draft-ietf-babel-applicability-02.txt   draft-ietf-babel-applicability-03.txt 
Network Working Group J. Chroboczek Network Working Group J. Chroboczek
Internet-Draft IRIF, University of Paris-Diderot Internet-Draft IRIF, University of Paris-Diderot
Intended status: Informational April 6, 2018 Intended status: Informational April 7, 2018
Expires: October 8, 2018 Expires: October 9, 2018
Applicability of the Babel routing protocol Applicability of the Babel routing protocol
draft-ietf-babel-applicability-02 draft-ietf-babel-applicability-03
Abstract Abstract
Where we argue that although OSPF and IS-IS are fine protocols, there Where we argue that, although OSPF and IS-IS are fine protocols,
exists a space where the Babel routing protocol (RFC 6126bis) can be there exists a space where the Babel routing protocol (RFC 6126bis)
useful. is useful.
Status of This Memo Status of This Memo
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Copyright Notice Copyright Notice
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Table of Contents Table of Contents
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1. Introduction and background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.1. Technical overview of the Babel protocol . . . . . . . . 2 1.1. Technical overview of the Babel protocol . . . . . . . . 2
1.2. Properties of the Babel protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2. Properties of the Babel protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.3. Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.1. Simplicity and implementability . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
2. Existing successful deployments of Babel . . . . . . . . . . 6 2.2. Robustness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
2.1. Hybrid networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2.3. Extensibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
2.2. Large scale overlay networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2.4. Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2.3. Pure mesh networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 3. Successful deployments of Babel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
2.4. Small unmanaged networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 3.1. Hybrid networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
3. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 3.2. Large scale overlay networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
4. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 3.3. Pure mesh networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
5. Informational References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 3.4. Small unmanaged networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 4. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
5. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
6. Informational References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1. Introduction 1. Introduction and background
Babel [RFC6126bis] is a routing protocol based on the familiar Babel [RFC6126bis] is a routing protocol based on the familiar
distance-vector algorithm (sometimes known as distributed Bellman- distance-vector algorithm (sometimes known as distributed Bellman-
Ford) augmented with mechanisms for loop avoidance (there is no Ford) augmented with mechanisms for loop avoidance (there is no
"counting to infinity") and starvation avoidance. In this document, "counting to infinity") and starvation avoidance. In this document,
we argue that there exist niches where Babel is useful and that are we argue that there exist niches where Babel is useful and that are
not adequately served by the mature, efficient and highly refined not adequately served by more mature protocols such as OSPF [RFC5340]
protocols that are usually deployed, such as OSPF [RFC5340] and IS-IS and IS-IS [RFC1195].
[RFC1195].
1.1. Technical overview of the Babel protocol 1.1. Technical overview of the Babel protocol
At its core, Babel is a traditional distance-vector protocol based on At its core, Babel is a traditional distance-vector protocol based on
the distributed Bellman-Ford algorithm, similar in principle to RIP the distributed Bellman-Ford algorithm, similar in principle to RIP
[RFC2453], but with two obvious extensions: provisions for explicit [RFC2453], but with two obvious extensions: provisions for sensing of
neighbour reachability, bidirectional reachability and link-quality neighbour reachability, bidirectional reachability and link quality,
sensing, and support for multiple address families (e.g., IPv6 and and support for multiple address families (e.g., IPv6 and IPv4) in a
IPv4) in a single protocol instance. single protocol instance.
Algorithms of this class are simple to understand and simple to Algorithms of this class are simple to understand and simple to
implement, but unfortunately they do not work very well -- they implement, but unfortunately they do not work very well -- they
suffer from "counting to infinity", a case of pathologically slow suffer from "counting to infinity", a case of pathologically slow
convergence in some topologies after a link has been brought down. convergence in some topologies after a link failure. Babel uses a
Babel uses a mechanism pioneered by EIGRP [DUAL] [RFC7868], known as mechanism pioneered by EIGRP [DUAL] [RFC7868], known as
"feasibility", which avoids routing loops and therefore makes "feasibility", which avoids routing loops and therefore makes
counting to infinity impossible. counting to infinity impossible.
