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COINRG                                                          I. Kunze
Internet-Draft                                                 K. Wehrle
Intended status: Informational                    RWTH Aachen University
Expires: 28 April 2022                                        D. Trossen
                                                         25 October 2021

       Transport Protocol Issues of In-Network Computing Systems


   Today's transport protocols offer a variety of functionality based on
   the notion that the network is to be treated as an unreliable
   communication medium.  Some, like TCP, establish a reliable
   connection on top of the unreliable network while others, like UDP,
   simply transmit datagrams without a connection and without guarantees
   into the network.  These fundamental differences in functionality
   have a significant impact on how COIN approaches can be designed and
   implemented.  Furthermore, traditional transport protocols are not
   designed for the multi-party communication principles that underlie
   many COIN approaches.  This document raises several questions
   regarding the use of transport protocols in connection with COIN.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on 28 April 2022.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2021 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (https://trustee.ietf.org/
   license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document.
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
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   provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Technology Areas  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.1.  Addressing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       3.1.1.  Research questions and challenges . . . . . . . . . .   4
       3.1.2.  Related concepts and efforts  . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     3.2.  Flow granularity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       3.2.1.  Research questions and challenges . . . . . . . . . .   7
       3.2.2.  Related concepts and efforts  . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.3.  Collective Communication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
       3.3.1.  Research questions and challenges . . . . . . . . . .   9
       3.3.2.  Related concepts and efforts  . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     3.4.  Authentication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
       3.4.1.  Research questions and challenges . . . . . . . . . .  10
       3.4.2.  Related concepts and efforts  . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     3.5.  Security  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       3.5.1.  Research questions and challenges . . . . . . . . . .  10
       3.5.2.  Related concepts and efforts  . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     3.6.  Transport Features  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.6.1.  Reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.6.2.  Flow/Congestion Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
   4.  Summary of related research and standardization efforts . . .  15
   5.  Gap Analysis  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     5.1.  Addressing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     5.2.  Flow granularity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     5.3.  Collective Communication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     5.4.  Authentication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     5.5.  Security  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     5.6.  Transport Features  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
       5.6.1.  Reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
       5.6.2.  Flow/Congestion Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   6.  Summary of Issues Identified  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   8.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
   9.  Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
   10. Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22

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1.  Introduction

   A fundamental consideration for the Internet's design is that
   functions can be implemented correctly and completely only with the
   knowledge of the applications, as formulated in [E2E].  This choice
   is reflected in the end-to-end (E2E) principle [RFC1958],[RFC2775] in
   that end-hosts perform most, if not all, relevant computations.  The
   network only performs transparent, reasonable operations such as
   delivering the packets without modifying them with transport
   protocols designed to facilitate the direct communication between
   those end-hosts.

   [E2E], however, does consider that "sometimes an incomplete version
   of the function provided by the communication system may be useful as
   a performance enhancement".  We link this consideration to the field
   of computing in the network (COIN), which encourages explicit
   computations in the network, introducing an intertwined complexity as
   the computations on the end-hosts depend on the functionality
   deployed in the network.

   Such thinking, to some extent, challenges traditional ``end-to-end''
   transport protocols as they are not designed to address in-network
   computation entities or to include more than two devices into a
   communication, even for inherent functionalities provided by the
   transport protocol.  Some of the resulting problems when considering
   in-network computation in the context of an overall E2E problem are
   already presented in [I-D.draft-kutscher-coinrg-dir-02].

   This draft focusses on the potential opportunities and research
   questions for the design of transport protocols that may assume the
   availability of in-network computing capabilities, including the
   possible collaboration with other IRTF and IETF groups, such as PAN
   RG, the IETF transport area in general, or the LOOPS BOF, for finding
   suitable solutions.  In particular, the draft first describes how
   different aspects of transport protocols might be affected by in-
   network computing functionality before it is analyzed how existing
   transport protocols map to the identified questions and challenges.

2.  Terminology

   COIN element: Device on which COIN functionality can be deployed

3.  Technology Areas

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3.1.  Addressing

   The traditional addressing concept of the Internet is that end-hosts
   directly address each other with all computational intelligence
   residing at the network edges.  With COIN, computations move into the
   network and need to be integrated into the established
   infrastructure.  In systems where the whole network is under the
   control of the network operator this integration can be implemented
   by explicitly adjusting the communication schemes based on the COIN
   functionality.  Considering larger scales, this approach of manually
   adjusting traffic patterns and applications to correctly incorporate
   changes made by the network is not feasible.

