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Manageability of the QUIC Transport Protocol
RFC 9312

Document Type RFC - Informational (September 2022)
Authors Mirja Kühlewind , Brian Trammell
Last updated 2022-09-27
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
IESG Responsible AD Zaheduzzaman Sarker
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RFC 9312

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                      M. Kühlewind
Request for Comments: 9312                                      Ericsson
Category: Informational                                      B. Trammell
ISSN: 2070-1721                                  Google Switzerland GmbH
                                                          September 2022

              Manageability of the QUIC Transport Protocol


   This document discusses manageability of the QUIC transport protocol
   and focuses on the implications of QUIC's design and wire image on
   network operations involving QUIC traffic.  It is intended as a
   "user's manual" for the wire image to provide guidance for network
   operators and equipment vendors who rely on the use of transport-
   aware network functions.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not all documents
   approved by the IESG are candidates for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2022 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Revised BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the
   Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described
   in the Revised BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
   2.  Features of the QUIC Wire Image
     2.1.  QUIC Packet Header Structure
     2.2.  Coalesced Packets
     2.3.  Use of Port Numbers
     2.4.  The QUIC Handshake
     2.5.  Integrity Protection of the Wire Image
     2.6.  Connection ID and Rebinding
     2.7.  Packet Numbers
     2.8.  Version Negotiation and Greasing
   3.  Network-Visible Information about QUIC Flows
     3.1.  Identifying QUIC Traffic
       3.1.1.  Identifying Negotiated Version
       3.1.2.  First Packet Identification for Garbage Rejection
     3.2.  Connection Confirmation
     3.3.  Distinguishing Acknowledgment Traffic
     3.4.  Server Name Indication (SNI)
       3.4.1.  Extracting Server Name Indication (SNI) Information
     3.5.  Flow Association
     3.6.  Flow Teardown
     3.7.  Flow Symmetry Measurement
     3.8.  Round-Trip Time (RTT) Measurement
       3.8.1.  Measuring Initial RTT
       3.8.2.  Using the Spin Bit for Passive RTT Measurement
   4.  Specific Network Management Tasks
     4.1.  Passive Network Performance Measurement and Troubleshooting
     4.2.  Stateful Treatment of QUIC Traffic
     4.3.  Address Rewriting to Ensure Routing Stability
     4.4.  Server Cooperation with Load Balancers
     4.5.  Filtering Behavior
     4.6.  UDP Blocking, Throttling, and NAT Binding
     4.7.  DDoS Detection and Mitigation
     4.8.  Quality of Service Handling and ECMP Routing
     4.9.  Handling ICMP Messages
     4.10. Guiding Path MTU
   5.  IANA Considerations
   6.  Security Considerations
   7.  References
     7.1.  Normative References
     7.2.  Informative References
   Authors' Addresses

1.  Introduction

   QUIC [QUIC-TRANSPORT] is a new transport protocol that is
   encapsulated in UDP.  QUIC integrates TLS [QUIC-TLS] to encrypt all
   payload data and most control information.  QUIC version 1 was
   designed primarily as a transport for HTTP with the resulting
   protocol being known as HTTP/3 [QUIC-HTTP].

   This document provides guidance for network operations that manage
   QUIC traffic.  This includes guidance on how to interpret and utilize
   information that is exposed by QUIC to the network, requirements and
   assumptions of the QUIC design with respect to network treatment, and
   a description of how common network management practices will be
   impacted by QUIC.

   QUIC is an end-to-end transport protocol; therefore, no information
   in the protocol header is intended to be mutable by the network.
   This property is enforced through integrity protection of the wire
   image [WIRE-IMAGE].  Encryption of most transport-layer control
   signaling means that less information is visible to the network in
   comparison to TCP.

   Integrity protection can also simplify troubleshooting at the end
   points as none of the nodes on the network path can modify transport
   layer information.  However, it means in-network operations that
   depend on modification of data (for examples, see [RFC9065]) are not
   possible without the cooperation of a QUIC endpoint.  Such
   cooperation might be possible with the introduction of a proxy that
   authenticates as an endpoint.  Proxy operations are not in scope for
   this document.

   Network management is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor; for example,
   practices considered necessary or even mandatory within enterprise
   networks with certain compliance requirements would be impermissible
   on other networks without those requirements.  Therefore, presence of
   a particular practice in this document should not be construed as a
   recommendation to apply it.  For each practice, this document
   describes what is and is not possible with the QUIC transport
   protocol as defined.

   This document focuses solely on network management practices that
   observe traffic on the wire.  For example, replacement of
   troubleshooting based on observation with active measurement
   techniques is therefore out of scope.  A more generalized treatment
   of network management operations on encrypted transports is given in

   QUIC-specific terminology used in this document is defined in

2.  Features of the QUIC Wire Image

   This section discusses aspects of the QUIC transport protocol that
   have an impact on the design and operation of devices that forward
   QUIC packets.  Therefore, this section is primarily considering the
   unencrypted part of QUIC's wire image [WIRE-IMAGE], which is defined
   as the information available in the packet header in each QUIC
   packet, and the dynamics of that information.  Since QUIC is a
   versioned protocol, the wire image of the header format can also
   change from version to version.  However, the field that identifies
   the QUIC version in some packets and the format of the Version
   Negotiation packet are both inspectable and invariant

   This document addresses version 1 of the QUIC protocol, whose wire
   image is fully defined in [QUIC-TRANSPORT] and [QUIC-TLS].  Features
   of the wire image described herein may change in future versions of
   the protocol except when specified as an invariant [QUIC-INVARIANTS]
   and cannot be used to identify QUIC as a protocol or to infer the
   behavior of future versions of QUIC.

2.1.  QUIC Packet Header Structure

   QUIC packets may have either a long header or a short header.  The
   first bit of the QUIC header is the Header Form bit and indicates
   which type of header is present.  The purpose of this bit is
   invariant across QUIC versions.

   The long header exposes more information.  It contains a version
   number, as well as Source and Destination Connection IDs for
   associating packets with a QUIC connection.  The definition and
   location of these fields in the QUIC long header are invariant for
   future versions of QUIC, although future versions of QUIC may provide
   additional fields in the long header [QUIC-INVARIANTS].

   In version 1 of QUIC, the long header is used during connection
   establishment to transmit CRYPTO handshake data, perform version
   negotiation, retry, and send 0-RTT data.

   Short headers are used after a connection establishment in version 1
   of QUIC and expose only an optional Destination Connection ID and the
   initial flags byte with the spin bit for RTT measurement.

   The following information is exposed in QUIC packet headers in all
   versions of QUIC (as specified in [QUIC-INVARIANTS]):

   version number:  The version number is present in the long header and
      identifies the version used for that packet.  During Version
      Negotiation (see Section 17.2.1 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT] and
      Section 2.8), the Version field has a special value (0x00000000)
      that identifies the packet as a Version Negotiation packet.  QUIC
      version 1 uses version 0x00000001.  Operators should expect to
      observe packets with other version numbers as a result of various
      Internet experiments, future standards, and greasing [RFC7801].
      An IANA registry contains the values of all standardized versions
      of QUIC, and may contain some proprietary versions (see
      Section 22.2 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT]).  However, other versions of
      QUIC can be expected to be seen in the Internet at any given time.

   Source and Destination Connection ID:  Short and long headers carry a
      Destination Connection ID, which is a variable-length field.  If
      the Destination Connection ID is not zero length, it can be used
      to identify the connection associated with a QUIC packet for load
      balancing and NAT rebinding purposes; see Sections 4.4 and 2.6.
      Long packet headers additionally carry a Source Connection ID.
      The Source Connection ID is only present on long headers and
      indicates the Destination Connection ID that the other endpoint
      should use when sending packets.  On long header packets, the
      length of the connection IDs is also present; on short header
      packets, the length of the Destination Connection ID is implicit,
      as it is known from preceding long header packets.

