NBMA Address Resolution Protocol (NARP)
RFC 1735

Document Type RFC - Experimental (December 1994; No errata)
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                        J. Heinanen
Request for Comments: 1735                               Telecom Finland
Category: Experimental                                       R. Govindan
                                                                     ISI
                                                           December 1994

                NBMA Address Resolution Protocol (NARP)

Status of this Memo

   This memo defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
   community.  This memo does not specify an Internet standard of any
   kind.  Discussion and suggestions for improvement are requested.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

IESG Note:

   Note that the work contained in this memo does not describe an
   Internet standard.  This work represents an early stage in the
   ongoing efforts to resolve direct communication over NBMA subnets.
   It is a suitable experimental protocol for early deployment.  It is
   expect that it will be superceded by other work being developed
   within the IETF.

Abstract

   This document describes the NBMA Address Resolution Protocol (NARP).
   NARP can be used by a source terminal (host or router) connected to a
   Non-Broadcast, Multi-Access link layer (NBMA) network to find out the
   NBMA addresses of the a destination terminal provided that the
   destination terminal is connected to the same NBMA network.  Although
   this document focuses on NARP in the context of IP, the technique is
   applicable to other network layer protocols as well.  This RFC is a
   product of the Routing over Large Clouds Working Group of the IETF.

1. Introduction

   The NBMA Address Resolution Protocol (NARP) allows a source terminal
   (a host or router), wishing to communicate over a Non-Broadcast,
   Multi-Access link layer (NBMA) network, to find out the NBMA
   addresses of a destination terminal if the destination terminal is
   connected to the same NBMA network as the source.

Heinanen & Govindan                                             [Page 1]
RFC 1735                    NBMA ARP (NARP)                December 1994

   A conventional address resolution protocol, such as ARP [1, 2] for
   IP, may not be sufficient to resolve the NBMA address of the
   destination terminal, since it only applies to terminals belonging to
   the same IP subnetwork, whereas an NBMA network can consist of
   multiple logically independent IP subnets (LISs, [3]).

   Once the NBMA address of the destination terminal is resolved, the
   source may either start sending IP packets to the destination (in a
   connectionless NBMA network such as SMDS) or may first establish a
   connection to the destination with the desired bandwidth and QOS
   characteristics (in a connection oriented NBMA network such as ATM).

   An NBMA network can be non-broadcast either because it technically
   doesn't support broadcasting (e.g., an X.25 network) or because
   broadcasting is not feasible for one reason or another (e.g., an SMDS
   broadcast group or an extended Ethernet would be too large).

2. Protocol Overview

   In this section, we briefly describe how a source S uses NARP to
   determine the NBMA address of a destination D or to find out that
   such an address doesn't exist.  S first checks if the destination
   terminal belongs to the same IP subnetwork as S itself.  If so, S
   resolves the NBMA address of D using conventional means, such as ARP
   [1, 2] or preconfigured tables.  If D resides in another subnetwork,
   S formulates a NARP request containing the source and destination IP
   addresses.  S then forwards the request to an entity called the "NBMA
   ARP Server" (NAS).

   For administrative and policy reasons, a physical NBMA network may be
   partitioned into several disjoint logical NBMA networks.  NASs
   cooperatively resolve the NBMA next hop within their logical NBMA
   network.  In the following we'll always use the term "NBMA network"
   to mean a logical NBMA network.  If S is connected to several NBMA
   networks, it should have at least one NAS in each of them.  In order
   to know which NAS(s) to query for which destination addresses, a
   multi-homed S should also be configured to receive reachability
   information from its NASs.

   Each NAS "serves" a pre-configured set of terminals and peers with a
   pre-configured set of NASs, which all belong to the same NBMA
   network.  A NAS may also peer with routers outside the served NBMA.
   A NAS exchanges reachability information with its peers (and possibly
   with the terminals it serves) using regular routing protocols.  This
   exchange is used to construct a forwarding table in every NAS.  The
   forwarding table determines the next hop NAS towards the NARP
   request's destination or a next hop router outside the NBMA.
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