Network Working Group F. Templin, Ed.
Internet-Draft Boeing Research & Technology
Intended status: Informational September 6, 2017
Expires: March 10, 2018

IPv6 Prefix Delegation for End Systems


IPv6 prefixes are typically delegated to requesting routers which then use them to number their downstream-attached links and networks. This document considers the case when the "requesting router" is actually an end system which receives a delegated prefix that it can use for its own sub-delegation and/or multi-addressing purposes.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

IPv6 Prefix Delegation (PD) entails 1) the communication of a prefix from a delegating router to a requesting router, 2) a representation of the prefix in the delegating router's routing table, and 3) a control messaging service to maintain delegated prefix lifetimes. Following delegation, the prefix is available for the requesting router's exclusive use and is not shared with any other nodes. An example IPv6 PD service is DHCPv6 PD [RFC3315][RFC3633].

This document considers the case when the "requesting router" is actually an end system (ES) that can act as a router on behalf of its downstream networks and/or as a host on behalf of its local applications. The following paragraphs present possibilities for ES behavior upon receipt of a delegated prefix.

For ESes that connect downstream-attached ("tethered") networks, a Delegating Router 'D' delegates a prefix 'P' to a Requesting ES 'R'' as shown in Figure 1:

                     |Delegating Router 'D'|
                     |   (Delegate 'P')    |
                                | Upstream Interface
                     |    (Receive 'P')    |
                     |  Requesting ES 'R'  |
                                | Downstream Interface
         |             |             |               |
    +---++-+--+   +---++-+--+   +---++-+--+     +---++-+--+
    |   |A1|  |   |   |A2|  |   |   |A3|  |     |   |An|  |
    |   +--+  |   |   +--+  |   |   +--+  |     |   +--+  |
    | Host H1 |   | Host H2 |   | Host H3 | ... | Host Hn |
    +---------+   +---------+   +---------+     +---------+

Figure 1: Tethered End System Model

[RFC4862]. 'R' then acts as a router between hosts 'H(i)' and correspondents reachable via the upstream interface.

This document also considers the case when 'R' does not have any downstream interfaces, and can use 'P' solely for its own internal addressing purposes. In that case, 'R' assigns 'P' to a virtual interface (e.g., a loopback) so that unused portions of the prefix will be unreachable.

'R' can then function under the weak end system model [RFC1122] by assigning addresses taken from 'P' to virtual interfaces (e.g., a loopback) as shown in Figure 2:

                     |Delegating Router 'D'|
                     |   (Delegate 'P')    |
                                | Upstream Interface
                     |    (Receive 'P')    |
                     |  Requesting ES 'R'  |
                     | Loopback Interface  |
                     |A1| |A2| |A3| ... |An| 

Figure 2: Weak End System Model

'R' could instead function under the strong end system model [RFC1122] by assigning IPv6 addresses taken from 'P' to the upstream interface as shown in Figure 3:

                     |Delegating Router 'D'|
                     |   (Delegate 'P')    |
                                | Upstream Interface
                     |A1| |A2| |A3| ... |An|
                     +--+ +--+ +--+     +--+
                     |    (Receive 'P')    |
                     |  Requesting ES 'R'  |

Figure 3: Strong End System Model

The following sections present multi-addressing considerations for ESes that employ prefix delegation mechanisms.

2. Terminology

The terminology of the normative references apply. The following terms are defined for the purposes of this document:


a device that observes IPv6 node requirements [RFC6434].
End System (ES)

an IPv6 node that is capable of acting as a host from the perspective of local applications and as a router from the perspective of IPv6 ND and IPv6 prefix delegation. The ES may also have an embedded gateway function as described in [RFC1122].
shared prefix

an IPv6 prefix that may be advertised to more than one node on the same link, e.g., in a Router Advertisement (RA) message Prefix Information Option (PIO) [RFC4861].
individual prefix

an IPv6 prefix that is advertised to exactly one node on the link, e.g., in a unicast RA message PIO. (However, the node may have no way of knowing that the prefix is an individual prefix and not a shared one.)
delegated prefix

a prefix that is exclusively delegated to a requesting node for provisioning on its downstream links.

