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RFC 2996 - Format of the RSVP DCLASS Object


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Network Working Group                                         Y. Bernet
Request for Comments: 2996                                    Microsoft
Category: Standards Track                                 November 2000

                    Format of the RSVP DCLASS Object

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP) signaling may be used to request
   Quality of Service (QoS) services and enhance the manageability of
   application traffic's QoS in a differentiated service (diff-serv or
   DS) network.  When using RSVP with DS networks it is useful to be
   able to carry carry Differentiated Services Code Points (DSCPs) in
   RSVP message objects.  One example of this is the use of RSVP to
   arrange for the marking of packets with a particular DSCP upstream
   from the DS network's ingress point, at the sender or at a previous
   network's egress router.

   The DCLASS object is used to represent and carry DSCPs within RSVP
   messages.  This document specifies the format of the DCLASS object
   and briefly discusses its use.

1. Introduction

   This section describes the mechanics of using RSVP [RSVP] signaling
   and the DCLASS object for effecting admission control and applying
   QoS policy within a Differentiated Service network [DS].  It assumes
   standard RSVP senders and receivers, and a diff-serv network
   somewhere in the path between sender and receiver.  At least one RSVP
   aware network element resides in the diff-serv network.  This network
   element may be a policy enforcement point (PEP) [RAP] or may simply
   act as an admission control agent for the network, admitting or
   denying resource requests based on the availability of resources.  In
   either case, this network element interacts with RSVP messages
   arriving from outside the DS network, accepting resource requests

   from RSVP-aware senders and receivers, and conveying the DS network's
   admission control and resource allocation decisions to the higher-
   level RSVP.  The network element is typically a router and will be
   considered to be so for the purpose of this document.  This model is
   described fully in [INTDIFF].

1.1 Use of the DCLASS Object to Carry Upstream Packet Marking
   Information

   A principal usage of the DCLASS object is to carry DSCP information
   between a DS network and upstream nodes that may wish to mark packets
   with DSCP values.  Briefly, the sender composes a standard RSVP PATH
   message and sends it towards the receiver.  At some point the PATH
   message reaches the DS network.  The PATH message traverses one or
   more network elements that are PEPs and/or admission control agents
   for the diff-serv network.  These elements install appropriate state
   and forward the PATH message towards the receiver.  If admission
   control is successful downstream of the diff-serv network, then a
   RESV message will arrive from the direction of the receiver.  As this
   message arrives at the PEPs and/or admission control agents that are
   RSVP enabled, each of these network elements must make a decision
   regarding the admissibility of the signaled flow to the diff-serv
   network.

   If the network element determines that the request represented by the
   PATH and RESV messages is admissible to the diff-serv network, the
   appropriate diff-serv service level (or behavior aggregate) for the
   traffic represented in the RSVP request is determined.  Next, a
   decision is made to mark arriving data packets for this traffic
   locally using MF classification, or to request upstream marking of
   the packets with the appropriate DSCP(s).  This upstream marking
   could occur anywhere before the DS network's ingress point.  Two
   likely candidates are the originating sender and the egress boundary
   router of some upstream (DS or non-DS) network.  The decision about
   where the RSVP request's packets should be marked can be made by
   agreement or through a negotiation protocol; the details are outside
   the scope of this document.

   If the packets for this RSVP request are to be marked upstream,
   information about the DSCP(s) to use must be conveyed from the RSVP-
   aware network element to the upstream marking point.  This
   information is conveyed with the DCLASS object.  To do this, the
   network element adds a DCLASS object containing one or more DSCPs
   corresponding to the behavior aggregate, to the RESV message.  The
   RESV message is then sent upstream towards the RSVP sender.

   If the network element determines that the RSVP request is not
   admissible to the diff-serv network, it sends a RESV error message

   towards the receiver.  No DCLASS is required.

1.1 Additional Uses of the DCLASS Object

   The DCLASS object is intended to be a general tool for conveying DSCP
   information in RSVP messages.  This may be useful in a number of
   situations.  We give one further example here as motivation.

