draft-ietf-ieprep-framework-10.txt   draft-ietf-ieprep-framework-11.txt 
Internet Engineering Task Force Ken Carlberg This Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-ieprep-framework-10.txt, was published as an Informational RFC, RFC 4190
(http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4190.txt), on 2005-11-21.
Oct 19, 2004 Ian Brown
Cory Beard
Framework for Supporting Emergency Telecommunications Service
(ETS) in IP Telephony
Status of this Memo
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This document presents a framework for supporting authorized
emergency related communication within the context of IP telephony.
We present a series of objectives that reflect a general view of how
authorized emergency service, in line with the Emergency
Telecommunications Service (ETS), should be realized within today's
IP architecture and service models. From these objectives, we
present a corresponding set of protocols and capabilities, which
provide a more specific set of recommendations regarding existing
IETF protocols. Finally, we present two scenarios that act as
guiding models for the objectives and functions listed in this
document. These, models, coupled with an example of an existing
service in the PSTN, contribute to a constrained solution space.
1. Introduction
The Internet has become the primary target for worldwide communica-
tions. This is in terms of recreation, business, and various ima-
ginative reasons for information distribution. A constant fixture in
the evolution of the Internet has been the support of Best Effort as
the default service model. Best Effort, in general terms, implies
that the network will attempt to forward traffic to the destination
as best as it can with no guarantees being made, nor any resources
reserved, to support specific measures of Quality of Service (QoS).
An underlying goal is to be "fair" to all the traffic in terms of the
resources used to forward it to the destination.
In an attempt to go beyond best effort service, [2] presented an
overview of Integrated Services (int-serv) and its inclusion into the
Internet architecture. This was followed by [3], which specified the
RSVP signaling protocol used to convey QoS requirements. With the
addition of [4] and [5], specifying controlled load (bandwidth
bounds) and guaranteed service (bandwidth & delay bounds) respec-
tively, a design existed to achieve specific measures of QoS for an
end-to-end flow of traffic traversing an IP network. In this case,
our reference to a flow is one that is granular in definition and
applying to specific application sessions.
From a deployment perspective (as of the date of this document),
int-serv has been predominantly constrained to intra-domain paths, at
best resembling isolated "island" reservations for specific types of
traffic (e.g., audio and video) by stub domains. [6] and [7] will
probably contribute to additional deployment of int-serv to Internet
Service Providers (ISP) and possibly some inter-domain paths, but it
seems unlikely that the original vision of end-to-end int-serv
between hosts in source and destination stub domains will become a
reality in the near future (the mid- to far-term is a subject for
others to contemplate).
In 1998, the IETF produced [8], which presented an architecture for
Differentiated Services (diff-serv). This effort focused on a more
aggregated perspective and classification of packets than that of
[2]. This is accomplished with the recent specification of the
diff-serv field in the IP header (in the case of IPv4, it replaced
the old ToS field). This new field is used for code points
established by IANA, or set aside as experimental. It can be
expected that sets of microflows, a granular identification of a set
of packets, will correspond to a given code point, thereby achieving
an aggregated treatment of data.
One constant in the introduction of new service models has been the
designation of Best Effort as the default service model. If traffic
is not, or cannot be, associated as diff-serv or int-serv, then it is
treated as Best Effort and uses what resources are made available to
Beyond the introduction of new services, the continued pace of addi-
tional traffic load experienced by ISPs over the years has continued
to place a high importance for intra-domain traffic engineering. The
explosion of IETF contributions, in the form of drafts and RFCs pro-
duced in the area of Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), exempli-
fies the interest in versatile and manageable mechanisms for intra-
domain traffic engineering. One interesting observation is the work
involved in supporting QoS related traffic engineering. Specifically,
we refer to MPLS support of differentiated services [9], and the on-
going work in the inclusion of fast bandwidth recovery of routing
failures for MPLS [10].
1.1. Emergency Related Data
The evolution of the IP service model architecture has traditionally
centered on the type of application protocols used over a network.
By this we mean that the distinction, and possible bounds on QoS,
usually centers on the type of application (e.g., audio video tools)
that is being referred to.
[11] has defined a priority field for SMTP, but it is only for map-
ping with X.400 and is not meant for general usage. SIP [12] has an
embedded field denoting "priority", but it is only targeted towards
the end-user and is not meant not provide indication to the underly-
ing network or end-to-end applications.
Given the emergence of IP telephony, a natural inclusion of its ser-
vice is an ability to support existing emergency related services.
Typically, one associates emergency calls with "911" telephone ser-
vice in the U.S., or "999" in the U.K. -- both of which are attri-
buted to national boundaries and accessible by the general public.
Outside of this exists emergency telephone services that involved
authorized usage, as described in the following subsection.
