service).

   In addition to basic end-to-end and hop-by-hop authentication, access
   control may be used in a DTN by one or more mechanisms such as
   capabilities or access control lists (ACLs).  ACLs would represent
   another block of state present in any node that wishes to enforce
   security policy.  ACLs are typically initialized at node
   configuration time and may be updated dynamically by DTN bundles or
   by some out of band technique.  Capabilities or credentials may be
   revoked, requiring the maintenance of a revocation list ("black
   list," another form of state) to check for invalid authentication
   material that has already been distributed.

   Some DTNs may implement security boundaries enforced by selected
   nodes in the network, where end-to-end credentials may be checked in
   addition to checking the hop-by-hop credentials.  (Doing so may
   require routing to be adjusted to ensure complete bundles pass
   through these points).  Public information used to verify end-to-end
   authentication will typically be cached at these points.

4.5 Policy and Configuration State

   DTN nodes will contain some amount of configuration and policy
   information.  Such information may alter the behavior of bundle
   forwarding.  Examples of policy state include the types of
   cryptographic algorithms and access control procedures to use if DTN
   security is employed, whether nodes may become custodians, what types
   of convergence layer and routing protocols are in use, how bundles of
   differing priorities should be scheduled, where and for how long
   bundles and other data is stored, etc.

5  Application Structuring Issues

   DTN bundle delivery is intended to operate in a delay-tolerant
   fashion over a broad range of network types.  This does not mean
   there *must* be large delays in the network; it means there *may* be
   very significant delays (including extended periods of disconnection
   between sender and intended recipient).  The DTN protocols are delay
   tolerant, so applications using them must also be delay tolerant in
   order to operate effectively in environments subject to significant
   delay or disruption.

   The communication primitives provided by the DTN architecture are
   based on asynchronous, message-oriented communication which differs
   from conversational request/response communication.  In general,

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   applications should attempt to include enough information in a
   message so that it may be treated as an independent unit of work by
   the receiving entity.  (This represents a form of "application data
   unit" [CT90]).  The goal is to minimize synchronous interchanges
   between applications that are separated by a network characterized by
   long and possibly highly variable delays.  A single file transfer
   request message, for example, might include authentication
   information, file location information, and requested file operation
   (thus "bundling" this information together). Comparing this style of
   operation to a classic FTP transfer, one sees that the bundled model
   can complete in one round trip, whereas an FTP file "put" operation
   can take as many as eight round trips to get to a point where file
   data can flow [DFS02].

   Delay-tolerant applications must consider additional factors beyond
   the conversational implications of long delay paths.  For example, an
   application may terminate (voluntarily or not) between the time it
   sends a message and the time it expects a response.  If this
   possibility has been anticipated, the application can be "re-
   instantiated" with state information saved in persistent storage.
   This is an implementation issue, but also an application design

   Some consideration of delay-tolerant application design can result in
   applications that work reasonably well in low-delay environments, and
   that do not suffer extraordinarily in high or highly-variable delay

6  Convergence Layer Considerations for Use of Underlying Protocols

   Implementation experience with the DTN architecture has revealed an
   important architectural construct and interface for DTN nodes
   [DBFJHP04].  Not all underlying protocols in different protocol
   families provide the same exact functionality, so some additional
   adaptation or augmentation on a per-protocol or per-protocol-family
   basis may be required.  This adaptation is accomplished by a set of
   convergence layers placed between the bundle layer and underlying
   protocols. The convergence layers manage the protocol-specific
   details of interfacing with particular underlying protocols and
   present a consistent interface to the bundle layer.

   The complexity of one convergence layer may vary substantially from
   another, depending on the type of underlying protocol it adapts.  For
   example, a TCP/IP convergence layer for use in the Internet might
   only have to add message boundaries to TCP streams, whereas a
   convergence layer for some network where no reliable transport
   protocol exists might be considerably more complex (e.g. it might
   have to implement reliability, fragmentation, flow-control, etc.) if
   reliable delivery is to be offered to the bundle layer.

   As convergence layers implement protocols above and beyond the basic
   bundle protocol specified in [BSPEC], they will be defined in their
   own documents (in a fashion similar to the way encapsulations for IP

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   datagrams are specified on a per-underlying-protocol basis, such as
   in RFC 894 [RFC894]).