   What is needed are ways to specify which kind of functionality should
   be applied to the transmitted data on the path inside the network and
   maybe even where or by whom the execution should take place.  From an
   identification perspective, addressing may not only need to specify
   the set of functionality that is being desired but also enable to
   provide affinity to a member of the set of computational nodes that
   provide said functionality.

   For instance, orchestration functionality may be implemented using an
   indirection mechanism which routes a packet along a pre-defined or
   dynamically chosen path which then realizes the desired
   functionality.  One possibility is to directly route on service or
   functionality identifiers instead of sending individual packets
   between locator-addressed network elements
   [I-D.draft-irtf-coinrg-use-cases].  While this aligns the routing
   more clearly with the communication between computational elements,
   selecting the 'right' computational endpoint (out of possibly several
   ones) becomes critical to the proper functioning of the overall

3.1.1.  Research questions and challenges

   1.  How should end-hosts address the COIN functionality?

   2.  How can the treatment of the transmitted data, i.e., which COIN
       functionality to execute, be represented in the addressing of the

   3.  How can end-hosts direct computational requests to different
       computational endpoints of the same service in different network
       locations, i.e., decide where the COIN functionality is executed?

   4.  How to decide (and encode the decision) which computational
       endpoint to choose (from possibly several ones existing in the

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   5.  How can devices which do not implement COIN functionality be
       integrated into the systems without breaking the COIN or legacy

3.1.2.  Related concepts and efforts

   *  Segment and Source Routing (see [SPRING-WG])

   Source Routing allows a sender to (partially) define the route of a
   packet through the network.  This mechanism can be leveraged to steer
   the traffic along COIN nodes and thus trigger desired COIN
   functionality.  The SPRING WG is scoped to define procedures around
   Segment Routing [SR], a modern variant of Source Routing for IPv6 and

   *  (Service/Network) Function Chaining/Composition (see [SFC-WG])

   Service Function Chaining (SFC) describes a process to first define
   an ordered list of service functions (e.g., firewalls) and then steer
   traffic through these functions [SFC-PS].  The SFC WG is tasked with
   defining suitable orchestration techniques for SFC.  The existing SFC
   architecture [SFC-Arch] and the Network Service Header [SFC-NSH]
   already provide fundamental mechanisms.  Interpreting COIN
   functionality as service functions could make SFC applicable to COIN
   at Layer 2 and Layer 3, but also at name-based, e.g., HTTP level

   *  Internet services over ICN (see [ICNIP])

   Work in the ICN RG [ICNRG] has generally studied the addressing of
   information rather than endpoints, opening up the possibility for
   providing information from different sources, including in-network
   elements, such as for caching purposes.  The work in [ICNIP] utilizes
   the ICN capabilities to address services directly as a named entity,
   including IP endpoints, in order to support concepts like
   virtualization of service endpoints and provisioning within edge and
   in-network locations.  The solution in [ICNIP] proposes the use of a
   Layer 2 path-based forwarding with service identifiers used to
   address the specific service endpoint.

   *  Flexible Addressing (see

   Although the work in the INT Area of the IETF does not postulate a
   specific solution, it outlines a number of communication scenarios
   and challenges, some of which aligns with those outlined above.  The
   companion draft
   [I-D.draft-jia-intarea-internet-addressing-gap-analysis] provides a

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   deeper gap analysis of existing solutions (the above mentioned
   solutions are presented here, too), identifying a number of issues
   that arise from the specific point solutions realized by those
   solutions.  The authors argue for both flexibility and extensibility
   of addressing; key aspects that any solution addressing the research
   questions outlined above would benefit from.

   *  Semantic Routing (see

   The survey at [I-D.draft-king-irtf-semantic-routing-survey] provides
   an overview of efforts on addressing and routing that incorporate a
   semantic beyond the one defined by IPv6, covering both existing IETF
   solutions as well as ongoing research, defined as 'semantic routing'
   in the draft.  The companion draft at
   [I-D.draft-king-irtf-challenges-in-routing] outlines a number of
   challenges that exist for such extension of the addressing semantic,
   some of which align with the issues identified in this document.
   More importantly, the draft discusses the possible deployment of
   semantic routing solutions, e.g., as an overlay or limited to a
   single domain (following the Limited Domain concept of [RFC8799]).
   Some of the challenges identified in
   [I-D.draft-king-irtf-challenges-in-routing] apply to a COIN
   environment, while not being limited to it.  For instance, the
   intended scope of any enhanced addressing (e.g., identifying COIN
   elements on-path in a scenario) or the description of path
   characteristics that COIN traffic would need to adhere to.