   In this example, we assume that the decision about the appropriate
   behavior aggregate for a RSVP-mediated traffic flow is made at the DS
   network egress router (or a related Policy Decision Point) by
   observing RSVP PATH and RESV messages and other necessary
   information.  However, the actual packet marking must be done at the
   ingress of the network. The DCLASS object can be used to carry the
   needed marking information between egress and ingress routers.

2. Format of the DCLASS Object

   The DCLASS object has the following format:

            0       |       1       |       2       |       3
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
    |      Length (>= 8)            |   C-Num (225) |      1        |
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
    |          Unused                               | 1st DSCP  |   |
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
    |          Unused                               | 2nd DSCP  |   |
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
    |          Unused                               | . . . .   |   |
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

   The first word contains the standard RSVP object header (the Class
   Num for the DCLASS object is 225).  The length field indicates the
   total object length in bytes.  The object header is followed by one
   or more 32-bit words, each containing a DSCP in the six high-order
   bits of the least significant byte.  The length field in the object
   header indicates the number of DSCPs included in the object.
   Specifically, the number of DCLASS objects present is equal to
   (Length - 4) / 4.

   The network may return multiple DSCPs in the DCLASS object in order
   to enable the host to discriminate sub-flows within a behavior
   aggregate. For example, in the case of the AF PHB group [AF], the
   network may return the DSCPs 001010, 001100, and 001110 corresponding
   to increasing levels of drop precedence within Class 1 of the AF PHB
   group.  Note that this document makes no statements regarding the
   significance of the order of the returned DSCPs.  Further
   interpretation of DSCP sets is dependent on the specific service

   requested by the host and is beyond the scope of this document.

   Note that the Class-Num for the DCLASS object is chosen from the
   space of unknown class objects that should be ignored and forwarded
   by nodes that do not recognize it.  This is to assure maximal
   backward compatibility.

3. Admission Control Functionality

   From a black-box perspective, admission control and policy
   functionality amounts to the decision whether to accept or reject a
   request and the determination of the DSCPs that should be used for
   the corresponding traffic.  The specific details of admission control
   are beyond the scope of this document.  In general the admission
   control decision is based both on resource availability and on
   policies regarding the use of resources in the diff-serv network.
   The admission control decision made by RSVP aware network elements
   represents both considerations.

   In order to decide whether the RSVP request is admissible in terms of
   resource availability, one or more network elements within or at the
   boundary of the diff-serv network must understand the impact that
   admission would have on specific diff-serv resources, as well as the
   availability of these resources along the relevant data path in the
   diff-serv network.

   In order to decide whether the RSVP request is admissible in terms of
   policy, the network element may use identity objects describing users
   and/or applications that may be included in the request.  The router
   may act as a PEP/PDP and use data from a policy database or directory
   to aid in this decision.

   See Appendix A for a simple mechanism for configurable resource based
   admission control.

4. Security Considerations

   The DCLASS object conveys information that can be used to request
   enhanced QoS from a DS network, so inappropriate modification of the
   object could allow traffic flows to obtain a higher or lower level of
   QoS than appropriate.  Particularly, modification of a DCLASS object
   by a third party inserted between the DS network ingress node and the
   upstream marker constitutes a possible denial of service attack.
   This attack is subtle because it is possible to reduce the received
   QoS to an unacceptably low level without completely cutting off data
   flow, making the attack harder to detect.

   The possibility of raising the received level of QoS by inappropriate

   modification of the DCLASS object is less significant because it a
   subclass of a larger class of attacks that must already be detected
   by the system.  Protection must already be in place to prevent a host
   raising its received level of QoS by simply guessing "good" DSCP's
   and marking packets accordingly.  If this protection is at the
   boundary of the DS network, it will detect inappropriate marking of
   arriving packets caused by modified DCLASS objects as well.  If,
   however, the protection function as well as the marking function has
   been pushed upstream (perhaps to a trusted third party or
   intermediate node), correct transmission of the DCLASS object must be
   ensured to prevent a possible theft of service attack.

