An Ethernet Address Resolution Protocol: Or Converting Network Protocol Addresses to 48.bit Ethernet Address for Transmission on Ethernet Hardware
RFC 826

Document Type RFC - Internet Standard (November 1982; No errata)
Updated by RFC 5494, RFC 5227
Also known as STD 37
Last updated 2018-03-08
Stream Legacy stream
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Network Working Group                                   David C. Plummer 
Request For Comments:  826                                  (DCP@MIT-MC)
                                                           November 1982

             An Ethernet Address Resolution Protocol
                            -- or --
              Converting Network Protocol Addresses
                   to 48.bit Ethernet Address
                       for Transmission on
                        Ethernet Hardware


The implementation of protocol P on a sending host S decides,
through protocol P's routing mechanism, that it wants to transmit
to a target host T located some place on a connected piece of
10Mbit Ethernet cable.  To actually transmit the Ethernet packet
a 48.bit Ethernet address must be generated.  The addresses of
hosts within protocol P are not always compatible with the
corresponding Ethernet address (being different lengths or
values).  Presented here is a protocol that allows dynamic
distribution of the information needed to build tables to
translate an address A in protocol P's address space into a
48.bit Ethernet address.

Generalizations have been made which allow the protocol to be
used for non-10Mbit Ethernet hardware.  Some packet radio
networks are examples of such hardware.


The protocol proposed here is the result of a great deal of
discussion with several other people, most notably J. Noel
Chiappa, Yogen Dalal, and James E. Kulp, and helpful comments
from David Moon.

[The purpose of this RFC is to present a method of Converting
Protocol Addresses (e.g., IP addresses) to Local Network
Addresses (e.g., Ethernet addresses).  This is a issue of general
concern in the ARPA Internet community at this time.  The
method proposed here is presented for your consideration and
comment.  This is not the specification of a Internet Standard.]


This protocol was originally designed for the DEC/Intel/Xerox
10Mbit Ethernet.  It has been generalized to allow it to be used
for other types of networks.  Much of the discussion will be
directed toward the 10Mbit Ethernet.  Generalizations, where
applicable, will follow the Ethernet-specific discussion.

DOD Internet Protocol will be referred to as Internet.

Numbers here are in the Ethernet standard, which is high byte
first.  This is the opposite of the byte addressing of machines
such as PDP-11s and VAXes.  Therefore, special care must be taken
with the opcode field (ar$op) described below.

An agreed upon authority is needed to manage hardware name space
values (see below).  Until an official authority exists, requests
should be submitted to
        David C. Plummer
        Symbolics, Inc.
        243 Vassar Street
        Cambridge, Massachusetts  02139
Alternatively, network mail can be sent to DCP@MIT-MC.

The Problem:

The world is a jungle in general, and the networking game
contributes many animals.  At nearly every layer of a network
architecture there are several potential protocols that could be
used.  For example, at a high level, there is TELNET and SUPDUP
for remote login.  Somewhere below that there is a reliable byte
stream protocol, which might be CHAOS protocol, DOD TCP, Xerox
BSP or DECnet.  Even closer to the hardware is the logical
transport layer, which might be CHAOS, DOD Internet, Xerox PUP,
or DECnet.  The 10Mbit Ethernet allows all of these protocols
(and more) to coexist on a single cable by means of a type field
in the Ethernet packet header.  However, the 10Mbit Ethernet
requires 48.bit addresses on the physical cable, yet most
protocol addresses are not 48.bits long, nor do they necessarily
have any relationship to the 48.bit Ethernet address of the
hardware.  For example, CHAOS addresses are 16.bits, DOD Internet
addresses are 32.bits, and Xerox PUP addresses are 8.bits.  A
protocol is needed to dynamically distribute the correspondences
between a <protocol, address> pair and a 48.bit Ethernet address.


Use of the 10Mbit Ethernet is increasing as more manufacturers
supply interfaces that conform to the specification published by
DEC, Intel and Xerox.  With this increasing availability, more
and more software is being written for these interfaces.  There
are two alternatives: (1) Every implementor invents his/her own
method to do some form of address resolution, or (2) every
implementor uses a standard so that his/her code can be
distributed to other systems without need for modification.  This
proposal attempts to set the standard.


Define the following for referring to the values put in the TYPE
field of the Ethernet packet header:
and a new one:
Also define the following values (to be discussed later):
        ares_op$REQUEST (= 1, high byte transmitted first) and
        ares_op$REPLY   (= 2), 
        ares_hrd$Ethernet (= 1).
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