Last Call Review of draft-ietf-tcpm-2140bis-09

Request Review of draft-ietf-tcpm-2140bis
Requested rev. no specific revision (document currently at 11)
Type Last Call Review
Team General Area Review Team (Gen-ART) (genart)
Deadline 2021-02-22
Requested 2021-02-08
Authors Joseph Touch, Michael Welzl, Safiqul Islam
Draft last updated 2021-02-19
Completed reviews Secdir Last Call review of -08 by Carl Wallace (diff)
Genart Last Call review of -09 by Theresa Enghardt (diff)
Assignment Reviewer Theresa Enghardt 
State Completed
Review review-ietf-tcpm-2140bis-09-genart-lc-enghardt-2021-02-19
Posted at
Reviewed rev. 09 (document currently at 11)
Review result Ready with Nits
Review completed: 2021-02-19


I am the assigned Gen-ART reviewer for this draft. The General Area
Review Team (Gen-ART) reviews all IETF documents being processed
by the IESG for the IETF Chair.  Please treat these comments just
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Document: draft-ietf-tcpm-2140bis-09
Reviewer: Theresa Enghardt
Review Date: 2021-02-19
IETF LC End Date: 2021-02-22
IESG Telechat date: Not scheduled for a telechat

Summary: This document is fairly clear and concise, however there are a few minor issues and nits that should be addressed before publishing.

Major issues: None.

Minor issues:


"This memo provides guidance to TCP implementers that are intended to
   help improve convergence to steady-state operation without affecting
I think it'd be good to clarify what "steady-state operation" or "steady-state behavior" means in this context, either here or in the introduction where this term is used again.
Assuming both terms refer to the same concept, please consider unifying the terms.


"Path information shared across
   SYN destination port numbers assumes that TCP segments having the
   same host-pair experience the same path properties, irrespective of
   TCP port numbers."
Does this mean that one should rather avoid sharing information between connections with different SYN destination port numbers? If there is a recommendation, I think it'd be good to be explicit about it. If no recommendation is being made, maybe the doc should state that these are assumptions that implementers should be aware of.
I think it's also worth noting that, even if connections share the same host-pair and SYN destination port numbers, paths and path conditions can always change over time.
It'd be good to put in a reference to Section 8.1 here, where there's more discussion about these assumptions.

4. The TCP Control Block (TCB)

As Appendix B mentions that it may be unsafe to share other state, perhaps it's good to add a sentence about this here and refer to Appendix B for more details.

"One class is clearly host-pair dependent (#, e.g., MSS, MMS, PMTU, RTT)..."
Please consider adding a brief explanation why it's "clearly" host-pair dependent. Discussion on this could also be added to Section 8.1 and then refered to here.
Also, isn't this information path-dependent rather than host-dependent? If the doc is making an assumption about host pairs and paths here, please make it explicit.

6.1 Initialization of the new TCB

In the table "TEMPORAL SHARING - TCB Initialization", "or not cached" is added for old_MMS_S and old_MMS_R, but not for other information in this table. Please consider adding a brief explanation and/or clarifying this point here. 

Is there any notion on information being outdated or expiring, as path conditions might change over time?

"Note that PMTU feedback is cached at the IP layer" - Is this true even with PLPMTUD? I think it's worth putting in a brief clarification of whether this depends on the mechanism, as PMTUD and PLPMTUD are explicitly introduced in Section 3.

7.2. Updates to the new TCB

Here, the row with old_PMTU and curr_PMTU says "PMTUD+ / PLPMTUD". In Section 6.2, a similar row only says "PMTUD+". Is this intentional, i.e., with PLPMTU, can PMTU only be shared with Temporal Sharing and not with Ensemble Sharing?

8. Compatibility Issues

What kind of compatibility is meant here? Is it compatibility between implementations?
If not, please consider renaming this section, e.g., to "Issues with TCB information sharing".

8.1. Traversing the same network path
"When TCB information is shared across different SYN destination ports,
   path-related information can be incorrect"
Please consider adding an explanation here. Why is this true specifically for SYN destination ports?

11. Updates to RFC 2140

"addressing RSS in both the send and receive direction"
RSS is not defined in this doc.

12. Security Considerations
"These presented implementation methods do not have additional
   ramifications for explicit attacks."
What are explicit attacks, and are denial-of-service attacks not explicit?

"TCB sharing may be susceptible to denial-of-service attacks […]"
Please consider clarifying the attack scenario here: Is it that an attacker opens many connections, and then each new connection gets state from the other ones, so the denial-of-service attack's impact is increased due to TCB sharing?
Is there a potential for a denial-of-service attack preventing TCB sharing?

Can there be any privacy implications of sharing connection state, e.g., between connections of different applications, or within the same application such as between browser tabs?

Nits/editorial comments:

3. Terminology:

Some terms appear to be named inconsistenly: MMS_S uses "_S" suffix, but sendMSS uses "send" prefix to denote send direction. Can these be unified?

There is a definition for both "cwnd" and "sendcwnd". Are these the same?
Later, Section 4 uses "snd_cwnd". Should this be "sendcwnd" instead?

"to discovery the PMTU" → "to discover the PMTU"

RWIN is spelled in all-caps, cwnd is lower case. Can these be unified?

6.3 Discussion

"Caching MMS_R and MMS_S may be of little direct value as they
   are reported by the local IP stack anyway."
The same statement has already been made at the very beginning of this subsection. Please consider removing the redundant statement.

For a better overview, maybe it would help if these discussion points/considerations were grouped by the TCB value being discussed, and possibly provided as a list?

7.3 Discussion

"Current TCP
   implementations initialize it to four segments as standard [rfc3390]
   and 10 segments experimentally [RFC6928]."
Duplicate information - the same statement has already been made in the previous paragraph. Please consider removing the redundant statement and/or restructuring the text here.