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NIST and SP800-119



On 2/16/11 10:57 PM, Joe Abley wrote:
> On 2011-02-16, at 02:44, Douglas Otis wrote:
>> Routers indicate local MTUs, but minimum MTUs are not assured to have 1280 octets when IPv4 translation is involved.
>> See Section 5 in rfc2460.
> I've heard that interpretation of 2460 before from Bill Manning, but I still don't see it myself. The text seems fairly clear that 1280 is the minimum MTU for any interface, regardless of the type of interface (tunnel, PPP, whatever). In particular,
>
>     Links that have a configurable MTU (for example, PPP links [RFC-
>     1661]) must be configured to have an MTU of at least 1280 octets; it
>     is recommended that they be configured with an MTU of 1500 octets or
>     greater, to accommodate possible encapsulations (i.e., tunneling)
>     without incurring IPv6-layer fragmentation.
>
> That same section indicates that pMTUd is strongly recommended in IPv6 rather than mandatory, but in the context of embedded devices that can avoid implementing pMTUd by never sending a packet larger than the minimum MTU. Such devices would break if there was an interface (of any kind) in the path with a sub-1280 MTU.
Bill makes a good point.  Ensuring a minimum MTU of 1280 octets over v6 
connections carrying protocol 41 will not allow subsequent v4 routers to 
fragment based upon discovered PMTUs.   This could influence maximum UDP 
packets from a DNS server for example, where path MTU discovery is 
impractical.  To be assured of continued operation for critical 
infrastructure, minimum MTUs of 1280 for v6 connections that might 
handle protocol 41 packets, becomes 1280 - 40 - 8 = 1232 or less as 
indicated in RFC2460.  As suggested, there might be another 18 octet 
header, like L2TP, where the maximum MTU safely assumed becomes 1214.

Perhaps IPv6 should have specified a required minimum of 1346 octets, 
where 1280 octets could be safely assumed available.  A SHOULD is not a 
MUST, but critical operations MUST be based upon the MUSTs.  How much 
longer will native v4 be carried over the Internet anyway? :^)

-Doug