7  Summary

   The DTN architecture addresses many of the problems of heterogeneous
   networks that must operate in environments subject to long delays and
   discontinuous end-to-end connectivity.  It is based on asynchronous
   messaging and uses postal mail as a model of service classes and
   delivery semantics.  It accommodates many different forms of
   connectivity, including scheduled, predicted, and opportunistically
   connected links.  It introduces a novel approach to end-to-end
   reliability across frequently partitioned and unreliable networks.
   It also proposes a model for securing the network infrastructure
   against unauthorized access.

   It is our belief that this architecture is applicable to many
   different types of challenged environments.

8  Security Considerations

   Security is an integral concern for the design of the Delay Tolerant
   Network Architecture, but its use is optional.  Section 3.13 of this
   document presents some factors to consider for securing the DTN
   architecture, but a separate document [DTNSEC] defines the security
   architecture in much more detail.

9  IANA Considerations

   This document specifies the architecture for Delay Tolerant
   Networking which uses Internet-standard URIs for its Endpoint
   Identifiers.  URIs intended for use with DTN should be compliant with
   the guidelines given in [RFC3986].

10 Normative References

   [RFC3978]   Bradner, S., "IETF Rights in Contributions", BCP 78, RFC
   3978, March 2005.

   [RFC3979]   Bradner, S., "Intellectual Property Rights in IETF
   Technology", BCP 79, RFC 3979, March 2005.

   [RFC3986] T. Berners-Lee, R. Fielding, L. Masinter, "Uniform Resource
   Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax", STD 66, RFC 3986, Jan 2005.

11 Informative References

   [SB03] S. Burleigh et al, "Delay-Tolerant Networking - An Approach to
   Interplanetary Internet," IEEE Communications Magazine, July 2003.

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   [FW03] F. Warthman, "Delay-Tolerant Networks (DTNs): A Tutorial
   v1.1," Wartham Associates, 2003.  Available from

   [KF03] K. Fall, "A Delay-Tolerant Network Architecture for Challenged
   Internets," Proceedings SIGCOMM, Aug 2003.

   [JFP04] S. Jain, K. Fall, R. Patra, "Routing in a Delay Tolerant
   Network," Proceedings SIGCOMM, Aug/Sep 2004.

   [DFS02] R. Durst, P. Feighery, K. Scott, "Why not use the Standard
   Internet Suite for the Interplanetary Internet?", MITRE White Paper,
   2002. Available from http://www.ipnsig.org/reports/TCP_IP.pdf

   [CK74]  V. Cerf, R. Kahn, "A  Protocol  for  Packet  Network
   Intercommunication," IEEE  Trans. on  Comm., COM-22(5), May  1974.

   [IGE00]  C. Intanagonwiwat, R. Govindan, D. Estrin, "Directed
   Diffusion: A scalable and robust communication paradigm for sensor
   networks," Proceedings MobiCOM, Aug 2000.

   [WSBL99] W. Adjie-Winoto, E. Schwartz, H. Balakrishnan, J. Lilley,
   "The design and implementation of an intentional naming system",
   Proc. 17th ACM SOSP, Kiawah Island, SC, Dec. 1999.

   [CT90] D. Clark, D. Tennenhouse, "Architectural Considerations for a
   new generation of protocols," Proceedings SIGCOMM, 1990.

   [ISCHEMES] http://www.iana.org/assignments/uri-schemes

   [JDPF05] S. Jain, M. Demmer, R. Patra, K. Fall, "Using Redundancy to
   Cope with Failures in a Delay Tolerant Network," Proceedings SIGCOMM

   [WJMF05] Y. Wang, S. Jain, M. Martonosi, K. Fall, "Erasure coding
   based routing in opportunistic Networks", Proceedings SIGCOMM
   Workshop on Delay Tolerant Networks, 2005.

   [ZAZ05] W. Zhao, M. Ammar, E. Zegura, "Multicast in Delay Tolerant
   Networks", Proceedings SIGCOMM Workshop on Delay Tolerant Networks,

   [LFC05] J. Leguay, T. Friedman, V. Conan, "DTN Routing in a Mobility
   Pattern Space", Proceedings SIGCOMM Workshop on Delay Tolerant
   Networks, 2005.