   In version 1 of QUIC, the following additional information is

   "Fixed Bit":  In version 1 of QUIC, the second-most-significant bit
      of the first octet is set to 1, unless the packet is a Version
      Negotiation packet or an extension is used that modifies the usage
      of this bit.  If the bit is set to 1, it enables endpoints to
      easily demultiplex with other UDP-encapsulated protocols.  Even
      though this bit is fixed in the version 1 specification, endpoints
      might use an extension that varies the bit [QUIC-GREASE].
      Therefore, observers cannot reliably use it as an identifier for

   latency spin bit:  The third-most-significant bit of the first octet
      in the short header for version 1.  The spin bit is set by
      endpoints such that tracking edge transitions can be used to
      passively observe end-to-end RTT.  See Section 3.8.2 for further

   header type:  The long header has a 2-bit packet type field following
      the Header Form and Fixed Bits.  Header types correspond to stages
      of the handshake; see Section 17.2 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT] for

   length:  The length of the remaining QUIC packet after the Length
      field present on long headers.  This field is used to implement
      coalesced packets during the handshake (see Section 2.2).

   token:  Initial packets may contain a token, a variable-length opaque
      value optionally sent from client to server, used for validating
      the client's address.  Retry packets also contain a token, which
      can be used by the client in an Initial packet on a subsequent
      connection attempt.  The length of the token is explicit in both

   Retry (Section 17.2.5 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT]) and Version Negotiation
   (Section 17.2.1 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT]) packets are not encrypted.
   Retry packets are integrity protected.  Transport parameters are used
   to authenticate the contents of Retry packets later in the handshake.
   For other kinds of packets, version 1 of QUIC cryptographically
   protects other information in the packet headers:

   Packet Number:  All packets except Version Negotiation and Retry
      packets have an associated packet number; however, this packet
      number is encrypted, and therefore not of use to on-path
      observers.  The offset of the packet number can be decoded in long
      headers while it is implicit (depending on Destination Connection
      ID length) in short headers.  The length of the packet number is
      cryptographically protected.

   Key Phase:  The Key Phase bit (present in short headers) specifies
      the keys used to encrypt the packet to support key rotation.  The
      Key Phase bit is cryptographically protected.

2.2.  Coalesced Packets

   Multiple QUIC packets may be coalesced into a single UDP datagram
   with a datagram carrying one or more long header packets followed by
   zero or one short header packets.  When packets are coalesced, the
   Length fields in the long headers are used to separate QUIC packets;
   see Section 12.2 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT].  The Length field is a
   variable-length field, and its position in the header also varies
   depending on the lengths of the Source and Destination Connection
   IDs; see Section 17.2 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT].

2.3.  Use of Port Numbers

   Applications that have a mapping for TCP and QUIC are expected to use
   the same port number for both services.  However, as for all other
   IETF transports [RFC7605], there is no guarantee that a specific
   application will use a given registered port or that a given port
   carries traffic belonging to the respective registered service,
   especially when application layer information is encrypted.  For
   example, [QUIC-HTTP] specifies the use of the HTTP Alternative
   Services mechanism [RFC7838] for discovery of HTTP/3 services on
   other ports.

   Further, as QUIC has a connection ID, it is also possible to maintain
   multiple QUIC connections over one 5-tuple (protocol, source, and
   destination IP address and source and destination port).  However, if
   the connection ID is zero length, all packets of the 5-tuple likely
   belong to the same QUIC connection.

2.4.  The QUIC Handshake

   New QUIC connections are established using a handshake that is
   distinguishable on the wire (see Section 3.1 for details) and
   contains some information that can be passively observed.

   To illustrate the information visible in the QUIC wire image during
   the handshake, we first show the general communication pattern
   visible in the UDP datagrams containing the QUIC handshake.  Then, we
   examine each of the datagrams in detail.

   The QUIC handshake can normally be recognized on the wire through
   four flights of datagrams labeled "Client Initial", "Server Initial",
   "Client Completion", and "Server Completion" as illustrated in
   Figure 1.

   A handshake starts with the client sending one or more datagrams
   containing Initial packets (detailed in Figure 2), which elicits the
   Server Initial response (detailed in Figure 3), which typically
   contains three types of packets: Initial packet(s) with the beginning
   of the server's side of the TLS handshake, Handshake packet(s) with
   the rest of the server's portion of the TLS handshake, and 1-RTT
   packet(s), if present.

   Client                                    Server
     |                                          |
     +----Client Initial----------------------->|
     +----(zero or more 0-RTT)----------------->|
     |                                          |
     |<-----------------------Server Initial----+
     |<--------(1-RTT encrypted data starts)----+
     |                                          |
     +----Client Completion-------------------->|
     +----(1-RTT encrypted data starts)-------->|
     |                                          |
     |<--------------------Server Completion----+
     |                                          |

   Figure 1: General Communication Pattern Visible in the QUIC Handshake

   As shown here, the client can send 0-RTT data as soon as it has sent
   its ClientHello and the server can send 1-RTT data as soon as it has
   sent its ServerHello.  The Client Completion flight contains at least
   one Handshake packet and could also include an Initial packet.
   During the handshake, QUIC packets in separate contexts can be
   coalesced (see Section 2.2) in order to reduce the number of UDP
   datagrams sent during the handshake.

   Handshake packets can arrive out-of-order without impacting the
   handshake as long as the reordering was not accompanied by extensive
   delays that trigger a spurious Probe Timeout (Section 6.2 of
   [QUIC-RECOVERY]).  If QUIC packets get lost or reordered, packets
   belonging to the same flight might not be observed in close time
   succession, though the sequence of the flights will not change
   because one flight depends upon the peer's previous flight.

   Datagrams that contain an Initial packet (Client Initial, Server
   Initial, and some Client Completion) contain at least 1200 octets of
   UDP payload.  This protects against amplification attacks and
   verifies that the network path meets the requirements for the minimum
   QUIC IP packet size; see Section 14 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT].  This is
   accomplished by either adding PADDING frames within the Initial
   packet, coalescing other packets with the Initial packet, or leaving
   unused payload in the UDP packet after the Initial packet.  A network
   path needs to be able to forward packets of at least this size for
   QUIC to be used.

   The content of Initial packets is encrypted using Initial Secrets,
   which are derived from a per-version constant and the client's
   Destination Connection ID.  That content is therefore observable by
   any on-path device that knows the per-version constant and is
   considered visible in this illustration.  The content of QUIC
   Handshake packets is encrypted using keys established during the
   initial handshake exchange and is therefore not visible.

   Initial, Handshake, and 1-RTT packets belong to different
   cryptographic and transport contexts.  The Client Completion
   (Figure 4) and the Server Completion (Figure 5) flights conclude the
   Initial and Handshake contexts by sending final acknowledgments and
   CRYPTO frames.

   | UDP header (source and destination UDP ports)            |
   | QUIC long header (type = Initial, Version, DCID, SCID) (Length)
   +----------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | QUIC CRYPTO frame header                                 |  |
   +----------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | | TLS ClientHello (incl. TLS SNI)                     |  |  |
   +----------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | QUIC PADDING frames                                      |  |

          Figure 2: Example Client Initial Datagram Without 0-RTT

   A Client Initial packet exposes the Version, Source, and Destination
   Connection IDs without encryption.  The payload of the Initial packet
   is protected using the Initial secret.  The complete TLS ClientHello,
   including any TLS Server Name Indication (SNI) present, is sent in
   one or more CRYPTO frames across one or more QUIC Initial packets.

   | UDP header (source and destination UDP ports)              |
   | QUIC long header (type = Initial, Version, DCID, SCID)   (Length)
   +------------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | QUIC CRYPTO frame header                                   |  |
   +------------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | TLS ServerHello                                            |  |
   +------------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | QUIC ACK frame (acknowledging client hello)                |  |
   | QUIC long header (type = Handshake, Version, DCID, SCID) (Length)
   +------------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | encrypted payload (presumably CRYPTO frames)               |  |
   | QUIC short header                                          |
   | 1-RTT encrypted payload                                    |