Feasibility is a very conservative mechanism, one that not only Feasibility is a conservative mechanism, one that not only avoids all
rejects all looping routes, but also rejects some loop-free routes; looping routes but also rejects some loop-free routes. Thus, it can
it can easily lead to a situation known as starvation, where a router lead to a situation known as "starvation", where a router rejects all
rejects all routes to a given destination, even those that are loop- routes to a given destination, even those that are loop-free. In
free. In order to recover from starvation, Babel uses a mechanism order to recover from starvation, Babel uses a mechanism pioneered by
pioneered by DSDV [DSDV] and known as "sequenced routes". In Babel, DSDV [DSDV] and known as "sequenced routes". In Babel, this
this mechanism is generalised to deal with prefixes of arbitrary mechanism is generalised to deal with prefixes of arbitrary length
length and routes announced at multiple points in a single routing and routes announced at multiple points in a single routing domain
domain (DSDV was a pure mesh protocol, and did not need to deal with (DSDV was a pure mesh protocol, and only dealt with host routes).
such details).
The sequenced routes algorithm is slow to react to a starvation In DSDV, the sequenced routes algorithm is slow to react to a
episode. In Babel, starvation recovery is accelerated by using starvation episode. In Babel, starvation recovery is accelerated by
explicit requests (known as "seqno requests" in the protocol) to using explicit requests (known as "seqno requests" in the protocol)
signal a starvation episode and to cause a new sequenced route to be that signal a starvation episode and cause a new sequenced route to
propagated in the network. In the absence of packet loss, this be propagated in a timely manner. In the absence of packet loss,
mechanism is provably complete and clears the starvation in time this mechanism is provably complete and clears the starvation in time
proportional to the diameter of the network, at the cost of some proportional to the diameter of the network, at the cost of some
additional signalling traffic. additional signalling traffic.
1.2. Properties of the Babel protocol 2. Properties of the Babel protocol
In this section, we describe the properties of the Babel protocol as
well as its known limitations.
2.1. Simplicity and implementability
Babel is a conceptually simple protocol. It consists of a familiar
algorithm (distributed Bellman-Ford) augmented with three simple and
well-defined mechanisms (feasibility, sequenced routes and explicit
requests). Given a sufficiently friendly audience, the principles
behind Babel can be explained in 15 minutes, and a full description
of the protocol can be done in 52 minutes (one microcentury).
An important consequence is that Babel is easy to implement. While
Babel is a young protocol, there exist four independent
implementations, including one that was reportedly written and
debugged in just two nights.
2.2. Robustness
The fairly strong properties of the Babel protocol (convergence, loop The fairly strong properties of the Babel protocol (convergence, loop
avoidance, starvation avoidance) rely on some rather weak properties avoidance, starvation avoidance) rely on some rather weak properties
of the network and the metric being used. The most significant are: of the network and the metric being used. The most significant are:
o causality: a control message is not received before it has been o causality: a control message is not received before it has been
sent; sent (more precisely, the "happens-before" relation is acyclic);
o strict monotonicity of the metric: M < C + M; o strict monotonicity of the metric: M < C + M;
o left-distributivity of the metric: if M <= M', then o left-distributivity of the metric: if M <= M', then
C + M <= C + M'. C + M <= C + M'.
In particular, Babel does not assume a reliable transport, it does In particular, Babel does not assume a reliable transport, it does
not require an ordered transport, it does not require transitive not assume ordered delivery, it does not assume that communication is
communication, and it does not require that the metric be discrete transitive, and it does not require that the metric be discrete
(continuous metrics are possible, reflecting for example packet loss (continuous metrics are possible, reflecting for example packet loss
rates). This is in contrast to traditional link-state routing rates). This is in contrast to traditional link-state routing
protocols such as OSPF [RFC5340] or IS-IS [RFC1195] which are layered protocols such as OSPF [RFC5340] or IS-IS [RFC1195], which are
over a reliable flooding algorithm and make some rather strong layered over a reliable flooding algorithm and make stronger
requirements on the underlying network and metric. requirements on the underlying network and metric.