   [AF03] J. Alonso, K. Fall, "A Linear Programming Formulation of Flows
   over Time with Piecewise Constant Capacity and Transit Times", Intel
   Research Technical Report IRB-TR-03-007, June 2003.

   [FHM03] K. Fall, W. Hong, S. Madden, "Custody Transfer for Reliable
   Delivery in Delay Tolerant Networks", Intel Research Technical Report
   IRB-TR-03-030, July 2003.

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   [RFC2960] R. Stewart et. al., "Stream Control Transmission Protocol",
   RFC 2960, Oct. 2000.

   [BSPEC] K. Scott, S. Burleigh, "Bundle Protocol Specification",
   draft-irtf-dtnrg-bundle-spec-04.txt, Work in Progress, Oct. 2005.

   [DTNSEC] S. Symington, S. Farrell, H. Weiss, "Bundle Security
   Protocol Specification", draft-irtf-dtnrg-bundle-security-00.txt,
   Work in Progress, June 2005.

   [DTNSOV] S. Farrell, S. Symington, H. Weiss, "Delay-Tolerant
   Networking Security Overview", draft-irtf-dtnrg-sec-overview-00.txt,
   Work in Progress, Sep 2005.

   [DBFJHP04] M. Demmer, E. Brewer, K. Fall, S. Jain, M. Ho, R. Patra,
   "Implementing Delay Tolerant Networking", Intel Research Technical
   Report IRB-TR-04-020, Dec. 2004.

   [RFC894] C. Hornig, "Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams
   over Ethernet Networks", RFC 894, Apr. 1984.

   [S05] K. Scott, "Disruption Tolerant Networking Proxies for On-the-
   Move Tactical Networks", Proc. MILCOM 2005 (unclassified track), Oct.

   [T02] W. Thies, et. al, "Searching the World Wide Web in Low-
   Connectivity Communities", Proc. WWW Conference (Global Community
   track), May 2002.

Authors' Addresses

   Dr. Vinton G. Cerf
   Google Corporation
   Suite 384
   13800 Coppermine Rd.
   Herndon, VA 20171
   Telephone +1 (703) 234-1823
   FAX  +1 (703) 848-0727
   Email vint@google.com

   Scott C. Burleigh
   Jet Propulsion Laboratory
   4800 Oak Grove Drive
   M/S: 179-206
   Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
   Telephone +1 (818) 393-3353
   FAX  +1 (818) 354-1075
   Email Scott.Burleigh@jpl.nasa.gov

   Robert C. Durst
   The MITRE Corporation

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   7515 Colshire Blvd.
   M/S H300
   McLean, VA 22102
   Telephone +1 (703) 883-7535
   FAX +1 (703) 883-7142
   Email durst@mitre.org

   Dr. Kevin Fall
   Intel Research, Berkeley
   2150 Shattuck Ave., #1300
   Berkeley, CA 94704
   Telephone +1 (510) 495-3014
   FAX +1 (510) 495-3049
   Email kfall@intel.com

   Adrian J. Hooke
   Jet Propulsion Laboratory
   4800 Oak Grove Drive
   M/S: 303-400
   Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
   Telephone +1 (818) 354-3063
   FAX  +1 (818) 393-3575
   Email Adrian.Hooke@jpl.nasa.gov

   Dr. Keith L. Scott
   The MITRE Corporation
   7515 Colshire Blvd.
   M/S H300
   McLean, VA 22102
   Telephone +1 (703) 883-6547
   FAX +1 (703) 883-7142
   Email kscott@mitre.org

   Leigh Torgerson
   Jet Propulsion Laboratory
   4800 Oak Grove Drive
   M/S: T1710-
   Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
   Telephone +1 (818) 393-0695
   FAX  +1 (818) 354-9068
   Email Leigh.Torgerson@jpl.nasa.gov

   Howard S. Weiss
   SPARTA, Inc.
   9861 Broken Land Parkway
   Columbia, MD 21046
   Telephone +1 (410) 381-9400 x201
   FAX  +1 (410) 381-5559
   Email hsw@sparta.com

   Please refer comments to dtn-interest@mailman.dtnrg.org.  The Delay
   Tolerant Networking Research Group (DTNRG) web site is located at

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Copyright Notice

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