            Figure 3: Coalesced Server Initial Datagram Pattern

   The Server Initial datagram also exposes the version number and the
   Source and Destination Connection IDs in the clear; the payload of
   the Initial packet is protected using the Initial secret.

   | UDP header (source and destination UDP ports)              |
   | QUIC long header (type = Initial, Version, DCID, SCID)   (Length)
   +------------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | QUIC ACK frame (acknowledging Server Initial)              |  |
   | QUIC long header (type = Handshake, Version, DCID, SCID) (Length)
   +------------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | encrypted payload (presumably CRYPTO/ACK frames)           |  |
   | QUIC short header                                          |
   | 1-RTT encrypted payload                                    |

           Figure 4: Coalesced Client Completion Datagram Pattern

   The Client Completion flight does not expose any additional
   information; however, as the Destination Connection ID is server-
   selected, it usually is not the same ID that is sent in the Client
   Initial.  Client Completion flights contain 1-RTT packets that
   indicate the handshake has completed (see Section 3.2) on the client
   and for three-way handshake RTT estimation as in Section 3.8.

   | UDP header (source and destination UDP ports)              |
   | QUIC long header (type = Handshake, Version, DCID, SCID) (Length)
   +------------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | encrypted payload (presumably ACK frame)                   |  |
   | QUIC short header                                          |
   | 1-RTT encrypted payload                                    |

           Figure 5: Coalesced Server Completion Datagram Pattern

   Similar to Client Completion, Server Completion does not expose
   additional information; observing it serves only to determine that
   the handshake has completed.

   When the client uses 0-RTT data, the Client Initial flight can also
   include one or more 0-RTT packets as shown in Figure 6.

   | UDP header (source and destination UDP ports)            |
   | QUIC long header (type = Initial, Version, DCID, SCID) (Length)
   +----------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | QUIC CRYPTO frame header                                 |  |
   +----------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | TLS ClientHello (incl. TLS SNI)                          |  |
   | QUIC long header (type = 0-RTT, Version, DCID, SCID)   (Length)
   +----------------------------------------------------------+  |
   | 0-RTT encrypted payload                                  |  |

             Figure 6: Coalesced 0-RTT Client Initial Datagram

   When a 0-RTT packet is coalesced with an Initial packet, the datagram
   will be padded to 1200 bytes.  Additional datagrams containing only
   0-RTT packets with long headers can be sent after the client Initial
   packet, which contains more 0-RTT data.  The amount of 0-RTT
   protected data that can be sent in the first flight is limited by the
   initial congestion window, typically to around 10 packets (see
   Section 7.2 of [QUIC-RECOVERY]).

2.5.  Integrity Protection of the Wire Image

   As soon as the cryptographic context is established, all information
   in the QUIC header, including exposed information, is integrity
   protected.  Further, information that was exposed in packets sent
   before the cryptographic context was established is validated during
   the cryptographic handshake.  Therefore, devices on path cannot alter
   any information or bits in QUIC packets.  Such alterations would
   cause the integrity check to fail, which results in the receiver
   discarding the packet.  Some parts of Initial packets could be
   altered by removing and reapplying the authenticated encryption
   without immediate discard at the receiver.  However, the
   cryptographic handshake validates most fields and any modifications
   in those fields will result in a connection establishment failure

2.6.  Connection ID and Rebinding

   The connection ID in the QUIC packet headers allows association of
   QUIC packets using information independent of the 5-tuple.  This
   allows rebinding of a connection after one of the endpoints (usually
   the client) has experienced an address change.  Further, it can be
   used by in-network devices to ensure that related 5-tuple flows are
   appropriately balanced together (see Section 4.4).

   Client and server each choose a connection ID during the handshake;
   for example, a server might request that a client use a connection
   ID, whereas the client might choose a zero-length value.  Connection
   IDs for either endpoint may change during the lifetime of a
   connection, with the new connection ID being supplied via encrypted
   frames (see Section 5.1 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT]).  Therefore, observing a
   new connection ID does not necessarily indicate a new connection.

   [QUIC-LB] specifies algorithms for encoding the server mapping in a
   connection ID in order to share this information with selected on-
   path devices such as load balancers.  Server mappings should only be
   exposed to selected entities.  Uncontrolled exposure would allow
   linkage of multiple IP addresses to the same host if the server also
   supports migration that opens an attack vector on specific servers or
   pools.  The best way to obscure an encoding is to appear random to
   any other observers, which is most rigorously achieved with
   encryption.  As a result, any attempt to infer information from
   specific parts of a connection ID is unlikely to be useful.

2.7.  Packet Numbers

   The Packet Number field is always present in the QUIC packet header
   in version 1; however, it is always encrypted.  The encryption key
   for packet number protection on Initial packets (which are sent
   before cryptographic context establishment) is specific to the QUIC
   version while packet number protection on subsequent packets uses
   secrets derived from the end-to-end cryptographic context.  Packet
   numbers are therefore not part of the wire image that is visible to
   on-path observers.

2.8.  Version Negotiation and Greasing

   Version Negotiation packets are used by the server to indicate that a
   requested version from the client is not supported (see Section 6 of
   [QUIC-TRANSPORT]).  Version Negotiation packets are not intrinsically
   protected, but future QUIC versions could use later encrypted
   messages to verify that they were authentic.  Therefore, any
   modification of this list will be detected and may cause the
   endpoints to terminate the connection attempt.

   Also note that the list of versions in the Version Negotiation packet
   may contain reserved versions.  This mechanism is used to avoid
   ossification in the implementation of the selection mechanism.
   Further, a client may send an Initial packet with a reserved version
   number to trigger version negotiation.  In the Version Negotiation
   packet, the connection IDs of the client's Initial packet are
   reflected to provide a proof of return-routability.  Therefore,
   changing this information will also cause the connection to fail.

   QUIC is expected to evolve rapidly.  Therefore, new versions (both
   experimental and IETF standard versions) will be deployed on the
   Internet more often than with other commonly deployed Internet and
   transport-layer protocols.  Use of the Version field for traffic
   recognition will therefore behave differently than with these
   protocols.  Using a particular version number to recognize valid QUIC
   traffic is likely to persistently miss a fraction of QUIC flows and
   completely fail in the near future.  Reliance on the Version field
   for the purpose of admission control is also likely to lead to
   unintended failure modes.  Admission of QUIC traffic regardless of
   version avoids these failure modes, avoids unnecessary deployment
   delays, and supports continuous version-based evolution.

3.  Network-Visible Information about QUIC Flows

   This section addresses the different kinds of observations and
   inferences that can be made about QUIC flows by a passive observer in
   the network based on the wire image in Section 2.  Here, we assume a
   bidirectional observer (one that can see packets in both directions
   in the sequence in which they are carried on the wire) unless noted,
   but typically without access to any keying information.

3.1.  Identifying QUIC Traffic

   The QUIC wire image is not specifically designed to be
   distinguishable from other UDP traffic by a passive observer in the
   network.  While certain QUIC applications may be heuristically
   identifiable on a per-application basis, there is no general method
   for distinguishing QUIC traffic from otherwise unclassifiable UDP
   traffic on a given link.  Therefore, any unrecognized UDP traffic may
   be QUIC traffic.

   At the time of writing, two application bindings for QUIC have been
   published or adopted by the IETF: HTTP/3 [QUIC-HTTP] and DNS over
   Dedicated QUIC Connections [RFC9250].  These are both known to have
   active Internet deployments, so an assumption that all QUIC traffic
   is HTTP/3 is not valid.  HTTP/3 uses UDP port 443 by convention but
   various methods can be used to specify alternate port numbers.  Other
   applications (e.g., Microsoft's SMB over QUIC) also use UDP port 443
   by default.  Therefore, simple assumptions about whether a given flow
   is using QUIC (or indeed which application might be using QUIC) based
   solely upon a UDP port number may not hold; see Section 5 of

   While the second-most-significant bit (0x40) of the first octet is
   set to 1 in most QUIC packets of the current version (see Section 2.1
   and Section 17 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT]), this method of recognizing QUIC
   traffic is not reliable.  First, it only provides one bit of
   information and is prone to collision with UDP-based protocols other
   than those considered in [RFC7983].  Second, this feature of the wire
   image is not invariant [QUIC-INVARIANTS] and may change in future
   versions of the protocol or even be negotiated during the handshake
   via the use of an extension [QUIC-GREASE].

