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An Experimental TCP Option for Host Identification (RFC7974) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000248037D
Original Publication Date: 2016-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2016-Oct-20
Document File: 40 page(s) / 48K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

B. Williams: AUTHOR [+2]


A broad range of issues associated with address sharing have been documented in [RFC6269] and [RFC7620]. In addition, [RFC6967] provides an analysis of various solutions to the problem of revealing the sending host's identifier (HOST_ID) information to the receiver, indicating that a solution using a TCP [RFC793] option for this purpose is among the possible approaches that could be applied with limited performance impact and a high success ratio. The purpose of this memo is to describe a TCP HOST_ID option that is currently deployed on the public Internet using the TCP experimental option codepoint, including discussion of related design, deployment, and privacy considerations.

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Independent Submission                                       B. Williams Request for Comments: 7974                                  Akamai, Inc. Category: Informational                                     M. Boucadair ISSN: 2070-1721                                                   Orange                                                                  D. Wing                                                             October 2016

            An Experimental TCP Option for Host Identification


   Recent RFCs have discussed issues with host identification in IP    address-sharing systems, such as address/prefix-sharing devices and    application-layer proxies.  Potential solutions for revealing a host    identifier in shared address deployments have also been discussed.    This memo describes the design, deployment, and privacy    considerations for one such solution in operational use on the    Internet today that uses a TCP option to transmit a host identifier.

Independent Submissions Editor Note

   This Informational document specifies an experimental TCP HOST_ID    option that is already fairly widely deployed.  It discusses that    option's privacy considerations in considerable detail and highlights    the care providers need to exercise in any actual deployment.  The    Independent Submissions Editor has chosen to publish this document in    the Independent Stream so that potential deployers and implementors    can understand all its details, so as to produce implementations that    will interwork properly with other (existing) deployments.


   This proposal was previously proposed for adoption by the TCPM

   working group and rejected as being an undesirable technical design

   for both transport and privacy reasons.  This document specifies a

   new TCP option that uses the shared experimental options format.  The

   use of experimental TCP options is specified in [RFC6994] for TCP

   options "that are not yet eligible for assigned codepoints".  As this

   proposal has been rejected by the IETF community, it is not eligible

   for the registration of a TCP option codepoint.  It should be further

   noted that for experimental TCP options, it "is only appropriate to

   use these values in explicitly-configured experiments; they MUST NOT

   be shipped as defaults in implementations" [RFC4727].  The IESG also

   carried out a review as described in [RFC5742] and concluded that

   this proposal violates IETF principles expressed in [RFC7258] about

   pervasive monitoring as an attack and should therefore not be

   published without IETF review and IESG...