3.2.  Flow granularity

   Core networking hardware pipelines such as backbone switches are
   built to process incoming packets on a per-packet basis, keeping
   little to no state between them.  This is appropriate for the general
   task of forwarding packets, but might not be sufficient for COIN as
   information that is needed for the computations can be spread across
   several packets.  In a TCP stream, for example, data is dynamically
   distributed across different segments which means that the data
   needed for application-level computations might also be split up.  In
   contrast to that the content of UDP datagrams is defined by the
   application itself which is why the datagrams could either be self-
   contained or information can be cleverly distributed onto different
   datagrams.  Summarizing, different transport protocols induce
   different meanings to the packets that they send out which needs to
   be accounted for in COIN elements as they have to know how the
   received data is to be interpreted.  There are at least three options
   for this.

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   1.  Every packet is treated individually.  This maps to the
       capabilities of existing networking equipment.

   2.  Every packet is treated as part of a message.  In this setting,
       the packet alone does not have enough information for the
       computations.  Instead, it is important to know the content of
       the surrounding packets which together form the overall message.

   3.  Every packet is treated as part of a byte stream.  Here, all
       previous packets and potentially even all subsequent packets need
       to be taken into consideration for the computations as the
       current packet could, e.g., be the first of a group of packets, a
       packet in the middle, or the final packet.

   Along those options above, the question arises how shorter-term
   'messages' (or transactions) of the computation should be handled
   compared to the often longer-term management of the network resources
   needed to transmit the packets across one or more such messages.  For
   instance, error control may be best applied to the individual
   messages between computational endpoints, while congestion control
   may be applied across several messages at the level of the relation
   between the network elements hosting the computational endpoints.  In
   this view, the notion of a 'flow' may separate message or transaction
   handling from the resource management aspect, where a flow may be
   divided into sub-flows (said messages or transactions) with error
   control being applied to those sub-flows but resource management
   being applied to the overall flow.  Such choice of flow granularity
   would consequently have a significant impact on how and where
   computations can be performed as well as ensuring that end-hosts know
   who has altered the data and how.

3.2.1.  Research questions and challenges

   1.  Which flow granularities are sensible for which scenarios and
       upper layer protocols?

   2.  How do the different flow granularities map to error and
       congestion control?

   3.  How is flow granularity used for creating affinity in, e.g.,
       routing choices?

   4.  How may flow granularity information be used in COIN elements,
       e.g., to support routing and transport protocol realizations?

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3.2.2.  Related concepts and efforts

   As mentioned above, flow granularities are defined in transport
   protocols through their semantic for the unit of transfer, which can
   be a 'datagram' or a 'flow'.  Upper layer protocols, such as HTTP,
   map their application data into this semantic, resulting, for
   instance, in a flow of HTTP requests.  Note that the flow identified
   by the 5-tuple for the transport connection usually also carries the
   reverse direction of communication, e.g., in the form of HTTP
   responses.  The introduction of 'TCP re-use' in HTTP/1.1 introduced
   the capability of sending many HTTP request/response interactions in
   a single TCP flow.  The notion of flow granularity is being used in
   [DYNCAST] to link the relation of one or more application level
   interactions to a specific service instance in deployment scenarios
   where more than one service instance may serve requests for a given
   service; [DYNCAST] refers to the problem of 'instance affinity',
   i.e., the need to send one or more such interactions to the same
   instance before being able to choose another instance (e.g., based on
   computing or network metrics, as suggested in [DYNCAST]).  At this
   point of the work, the potential realization of such 'instance
   affinity' and the relation to transport (as well as application)
   protocols has not been discussed yet.

   Within the concept of Service Function Chaining (SFC) [SFC-Arch], a
   chain of services is formed and expressed through the next service
   header (NSH) [SFC-NSH], which provides entries into a next hop table
   maintained at each Service Function Forwarder (SFF) [SFC-Arch].
   Packet classification takes place at the entry point of the chain,
   therefore providing a notion of flow granularity where the chain is
   treated as the 'unit of transfer'.  Chaining can take place at Layer
   2 or Layer 3, but also at a name-based layer (such as HTTP), as
   proposed in [RFC8677].

3.3.  Collective Communication

   COIN scenarios may exhibit a collective communication semantic, i.e.,
   a communication between one and more computational endpoints, as is
   for example illustrated by use cases in
   [I-D.draft-sarathchandra-coin-appcentres-04].  With this, unicast and
   multicast transmissions become almost equal forms of communication,
   as also observed in work on information-centric networking (ICN)

   Yet, these many-point relations may be ephemeral down to the
   granularity of individual service requests between computational
   endpoints which questions the viability of stateful routing and
   transport approaches used for long-lived multicast scenarios such as
   liveTV transmissions.