   Even though transport parameters transmitted in the client's Initial
   packet are observable by the network, they cannot be modified by the
   network without causing a connection failure.  Further, the reply
   from the server cannot be observed, so observers on the network
   cannot know which parameters are actually in use.

3.1.1.  Identifying Negotiated Version

   An in-network observer assuming that a set of packets belongs to a
   QUIC flow might infer the version number in use by observing the
   handshake.  If the version number in an Initial packet of the server
   response is subsequently seen in a packet from the client, that
   version has been accepted by both endpoints to be used for the rest
   of the connection (see Section 2 of [QUIC-VERSION-NEGOTIATION]).

   The negotiated version cannot be identified for flows in which a
   handshake is not observed, such as in the case of connection
   migration.  However, it might be possible to associate a flow with a
   flow for which a version has been identified; see Section 3.5.

3.1.2.  First Packet Identification for Garbage Rejection

   A related question is whether the first packet of a given flow on a
   port known to be associated with QUIC is a valid QUIC packet.  This
   determination supports in-network filtering of garbage UDP packets
   (reflection attacks, random backscatter, etc.).  While heuristics
   based on the first byte of the packet (packet type) could be used to
   separate valid from invalid first packet types, the deployment of
   such heuristics is not recommended as bits in the first byte may have
   different meanings in future versions of the protocol.

3.2.  Connection Confirmation

   This document focuses on QUIC version 1, and this Connection
   Confirmation section applies only to packets belonging to QUIC
   version 1 flows; for purposes of on-path observation, it assumes that
   these packets have been identified as such through the observation of
   a version number exchange as described above.

   Connection establishment uses Initial and Handshake packets
   containing a TLS handshake and Retry packets that do not contain
   parts of the handshake.  Connection establishment can therefore be
   detected using heuristics similar to those used to detect TLS over
   TCP.  A client initiating a connection may also send data in 0-RTT
   packets directly after the Initial packet containing the TLS
   ClientHello.  Since packets may be reordered or lost in the network,
   0-RTT packets could be seen before the Initial packet.

   Note that in this version of QUIC, clients send Initial packets
   before servers do, servers send Handshake packets before clients do,
   and only clients send Initial packets with tokens.  Therefore, an
   endpoint can be identified as a client or server by an on-path
   observer.  An attempted connection after Retry can be detected by
   correlating the contents of the Retry packet with the Token and the
   Destination Connection ID fields of the new Initial packet.

3.3.  Distinguishing Acknowledgment Traffic

   Some deployed in-network functions distinguish packets that carry
   only acknowledgment (ACK-only) information from packets carrying
   upper-layer data in order to attempt to enhance performance (for
   example, by queuing ACKs differently or manipulating ACK signaling
   [RFC3449]).  Distinguishing ACK packets is possible in TCP, but is
   not supported by QUIC since acknowledgment signaling is carried
   inside QUIC's encrypted payload and ACK manipulation is impossible.
   Specifically, heuristics attempting to distinguish ACK-only packets
   from payload-carrying packets based on packet size are likely to fail
   and are not recommended to use as a way to construe internals of
   QUIC's operation as those mechanisms can change, e.g., due to the use
   of extensions.

3.4.  Server Name Indication (SNI)

   The client's TLS ClientHello may contain a Server Name Indication
   (SNI) extension [RFC6066] by which the client reveals the name of the
   server it intends to connect to in order to allow the server to
   present a certificate based on that name.  If present, SNI
   information is available to unidirectional observers on the client-
   to-server path if it.

   The TLS ClientHello may also contain an Application-Layer Protocol
   Negotiation (ALPN) extension [RFC7301], by which the client exposes
   the names of application-layer protocols it supports; an observer can
   deduce that one of those protocols will be used if the connection

   Work is currently underway in the TLS working group to encrypt the
   contents of the ClientHello in TLS 1.3 [TLS-ECH].  This would make
   SNI-based application identification impossible by on-path
   observation for QUIC and other protocols that use TLS.

3.4.1.  Extracting Server Name Indication (SNI) Information

   If the ClientHello is not encrypted, SNI can be derived from the
   client's Initial packets by calculating the Initial secret to decrypt
   the packet payload and parsing the QUIC CRYPTO frames containing the
   TLS ClientHello.

   As both the derivation of the Initial secret and the structure of the
   Initial packet itself are version specific, the first step is always
   to parse the version number (the second through fifth bytes of the
   long header).  Note that only long header packets carry the version
   number, so it is necessary to also check if the first bit of the QUIC
   packet is set to 1, which indicates a long header.

   Note that proprietary QUIC versions that have been deployed before
   standardization might not set the first bit in a QUIC long header
   packet to 1.  However, it is expected that these versions will
   gradually disappear over time and therefore do not require any
   special consideration or treatment.

   When the version has been identified as QUIC version 1, the packet
   type needs to be verified as an Initial packet by checking that the
   third and fourth bits of the header are both set to 0.  Then, the
   Destination Connection ID needs to be extracted from the packet.  The
   Initial secret is calculated using the version-specific Initial salt
   as described in Section 5.2 of [QUIC-TLS].  The length of the
   connection ID is indicated in the 6th byte of the header followed by
   the connection ID itself.

   Note that subsequent Initial packets might contain a Destination
   Connection ID other than the one used to generate the Initial secret.
   Therefore, attempts to decrypt these packets using the procedure
   above might fail unless the Initial secret is retained by the

   To determine the end of the packet header and find the start of the
   payload, the Packet Number Length, the Source Connection ID Length,
   and the Token Length need to be extracted.  The Packet Number Length
   is defined by the seventh and eighth bits of the header as described
   in Section 17.2 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT], but is protected as described in
   Section 5.4 of [QUIC-TLS].  The Source Connection ID Length is
   specified in the byte after the Destination Connection ID.  The Token
   Length, which follows the Source Connection ID, is a variable-length
   integer as specified in Section 16 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT].

   After decryption, the client's Initial packets can be parsed to
   detect the CRYPTO frames that contain the TLS ClientHello, which then
   can be parsed similarly to TLS over TCP connections.  Note that there
   can be multiple CRYPTO frames spread out over one or more Initial
   packets and they might not be in order, so reassembling the CRYPTO
   stream by parsing offsets and lengths is required.  Further, the
   client's Initial packets may contain other frames, so the first bytes
   of each frame need to be checked to identify the frame type and
   determine whether the frame can be skipped over.  Note that the
   length of the frames is dependent on the frame type; see Section 18
   of [QUIC-TRANSPORT].  For example, PADDING frames (each consisting of
   a single zero byte) may occur before, after, or between CRYPTO
   frames.  However, extensions might define additional frame types.  If
   an unknown frame type is encountered, it is impossible to know the
   length of that frame, which prevents skipping over it; therefore,
   parsing fails.

3.5.  Flow Association

   The QUIC connection ID (see Section 2.6) is designed to allow a
   coordinating on-path device, such as a load balancer, to associate
   two flows when one of the endpoints changes address.  This change can
   be due to NAT rebinding or address migration.

   The connection ID must change upon intentional address change by an
   endpoint and connection ID negotiation is encrypted; therefore, it is
   not possible for a passive observer to link intended changes of
   address using the connection ID.

   When one endpoint's address unintentionally changes, as is the case
   with NAT rebinding, an on-path observer may be able to use the
   connection ID to associate the flow on the new address with the flow
   on the old address.

   A network function that attempts to use the connection ID to
   associate flows must be robust to the failure of this technique.
   Since the connection ID may change multiple times during the lifetime
   of a connection, packets with the same 5-tuple but different
   connection IDs might or might not belong to the same connection.
   Likewise, packets with the same connection ID but different 5-tuples
   might not belong to the same connection either.