1.2.1. Simplicity and implementability These weak requirements make Babel a robust protocol:
Babel is a conceptually simple protocol. It consists of a familiar
algorithm (distributed Bellman-Ford) augmented with three simple and
well-defined mechanisms (feasibility, sequenced routes and explicit
requests). Given a sufficiently friendly audience, the principles
behind Babel can be explained in 15 minutes, and a full description
of the protocol can be done in 52 minutes (one microcentury).
An important consequence is that Babel is easy to implement. While
Babel is a young protocol, there already exist four independent
implementations, one of which was reportedly written and debugged in
just two nights.
1.2.2. Robustness
Babel's correctness depends on a small number of fairly weak and
reasonably obvious properties. This makes Babel in many ways a
robust protocol:
o robust with respect to bugs: unless you are very unlucky, an o robust with respect to bugs: an implementation bug does most
implementation bug does probably not violate the properties on probably not violate the properties on which Babel relies; in our
which Babel relies; in practice, implementation bugs tend to slow (extensive) experience, bugs tend to slow down convergence or
down convergence or cause sub-optimal routing, but do not cause cause sub-optimal routing, but do not cause the network to
the protocol to collapse; collapse;
o robust with respect to broken networks: a fragile network (non- o robust with respect to unusual networks: an unusual network (non-
transitive links, unstable links, etc.) does most probably not transitive links, unstable metrics, etc.) does most probably not
violate the assumptions of the protocol; violate the assumptions of the protocol;
o robust with respect to strange metrics: no matter how strange your o robust with respect to novel metrics: no matter how strange your
metric (continuous, constantly fluctuating, etc.), it does most metric (continuous, constantly fluctuating, etc.), it does most
probably not violate the assumptions of the protocol. probably not violate the assumptions of the protocol.
These robustness properties have important consequences for the These robustness properties have important consequences for the
applicability of the protocol: Babel works (more or less efficiently) applicability of the protocol: Babel works (more or less efficiently)
in a wide range of networks where traditional routing protocols give in a wide range of circumstances where traditional routing protocols
up. give up.
1.2.3. Extensibility 2.3. Extensibility
Babel's packet format has a number of features designed to make the Babel's packet format has a number of features that make the protocol
protocol extensible, and a number of extensions have been designed to extensible (see Appendix C of [RFC6126bis]), and a number of
make Babel work in situations that were not envisioned when the extensions have been designed to make Babel work better in situations
protocol was initially designed. This extensibility is not an that were not envisioned when the protocol was initially designed.
accident, but a consequence of the design of the protocol: it is easy The ease of extensibility is not an accident, but a consequence of
to check whether a given extension violates the assumptions made by the design of the protocol: it is reasonably easy to check whether a
the protocol. given extension violates the assumptions on which Babel relies.
Remarkably enough, all of the extensions designed to date Remarkably enough, all of the extensions designed to date
interoperate with the base protocol and with each other. Again, this interoperate with the base protocol and with each other. This,
is a consequence of the protocol design: in order to check the again, is a consequence of the protocol design: in order to check the
interoperability of two implementations of Babel, it is enough to interoperability of two implementations of Babel, it is enough to
verify that the interaction of the two does not violate the verify that the interaction of the two does not violate the
protocol's assumptions. protocol's assumptions.