1.1.1. Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS)
GETS is an emergency telecommunications service available in the U.S.
and overseen by the National Communications System (NCS) -- an office
established by the White House under an executive order [30] and now
a part of the Department of Homeland Security . Unlike "911", it is
only accessible by authorized individuals. The majority of these
individuals are from various government agencies like the Department
of Transportation, NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (to name but a few). In addition, a
select set of individuals from private industry (telecommunications
companies, utilities, etc.) that are involved in criticial infras-
tructure recovery operations are also provided access to GETS.
The purpose of GETS is to achieve a high probability that phone ser-
vice will be available to selected authorized personnel in times of
emergencies, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters
that may produce a burden in the form of call blocking (i.e., conges-
tion) on the U.S. Public Switched Telephone Network by the general
GETS is based in part on the ANSI T1.631 standard, specifying a High
Probability of Completion (HPC) for SS7 signaling [13].
1.1.2. International Emergency Preparedness Scheme (IEPS)
[18] is a recent ITU standard that describes emergency related com-
munications over international telephone service. While systems like
GETS are national in scope, IEPS acts as an extension to local or
national authorized emergency call establishment and provides a
building block for a global service.
As in the case of GETS, IEPS promotes mechanisms like extended queu-
ing, alternate routing, and exemption from restrictive management
controls in order to increase the probability that international
emergency calls will be established. The specifics of how this is to
be accomplished are to be defined in future ITU document(s).
1.2. Scope of this Document
The scope of this document centers on the near and mid-term support
of ETS within the context of IP telephony versus simply Voice over
IP. We make a distinction between these two by treating IP telephony
as a subset of VoIP, where in the former case we assume some form of
application layer signaling is used to explicitly establish and main-
tain voice data traffic. This explicit signaling capability provides
the hooks from which VoIP traffic can be bridged to the PSTN.
An example of this distinction is when the Robust Audio Tool (RAT)
[14] begins sending VoIP packets to a unicast (or multicast) destina-
tion. RAT does not use explicit signaling like SIP to establish an
end-to-end call between two users. It simply sends data packets to
the target destination. On the other hand, "SIP phones" are host
devices that use a signaling protocol to establish a call before
sending data towards the destination.
One other aspect we should probably assume exists with IP Telephony
is an association of a target level of QoS per session or flow. [31]
makes an argument that there is a maximum packet loss and delay for
VoIP traffic, and both are interdependent. For delays of ~200ms, a
corresponding drop rate of 5% is deemed acceptable. When delay is
lower, a 15-20% drop rate can be experienced and still considered
acceptable. [32] discusses the same topic and makes an arguement
that packet size plays a significant role in what users tolerate as
"intelligible" VoIP. The larger the packet, correlating to longer
sampling rate, the lower the acceptable rate of loss. Note that
[31,32] provide only two of several perspectives in examining VoIP.
A more indepth discussion on this topic is outside the scope of this
document, though it should be noted that the choice of codec can sig-
nificantly alter the above results.
Regardless of a single and definitive characteristic for stressed
conditions, it would seem that interactive voice has a lower thres-
hold of some combinations of loss/delay/jitter than elastic applica-
tions such as email or web browsers. This places a higher burden on
the problem space of supporting VoIP over the Internet. This problem
is further compounded when toll-quality service is expected because
it assumes a default service model that is better than best effort.
This in turn can increase the probability that a form of call-
blocking can occur with VoIP or IP telephony traffic.
Beyond this, part of our motivation in writing this document is to
provide a framework for ISPs and telephony carriers so that they have
an understanding of objectives used to support ETS related IP
telephony traffic. In addition, we also wish to provide a reference
point for potential customers in order to constrain their expecta-
tions. In particular, we wish to avoid any temptation of trying to
replicate the exact capabilities of existing emergency voice service
currently available in the PSTN to that of IP and the Internet. If
nothing else, intrinsic differences between the two communications
architectures precludes this from happening. Note, this does not
prevent us from borrowing design concepts or objectives from existing
Section 2 presents several primary objectives that articulate what is
considered important in supporting ETS related IP telephony traffic.
These objectives represent a generic set of goals and desired capa-
bilities. Section 3 presents additional value added objectives,
which are viewed as useful, but not critical. Section 4 presents
protocols and capabilities that relate or can play a role in support
of the objectives articulated in section 2. Finally, Section 5
presents two scenarios that currently exist or are being deployed in
the near term over IP networks. These are not all-inclusive
scenarios, nor are they the only ones that can be articulated ([38]
provides a more extensive discussion on the topology scenarios
related to IP telephony). However, these scenarios do show cases
where some of the protocols discussed in section 4 apply, and where
some do not.