   Simple observation of the DCLASS object in a RSVP message raises
   several issues which may be seen as security concerns.  Correlation
   of observed DCLASS object values with RSVP requests or MF
   classification parameters allows the observer to determine that
   different flows are receiving different levels of QoS, which may be
   knowledge that should be protected in some environments.  Similarly,
   observation of the DCLASS object can allow the observer to determine
   that a single flow's QoS has been promoted or demoted, which may
   signal significant events in the life of that flow's application or
   user.  Finally, observation of the DCLASS object may reveal
   information about the internal operations of a DS network that could
   be useful to observers interested in theft-of-services attacks.

5. References

   [INTDIFF]  Bernet, Y., Yavatkar, R., Ford, P., Baker, F., Zhang, L.,
              Speer, M., Braden, R., Davie, B. and J. Wroclawski, "A
              Framework for Integrated Services Operation over Diffserv
              Networks", RFC 2998, November 2000.

   [DS]       Blake, S., Carlson, M., Davies, D., Wang, Z. and W. Weiss,
              "An Architecture for Differentiated Services", RFC 2475,
              December 1998.

   [RSVP]     Braden, R., Zhang, L., Berson, S., Herzog, S. and S.
              Jamin, "Resource ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP) -- Version 1
              Functional Specification", RFC 2205, September 1997.

   [RAP]      Yavatkar, R., Pendarakis, D. and R. Guerin,  "A Framework
              for Policy Based Admission Control", RFC 2753, January
              2000.

   [AF]       Heinanen, J., Baker, F., Weiss, W. and J. Wroclawski,
              "Assured Forwarding PHB Group", RFC 2597, June 1999.

6. Acknowledgments

   Thanks to Fred Baker and Carol Iturralde for reviewing this document.
   Thanks to Ramesh Pabbati, Tim Moore, Bruce Davie and Kam Lee for
   input.

7. Author's Address

   Yoram Bernet
   Microsoft
   One Microsoft Way,
   Redmond, WA 98052

   Phone: (425) 936-9568
   EMail: yoramb@microsoft.com

Appendix A - Simple Configurable Resource Based Admission Control

   Routers may use quite sophisticated mechanisms in making the
   admission control decision, including policy considerations, various
   intra-domain signaling protocols, results of traffic monitoring and
   so on.  It is recommended that the following basic functionality be
   provided to enable simple resource based admission control in the
   absence of more sophisticated mechanisms.  This functionality can be
   used with configurable, standalone routers.  It applies to standard
   RSVP/Intserv requests.  This minimal functionality assumes only a
   single DSCP is included in the DCLASS object, but may readily be
   extended to support multiple DSCPs.

   It must be possible to configure two tables in the router.  These are
   described below.

A.1 Service Type to DSCP Mapping

   One table provides a mapping from the intserv service-type specified
   in the RSVP request to a DSCP that can be used to obtain a
   corresponding service in the diff-serv network.  This table contains
   a row for each intserv service type for which a mapping is available.
   Each row has the following format:

      Intserv service type : DSCP

   The table would typically contain at least three rows; one for
   Guaranteed service, one for Controlled Load service and one for Best-
   Effort service.  (The best-effort service will typically map to DSCP
   000000, but may be overridden).  It should be possible to add rows
   for as-yet-undefined service types.

   This table allows the network administrator to statically configure a
   DSCP that the router will return in the DCLASS object for an admitted
   RSVP request.  In general, more sophisticated and likely more dynamic
   mechanisms may be used to determine the DSCP to be returned in the
   DCLASS object.  Also, it is likely that a real mapping for some
   services would use more than one DSCP, with the DSCP depending on the
   invocation parameters of a specific service request.  In this case,
   these mechanisms may override or replace the static table based
   mapping described here.

A.2 Quantitative Resource Availability

   Standard intserv requests are quantitative in nature.  They include
   token bucket parameters describing the resources required by the
   traffic for which admission is requested.  The second table enables
   the network administrator to statically configure quantitative

   parameters to be used by the router when making an admission control
   decision for quantitative service requests.  Each row in this table
   has the following form:

      DSCP : Token bucket profile

   The first column specifies those DSCPs for which quantitative
   admission control is applied.  The second column specifies the token
   bucket parameters which represent the total resources available in
   the diff-serv network to accommodate traffic in the service class
   specified by the DSCP.

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   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000).  All Rights Reserved.

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Acknowledgement

   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

 

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