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   This is particularly pertinent for the transport layer where
   reliability and flow control among a quickly changing set of
   receivers is a challenging problem.  The ability to divide receiver
   groups with the support of in-network COIN elements may provide
   solutions that will cater to the possible dynamics of collective
   communication among computational endpoints.

3.3.1.  Research questions and challenges

   1.  How to handle ephemeral transport relations at the request level
       across more than one endpoint?

   2.  How to separate longer-term resource management from shorter-term
       transaction handling for, e.g., error and flow control?

   3.  What role could COIN elements play in improving on solutions for
       questions 1 and 2?

3.3.2.  Related concepts and efforts

   As stated above, work in the [ICNRG] has long considered multicast
   and unicast delivery as two communication models, realized by the
   same communication method that utilizes the interest-data model of
   ICN.  The work in [ICNIP] utilizes a different approach by relying on
   path-based forwarding of packets identified through service-level
   identifiers (such as URLs but also IP addresses), where return path
   multicast is achieved through binary operations over the path
   information of incoming service requests.  The utilized transport
   network technology is that of 5GLAN or SDN, where the latter uses an
   OpenFlow-compatible approach to path-based forwarding with constant
   state requirements for the in-network forwarders.  A similar approach
   is used in [BIER-MC] albeit at the level of a BIER overlay network.
   [ICNIP] also discusses, albeit briefly only, the separation of
   longer-lived resource management from shorter-lived transaction
   handling to increase efficiency of the ephemeral return path
   communication at the transport level.

3.4.  Authentication

   The realisation of COIN legitimizes and actively promotes that data
   transmitted from one host to another can be altered on the way inside
   the network.  This opens the door for foul play as all intermediate
   network elements - no matter if they are malicious or misbehaving by
   accident, COIN elements, or 'traditional' middleboxes - could simply
   start altering parts of the original data and potentially cause harm
   to the end-hosts.  What is needed are mechanisms with which the
   receiving host can verify (a) how and (b) by whom the data has been
   altered on the way.  In fact, these might very well be two distinct

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   mechanisms as one (a) only focusses on the changes that are made to
   the data while (b) requires a scheme with which COIN elements can be
   uniquely identified (could very well relate to Section 3.1) and
   subsequently authenticated.

3.4.1.  Research questions and challenges

   1.  How are changes to the data within the network communicated to
       the end-hosts?

   2.  How are the COIN elements that are responsible for the changes
       communicated to the end-hosts?

   3.  How are changes made by the COIN elements authenticated?

3.4.2.  Related concepts and efforts

   *  Proof of Transit [SFC-PoT]

   The Proof of Transit concept of the SFC WG allows for proving that
   packets have passed a defined path.  Using this concept, it could at
   least be possible to make sure that a packet has indeed passed the
   desired COIN elements.  However, it does not provide means to
   validate which changes were made by the known nodes.

3.5.  Security

   Many early COIN concepts require an unencrypted transmission of data.
   At the same time, there is a general tendency towards more and more
   security features in communication protocols.  QUIC, e.g., encrypts
   all payload data and almost all header content already inside the
   transport layer.  This makes current COIN concepts infeasible in
   settings where QUIC connections are used as the COIN elements do not
   have access to any packet content.  Using COIN thus also depends on
   how well security mechanisms like encryption can be integrated into
   COIN frameworks.

3.5.1.  Research questions and challenges

   To be added.

3.5.2.  Related concepts and efforts

   To be added.

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3.6.  Transport Features

   Depending on application needs, different transport protocols provide
   different features.  These features shape the behavior of the
   protocol and have to be taken into account when developing COIN
   functionality.  In this section, we focus on the impact of
   reliability as well as flow and congestion control to create
   awareness for the multifaceted interaction between the transport
   protocols and COIN elements.

3.6.1.  Reliability

   Applications require a reliable transport whenever it is important
   that all data is transmitted successfully.  TCP[TCP] provides such a
   reliable communication as it first sets up a dedicated connection and
   then ensures the successful reception of all data.  In contrast,
   UDP[UDP] is a connectionless protocol without guarantees and COIN
   elements working on UDP transmissions must be robust to lost
   information.  This is not the case for applications on top of TCP,
   but the retransmissions and the TCP state, which TCP uses to achieve
   the reliability, make packet processing for COIN more complex due to
   at least three reasons.