Finally, we need to state that this document focuses its attention on
the IP layer and above. Specific operational procedures pertaining
to Network Operation Centers (NOC) or Network Information Centers
(NIC) are outside the scope of this document. This includes the
"bits" below IP, other specific technologies, and service level
agreements between ISPs and telephony carriers with regard to dedi-
cated links.
2. Objective
The objective of this document is to present a framework that
describes how various protocols and capabilities (or mechanisms) can
be used to facilitate and support the traffic from ETS users. In
several cases, we provide a bit of background in each area so that
the reader is given some context and more indepth understanding. We
also provide some discussion on aspects about a given protocol or
capability that could be explored and potentially advanced to support
ETS. This exploration is not to be confused with specific solutions
since we do not articulate exactly what must be done (e.g., a new
header field, or a new code point).
3. Considerations
When producing a solution, or examining existing protocols and
mechanisms, there are some things that should be considered. One is
that inter-domain ETS communications should not rely on ubiquitous or
even wide-spread support along the path between the end points.
Potentially, at the network layer there may exist islands of support
realized in the form of overlay networks. There may also be cases
where solutions may be constrained on an end-to-end basis (i.e., at
the transport or application layer). It is this diversity and
possibly partial support that need to be taken into account by those
designing and deploying ETS related solutions.
Another aspect to consider is that there are existing architectures
and protocols from other standards bodies that support emergency
related communications. The effort in interoperating with these sys-
tems, presumably through gateways or similar type nodes with IETF
protocols, would foster a need to distinguish ETS flows from other
flows. One reason would be the scenario of triggering ETS service
from an IP network.
Finally, we take into consideration the requirements of [39, 40] in
discussing the protocols and mechanisms below in Section 4. In doing
this, we do not make a one-to-one mapping of protocol discussion with
requirement. Rather, we make sure the discussion of Section 4 does
not violet any of the requirements in [39,40].
4. Protocols and Capabilities
In this section, we take the objectives presented above and present a
set of protocols and capabilities that can be used to achieve them.
Given that the objectives are predominantly atomic in nature, the
measures used to address them are to be viewed separately with no
specific dependency upon each other as a whole. Various protocols
and capabilities may be complimentary to each other, but there is no
need for all to exist given different scenarios of operation, and
that ETS support is not expected to be a ubiquitously available ser-
vice. We divide this section into 5 areas:
1) Signaling
2) Policy
3) Traffic Engineering
4) Security
5) Routing
4.1. Signaling & State Information
Signaling is used to convey various information to either intermedi-
ate nodes or end nodes. It can be out-of-band of a data flow, and
thus in a separate flow of its own, such as SIP messages. It can be
in-band and part of the state information in a datagram containing
the voice data. This latter example could be realized in the form of
diff-serv code points in the IP packet.
In the following subsections, we discuss the current state of some
protocols and their use in providing support for ETS. We also
discuss potential augmentations to different types of signaling and
state information to help support the distinction of emergency
related communications in general.
4.1.1. SIP
With respect to application level signaling for IP telephony, we
focus our attention to the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).
Currently, SIP has an existing "priority" field in the Request-
Header-Field that distinguishes different types of sessions. The
five currently defined values are: "emergency", "urgent", "normal",
"non-urgent", "other-priority". These values are meant to convey
importance to the end-user and have no additional sematics associated
with them.
[15] is an RFC that defines the requirements for a new header field
for SIP in reference to resource priority. The requirements are
meant to lead to a means of providing an additional measure of dis-
tinction that can influence the behavior of gateways and SIP proxies.
4.1.2. Diff-Serv
In accordance with [16], the differentiated services code point
(DSCP) field is divided into three sets of values. The first set is
assigned by IANA. Within this set, there are currently, three types
of Per Hop Behaviors that have been specified: Default (correlating
to best effort forwarding), Assured Forwarding, and Expedited For-
warding. The second set of DSCP values are set aside for local or
experimental use. The third set of DSCP values are also set aside
for local or experimental use, but may later be reassigned to IANA in
case the first set has been completely assigned.
One approach discussed on the IEPREP mailing list is the specifica-
tion of a new Per-Hop Behaviour (PHB) for emergency related flows.
The rationale behind this idea is that it would provide a baseline by
which specific code points may be defined for various emergency
related traffic: authorized emergency sessions (e.g., ETS), general
public emergency calls (e.g., "911"), Multi-Level Precedence and
Preemption (MLPP), etc. However, in order to define a new set of
code points, a forwarding characteristic must also be defined. In
other words, one cannot simply identify a set of bits without defin-
ing their intended meaning (e.g.,the drop precedence approach of
Assured Forwarding). The one caveat to this statement are the set of
DSCP bits set aside for experimental purposes. But as the name
implies, experimental is for internal examination and use and not for
It is important to note that as of the time that this document was
written, the IETF has been taking a conservative approach in specify-
ing new PHBs. This is because the number of code points that can be
defined is relatively small and understandably considered a scarce
resource. Therefore, the possibility of a new PHB being defined for
emergency related traffic is at best a long term project that may or
may not be accepted by the IETF.