Notable extensions deployed to date include: Notable extensions deployed to date include:
o source-specific routing (SADR) [BABEL-SS], which allows routing to o source-specific routing (SADR) [BABEL-SS] allows forwarding to
take a packet's source address into account, thus enabling a cheap take a packet's source address into account, thus enabling a cheap
form of multihoming; form of multihoming [SS-ROUTING];
o RTT-based routing [BABEL-RTT], which allows routing to minimise o RTT-based routing [BABEL-RTT] minimises link delay, which is
link delay, which is useful in overlay network (where both hop useful in overlay network (where both hop count and packet loss
count and packet loss are poor metrics). are poor metrics).
Some other extensions have been designed, but have not seen Some other extensions have been designed, but have not seen
deployment yet (and their usefulness is yet to be demonstrated): deployment yet (and their usefulness is yet to be demonstrated):
o frequency-aware routing [BABEL-Z], which allows routing to o frequency-aware routing [BABEL-Z] aims to minimise radio
minimise radio interference in wireless networks; interference in wireless networks;
o ToS-aware routing [BABEL-TOS], which allows routing to take a o ToS-aware routing [BABEL-TOS] allows routing to take a packet's
packet's ToS marking into account for selected routes without ToS marking into account for selected routes without incurring the
incurring the full cost of a multi-topology routing protocol. full cost of a multi-topology routing protocol.
1.3. Limitations 2.4. Limitations
Babel has some undesirable properties that make it suboptimal or even Babel has some undesirable properties that make it suboptimal or even
unusable in some deployments. unusable in some deployments.
1.3.1. Periodic updates 2.4.1. Periodic updates
The main mechanisms used by Babel to reconverge after a topology The main mechanisms used by Babel to reconverge after a topology
change are reactive: triggered updates, triggered retractions and change are reactive: triggered updates, triggered retractions and
explicit requests. However, in the presence of heavy packet loss, explicit requests. However, in the presence of heavy packet loss,
Babel relies on periodic updates to clear routing pathologies. This Babel relies on periodic updates to clear pathologies. This reliance
reliance on periodic updates makes Babel unsuitable in at least two on periodic updates makes Babel unsuitable in at least two kinds of
kinds of deployments: deployments:
o large, stable networks: since Babel sends periodic updates even in o large, stable networks: since Babel sends periodic updates even in
the absence of topology changes, in well-managed large, stable the absence of topology changes, in well-managed, large, stable
networks, protocols that rely on a reliable transport (such as networks the amount of control traffic will be reduced by using a
OSPF, IS-IS or EIGRP) are intrinsically more efficient; protocol that relies on a reliable transport (such as OSPF, IS-IS
or EIGRP);
o low-power networks: the periodic updates use up battery power even o low-power networks: the periodic updates use up battery power even
when there are no topology changes, which makes Babel undesirable when there are no topology changes and no user traffic, which
in stable, low-power networks. makes Babel wasteful in low-power networks.
1.3.2. Full routing table 2.4.2. Full routing table
While there exist techniques that allow a Babel speaker to function While there exist techniques that allow a Babel speaker to function
with a partial routing table (e.g., by using just a default route), with a partial routing table (e.g., by learning just a default route
the basic design of the protocol is that every Babel speaker has a or, more generally, performing route aggregation), Babel is designed
full routing table. In networks where some nodes are too constrained around the assumption that every router has a full routing table. In
to hold a full routing table, protocols such as AODVv2 [AODVv2], RPL networks where some nodes are too constrained to hold a full routing
[RFC6550] and LOADng [LOADng] may be preferable to Babel. table, it might be preferable to use a protocol that was designed
from the outset to work with a partial routing table (such as AODVv2
[AODVv2], RPL [RFC6550] or LOADng [LOADng]).
1.3.3. Slow aggregation 2.4.3. Slow aggregation
Babel's loop-avoidance mechanism relies on making a route unreachable Babel's loop-avoidance mechanism relies on making a route unreachable
after a retraction until all neighbours have been guaranteed to have after a retraction until all neighbours have been guaranteed to have
acted upon the retraction, even in the presence of packet loss. acted upon the retraction, even in the presence of packet loss.
