North American Network Operators Group|
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Re: rfc1918 ignorant
RFC1918 is a wonderful document. It probably added 10-15 years to the lifespan of the IPv4 address space, made IP addressing much simpler for internal applications, and it's prevented a large number of problems like people randomly making up addresses for boxes they "know" that they'll "never" need to connect to the outside. But it's not perfect, and it makes a couple of assumptions that aren't correct, which lead to the kind of edge cases driving this discussion. 1 - RFC1918 refers to "hosts" having IP addresses. They don't. Hosts have interfaces, and interfaces have IP addresses. In some cases, hosts have multiple interfaces with different communication needs - firewalls and routers being prominent examples. (You could argue that the definition of "host" excludes routers, but one of the problems here is that routers not only have routing parts, they have host parts, e.g. the configuration and control and monitoring functions that may deny public access for security and anti-DOS reasons.) And some software isn't all that bright about picking which interface address to use for its responses. 2 - RFC1918 assumes that "communication" is bidirectional, and that communication needs are bidirectional. They're not always, particularly at the network layer as opposed to the transport layer. Sometimes you need to send but don't want to receive, and sometimes you want to accept packets from machines that you don't want to send packets to. Routers often need to send ICMP packets about "___ failed" to destinations that they don't need to accept packets from, such as traceroute and PMTU discovery responses - the source doesn't always need to be a routable address, though you could use a registered address and null-route any incoming packets to it if you wanted to help traceroute a bit. As a customer of an ISP, it's nice to be able to look at a traceroute and ask the help desk people why my packets from San Jose to San Francisco are going by way of Orlando, and to complain that the traceroute shows that orlando.routers.example.net is 250ms from San Jose, but I've also found that orlando.routers.example.net isn't always in Orlando, and that traceroute response times aren't always what they seem, and maybe that the 250ms doesn't mean either that Example.Net has a really slow route to Orlando or that the "Orlando" router is in Singapore; it may just be that they're using a Vendor X router which isn't good at pings when the CPU is busy (that's especially a problem for little DSL routers.) It's probably critical for connections between ISPs to have registered addresses that are used for traceroute responses, but I'm not convinced that routers internal to an ISP need to have globally unique addresses, as long as the ISP's operations folks can tell what interfaces are on what machines. Using RFC1918 space does mean that traceroutes either need to report numerical addresses or use the ISP's DNS server to resolve them, which isn't always practical, but that's not a big limitation. PathMTU Discovery is less of a perceived problem that traceroute, since usually anything that's broken will be broken on an edge router or tunnelling device of some sort rather than a core router, and core routers tend to all have the same values, but that still shouldn't force you to use registered address space.