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IPv6 Flow Label Specification (RFC3697)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000022239D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Mar-02
Document File: 10 page(s) / 21K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

J. Rajahalme: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

This document specifies the IPv6 Flow Label field and the minimum requirements for IPv6 source nodes labeling flows, IPv6 nodes forwarding labeled packets, and flow state establishment methods. Even when mentioned as examples of possible uses of the flow labeling, more detailed requirements for specific use cases are out of scope for this document.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 18% of the total text.

Network Working Group J. Rajahalme

Request for Comments: 3697 Nokia

Category: Standards Track A. Conta

Transwitch

B. Carpenter

IBM

S. Deering

Cisco

March 2004

IPv6 Flow Label Specification

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 (2004). All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

This document specifies the IPv6 Flow Label field and the minimum

requirements for IPv6 source nodes labeling flows, IPv6 nodes

forwarding labeled packets, and flow state establishment methods.

Even when mentioned as examples of possible uses of the flow

labeling, more detailed requirements for specific use cases are out

of scope for this document.

The usage of the Flow Label field enables efficient IPv6 flow

classification based only on IPv6 main header fields in fixed

positions.

1. Introduction

A flow is a sequence of packets sent from a particular source to a

particular unicast, anycast, or multicast destination that the source

desires to label as a flow. A flow could consist of all packets in a

specific transport connection or a media stream. However, a flow is

not necessarily 1:1 mapped to a transport connection.

Rajahalme, et al. Standards Track [Page 1]

RFC 3697 IPv6 Flow Label Specification March 2004

Traditionally, flow classifiers have been based on the 5-tuple of the

source and destination addresses, ports, and the transport protocol

type. However, some of these fields may be unavailable due to either

fragmentation or encryption, or locating them past a chain of IPv6

option headers may be inefficient. Additionally, if classifiers

depend only on IP layer headers, later introduction of alternative

transport layer protocols will be easier.

The usage of the 3-tuple of the Flow Label and the Source and

Destination Address fields enables efficient IPv6 flow

classification, where only IPv6 main header fields in fixed positions

are used.

The minimum level of IPv6 flow support consists of labeling the

flows. IPv6 source nodes supporting the flow labeling MUST be able

to label known flows (e.g., TCP connections, application streams),

even if the node itself would not require any flow-specific

treatment. Doing this enables load spreading and receiver oriented

resource reservations, for example. Node requirements for flow

labeling are given in section 3.

Specific flow state establishment methods and the related service

models are out of scope for this specification, but the generic

requirements enabling co-existence of different methods in IPv6 nodes

are set forth in section 4. The associated scaling characteristics

(such as nodes involved in state establishment, amount of state

maintained by them, and state growth funct...