   Connection IDs should be treated as opaque; see Section 4.4 for
   caveats regarding connection ID selection at servers.

3.6.  Flow Teardown

   QUIC does not expose the end of a connection; the only indication to
   on-path devices that a flow has ended is that packets are no longer
   observed.  Therefore, stateful devices on path such as NATs and
   firewalls must use idle timeouts to determine when to drop state for
   QUIC flows; see Section 4.2.

3.7.  Flow Symmetry Measurement

   QUIC explicitly exposes which side of a connection is a client and
   which side is a server during the handshake.  In addition, the
   symmetry of a flow (whether it is primarily client-to-server,
   primarily server-to-client, or roughly bidirectional, as input to
   basic traffic classification techniques) can be inferred through the
   measurement of data rate in each direction.  Note that QUIC packets
   containing only control frames (such as ACK-only packets) may be
   padded.  Padding, though optional, may conceal connection roles or
   flow symmetry information.

3.8.  Round-Trip Time (RTT) Measurement

   The round-trip time (RTT) of QUIC flows can be inferred by
   observation once per flow during the handshake in passive TCP
   measurement; this requires parsing of the QUIC packet header and
   recognition of the handshake, as illustrated in Section 2.4.  It can
   also be inferred during the flow's lifetime if the endpoints use the
   spin bit facility described below and in Section 17.3.1 of
   [QUIC-TRANSPORT].  RTT measurement is available to unidirectional
   observers when the spin bit is enabled.

3.8.1.  Measuring Initial RTT

   In the common case, the delay between the client's Initial packet
   (containing the TLS ClientHello) and the server's Initial packet
   (containing the TLS ServerHello) represents the RTT component on the
   path between the observer and the server.  The delay between the
   server's first Handshake packet and the Handshake packet sent by the
   client represents the RTT component on the path between the observer
   and the client.  While the client may send 0-RTT packets after the
   Initial packet during connection re-establishment, these can be
   ignored for RTT measurement purposes.

   Handshake RTT can be measured by adding the client-to-observer and
   observer-to-server RTT components together.  This measurement
   necessarily includes all transport- and application-layer delay at
   both endpoints.

3.8.2.  Using the Spin Bit for Passive RTT Measurement

   The spin bit provides a version-specific method to measure per-flow
   RTT from observation points on the network path throughout the
   duration of a connection.  See Section 17.4 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT] for
   the definition of the spin bit in Version 1 of QUIC.  Endpoint
   participation in spin bit signaling is optional.  While its location
   is fixed in this version of QUIC, an endpoint can unilaterally choose
   to not support "spinning" the bit.

   Use of the spin bit for RTT measurement by devices on path is only
   possible when both endpoints enable it.  Some endpoints may disable
   use of the spin bit by default, others only in specific deployment
   scenarios, e.g., for servers and clients where the RTT would reveal
   the presence of a VPN or proxy.  To avoid making these connections
   identifiable based on the usage of the spin bit, all endpoints
   randomly disable "spinning" for at least one eighth of connections,
   even if otherwise enabled by default.  An endpoint not participating
   in spin bit signaling for a given connection can use a fixed spin
   value for the duration of the connection or can set the bit randomly
   on each packet sent.

   When in use, the latency spin bit in each direction changes value
   once per RTT any time that both endpoints are sending packets
   continuously.  An on-path observer can observe the time difference
   between edges (changes from 1 to 0 or 0 to 1) in the spin bit signal
   in a single direction to measure one sample of end-to-end RTT.  This
   mechanism follows the principles of protocol measurability laid out
   in [IPIM].

   Note that this measurement, as with passive RTT measurement for TCP,
   includes all transport protocol delay (e.g., delayed sending of
   acknowledgments) and/or application layer delay (e.g., waiting for a
   response to be generated).  It therefore provides devices on path a
   good instantaneous estimate of the RTT as experienced by the

   However, application-limited and flow-control-limited senders can
   have application- and transport-layer delay, respectively, that are
   much greater than network RTT.  For example, if the sender only sends
   small amounts of application traffic periodically, where the
   periodicity is longer than the RTT, spin bit measurements provide
   information about the application period rather than network RTT.

   Since the spin bit logic at each endpoint considers only samples from
   packets that advance the largest packet number, signal generation
   itself is resistant to reordering.  However, reordering can cause
   problems at an observer by causing spurious edge detection and
   therefore inaccurate (i.e., lower) RTT estimates, if reordering
   occurs across a spin bit flip in the stream.

   Simple heuristics based on the observed data rate per flow or changes
   in the RTT series can be used to reject bad RTT samples due to lost
   or reordered edges in the spin signal, as well as application or flow
   control limitation; for example, QoF [TMA-QOF] rejects component RTTs
   significantly higher than RTTs over the history of the flow.  These
   heuristics may use the handshake RTT as an initial RTT estimate for a
   given flow.  Usually such heuristics would also detect if the spin is
   either constant or randomly set for a connection.

   An on-path observer that can see traffic in both directions (from
   client to server and from server to client) can also use the spin bit
   to measure "upstream" and "downstream" component RTT; i.e, the
   component of the end-to-end RTT attributable to the paths between the
   observer and the server and between the observer and the client,
   respectively.  It does this by measuring the delay between a spin
   edge observed in the upstream direction and that observed in the
   downstream direction, and vice versa.

   Raw RTT samples generated using these techniques can be processed in
   various ways to generate useful network performance metrics.  A
   simple linear smoothing or moving minimum filter can be applied to
   the stream of RTT samples to get a more stable estimate of
   application-experienced RTT.  RTT samples measured from the spin bit
   can also be used to generate RTT distribution information, including
   minimum RTT (which approximates network RTT over longer time windows)
   and RTT variance (which approximates one-way packet delay variance as
   seen by an application end-point).

4.  Specific Network Management Tasks

   In this section, we review specific network management and
   measurement techniques and how QUIC's design impacts them.

4.1.  Passive Network Performance Measurement and Troubleshooting

   Limited RTT measurement is possible by passive observation of QUIC
   traffic; see Section 3.8.  No passive measurement of loss is possible
   with the present wire image.  Limited observation of upstream
   congestion may be possible via the observation of Congestion
   Experienced (CE) markings in the IP header [RFC3168] on ECN-enabled
   QUIC traffic.

   On-path devices can also make measurements of RTT, loss, and other
   performance metrics when information is carried in an additional
   network-layer packet header (Section 6 of [RFC9065] describes the use
   of Operations, Administration, and Management (OAM) information).
   Using network-layer approaches also has the advantage that common
   observation and analysis tools can be consistently used for multiple
   transport protocols; however, these techniques are often limited to
   measurements within one or multiple cooperating domains.

4.2.  Stateful Treatment of QUIC Traffic

   Stateful treatment of QUIC traffic (e.g., at a firewall or NAT
   middlebox) is possible through QUIC traffic and version
   identification (Section 3.1) and observation of the handshake for
   connection confirmation (Section 3.2).  The lack of any visible end-
   of-flow signal (Section 3.6) means that this state must be purged
   either through timers or least-recently-used eviction depending on
   application requirements.

   While QUIC has no clear network-visible end-of-flow signal and
   therefore does require timer-based state removal, the QUIC handshake
   indicates confirmation by both ends of a valid bidirectional
   transmission.  As soon as the handshake completed, timers should be
   set long enough to also allow for short idle time during a valid

   [RFC4787] requires a network state timeout that is not less than 2
   minutes for most UDP traffic.  However, in practice, a QUIC endpoint
   can experience lower timeouts in the range of 30 to 60 seconds

   In contrast, [RFC5382] recommends a state timeout of more than 2
   hours for TCP given that TCP is a connection-oriented protocol with
   well-defined closure semantics.  Even though QUIC has explicitly been
   designed to tolerate NAT rebindings, decreasing the NAT timeout is
   not recommended as it may negatively impact application performance
   or incentivize endpoints to send very frequent keep-alive packets.