In the near term, we would initially suggest using the Assured For-
warding (AF) PHB [20] for distinguishing emergency traffic from other
types of flows. At a minimum, AF could be used for the different SIP
call signaling messages. If the Expedited Forwarding (EF) PHB [44]
was also supported by the domain, then it would be used for IP
telephony data packets. Otherwise, another AF class would be used
for those data flows.
4.1.3. Variations Related to Diff-Serv and Queuing
Scheduling mechanisms like Weighted Fair Queueing and Class Based
Queueing are used to designate a percentage of the output link
bandwidth that would be used for each class if all queues were back-
logged. Its purpose, therefore, it to manage the rates and delays
experienced by each class. But emergency traffic may not necessarily
require QoS any better or different than non-emergency traffic. It
may just need higher probability of being forwarded to the next hop,
which could be accomplished simply through drop precedences within a
To implement preferential dropping between classes of traffic, one of
which being emergency traffic, one would probably need to use a more
advanced form of Active Queue Management (AQM). Current implementa-
tions use an overall queue fill measurement to make decisions; this
might cause emergency classified packets to be dropped. One new from
of AQM could be a Multiple Average-Multiple Threshold approach,
instead of the Single Average-Multiple Threshold approach used today.
This allows creation of drop probabilities based on counting the
number of packets in the queue for each drop precedence individually.
So, it could be possible to use the current set of AF PHBs if each
class where reasonably homogenous in the traffic mix. But one might
still have a need to be able to differentiate three drop precedences
just within non-emergency traffic. If so, more drop precedences
could be implemented. Also, if one wanted discrimination within
emergency traffic, as with MLPPs five levels of precedence, more drop
precedences might also be considered. The five levels would also
correlate to a recent effort in the Study Group 11 of the ITU to
define 5 levels for Emergency Telecommunications Service.
4.1.4. RTP
The Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) provides end-to-end delivery
services for data with real-time characteristics. The type of data
is generally in the form of audio or video type applications, and are
frequently interactive in nature. RTP is typically run over UDP and
has been designed with a fixed header that identifies a specific type
of payload representing a specific form of application media. The
designers of RTP also assumed an underlying network providing best
effort service. As such, RTP does not provide any mechanism to
ensure timely delivery or provide other QoS guarantees. However, the
emergence of applications like IP telephony, as well as new service
models, presents new environments where RTP traffic may be forwarded
over networks that support better than best effort service. Hence,
the original scope and target environment for RTP has expanded to
include networks providing services other than best effort.
In 4.1.2, we discussed one means of marking a data packet for emer-
gencies under the context of the diff-serv architecture. However, we
also pointed out that diff-serv markings for specific PHBs are not
globally unique, and may be arbitrarily removed or even changed by
intermediary nodes or domains. Hence, with respect to emergency
related data packets, we are still missing an in-band marking in a
data packet that stays constant on an end-to-end basis.
There are three choices in defining a persistent marking of data
packets and thus avoiding the transitory marking of diff-serv code
points. One can propose a new PHB dedicated for emergency type
traffic as discussed in 4.1.2. One can propose a specification of a
new shim layer protocol at some location above IP. Or, one can add a
new specification to an existing application layer protocol. The
first two cases are probably the "cleanest" architecturally, but they
are long term efforts that may not come to pass because of a limited
amount of diff-serv code points and the contention that yet another
shim layer will make the IP stack too large. The third case, placing
a marking in an application layer packet, also has drawbacks; the key
weakness being the specification of a marking on a per-application
Discussions have been held in the Audio/Visual Transport (AVT) work-
ing group of augmenting RTP so that it can carry a marking that dis-
tinguishes emergency-related traffic from that which is not. Specif-
ically, these discussions centered on defining a new extention that
contains a "classifier" field indicating the condition associated
with the packet (e.g., authorized-emergency, emergency, normal) [29].
The rationale behind this idea was that focusing on RTP would allow
one to rely on a point of aggregation that would apply to all pay-
loads that it encapsulates. However, the AVT group has expressed a
rough consensus that placing additional classifier state in the RTP
header to denote the importance of one flow over another is not an
approach that they wish to advance. Objections ranging from relying
on SIP to convey importance of a flow, as well as the possibility of
adversely affecting header compression, were expressed. There was
also the general feeling that the extension header for RTP that acts
as a signal should not be used.