3. Multi-Addressing Considerations

IPv6 allows nodes to assign multiple addresses to a single interface. [RFC7934] discusses options for multi-addressing as well as use cases where multi-addressing may be desirable. Address configuration options for multi-addressing include SLAAC [RFC4862], stateful DHCPv6 address configuration [RFC3315] and any other address formation methods (e.g., manual configuration).

ESes that use SLAAC and/or DHCPv6 address configuration configure addresses from a shared or individual prefix and assign them to the upstream interface. When it assigns the addresses, the ES is required to use Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) to join the appropriate solicited-node multicast group(s) and to use the Duplicate Address Detection (DAD) algorithm [RFC4862] to ensure that no other node configures a duplicate address.

In contrast, an ES that uses address configuration from a delegated prefix can assign addresses without invoking MLD/DAD on the upstream interface, since the prefix has been delegated to the ES for its own exclusive use and is not shared with any other nodes.

4. Multi-Addressing Alternatives for Delegated Prefixes

When an ES receives a prefix delegation, it has many alternatives for the way in which it can provision the prefix. [RFC7278] discusses alternatives for provisioning a prefix obtained by a User Equipment (UE) device under the 3rd Generation Partnership Program (3GPP) service model. This document considers the more general case when the ES receives a prefix delegation in which the prefix is delegated for its own exclusive use.

When the ES receives the prefix, it can distribute the prefix to downstream interfaces and configure one or more addresses for itself on a downstream interface. The ES then acts as a router on behalf of its downstream-attached networks and configures a default route that points to a router via the upstream interface.

The ES could instead use the delegated prefix for its own multi-addressing purposes. In a first alternative, the ES can assign the prefix to a virtual interface (e.g., a loopback) and assign one or more addresses taken from the prefix to virtual interfaces. In that case, applications on the ES can use the assigned addresses according to the weak end system model.

In a second alternative, the ES can assign the prefix to a virtual interface and assign one or more addresses taken from the prefix to the upstream interface. In that case, applications on the ES can use the assigned addresses according to the strong end system model.

In both of these latter two cases, the ES acts as a host internally even though it behaves as a router from the standpoint of prefix delegation and neighbor discovery over the upstream interface. The ES can configure as many addresses for itself as it wants.

5. MLD/DAD Implications

When an ES configures addresses for itself using either SLAAC or DHCPv6 from a shared or individual prefix, the ES performs MLD/DAD by sending multicast messages over the upstream interface to test whether there is another node on the link that configures a duplicate address. When there are many such addresses and/or many such nodes, this could result in substantial multicast traffic that affects all nodes on the link.

When an ES configures addresses for itself from a delegated prefix, the ES can configure as many addresses as it wants but does not perform MLD/DAD for any of the addresses over the upstream interface. This means that the ES can assign arbitrarily many addresses without causing any multicast messaging over the upstream interface that could disturb other nodes.

6. IPv6 Neighbor Discovery Implications

The ES acts as a simple host to send Router Solicitation (RS) messages over the upstream interface (i.e., the same as described in Section 4.2 of [RFC7084]) but also sets the "Router" flag to TRUE in any Neighbor Advertisement messages it sends. This ensures that the "isRouter" flag in the neighbor cache entries of any neighbors remains TRUE.

The ES initially has only a default route pointing to a router via the upstream interface. This means that packets sent over the ES's upstream interface will initially go through a default router even if there is a better first-hop node on the link. In that case, a Redirect message can update the ES's neighbor cache, and future packets can take the more direct route without disturbing the default router. The Redirect can apply either to a singleton destination address, or to an entire destination prefix as described in [I-D.templin-6man-rio-redirect].

7. ICMPv6 Implications

The Internet Control Message Protocol for IPv6 (ICMPv6) includes a set of control message types [RFC4443] including Destination Unreachable (DU).

