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RFC 3004 - The User Class Option for DHCP

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Network Working Group                                           G. Stump
Request for Comments: 3004                                           IBM
Category: Standards Track                                       R. Droms
                                                           Cisco Systems
                                                                   Y. Gu
                                                          R. Vyaghrapuri
                                                            A. Demirtjis
                                                                B. Beser
                                        Pacific Broadband Communications
                                                               J. Privat
                                                          Northstream AB
                                                           November 2000

                     The User Class Option for DHCP

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.


   This option is used by a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
   client to optionally identify the type or category of user or
   applications it represents.  The information contained in this option
   is an opaque field that represents the user class of which the client
   is a member.  Based on this class, a DHCP server selects the
   appropriate address pool to assign an address to the client and the
   appropriate configuration parameters.  This option should be
   configurable by a user.

1. Introduction

   DHCP administrators may define specific user class identifiers to
   convey information about a client's software configuration or about
   its user's preferences.  For example, the User Class option can be
   used to configure all clients of people in the accounting department
   with a different printer than clients of people in the marketing

2. Requirements Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [3].

3. DHCP Terminology

   o "DHCP client"
     A DHCP client or "client" is an Internet host using DHCP to obtain
     configuration parameters such as a network address.

   o "DHCP server"
     A DHCP server or "server" is an Internet host that returns
     configuration parameters to DHCP clients.

   o "binding"
     A binding is a collection of configuration parameters, including at
     least an IP address, associated with or "bound to" a DHCP client.
     Bindings are managed by DHCP servers.

4. User Class option

   This option is used by a DHCP client to optionally identify the type
   or category of user or applications it represents.  A DHCP server
   uses the User Class option to choose the address pool it allocates an
   address from and/or to select any other configuration option.

   This option is a DHCP option [1, 2].

   This option MAY carry multiple User Classes.  Servers may interpret
   the meanings of multiple class specifications in an implementation
   dependent or configuration dependent manner, and so the use of
   multiple classes by a DHCP client should be based on the specific
   server implementation and configuration which will be used to process
   that User class option.

   The format of this option is as follows:

         Code   Len   Value
        +-----+-----+---------------------  . . .  --+
        | 77  |  N  | User Class Data ('Len' octets) |
        +-----+-----+---------------------  . . .  --+

   where Value consists of one or more instances of User Class Data.
   Each instance of User Class Data is formatted as follows:

         UC_Len_i     User_Class_Data_i
        +--------+------------------------  . . .  --+
        |  L_i   | Opaque-Data ('UC_Len_i' octets)   |
        +--------+------------------------  . . .  --+

   Each User Class value (User_Class_Data_i) is indicated as an opaque
   field.  The value in UC_Len_i does not include the length field
   itself and MUST be non-zero.  Let m be the number of User Classes
   carried in the option.  The length of the option as specified in Len
   must be the sum of the lengths of each of the class names plus m:
   Len= UC_Len_1 + UC_Len_2 + ... + UC_Len_m + m.  If any instances of
   User Class Data are present, the minimum value of Len is two (Len =
   UC_Len_1 + 1 = 1 + 1 = 2).

   The Code for this option is 77.

   A server that is not equipped to interpret any given user class
   specified by a client MUST ignore it (although it may be reported).
   If a server recognizes one or more user classes specified by the
   client, but does not recognize one or more other user classes
   specified by the client, the server MAY use the user classes it

   DHCP clients implementing this option SHOULD allow users to enter one
   or more user class values.

5. IANA Considerations

   Option 77, which IANA has already assigned for this purpose, should
   be used as the User Class Option for DHCP.

6. Security Considerations

   DHCP currently provides no authentication or security mechanisms.
   Potential exposures to attack are discussed is section 7 of the
   protocol specification [1].

   This lack of authentication mechanism means that a DHCP server cannot
   check if a client or user is authorized to use a given User Class.
   This introduces an obvious vulnerability when using the User Class
   option.  For example, if the User Class is used to give out a special
   parameter (e.g., a particular database server), there is no way to
   authenticate a client and it is therefore impossible to check if a
   client is authorized to use this parameter.

7. References

   [1] Droms, R., "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol", RFC 2131, March

   [2] Alexander, S. and R. Droms, "DHCP Options and BOOTP Vendor
       Extensions", RFC 2132, March 1997.

   [3] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
       Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

8. Acknowledgments

   This document is based on earlier drafts by Glenn Stump, Ralph Droms,
   Ye Gu, Ramesh Vyaghrapuri and Burcak Beser.  Thanks to Ted Lemon,
   Steve Gonczi, Kim Kinnear, Bernie Volz, Richard Jones, Barr Hibbs and
   Thomas Narten for their comments and suggestions.

9. Authors' Addresses

   Glenn Stump
   IBM Networking Software
   P.O. Box 12195
   RTP, NC 27709

   Phone: 919 301 4277
   EMail: stumpga@us.ibm.com

   Ralph Droms
   Cisco Systems
   300 Apollo Drive
   Chelmsford, MA 01824

   Phone: 978 244 4733
   EMail: rdroms@cisco.com

   Ye Gu
   Microsoft Corporation
   One Microsoft Way
   Redmond, WA 98052

   Phone: 425 936 8601
   EMail: yegu@microsoft.com

   Ramesh Vyaghrapuri
   Microsoft Corporation
   One Microsoft Way
   Redmond, WA 98052

   Phone: 425 703 9581
   EMail: rameshv@microsoft.com

   Burcak Beser
   Pacific Broadband Communications
   3103 North 1st Street
   San Jose, CA 95134

   Phone: 408 468 6265
   Email: Burcak@pacband.com

   Ann Demirtjis
   Microsoft Corporation
   One Microsoft Way
   Redmond WA 98052

   Phone: 425 705 2254
   EMail: annd@microsoft.com

   Jerome Privat
   Northstream AB
   Espace Beethoven 1
   1200 Route des Lucioles
   BP 302
   06906 Sophia Antipolis Cedex

   Phone: +33 4 97 23 40 45
   Fax: +33 4 97 23 24 51
   Mobile: +33 6 13 81 76 71
   Email: jerome.privat@northstream.se

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