   The concept of retransmissions bases on the end-to-end principle as
   retransmissions are performed by the sender if it has determined that
   the receiver did not receive the corresponding original message.
   Both participants can then act knowing that parts of the overall data
   are still missing.  For simple COIN elements, which are not aware of
   the involved TCP states and which do not track sequence numbers, it
   is difficult to identify (a) that a packet in the sequence is missing
   and (b) that a packet is a retransmission.  One question is whether
   COIN elements should incorporate an understanding for retransmissions
   on the basis of existing transport mechanisms or if a COIN-capable
   transport should include dedicated signals for the COIN elements.

   Apart from challenges in identifying retransmissions, there is also
   the fact that they are sent out of order with the original packet
   sequence.  Depending on the chosen flow granularity (see
   Section 3.2), COIN elements might have to hold contextual information
   for a prolonged time once they identify an impeding retransmission.
   Moreover, they might have to postpone or cancel computations if data
   is missing and instead schedule later computations.  The main
   question arising from this is: to what extent should COIN elements be
   capable of incorporating retransmissions into their computation
   schemes and how much additional storage capabilities are required for

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   When incorporating COIN elements into the retransmission mechanisms,
   it is also an interesting question whether it should be possible to
   request or perform retransmissions from COIN elements.  Considering a
   setting with COIN elements that are capable of detecting missing
   packets and retransmission requests, it might improve the overall
   performance if the COIN element directly requests or performs the
   retransmission instead of forwarding the packet/request through the
   complete sequence of elements.  This is especially interesting in the
   context of collective communication where reliability mechanisms
   could make use of the multi-source nature of the communication and
   leverage the presence of many COIN elements in the network, for
   instance by using network coding techniques, which in turn may
   benefit from COIN elements participating in the reliability
   mechanism.  In all cases, the aforementioned storage capabilities are
   relevant so that the COIN elements can store enough information.  The
   general question, i.e., which nodes in the sequence should do the
   retransmission, has already been worked on in the context of
   multicast transport protocols.

   Depending on the extent of realization of the presented
   retransmission features, COIN elements might almost have to implement
   some of TCP's state to fulfil their tasks.  Considering that
   different COIN elements have different computational and storage
   capacities, it is very likely that not every form of transport
   integration into COIN can be supported by every available COIN
   platform.  The choice of devices included into the communication will
   hence certainly affect the types of transport protocols that can be
   operated on the COIN networks.

   Another aspect to consider is the 'unit' that needs to be reliably
   transferred.  In stream-based transport protocols, such as TCP,
   packets represent the smallest unit of transfer.  However, different
   choices in the flow granularity and a possible move to larger-than-
   a-packet messages or transactions, as suggested in Section 3.2, might
   make other approaches to reliability viable that operate on the basis
   of such messages.  Research questions and challenges

   1.   What is the unit of reliable transfer?

   2.   How to utilize more than one computational endpoint in the
        reliability mechanism?

   3.   Should COIN elements be aware of retransmissions?

   4.   How can COIN elements identify missing packets or

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   5.   Should COIN elements be explicitly notified about

   6.   To what extent should COIN elements be capable of incorporating
        retransmissions into their computation schemes?

   7.   How much storage capabilities are required for incorporating

   8.   How can COIN elements incorporate missing packets into their

   9.   How to deal with state changes in COIN elements caused by data
        lost later in the communication chain and then retransmitted?

   10.  Should COIN elements be capable of requesting retransmissions/
        answering retransmission requests?

   11.  Which devices should perform retransmissions?

   12.  Do COIN elements have to keep transport state?

   13.  How much transport state do COIN elements have to keep?  Related concepts and efforts

   *  Transmission Control Protocol [TCP]

   TCP provides reliable, ordered, and error-checked delivery of a byte
   stream.  As such, TCP does not allow for payload changes.  This means
   that COIN elements could only make changes to lower header

   *  Stream Control Transmission Protocol [SCTP]

   SCTP provides ensures a reliable exchange of messages.  In contrast
   to TCP, it decouples reliability from in-order delivery and thus
   allows for sending messages without ordering.  Additionally, it has
   also been extended to provide partial reliability, i.e., controlling
   the desired reliability on a per-message basis [SCTP-PR].

   *  Constrained Application Protocol [CoAP]

   CoAP is a specialized protocol targeting nodes that are constrained,
   e.g., in terms of compute power or available bandwidth.  It is
   message-based and distinguishes between confirmable and non-
   confirmable messages, i.e., similar to SCTP, allows for controlling
   the reliability on a per-message basis.