4.1.5. GCP/H.248
The Gateway Control Protocol (GCP) [23] defines the interaction
between a media gateway and a media gateway controller. [23] is
viewed as an updated version of common text with ITU-T Recommendation
H.248 and is a result of applying the changes of RFC 2886 (Megaco
Errata) to the text of RFC 2885 (Megaco Protocol version 0.8).
In [23], the protocol specifies a Priority and Emergency field for a
context attribute and descriptor. The Emergency is an optional
boolean (True or False) condition. The Priority value, which ranges
from 0 through 15, specifies the precedence handling for a context.
The protocol does not specify individual values for priority. We
also do not recommend the definition of a well known value for the
GCP priority -- that is out of scope of this document. Any values
set should be a function of any SLAs that have been established
regarding the handling of emergency traffic.
4.2. Policy
One of the objectives listed in section 3 above is to treat ETS- sig-
naling, and related data traffic, as non-preemptive in nature.
Further, that this treatment is to be the default mode of operation
or service. This is in recognition that existing regulations or laws
of certain countries governing the establishment of SLAs may not
allow preemptive actions (e.g., dropping existing telephony flows).
On the other hand, the laws and regulations of other countries
influencing the specification of SLA(s) may allow preemption, or even
require its existence. Given this disparity, we rely on local policy
to determine the degree by which emergency related traffic affects
existing traffic load of a given network or ISP. Important note: we
reiterate our earlier comment that laws and regulations are generally
outside the scope of the IETF and its specification of designs and
protocols. However, these constraints can be used as a guide in pro-
ducing a baseline capability to be supported; in our case, a default
policy for non-preemptive call establishment of ETS signaling and
Policy can be in the form of static information embedded in various
components (e.g., SIP servers or bandwidth brokers), or it can be
realized and supported via COPS with respect to allocation of a
domain's resources [17]. There is no requirement as to how policy is
accomplished. Instead, if a domain follows actions outside of the
default non-preemptive action of ETS related communication, then we
stipulate that some type of policy mechanism is in place to satisfy
the local policies of an SLA established for ETS type traffic.
4.3. Traffic Engineering
In those cases where a network operates under the constraints of
SLAs, one or more of which pertains to ETS based traffic, it can be
expected that some form of traffic engineering is applied to the
operation of the network. We make no recommendations as to which
type of traffic engineering mechanism is used, but that such a system
exists in some form and can distinguish and support ETS signaling
and/or data traffic. We recommend a review of [36] by clients and
prospective providers of ETS service, which gives an overview and a
set of principles of Internet traffic engineering.
MPLS is generally the first protocol that comes to mind when the sub-
ject of traffic engineering is brought up. This notion is heightened
concerning the subject of IP telephony because of MPLS's ability to
permit a quasi-circuit switching capability to be superimposed on the
current Internet routing model [33].
However, having cited MPLS, we need to stress that it is an intra-
domain protocol, and so may or may not exist within a given ISP.
Other forms of traffic engineering, such as weighted OSPF, may be the
mechanism of choice by an ISP.
As a counter example of using a specific protocol to achieve traffic
engineering, [41] presents an example by one ISP relying on a high
amount of overprovisioning within its core to satisfy potentially
dramatic spikes or bursts of traffic load. In this approach, any
configuring of queues for specific customers (neighbors) to support
target QoS is done on the egress edge of the transit network.
Note: As a point of reference, existing SLAs established by the NCS
for GETS service tend to focus on a loosely defined maximum
allocation of (e.g., 1% to 10%) of calls allowed to be established
through a given LEC using HPC. It is expected, and encouraged, that
ETS related SLAs of ISPs will have a limit with respect to the amount
of traffic distinguished as being emergency related, and initiated by
an authorized user.
4.4. Security
This section provides a brief overview of the security issues raised
by ETS support.
4.4.1. Denial of Service
Any network mechanism that enables a higher level of priority for a
specific set of flows could be abused to enhance the effectiveness of
denial of service attacks. Priority would magnify the effects of
attack traffic on bandwidth availability in lower-capacity links, and
increase the likelihood of it reaching its target(s). An attack could
also tie up resources such as circuits in a PSTN gateway.
Any provider deploying a priority mechanism (such as the QoS systems
described in section 4.1) must therefore carefully apply the associ-
ated access controls and security mechanisms. For example, the prior-
ity level for traffic originating from an unauthorized part of a net-
work or ingress point should be reset to normal. Users must also be
authenticated before being allowed to use a priority service (see
section 4.4.2). However, this authentication process should be light-
weight to minimise opportunities for denial of service attacks on the
authentication service itself, and ideally should include its own
anti-DoS mechanisms. Other security mechanisms may impose an overhead
that should be carefully considered to avoid creating other opportun-
ities for DoS attacks.