   Therefore, a state timeout of at least two minutes is recommended for
   QUIC traffic, even when lower state timeouts are used for other UDP

   If state is removed too early, this could lead to black-holing of
   incoming packets after a short idle period.  To detect this
   situation, a timer at the client needs to expire before a re-
   establishment can happen (if at all), which would lead to
   unnecessarily long delays in an otherwise working connection.

   Furthermore, not all endpoints use routing architectures where
   connections will survive a port or address change.  Even when the
   client revives the connection, a NAT rebinding can cause a routing
   mismatch where a packet is not even delivered to the server that
   might support address migration.  For these reasons, the limits in
   [RFC4787] are important to avoid black-holing of packets (and hence
   avoid interrupting the flow of data to the client), especially where
   devices are able to distinguish QUIC traffic from other UDP payloads.

   The QUIC header optionally contains a connection ID, which could
   provide additional entropy beyond the 5-tuple.  The QUIC handshake
   needs to be observed in order to understand whether the connection ID
   is present and what length it has.  However, connection IDs may be
   renegotiated after the handshake, and this renegotiation is not
   visible to the path.  Therefore, using the connection ID as a flow
   key field for stateful treatment of flows is not recommended as
   connection ID changes will cause undetectable and unrecoverable loss
   of state in the middle of a connection.  In particular, the use of
   the connection ID for functions that require state to make a
   forwarding decision is not viable as it will break connectivity, or
   at minimum, cause long timeout-based delays before this problem is
   detected by the endpoints and the connection can potentially be re-

   Use of connection IDs is specifically discouraged for NAT
   applications.  If a NAT hits an operational limit, it is recommended
   to rather drop the initial packets of a flow (see also Section 4.5),
   which potentially triggers TCP fallback.  Use of the connection ID to
   multiplex multiple connections on the same IP address/port pair is
   not a viable solution as it risks connectivity breakage in case the
   connection ID changes.

4.3.  Address Rewriting to Ensure Routing Stability

   While QUIC's migration capability makes it possible for a connection
   to survive client address changes, this does not work if the routers
   or switches in the server infrastructure route using the address-port
   4-tuple.  If infrastructure routes on addresses only, NAT rebinding
   or address migration will cause packets to be delivered to the wrong
   server.  [QUIC-LB] describes a way to addresses this problem by
   coordinating the selection and use of connection IDs between load
   balancers and servers.

   Applying address translation at a middlebox to maintain a stable
   address-port mapping for flows based on connection ID might seem like
   a solution to this problem.  However, hiding information about the
   change of the IP address or port conceals important and security-
   relevant information from QUIC endpoints, and as such, would
   facilitate amplification attacks (see Section 8 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT]).
   A NAT function that hides peer address changes prevents the other end
   from detecting and mitigating attacks as the endpoint cannot verify
   connectivity to the new address using QUIC PATH_CHALLENGE and
   PATH_RESPONSE frames.

   In addition, a change of IP address or port is also an input signal
   to other internal mechanisms in QUIC.  When a path change is
   detected, path-dependent variables like congestion control parameters
   will be reset, which protects the new path from overload.

4.4.  Server Cooperation with Load Balancers

   In the case of networking architectures that include load balancers,
   the connection ID can be used as a way for the server to signal
   information about the desired treatment of a flow to the load
   balancers.  Guidance on assigning connection IDs is given in
   [QUIC-APPLICABILITY].  [QUIC-LB] describes a system for coordinating
   selection and use of connection IDs between load balancers and

4.5.  Filtering Behavior

   [RFC4787] describes possible packet-filtering behaviors that relate
   to NATs but are often also used in other scenarios where packet
   filtering is desired.  Though the guidance there holds, a
   particularly unwise behavior admits a handful of UDP packets and then
   makes a decision to whether or not filter later packets in the same
   connection.  QUIC applications are encouraged to fall back to TCP if
   early packets do not arrive at their destination
   [QUIC-APPLICABILITY], as QUIC is based on UDP and there are known
   blocks of UDP traffic (see Section 4.6).  Admitting a few packets
   allows the QUIC endpoint to determine that the path accepts QUIC.
   Sudden drops afterwards will result in slow and costly timeouts
   before abandoning the connection.

4.6.  UDP Blocking, Throttling, and NAT Binding

   Today, UDP is the most prevalent DDoS vector, since it is easy for
   compromised non-admin applications to send a flood of large UDP
   packets (while with TCP the attacker gets throttled by the congestion
   controller) or to craft reflection and amplification attacks;
   therefore, some networks block UDP traffic.  With increased
   deployment of QUIC, there is also an increased need to allow UDP
   traffic on ports used for QUIC.  However, if UDP is generally enabled
   on these ports, UDP flood attacks may also use the same ports.  One
   possible response to this threat is to throttle UDP traffic on the
   network, allocating a fixed portion of the network capacity to UDP
   and blocking UDP datagrams over that cap.  As the portion of QUIC
   traffic compared to TCP is also expected to increase over time, using
   such a limit is not recommended; if this is done, limits might need
   to be adapted dynamically.

   Further, if UDP traffic is desired to be throttled, it is recommended
   to block individual QUIC flows entirely rather than dropping packets
   indiscriminately.  When the handshake is blocked, QUIC-capable
   applications may fall back to TCP.  However, blocking a random
   fraction of QUIC packets across 4-tuples will allow many QUIC
   handshakes to complete, preventing TCP fallback, but these
   connections will suffer from severe packet loss (see also
   Section 4.5).  Therefore, UDP throttling should be realized by per-
   flow policing as opposed to per-packet policing.  Note that this per-
   flow policing should be stateless to avoid problems with stateful
   treatment of QUIC flows (see Section 4.2), for example, blocking a
   portion of the space of values of a hash function over the addresses
   and ports in the UDP datagram.  While QUIC endpoints are often able
   to survive address changes, e.g., by NAT rebindings, blocking a
   portion of the traffic based on 5-tuple hashing increases the risk of
   black-holing an active connection when the address changes.

   Note that some source ports are assumed to be reflection attack
   vectors by some servers; see Section 8.1 of [QUIC-APPLICABILITY].  As
   a result, NAT binding to these source ports can result in that
   traffic being blocked.

4.7.  DDoS Detection and Mitigation

   On-path observation of the transport headers of packets can be used
   for various security functions.  For example, Denial of Service (DoS)
   and Distributed DoS (DDoS) attacks against the infrastructure or
   against an endpoint can be detected and mitigated by characterizing
   anomalous traffic.  Other uses include support for security audits
   (e.g., verifying the compliance with cipher suites), client and
   application fingerprinting for inventory, and providing alerts for
   network intrusion detection and other next-generation firewall

   Current practices in detection and mitigation of DDoS attacks
   generally involve classification of incoming traffic (as packets,
   flows, or some other aggregate) into "good" (productive) and "bad"
   (DDoS) traffic, and then differential treatment of this traffic to
   forward only good traffic.  This operation is often done in a
   separate specialized mitigation environment through which all traffic
   is filtered; a generalized architecture for separation of concerns in
   mitigation is given in [DOTS-ARCH].

   Efficient classification of this DDoS traffic in the mitigation
   environment is key to the success of this approach.  Limited first
   packet garbage detection as in Section 3.1.2 and stateful tracking of
   QUIC traffic as mentioned in Section 4.2 above may be useful during

   Note that using a connection ID to support connection migration
   renders 5-tuple-based filtering insufficient to detect active flows
   and requires more state to be maintained by DDoS defense systems if
   support of migration of QUIC flows is desired.  For the common case
   of NAT rebinding, where the client's address changes without the
   client's intent or knowledge, DDoS defense systems can detect a
   change in the client's endpoint address by linking flows based on the
   server's connection IDs.  However, QUIC's linkability resistance
   ensures that a deliberate connection migration is accompanied by a
   change in the connection ID.  In this case, the connection ID cannot
   be used to distinguish valid, active traffic from new attack traffic.

   It is also possible for endpoints to directly support security
   functions such as DoS classification and mitigation.  Endpoints can
   cooperate with an in-network device directly by e.g., sharing
   information about connection IDs.

   Another potential method could use an on-path network device that
   relies on pattern inferences in the traffic and heuristics or machine
   learning instead of processing observed header information.

   However, it is questionable whether connection migrations must be
   supported during a DDoS attack.  While unintended migration without a
   connection ID change can be supported much easier, it might be
   acceptable to not support migrations of active QUIC connections that
   are not visible to the network functions performing the DDoS
   detection.  As soon as the connection blocking is detected by the
   client, the client may be able to rely on the 0-RTT data mechanism
   provided by QUIC.  When clients migrate to a new path, they should be
   prepared for the migration to fail and attempt to reconnect quickly.

   Beyond in-network DDoS protection mechanisms, TCP SYN cookies
   [RFC4987] are a well-established method of mitigating some kinds of
   TCP DDoS attacks.  QUIC Retry packets are the functional analogue to
   SYN cookies, forcing clients to prove possession of their IP address
   before committing server state.  However, there are safeguards in
   QUIC against unsolicited injection of these packets by intermediaries
   who do not have consent of the end server.  See [QUIC-RETRY] for
   standard ways for intermediaries to send Retry packets on behalf of
   consenting servers.

4.8.  Quality of Service Handling and ECMP Routing

   It is expected that any QoS handling in the network, e.g., based on
   use of Diffserv Code Points (DSCPs) [RFC2475] as well as Equal-Cost
   Multi-Path (ECMP) routing, is applied on a per-flow basis (and not
   per-packet) and as such that all packets belonging to the same active
   QUIC connection get uniform treatment.

   Using ECMP to distribute packets from a single flow across multiple
   network paths or any other nonuniform treatment of packets belong to
   the same connection could result in variations in order, delivery
   rate, and drop rate.  As feedback about loss or delay of each packet
   is used as input to the congestion controller, these variations could
   adversely affect performance.  Depending on the loss recovery
   mechanism that is implemented, QUIC may be more tolerant of packet
   reordering than typical TCP traffic (see Section 2.7).  However, the
   recovery mechanism used by a flow cannot be known by the network and
   therefore reordering tolerance should be considered as unknown.

   Note that the 5-tuple of a QUIC connection can change due to
   migration.  In this case different flows are observed by the path and
   may be treated differently, as congestion control is usually reset on
   migration (see also Section 3.5).

4.9.  Handling ICMP Messages

   Datagram Packetization Layer PMTU Discovery (DPLPMTUD) can be used by
   QUIC to probe for the supported PMTU.  DPLPMTUD optionally uses ICMP
   messages (e.g., IPv6 Packet Too Big (PTB) messages).  Given known
   attacks with the use of ICMP messages, the use of DPLPMTUD in QUIC
   has been designed to safely use but not rely on receiving ICMP
   feedback (see Section 14.2.1 of [QUIC-TRANSPORT]).

   Networks are recommended to forward these ICMP messages and retain as
   much of the original packet as possible without exceeding the minimum
   MTU for the IP version when generating ICMP messages as recommended
   in [RFC1812] and [RFC4443].

4.10.  Guiding Path MTU

   Some network segments support 1500-byte packets, but can only do so
   by fragmenting at a lower layer before traversing a network segment
   with a smaller MTU, and then reassembling within the network segment.
   This is permissible even when the IP layer is IPv6 or IPv4 with the
   Don't Fragment (DF) bit set, because fragmentation occurs below the
   IP layer.  However, this process can add to compute and memory costs,
   leading to a bottleneck that limits network capacity.  In such
   networks, this generates a desire to influence a majority of senders
   to use smaller packets to avoid exceeding limited reassembly

   For TCP, Maximum Segment Size (MSS) clamping (Section 3.2 of
   [RFC4459]) is often used to change the sender's TCP maximum segment
   size, but QUIC requires a different approach.  Section 14 of
   [QUIC-TRANSPORT] advises senders to probe larger sizes using DPLPMTUD
   [DPLPMTUD] or Path Maximum Transmission Unit Discovery (PMTUD)
   [RFC1191] [RFC8201].  This mechanism encourages senders to approach
   the maximum packet size, which could then cause fragmentation within
   a network segment of which they may not be aware.

   If path performance is limited when forwarding larger packets, an on-
   path device should support a maximum packet size for a specific
   transport flow and then consistently drop all packets that exceed the
   configured size when the inner IPv4 packet has DF set or IPv6 is

   Networks with configurations that would lead to fragmentation of
   large packets within a network segment should drop such packets
   rather than fragmenting them.  Network operators who plan to
   implement a more selective policy may start by focusing on QUIC.

   QUIC flows cannot always be easily distinguished from other UDP
   traffic, but we assume at least some portion of QUIC traffic can be
   identified (see Section 3.1).  For networks supporting QUIC, it is
   recommended that a path drops any packet larger than the
   fragmentation size.  When a QUIC endpoint uses DPLPMTUD, it will use
   a QUIC probe packet to discover the PMTU.  If this probe is lost, it
   will not impact the flow of QUIC data.

   IPv4 routers generate an ICMP message when a packet is dropped
   because the link MTU was exceeded.  [RFC8504] specifies how an IPv6
   node generates an ICMPv6 PTB in this case.  PMTUD relies upon an
   endpoint receiving such PTB messages [RFC8201], whereas DPLPMTUD does
   not reply upon these messages, but can still optionally use these to
   improve performance Section 4.6 of [DPLPMTUD].

   A network cannot know in advance which discovery method is used by a
   QUIC endpoint, so it should send a PTB message in addition to
   dropping an oversized packet.  A generated PTB message should be
   compliant with the validation requirements of Section 14.2.1 of
   [QUIC-TRANSPORT], otherwise it will be ignored for PMTU discovery.
   This provides a signal to the endpoint to prevent the packet size
   from growing too large, which can entirely avoid network segment
   fragmentation for that flow.

   Endpoints can cache PMTU information in the IP-layer cache.  This
   short-term consistency between the PMTU for flows can help avoid an
   endpoint using a PMTU that is inefficient.  The IP cache can also
   influence the PMTU value of other IP flows that use the same path
   [RFC8201] [DPLPMTUD], including IP packets carrying protocols other
   than QUIC.  The representation of an IP path is implementation
   specific [RFC8201].

5.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no actions for IANA.

6.  Security Considerations

   QUIC is an encrypted and authenticated transport.  That means once
   the cryptographic handshake is complete, QUIC endpoints discard most
   packets that are not authenticated, greatly limiting the ability of
   an attacker to interfere with existing connections.

   However, some information is still observable as supporting
   manageability of QUIC traffic inherently involves trade-offs with the
   confidentiality of QUIC's control information; this entire document
   is therefore security-relevant.

   More security considerations for QUIC are discussed in
   [QUIC-TRANSPORT] and [QUIC-TLS], which generally consider active or
   passive attackers in the network as well as attacks on specific QUIC

   Version Negotiation packets do not contain any mechanism to prevent
   version downgrade attacks.  However, future versions of QUIC that use
   Version Negotiation packets are required to define a mechanism that
   is robust against version downgrade attacks.  Therefore, a network
   node should not attempt to impact version selection, as version
   downgrade may result in connection failure.

7.  References

7.1.  Normative References

   [QUIC-TLS] Thomson, M., Ed. and S. Turner, Ed., "Using TLS to Secure
              QUIC", RFC 9001, DOI 10.17487/RFC9001, May 2021,

              Iyengar, J., Ed. and M. Thomson, Ed., "QUIC: A UDP-Based
              Multiplexed and Secure Transport", RFC 9000,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC9000, May 2021,

7.2.  Informative References

              Mortensen, A., Ed., Reddy.K, T., Ed., Andreasen, F.,
              Teague, N., and R. Compton, "DDoS Open Threat Signaling
              (DOTS) Architecture", RFC 8811, DOI 10.17487/RFC8811,
              August 2020, <>.