Unless the optional algorithm described in Section 3.5.5 of Unless the optional algorithm described in Section 3.5.5 of
[RFC6126bis] is implemented, this entails that a node is unreachable [RFC6126bis] is implemented, this entails that a node is unreachable
for a few minutes after the most specific route to it has been for a few minutes after the most specific route to it has been
retracted. This property may make Babel undesirable in networks that retracted. This delay may make Babel slow to recover from a topology
perform automatic aggregation. change in networks that perform automatic route aggregation.
2. Existing successful deployments of Babel 3. Successful deployments of Babel
In this section, we give a few examples of environments where Babel In this section, we give a few examples of environments where Babel
has been successfully deployed. has been successfully deployed.
2.1. Hybrid networks 3.1. Hybrid networks
Babel is able to deal with both classical, prefix-based ("Internet- Babel is able to deal with both classical, prefix-based ("Internet-
style") routing and flat ("mesh-style") routing over non-transitive style") routing and flat ("mesh-style") routing over non-transitive
link technologies. Because of that, it has seen a number of link technologies. Because of that, it has seen a number of
succesful deployments in medium-sized hybrid networks, networks that succesful deployments in medium-sized hybrid networks, networks that
combine a wired, aggregated backbone with meshy wireless bits at the combine a wired, aggregated backbone with meshy wireless bits at the
edges. No other routing protocol known to us is similarly robust and edges. No other routing protocol known to us is similarly robust and
efficient in this particular type of network. efficient in this particular kind of topology.
2.2. Large scale overlay networks Efficient operation in hybrid networks requires the implementation to
distinguish wired and wireless links, and to perform link quality
estimation on wireless links.
3.2. Large scale overlay networks
The algorithms used by Babel (loop avoidance, hysteresis, delayed The algorithms used by Babel (loop avoidance, hysteresis, delayed
updates) allow it to remain stable and efficient in the presence of updates) allow it to remain stable and efficient in the presence of
unstable metrics, even in the presence of a feedback loop. For this unstable metrics, even in the presence of a feedback loop. For this
reason, it has been successfully deployed in large scale overlay reason, it has been successfully deployed in large scale overlay
networks, built out of thousands of tunnels spanning continents, networks, built out of thousands of tunnels spanning continents,
where it is used with a metric computed from links' latencies where it is used with a metric computed from links' latencies.
[DELAY-BASED].
This particular application depends on the extension for RTT- This particular application depends on the extension for RTT-
sensitive routing. sensitive routing [DELAY-BASED].
2.3. Pure mesh networks 3.3. Pure mesh networks
While Babel is a general-purpose routing protocol, it has been While Babel is a general-purpose routing protocol, it has been
repeatedly shown to be competitive with dedicated routing protocols repeatedly shown to be competitive with dedicated routing protocols
for wireless mesh networks [REAL-WORLD] [BRIDGING-LAYERS]. While for wireless mesh networks [REAL-WORLD] [BRIDGING-LAYERS]. Although
this particular niche is already served by a number of mature this particular niche is already served by a number of mature
protocols, notably OLSR-ETX and OLSRv2 [RFC7181] equipped with the protocols, notably OLSR-ETX and OLSRv2 [RFC7181] (equipped e.g. with
DAT metric [RFC7779], Babel has seen a moderate amount of successful the DAT metric [RFC7779]), Babel has seen a moderate amount of
deployment in pure mesh networks. successful deployment in pure mesh networks.
2.4. Small unmanaged networks 3.4. Small unmanaged networks
Because of its small size and simple configuration, Babel has been Because of its small size and simple configuration, Babel has been
deployed in small, unmanaged networks (three to five routers), where deployed in small, unmanaged networks (e.g., home and small office
it serves as a more efficient replacement for RIP [RFC2453], over networks), where it serves as a more efficient replacement for RIP
which it has two significant advantages: the ability to route [RFC2453], over which it has two significant advantages: the ability
multiple address families (IPv6 and IPv4) in a single protocol to route multiple address families (IPv6 and IPv4) in a single
instance, and good support for using wireless links for transit. protocol instance, and good support for using wireless links for
transit.