As mentioned in section 4.3, SLAs for ETS facilities often contain
maximum limits on the level of ETS traffic that should be prioritised
in a particular network (say 1% of the maximum network capacity).
This should also be the case in IP networks to again reduce the level
of resources that a denial of service attack can consume.
As of this writing, a typical inter-provider IP link uses 1 Gbps Eth-
ernet, OC-48 SONET/SDH, or some similar or faster technology. Also
as of this writing, it is not practical to deploy per-IP packet cryp-
tographic authentication on such inter-provider links, although such
authentication might well be needed to provide assurance of IP-layer
label integrity in the inter-provider scenario.
While Moore's Law will speed up cryptographic authentication, it is
unclear whether that is helpful because the speed of the typical
inter-domain link is also increasing rapidly.
4.4.2. User authorization
To prevent theft of service and reduce the opportunities for denial
of service attacks, it is essential that service providers properly
verify the authorization of a specific traffic flow before providing
it with ETS facilities.
Where an ETS call is carried from PSTN to PSTN via one telephony
carrier's backbone IP network, very little IP-specific user authori-
zation support is required. The user authenticates themself as usual
to the PSTN -- for example, using a PIN in the US GETS. The gateway
from the PSTN connection into the backbone IP network must be able to
signal that the flow has an ETS label. Conversely, the gateway back
into the PSTN must similarly signal the call's label. A secure link
between the gateways may be set up using IPSec or SIP security func-
tionality to protect the integrity of the signalling information
against attackers who have gained access to the backbone network, and
prevent such attackers placing ETS calls using the egress PSTN gate-
way. If the destination of a call is an IP device, the signalling
should be protected directly between the IP ingress gateway and the
end device.
When ETS priority is being provided to a flow within one domain, that
network must use the security features of the priority mechanism
being deployed to ensure the flow has originated from an authorized
user or process.
The access network may authorize ETS traffic over a link as part of
its user authentication procedures. These procedures may occur at the
link, network or higher layers, but are at the discretion of a single
domain network. That network must decide how often it should update
its list of authorized ETS users based on the bounds it is prepared
to accept on traffic from recently-revoked users.
If ETS support moves from intra-domain PSTN and IP networks to
inter-domain end-to-end IP, verifying the authorization of a given
flow becomes more complex. The user's access network must verify a
user's ETS authorization if network-layer priority is to be provided
at that point.
Administrative domains that agree to exchange ETS traffic must have
the means to securely signal to each other a given flow's ETS status.
They may use physical link security combined with traffic
conditioning measures to limit the amount of ETS traffic that may
pass between the two domains. This agreement must require the ori-
ginating network to take responsibility for ensuring that only
authorized traffic is marked with ETS priority, but the recipient
network cannot rely on this happening with 100% reliability. Both
domains should perform conditioning to prevent the propagation of
theft and denial of service attacks. Note that administrative
domains that agree to exchange ETS traffic must deploy facilities
that perform these conditioning and security services at every point
at which they interconnect with one another.
Processes using application-layer protocols such as SIP should use
the security functionality in those protocols to verify the authori-
zation of a session before allowing it to use ETS mechanisms.
4.4.3. Confidentiality and integrity
When ETS communications are being used to respond to a deliberate
attack, it is important that they cannot be altered or intercepted to
worsen the situation -- for example, by changing the orders to first
responders such as firefighters or by using knowledge of the emer-
gency response to cause further damage.
The integrity and confidentiality of such communications should
therefore be protected as far as possible using end-to-end security
protocols such as IPSec or the security functionality in SIP and SRTP
[43]. Where communications involve other types of network such as the
PSTN, the IP side should be protected and any security functionality
available in the other network should be used.
4.5. Alternate Path Routing
This subject involves the ability to discover and use a different
path to route IP telephony traffic around congestion points and thus
avoid them. Ideally, the discovery process would be accomplished in
an expedient manner (possibly even a priori to the need of its
existence). At this level, we make no assumptions as to how the
alternate path is accomplished, or even at which layer it is achieved
-- e.g., the network versus the application layer. But this kind of
capability, at least in a minimal form, would help contribute to
increasing the probability of ETS call completion by making use of
noncongested alternate paths. We use the term "minimal form" to
emphasize the fact that care must be taken in how the system provides
alternate paths so it does not significantly contribute to the
congestion that is to be avoided (e.g., via excess control/discovery
Routing protocols at the IP network layer, such as BGP and OSPF,
contain mechanisms for determining link failure between routing
peers. The discovery of this failure automatically causes informa-
tion to be propagated to other routers. The form of this informa-
tion, the extent of its propagation, and the convergence time in
determining new routes is dependent on the routing protocol in use.