According to [RFC4443], routers SHOULD return DU messages (subject to rate limiting) with code 0 ("No route to destination") when a packet arrives for which there is no matching entry in the routing table, and with code 3 ("Address unreachable") when the IPv6 destination address cannot be resolved.

According to [RFC4443], hosts SHOULD return DU messages (subject to rate limiting) with code 3 to internal applications when the IPv6 destination address cannot be resolved, and with code 4 ("Port unreachable") if the IPv6 destination address is one of its own addresses but the transport protocol has no listener.

An ES that obtains and manages a prefix delegation per this document returns DU messages the same as described for both routers and hosts above.

8. IANA Considerations

This document introduces no IANA considerations.

9. Security Considerations

Security considerations are the same as specified for DHCPv6 Prefix Delegation in [RFC3633] and for IPv6 Neighbor Discovery in[RFC4861].

10. Acknowledgements

This work was motivated by recent discussions on the v6ops list. Mark Smith pointed out the need to consider MLD as well as DAD for the assignment of addresses to interfaces. Ricardo Pelaez-Negro, Edwin Cordeiro, Fred Baker, Naveen Lakshman and Ole Troan provided useful comments that have greatly improved the document.

11. References

11.1. Normative References

[RFC0791] Postel, J., "Internet Protocol", STD 5, RFC 791, DOI 10.17487/RFC0791, September 1981.
[RFC1122] Braden, R., "Requirements for Internet Hosts - Communication Layers", STD 3, RFC 1122, DOI 10.17487/RFC1122, October 1989.
[RFC2460] Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6) Specification", RFC 2460, DOI 10.17487/RFC2460, December 1998.
[RFC3315] Droms, R., Bound, J., Volz, B., Lemon, T., Perkins, C. and M. Carney, "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for IPv6 (DHCPv6)", RFC 3315, DOI 10.17487/RFC3315, July 2003.
[RFC3633] Troan, O. and R. Droms, "IPv6 Prefix Options for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) version 6", RFC 3633, DOI 10.17487/RFC3633, December 2003.
[RFC4443] Conta, A., Deering, S. and M. Gupta, "Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMPv6) for the Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) Specification", STD 89, RFC 4443, DOI 10.17487/RFC4443, March 2006.
[RFC4861] Narten, T., Nordmark, E., Simpson, W. and H. Soliman, "Neighbor Discovery for IP version 6 (IPv6)", RFC 4861, DOI 10.17487/RFC4861, September 2007.
[RFC4862] Thomson, S., Narten, T. and T. Jinmei, "IPv6 Stateless Address Autoconfiguration", RFC 4862, DOI 10.17487/RFC4862, September 2007.
[RFC6434] Jankiewicz, E., Loughney, J. and T. Narten, "IPv6 Node Requirements", RFC 6434, DOI 10.17487/RFC6434, December 2011.
[RFC7084] Singh, H., Beebee, W., Donley, C. and B. Stark, "Basic Requirements for IPv6 Customer Edge Routers", RFC 7084, DOI 10.17487/RFC7084, November 2013.
[RFC7278] Byrne, C., Drown, D. and A. Vizdal, "Extending an IPv6 /64 Prefix from a Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Mobile Interface to a LAN Link", RFC 7278, DOI 10.17487/RFC7278, June 2014.

11.2. Informative References

[I-D.templin-6man-rio-redirect] Templin, F. and j. woodyatt, "Route Information Options in IPv6 Neighbor Discovery", Internet-Draft draft-templin-6man-rio-redirect-04, August 2017.
[RFC7934] Colitti, L., Cerf, V., Cheshire, S. and D. Schinazi, "Host Address Availability Recommendations", BCP 204, RFC 7934, DOI 10.17487/RFC7934, July 2016.

Author's Address

Fred L. Templin (editor) Boeing Research & Technology P.O. Box 3707 Seattle, WA 98124 USA EMail: