The Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Session Initiation Protocol working group (P2PSIP WG) is chartered to develop protocols and mechanisms for the use of the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) in settings where the service of establishing and managing sessions is principally handled by a collection of intelligent endpoints, rather than centralized servers as in SIP as currently deployed. A number of cases where such an architecture is desirable have been documented.
The work focuses on collections of nodes called "P2PSIP peers" and "P2PSIP clients". P2PSIP peers manifest a distributed namespace in which overlay users are identified and provides mechanisms for locating users or resources within the P2PSIP overlay. P2PSIP clients differ from P2PSIP peers primarily in that they do not store information in the overlay, but only use it to locate users and resources. P2PSIP clients and peers use the resolution services of the peers as an alternative to the SIP discovery process of RFC 3263. In this way, P2PSIP offers an alternative mechanism for determining the correct destination for SIP requests. The working group's initial charter scope will be to produce protocols to enable this alternate mechanism for RFC 3263 functionality. Session management, messaging, and presence functions are performed using conventional SIP.
This group's primary tasks are to produce:
1. An overview document explaining concepts, terminology, rationale, and illustrative use cases for the remaining work.
2. A proposed standard defining a P2PSIP Peer Protocol. This protocol is used between P2PSIP overlay peers, some of which may be behind NATs. This protocol will define how the P2PSIP peers collectively provide for user and resource location in a SIP environment with no or minimal centralized servers. This protocol may or may not be syntactically based on SIP, a decision to be made by the WG. The group will identify and require one base P2P algorithm (likely a particular Distributed Hash Table (DHT) algorithm), while allowing for additional optional algorithms in the future.
3. Optionally, a proposed standard defining a P2PSIP Client Protocol for use by P2PSIP clients, some of which may be behind NATs. This protocol will define how the P2PSIP clients query and/or modify, the resource location information of the overlay. While clearly a logical subset of the P2PSIP Protocol, the WG will determine if the P2PSIP Client Protocol is a syntactic subset of the P2PSIP Peer Protocol, and whether the P2PSIP Client Protocol builds on the SIP protocol.
4. A usage document. This document will address how the protocols defined above, along with existing IETF protocols, can be used to produce systems to locate a P2PSIP peer or client, identify appropriate resources to facilitate communications (for example media relays), and establish communications between the users of these P2PSIP peers or clients, without relying on centralized servers. Additionally, the document will explain how P2PSIP and conventional SIP entities can interoperate.
The initial work will assume the existence of some enrollment process that provides a unique user name, credentials, and an initial set of bootstrap nodes if that is required by the protocols. Developing a non-centralized enrollment process is not in scope.
The work planned for the P2PSIP working group is distinct from, but requires close participation with other IETF WGs, particularly SIP, SIPPING, SIMPLE, BEHAVE and MMUSIC. The group cannot modify the baseline SIP behavior, define a new version of SIP, or attempt to produce a parallel protocol for session establishment. If the group determines that any capabilities requiring an extension to SIP are needed, the group will seek to define such extensions within the SIP working group using the SIP change process (RFC 3427). Similarly, existing tools developed in the BEHAVE and MMUSIC groups will be used for NAT traversal, with extensions or changes desired to support P2PSIP presented to the BEHAVE or MMUSIC working groups.
The working group will assume that NATs and firewalls exist in the Internet, and will ensure that the protocols produced work in their presence as much as possible. Similarly, the WG will avoid making protocol design decisions that would preclude the creation of anonymous communications systems using techniques such as onion routing to conceal the IP addresses of P2PSIP peers.
P2P networks pose unique security and privacy problems because an adversarial relationship may exist between nodes. Attackers can mount both integrity attacks on the stored data and denial of service attacks on the system as a whole. The WG will not attempt a solution to these issues for P2P networks in general. In order to simplify this problem, the WG will assume that all participants in the system are issued unique identities and credentials through some mechanism not in the scope of this working group, such as a centralized server, and that the data stored in the network will be authenticated by the storing entity in order to address the integrity issue and to some extent alleviate the DoS issue. Because signaling dialogs may be routed through intermediate P2PSIP peers which may be untrusted by the originating SIP UA, the WG will address the issue of establishing authenticated signaling dialogs through such untrusted relays.
P2P systems also have privacy issues because the nodes that store data objects and route requests are unrelated to the clients which want to communicate. In the design of the P2PSIP protocol, the WG will assess these privacy issues and determine to what extent they need to be alleviated. The protocol document will contain a complete description of the privacy properties of P2PSIP.
The following topics are excluded from the Working Group's scope:
1. Issues specific to applications other than locating users and resources for SIP-based communications and presence.
2. Solving "research" type questions related to P2PSIP or P2P in general. The WG will instead forward such work to the IRTF P2PRG or other RG as appropriate. Examples include fully distributed schemes for assuring unique user identities and the development of P2P-based replacements for DNS.
3. Locating resources based on something other than URIs. In other words, arbitrary search of attributes is out of scope, but locating resources based on their URIs is in scope. Using URIs need not imply using the DNS or having a record in the DNS for the URI.
4. Multicast and dynamic DNS based approaches as the core lookup mechanism for locating users and resources. Approaches based on these technologies may be reasonable ways to solve similar problems but that is not the focus of this WG. These techniques may be in-scope for locating bootstrap peers/servers or for interoperation with conventional SIP.
Submit P2PSIP Concepts document to the IESG (Informational)
Submit P2PSIP SIP Usage document to the IESG (PS)
Submit P2PSIP Service Discovery document to the IESG (PS)
Submit P2PSIP Self-Tuning document to the IESG (PS)
Submit P2PSIP Diagnostics document to the IESG (PS)
WGLC of P2PSIP SIP Usage document
WGLC of P2PSIP Concepts document
Submit -00 draft on Configuration of Access Control Policy in RELOAD
WGLC of P2PSIP Service Discovery document
WGLC of P2PSIP Self-Tuning document
Submit P2PSIP Peer Protocol document to the IESG (PS)