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   *  User Datagram Protocol [UDP]

   UDP is a message-based protocol that does not provide any guarantees
   regarding reliability to the application layer.

3.6.2.  Flow/Congestion Control

   TCP incorporates mechanisms to avoid overloading the receiving host
   (flow control) and the network (congestion control) and determines
   its sending rate as the minimum value of what both mechanisms
   determine as feasible for the system.  This approach is based on the
   notion that computing and forwarding hosts are separated and is
   challenged by the inclusion of COIN elements, i.e., computing nodes
   in the network.

   Flow control bases on explicit end-host information as the
   participating end-hosts notify each other about how much data they
   are capable of processing and consequently do not transmit more data
   as the other host can handle.  This only changes if one of the end-
   hosts updates its flow control information.

   Congestion control, on the other hand, interprets volatile feedback
   from the network to guess a sending rate that is possible given the
   current network conditions.  Most congestion control algorithms
   hereby follow a cyclical procedure where the sending end-hosts
   constantly increase their sending rate until they detect network
   congestion.  They then decrease their sending rate once and start to
   increase it again.

   In this traditional two-fold approach, loss, delay, or any other
   congestion signal (depending on the congestion control algorithm)
   induced by COIN elements (only in case that they are the bottleneck)
   is interpreted as network congestion and thus accounted for in the
   congestion control mechanism.  This means that the sending end-host
   may repeatedly overload the computational capabilities of the COIN
   elements when probing for the current network conditions instead of
   respecting general device capabilities as is done by flow control.

   In the context of COIN, the granularity of flows may see a division
   into sub-flows or messages to better represent the used computational
   semantic as discussed in Section 3.2.  This raises the question
   whether flow and congestion control should be applied to longer term
   flows (of many sub-flows or messages) or directly to sub-flows.
   Eventually, this could possibly lead to a separation of error control
   (for sub-flows) and flow control (for longer-term flows).  A
   subsequent challenge is then how to reconcile the possible volatile
   nature of sub-flow relations (between computational endpoints) with
   the longer-term relationship between network endpoints that will see

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   a flow of messages between them.  This is particularly pertinent in
   collective communication scenarios, where many forward unicast sub-
   flows may lead to a single multicast sub-flow response albeit only
   for that one response message.  Reconciling the various unicast
   resource regimes into a single (ephemeral) multicast one poses a
   significant challenge.

   Consequently, the question arises whether COIN elements should be
   able to participate in end-to-end flow control.  Research questions and challenges

   1.  Should COIN elements be covered by congestion control?

   2.  Should COIN elements be able to participate in end-to-end flow

   3.  How could a resource constraint scheme similar to flow control be
       realized for COIN elements?

   4.  How to reconcile message-level flexibility in transport relations
       between computational endpoints with longer-term resource
       stability between network elements participating in the
       computational scenario?  Related concepts and efforts

   *  Transmission Control Protocol [TCP]

   TCP implements flow and congestion control.  The traffic is
   controlled using TCP's receiver and congestion windows.

   *  Separation of Data Path and Data Flow

   [I-D.draft-asai-tsvwg-transport-review-02] proposes to explicitly
   divide transport protocols into two parts: a data path and a data
   flow layer.  Essentially, the data path layer is responsible for
   handling path-related tasks, such as congestion control, and as such
   spans multiple flows.  The data flow layer on top then handles flow-
   related tasks such as retransmissions and flow control.  As indicated
   by the early stage of the document, the concrete structure is still
   up for debate.  Yet, explicitly dividing congestion and flow control
   could give the opportunity to devise more sophisticated approaches to
   incorporate COIN elements.

4.  Summary of related research and standardization efforts

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  | Issue           | Efforts                                          |
  | Addressing      | Segment and Source Routing:                      |
  |                 | - [SPRING-WG]                                    |
  |                 | - Segment Routing [SR]                           |
  |                 | (Service/Network) Function Chaining/Composition: |
  |                 | - [SFC-WG]                                       |
  |                 | - SFC Problem Statement [SFC-PS]                 |
  |                 | - SFC Architecture [SFC-Arch]                    |
  |                 | - SFC Network Service Header [SFC-NSH]           |
  |                 | - Internet Services over IP [ICNIP]              |
  | Flow            | Service Function Chaining [SFC-Arch], [SFC-NSH]  |
  | Granularity     | Use cases and problem statement                  |
  |                 |    for dynamic anycast [DYNCAST]                 |
  | Collective      | Information-centric networking [ICNRG]           |
  | Communication   | Internet Services over IP [ICNIP]                |
  |                 | HTTP multicast over BIER [BIER-MC]               |
  | Authentication  | SFC Proof of Transit [SFC-PoT]                   |
  | Reliability     | Transmission Control Protocol [TCP]              |
  |                 | Stream Control Transmission Protocol [SCTP]      |
  |                 | Constrained Application Protocol [CoAP]          |
  |                 | User Datagram Protocol [UDP]                     |
  | Flow/Congestion | [I-D.draft-asai-tsvwg-transport-review-02]       |
  | Control         |                                                  |

         Figure 1: Related research and standardization efforts.