3. IANA Considerations 4. IANA Considerations
This document requires no IANA actions. [RFC Editor: please remove This document requires no IANA actions. [RFC Editor: please remove
this section before publication.] this section before publication.]
4. Security Considerations 5. Security Considerations
As in all distance-vector routing protocols, a Babel speaker receives As is the case in all distance-vector routing protocols, a Babel
reachability information from its neighbours, which by default is speaker receives reachability information from its neighbours, which
trusted. A number of attacks are possible if this information is not by default is trusted. A number of attacks are possible if this
suitably protected, either by a lower-layer mechanism or by an information is not suitably protected, either by a lower-layer
extension to the protocol itself (e.g. [RFC7298]). mechanism or by an extension to the protocol itself (e.g. [RFC7298]).
Implementors and deployers must be aware of the insecure nature of Implementors and deployers must be aware of the insecure nature of
the base protocol, and must take suitable measures to ensure that the the base protocol, and must take suitable measures to ensure that the
protocol is deployed as securely as required by the application. protocol is deployed as securely as required by the application.
5. Informational References 6. Informational References
[AODVv2] Perkins, C., Ratliff, S., Dowdell, J., Steenbrink, L., and [AODVv2] Perkins, C., Ratliff, S., Dowdell, J., Steenbrink, L., and
V. Mercieca, "Ad Hoc On-demand Distance Vector Version 2 V. Mercieca, "Ad Hoc On-demand Distance Vector Version 2
(AODVv2) Routing", draft-ietf-manet-aodvv2-16 (work in (AODVv2) Routing", draft-ietf-manet-aodvv2-16 (work in
progress), May 2016. progress), May 2016.
[BABEL-RTT] [BABEL-RTT]
Jonglez, B. and J. Chroboczek, "Delay-based Metric Jonglez, B. and J. Chroboczek, "Delay-based Metric
Extension for the Babel Routing Protocol", draft-jonglez- Extension for the Babel Routing Protocol", draft-jonglez-
babel-rtt-extension-01 (work in progress), May 2015. babel-rtt-extension-01 (work in progress), May 2015.
skipping to change at page 9, line 34 skipping to change at page 9, line 49
[RFC7779] Rogge, H. and E. Baccelli, "Directional Airtime Metric [RFC7779] Rogge, H. and E. Baccelli, "Directional Airtime Metric
Based on Packet Sequence Numbers for Optimized Link State Based on Packet Sequence Numbers for Optimized Link State
Routing Version 2 (OLSRv2)", RFC 7779, Routing Version 2 (OLSRv2)", RFC 7779,
DOI 10.17487/RFC7779, April 2016. DOI 10.17487/RFC7779, April 2016.
[RFC7868] Savage, D., Ng, J., Moore, S., Slice, D., Paluch, P., and [RFC7868] Savage, D., Ng, J., Moore, S., Slice, D., Paluch, P., and
R. White, "Cisco's Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing R. White, "Cisco's Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing
Protocol (EIGRP)", RFC 7868, DOI 10.17487/RFC7868, May Protocol (EIGRP)", RFC 7868, DOI 10.17487/RFC7868, May
2016. 2016.
[SS-ROUTING]
Boutier, M. and J. Chroboczek, "Source-Specific Routing",
August 2014, <http://arxiv.org/pdf/1403.0445>.
In Proc. IFIP Networking 2015.
Author's Address Author's Address
Juliusz Chroboczek Juliusz Chroboczek
IRIF, University of Paris-Diderot IRIF, University of Paris-Diderot
Case 7014 Case 7014
75205 Paris Cedex 13 75205 Paris Cedex 13
France France
Email: jch@irif.fr Email: jch@irif.fr
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