In the example of OSPF's Equal Cost Multiple Path (ECMP), the impact
of link failure is minimized because of pre-existing alternate paths
to a destination.
At the time that this document was written, we can identify two addi-
tional areas in the IETF that can be helpful in providing alternate
paths for the specific case of call signaling. The first is [10],
which is focused on network layer routing and describes a framework
for enhancements to the LDP specification of MPLS to help achieve
fault tolerance. This in itself does not provide alternate path
routing, but rather helps minimize loss in intradomain connectivity
when MPLS is used within a domain.
The second effort comes from the IP Telephony working group and
involves Telephony Routing over IP (TRIP). To date, a framework
document [19] has been published as an RFC which describes the
discovery and exchange of IP telephony gateway routing tables between
providers. The TRIP protocol [22] specifies application level
telephony routing regardless of the signaling protocol being used
(e.g., SIP or H.323). TRIP is modeled after BGP-4 and advertises
reachability and attributes of destinations. In its current form,
several attributes have already been defined, such as LocalPreference
and MultiExitDisc. Additional attributes can be registered with
Inter-domain routing is not an area that should be considered in
terms of additional alternate path routing support for ETS. The
Border Gateway Protocol is currently strained in meeting its existing
requirements, and thus adding additional features that would generate
an increase in advertised routes will not be well received by the
IETF. Refer to [42] for a commentary on Inter-Domain routing.
4.6. End-to-End Fault Tolerance
This topic involves the work that has been done in trying to compen-
sate for lossy networks providing best effort service. In particu-
lar, we focus on the use of a) Forward Error Correction (FEC), and b)
redundant transmissions that can be used to compensate for lost data
packets. (Note that our aim is fault tolerance, as opposed to an
expectation of always achieving it).
In the former case, additional FEC data packets are constructed from
a set of original data packets and inserted into the end-to-end
stream. Depending on the algorithm used, these FEC packets can
reconstruct one or more of the original set that were lost by the
network. An example may be in the form of a 10:3 ratio, in which 10
original packets are used to generate three additional FEC packets.
Thus, if the network loses 30% or less number of packets, then the
FEC scheme will be able to compensate for that loss. The drawback to
this approach is that to compensate for the loss, a steady state
increase in offered load has been injected into the network. This
makes an arguement that the act of protection against loss has con-
tributed to additional pressures leading to congestion, which in turn
helps trigger packet loss. In addition, in using a ratio of 10:3,
the source (or some proxy) must "hold" all 10 packets in order to
construct the three FEC packets. This contributes to the end-to-end
delay of the packets as well as minor bursts of load in addition to
changes in jitter.
The other form of fault tolerance we discuss involves the use of
redundant transmissions. By this we mean the case in which an origi-
nal data packet is followed by one or more redundant packets. At
first glance, this would appear to be even less friendly to the net-
work than that of adding FEC packets. However, the encodings of the
redundant packets can be of a different type (or even transcoded into
a lower quality) that produce redundant data packets that are signi-
ficantly smaller than the original packet.
Two RFCs [24, 25] have been produced that define RTP payloads for FEC
and redundant audio data. An implementation example of a redundant
audio application can be found in [14]. We note that both FEC and
redundant transmissions can be viewed as rather specific and to a
degree tangential solutions regarding packet loss and emergency com-
munications. Hence, these topics are placed under the category of
value added objectives.
5. Key Scenarios
There are various scenarios in which IP telephony can be realized,
each of which can imply a unique set of functional requirements that
may include just a subset of those listed above. We acknowledge that
a scenario may exist whose functional requirements are not listed
above. Our intention is not to consider every possible scenario by
which support for emergency related IP telephony can be realized.
Rather, we narrow our scope using a single guideline; we assume there
is a signaling & data interaction between the PSTN and the IP network
with respect to supporting emergency-related telephony traffic. We
stress that this does not preclude an IP-only end-to-end model, but
rather the inclusion of the PSTN expands the problem space and
includes the current dominant form of voice communication.
Note: as stated in section 1.2, [36] provides a more extensive set of
scenarios in which IP telephony can be deployed. Our selected set
below is only meant to provide an couple of examples of how the pro-
tocols and capabilities presented in Section 3 can play a role.
Single IP Administrative Domain
This scenario is a direct reflection of the evolution of the PSTN.