5.  Gap Analysis

   This section provides a gap analysis within the identified technology
   areas with respect to existing IETF solutions and ongoing efforts in
   transport protocols that were summarized in the previous section.

   The goal of such analysis is to identify issues with those existing
   solutions through and within COIN environments.  From the viewpoint
   of structuring the gap analysis, approaches such as those taken in
   [I-D.draft-jia-intarea-internet-addressing-gap-analysis] may be used
   as examples as well as direct (if suitable) input into the gap
   analysis performed here.

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5.1.  Addressing


5.2.  Flow granularity


5.3.  Collective Communication


5.4.  Authentication


5.5.  Security


5.6.  Transport Features

5.6.1.  Reliability


5.6.2.  Flow/Congestion Control


6.  Summary of Issues Identified

   This section will summarize the main issues across the investigated
   transport technology areas of the previous section.

7.  Security Considerations

   COIN changes the traditional paradigm of a simple network and the
   corresponding end-to-end principle as it encourages computations in/
   by the network.  Approaches designed to protect transmitted data,
   such as Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is even embedded into
   newer transport protocols like QUIC, rely on the end-to-end principle
   and are thus conceptually not compatible with COIN without a
   consistent view on how in-network compute elements would fit into the
   traditional end-to-end model.

   Additionally, COIN elements often do not support required
   cryptographic functionality.

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   Thus, there may be a need for new security concepts specific to COIN
   environment that may have to be developed to allow for a secure use
   within COIN environments.

8.  IANA Considerations


9.  Conclusion

   The advent of COIN may bring many new use cases, as documented in
   [I-D.draft-irtf-coinrg-use-cases], with promises of improved
   solutions for various problems.  The concept of in-network computing
   capabilities, however, is not directly compatible with the end-to-end
   nature of transport protocols, thereby posing a number of key
   questions regarding COIN and transport protocols.

   Those key questions, positioned across key technology areas for
   transport protocols, lead us to look at possible gaps that may be
   found in existing solutions when it comes to suitably supporting COIN
   environments and scenarios.  The gap analysis performed in this
   document and the issues identified as a result of this analysis are
   positioned as possible input into shaping a research agenda for new
   transport protocols that have in-network computing capabilities in
   mind and support them securely as well as the best performance

10.  Informative References

   [BIER-MC]  Trossen, D., Rahman, A., Wang, C., and T. T. Eckert,
              "Applicability of BIER Multicast Overlay for Adaptive
              Streaming Services", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft,
              draft-ietf-bier-multicast-http-response-06, 10 July 2021,

   [CoAP]     Shelby, Z., Hartke, K., and C. Bormann, "The Constrained
              Application Protocol (CoAP)", RFC 7252,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7252, June 2014,

   [DYNCAST]  Liu, P., Willis, P., and D. Trossen, "Dynamic-Anycast
              (Dyncast) Use Cases and Problem Statement", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft , February 2021,

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   [E2E]      Saltzer, J., Reed, D., and D. Clark, "End-to-end arguments
              in system design", ACM Transactions on Computer
              Systems Vol. 2, pp. 277-288, DOI 10.1145/357401.357402,
              November 1984, <https://doi.org/10.1145/357401.357402>.

              Asai, H., "Separation of Data Path and Data Flow Sublayers
              in the Transport Layer", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft,
              draft-asai-tsvwg-transport-review-02, 15 September 2021,

              Kunze, I., Wehrle, K., Trossen, D., and M. Montpetit, "Use
              Cases for In-Network Computing", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-irtf-coinrg-use-cases-00, 17
              February 2021, <https://www.ietf.org/archive/id/draft-

              Jia, Y., Trossen, D., Iannone, L., Shenoy, N., and P.
              Mendes, "Gap Analysis in Internet Addressing", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-jia-intarea-internet-
              addressing-gap-analysis-00, 12 July 2021,