   [DPLPMTUD] Fairhurst, G., Jones, T., Tüxen, M., Rüngeler, I., and T.
              Völker, "Packetization Layer Path MTU Discovery for
              Datagram Transports", RFC 8899, DOI 10.17487/RFC8899,
              September 2020, <>.

   [IPIM]     Allman, M., Beverly, R., and B. Trammell, "Principles for
              Measurability in Protocol Design", 9 December 2016,

              Kühlewind, M. and B. Trammell, "Applicability of the QUIC
              Transport Protocol", RFC 9308, DOI 10.17487/RFC9308,
              September 2022, <>.

              Thomson, M., "Greasing the QUIC Bit", RFC 9287,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC9287, August 2022,

              Bishop, M., Ed., "HTTP/3", RFC 9114, DOI 10.17487/RFC9114,
              June 2022, <>.

              Thomson, M., "Version-Independent Properties of QUIC",
              RFC 8999, DOI 10.17487/RFC8999, May 2021,

   [QUIC-LB]  Duke, M., Banks, N., and C. Huitema, "QUIC-LB: Generating
              Routable QUIC Connection IDs", Work in Progress, Internet-
              Draft, draft-ietf-quic-load-balancers-14, 11 July 2022,

              Iyengar, J., Ed. and I. Swett, Ed., "QUIC Loss Detection
              and Congestion Control", RFC 9002, DOI 10.17487/RFC9002,
              May 2021, <>.

              Duke, M. and N. Banks, "QUIC Retry Offload", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-quic-retry-offload-
              00, 25 May 2022, <

              Roskind, J., "QUIC", IETF-88 TSV Area Presentation, 7
              November 2013,

              Schinazi, D. and E. Rescorla, "Compatible Version
              Negotiation for QUIC", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft,
              draft-ietf-quic-version-negotiation-10, 27 September 2022,

   [RFC1191]  Mogul, J. and S. Deering, "Path MTU discovery", RFC 1191,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC1191, November 1990,

   [RFC1812]  Baker, F., Ed., "Requirements for IP Version 4 Routers",
              RFC 1812, DOI 10.17487/RFC1812, June 1995,

   [RFC2475]  Blake, S., Black, D., Carlson, M., Davies, E., Wang, Z.,
              and W. Weiss, "An Architecture for Differentiated
              Services", RFC 2475, DOI 10.17487/RFC2475, December 1998,

   [RFC3168]  Ramakrishnan, K., Floyd, S., and D. Black, "The Addition
              of Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) to IP",
              RFC 3168, DOI 10.17487/RFC3168, September 2001,

   [RFC3449]  Balakrishnan, H., Padmanabhan, V., Fairhurst, G., and M.
              Sooriyabandara, "TCP Performance Implications of Network
              Path Asymmetry", BCP 69, RFC 3449, DOI 10.17487/RFC3449,
              December 2002, <>.

   [RFC4443]  Conta, A., Deering, S., and M. Gupta, Ed., "Internet
              Control Message Protocol (ICMPv6) for the Internet
              Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) Specification", STD 89,
              RFC 4443, DOI 10.17487/RFC4443, March 2006,

   [RFC4459]  Savola, P., "MTU and Fragmentation Issues with In-the-
              Network Tunneling", RFC 4459, DOI 10.17487/RFC4459, April
              2006, <>.

   [RFC4787]  Audet, F., Ed. and C. Jennings, "Network Address
              Translation (NAT) Behavioral Requirements for Unicast
              UDP", BCP 127, RFC 4787, DOI 10.17487/RFC4787, January
              2007, <>.

   [RFC4987]  Eddy, W., "TCP SYN Flooding Attacks and Common
              Mitigations", RFC 4987, DOI 10.17487/RFC4987, August 2007,

   [RFC5382]  Guha, S., Ed., Biswas, K., Ford, B., Sivakumar, S., and P.
              Srisuresh, "NAT Behavioral Requirements for TCP", BCP 142,
              RFC 5382, DOI 10.17487/RFC5382, October 2008,

   [RFC6066]  Eastlake 3rd, D., "Transport Layer Security (TLS)
              Extensions: Extension Definitions", RFC 6066,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6066, January 2011,

   [RFC7301]  Friedl, S., Popov, A., Langley, A., and E. Stephan,
              "Transport Layer Security (TLS) Application-Layer Protocol
              Negotiation Extension", RFC 7301, DOI 10.17487/RFC7301,
              July 2014, <>.

   [RFC7605]  Touch, J., "Recommendations on Using Assigned Transport
              Port Numbers", BCP 165, RFC 7605, DOI 10.17487/RFC7605,
              August 2015, <>.

   [RFC7801]  Dolmatov, V., Ed., "GOST R 34.12-2015: Block Cipher
              "Kuznyechik"", RFC 7801, DOI 10.17487/RFC7801, March 2016,

   [RFC7838]  Nottingham, M., McManus, P., and J. Reschke, "HTTP
              Alternative Services", RFC 7838, DOI 10.17487/RFC7838,
              April 2016, <>.

   [RFC7983]  Petit-Huguenin, M. and G. Salgueiro, "Multiplexing Scheme
              Updates for Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP)
              Extension for Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS)",
              RFC 7983, DOI 10.17487/RFC7983, September 2016,

   [RFC8201]  McCann, J., Deering, S., Mogul, J., and R. Hinden, Ed.,
              "Path MTU Discovery for IP version 6", STD 87, RFC 8201,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8201, July 2017,

   [RFC8504]  Chown, T., Loughney, J., and T. Winters, "IPv6 Node
              Requirements", BCP 220, RFC 8504, DOI 10.17487/RFC8504,
              January 2019, <>.

   [RFC9065]  Fairhurst, G. and C. Perkins, "Considerations around
              Transport Header Confidentiality, Network Operations, and
              the Evolution of Internet Transport Protocols", RFC 9065,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC9065, July 2021,

   [RFC9250]  Huitema, C., Dickinson, S., and A. Mankin, "DNS over
              Dedicated QUIC Connections", RFC 9250,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC9250, May 2022,

   [TLS-ECH]  Rescorla, E., Oku, K., Sullivan, N., and C. A. Wood, "TLS
              Encrypted Client Hello", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft,
              draft-ietf-tls-esni-14, 13 February 2022,

   [TMA-QOF]  Trammell, B., Gugelmann, D., and N. Brownlee, "Inline Data
              Integrity Signals for Passive Measurement", Traffic
              Measurement and Analysis, TMA 2014, Lecture Notes in
              Computer Science, vol. 8406, pp. 15-25,
              DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-54999-1_2, April 2014,

              Trammell, B. and M. Kuehlewind, "The Wire Image of a
              Network Protocol", RFC 8546, DOI 10.17487/RFC8546, April
              2019, <>.


   Special thanks to last call reviewers Elwyn Davies, Barry Leiba, Al
   Morton, and Peter Saint-Andre.

   This work was partially supported by the European Commission under
   Horizon 2020 grant agreement no. 688421 Measurement and Architecture
   for a Middleboxed Internet (MAMI), and by the Swiss State Secretariat
   for Education, Research, and Innovation under contract no. 15.0268.
   This support does not imply endorsement.


   The following people have contributed significant text to and/or
   feedback on this document:

   Chris Box

   Dan Druta

   David Schinazi

   Gorry Fairhurst

   Ian Swett

   Igor Lubashev

   Jana Iyengar

   Jared Mauch

   Lars Eggert

   Lucas Purdue

   Marcus Ihlar

   Mark Nottingham

   Martin Duke

   Martin Thomson

   Matt Joras

   Mike Bishop

   Nick Banks

   Thomas Fossati

   Sean Turner

Authors' Addresses

   Mirja Kühlewind

   Brian Trammell
   Google Switzerland GmbH
   Gustav-Gull-Platz 1
   CH-8004 Zurich