              Jia, Y., Trossen, D., Iannone, L., Shenoy, N., Mendes, P.,
              3rd, D. E. E., and P. Liu, "Challenging Scenarios and
              Problems in Internet Addressing", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-jia-intarea-scenarios-problems-
              addressing-01, 12 July 2021,

              King, D. and A. Farrel, "Challenges for the Internet
              Routing Infrastructure Introduced by Changes in Address
              Semantics", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-king-
              irtf-challenges-in-routing-03, 14 June 2021,

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              King, D. and A. Farrel, "A Survey of Semantic Internet
              Routing Techniques", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft,
              draft-king-irtf-semantic-routing-survey-02, 28 June 2021,

              Kutscher, D., Karkkainen, T., and J. Ott, "Directions for
              Computing in the Network", Work in Progress, Internet-
              Draft, draft-kutscher-coinrg-dir-02, 31 July 2020,

              Trossen, D., Sarathchandra, C., and M. Boniface, "In-
              Network Computing for App-Centric Micro-Services", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-sarathchandra-coin-
              appcentres-04, 26 January 2021, <https://www.ietf.org/

   [ICNIP]    Trossen, D., Robitzsch, S., Essex, U., AL-Naday, M., and
              J. Riihijarvi, "Internet Services over ICN in 5G LAN
              Environments", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-
              trossen-icnrg-internet-icn-5glan-04, 1 October 2020,

   [ICNRG]    "Information-Centric Networking, IRTF Research Group",

   [RFC1958]  Carpenter, B., Ed., "Architectural Principles of the
              Internet", RFC 1958, DOI 10.17487/RFC1958, June 1996,

   [RFC2775]  Carpenter, B., "Internet Transparency", RFC 2775,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2775, February 2000,

   [RFC8677]  Trossen, D., Purkayastha, D., and A. Rahman, "Name-Based
              Service Function Forwarder (nSFF) Component within a
              Service Function Chaining (SFC) Framework", RFC 8677,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8677, November 2019,

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   [RFC8799]  Carpenter, B. and B. Liu, "Limited Domains and Internet
              Protocols", RFC 8799, DOI 10.17487/RFC8799, July 2020,

   [SCTP]     Stewart, R., Ed., "Stream Control Transmission Protocol",
              RFC 4960, DOI 10.17487/RFC4960, September 2007,

   [SCTP-PR]  Stewart, R., Ramalho, M., Xie, Q., Tuexen, M., and P.
              Conrad, "Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP)
              Partial Reliability Extension", RFC 3758,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3758, May 2004,

   [SFC-Arch] Halpern, J., Ed. and C. Pignataro, Ed., "Service Function
              Chaining (SFC) Architecture", RFC 7665,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7665, October 2015,

   [SFC-NSH]  Quinn, P., Ed., Elzur, U., Ed., and C. Pignataro, Ed.,
              "Network Service Header (NSH)", RFC 8300,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8300, January 2018,

   [SFC-PoT]  Brockners, F., Bhandari, S., Mizrahi, T., Dara, S., and S.
              Youell, "Proof of Transit", Work in Progress, Internet-
              Draft, draft-ietf-sfc-proof-of-transit-08, 1 November
              2020, <https://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-ietf-

   [SFC-PS]   Quinn, P., Ed. and T. Nadeau, Ed., "Problem Statement for
              Service Function Chaining", RFC 7498,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7498, April 2015,

   [SFC-WG]   "Service Function Chaining, IETF Working Group",

              "Source Packet Routing in Networking, IETF Working Group",

   [SR]       Filsfils, C., Ed., Previdi, S., Ed., Ginsberg, L.,
              Decraene, B., Litkowski, S., and R. Shakir, "Segment
              Routing Architecture", RFC 8402, DOI 10.17487/RFC8402,
              July 2018, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8402>.

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   [TCP]      Postel, J., "Transmission Control Protocol", STD 7,
              RFC 793, DOI 10.17487/RFC0793, September 1981,

   [UDP]      Postel, J., "User Datagram Protocol", STD 6, RFC 768,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC0768, August 1980,

Authors' Addresses

   Ike Kunze
   RWTH Aachen University
   Ahornstr. 55
   D-52074 Aachen

   Email: kunze@comsys.rwth-aachen.de

   Klaus Wehrle
   RWTH Aachen University
   Ahornstr. 55
   D-52074 Aachen

   Email: wehrle@comsys.rwth-aachen.de

   Dirk Trossen
   Huawei Technologies Duesseldorf GmbH
   Riesstr. 25C
   D-80992 Munich

   Email: Dirk.Trossen@Huawei.com

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