Specifically, we refer to the case in which data networks have
emerged in various degrees as a backbone infrastructure connecting
PSTN switches at its edges. This scenario represents a single iso-
lated IP administrative domain that has no directly adjacent IP
domains connected to it. We show an example of this scenario below
in Figure 1. In this example, we show two types of telephony car-
riers. One is the legacy carrier, whose infrastructure retains the
classic switching architecture attributed to the PSTN. The other is
the next generation carrier, which uses a data network (e.g., IP) as
its core infrastructure, and Signaling Gateways at its edges. These
gateways "speak" SS7 externally with peering carriers, and another
protocol (e.g., SIP) internally, which rides on top of the IP infras-
Legacy Next Generation Next Generation
Carrier Carrier Carrier
******* *************** **************
* * * * ISUP * *
SW<--->SW <-----> SG <---IP---> SG <--IAM--> SG <---IP---> SG
* * (SS7) * (SIP) * (SS7) * (SIP) *
******* *************** **************
SW - Telco Switch, SG - Signaling Gateway
Figure 1
The significant aspect of this scenario is that all the resources of
each IP "island" fall within a given administrative authority.
Hence, there is not a problem of retaining toll quality Quality of
Service as the voice traffic (data and signaling) exits the IP net-
work because of the existing SS7 provisioned service between
telephony carriers. Thus, the need for support of mechanisms like
diff-serv in the presence of overprovisioning, and an expansion of
the defined set of Per-Hop Behaviors, is reduced under this scenario.
Another function that has little or no importance within the closed
IP environment of Figure 1 is that of IP security. The fact that
each administrative domain peers with each other as part of the PSTN,
means that existing security, in the form of Personal Identification
Number (PIN) authentication (under the context of telephony infras-
tructure protection), is the default scope of security. We do not
claim that the reliance on a PIN based security system is highly
secure or even desirable. But, we use this system as a default
mechanism in order to avoid placing additional requirements on exist-
ing authorized emergency telephony systems.
Multiple IP Administrative Domains
We view the scenario of multiple IP administrative domains as a
superset of the previous scenario. Specifically, we retain the
notion that the IP telephony system peers with the existing PSTN. In
addition, segments
(i.e., portions of the Internet) may exchange signaling with other IP
administrative domains via non-PSTN signaling protocols like SIP.
Legacy Next Generation Next Generation
Carrier Carrier Carrier
******* *************** **************
* * * * * *
SW<--->SW <-----> SG <---IP---> SG <--IP--> SG <---IP---> SG
* * (SS7) * (SIP) * (SIP) * (SIP) *
******* *************** **************
SW - Telco Switch
SG - Signaling Gateway
Figure 2
Given multiple IP domains, and the presumption that SLAs relating to
ETS traffic may exist between them, the need for something like
diff-serv grows with respect to being able to distinguish the emer-
gency related traffic from other types of traffic. In addition, IP
security becomes more important between domains in order to ensure
that the act of distinguishing ETS-type traffic is indeed valid for
the given source.
We conclude this section by mentioning a complimentary work in pro-
gress in providing ISUP transparency across SS7-SIP interworking
[37]. The objective of this effort is to access services in the SIP
network and yet maintain transparency of end-to-end PSTN services.
Not all services are mapped (as per the design goals of [37]), so we
anticipate the need for an additional document to specify the mapping
between new SIP labels and existing PSTN code points like NS/EP and
6. Security Considerations
Information on this topic is presented in sections 2 and 4.
7. References
This is an informational document. The following are Informative
References, and there are no Normative References.
1 Bradner, S., "Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology",
BCP 79, RFC 3668, February 2004
2 Braden, R., et. al., "Integrated Services in the Internet
Architecture: An Overview", Informational, RFC 1633, June 1994.
3 Braden, R., et. al., "Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP)
Version 1, Functional Specification", Proposed Standard, RFC
2205, Sept. 1997.
4 Shenker, S., et. al., "Specification of Guaranteed Quality of
Service", Proposed Standard, RFC 2212, Sept 1997.
5 Wroclawski, J., "Specification for Controlled-Load Network
Service Element", Proposed Standard, RFC 2211, Sept 1997.
6 Baker, F., et. al., "Aggregation of RSVP for IPv4 and IPv6
Reservations", Proposed Standard, RFC 3175, September 2001.
7 Berger, L, et. al., "RSVP Refresh Overhead Reduction Extensions",
Proposed Standard, RFC 2961, April, 2001.
8 Blake, S., et. al., "An Architecture for Differentiated
Service", Proposed Standard, RFC 2475, Dec. 1998.
9 Faucheur, F., et. al., "MPLS Support of Differentiated Services",
Standards Track, RFC 3270, May 2002.
10 Sharma, V., Hellstrand, F., "Framework for MPLS-Based Recovery",
Informational, RFC 3469, February 2003
11 Kille, S., "MIXER (Mime Internet X.400 Enhanced Relay): Mapping
between X.400 and RFC 822/MIME", Proposed Standard, RFC 2156,
January 1998.
12 Rosenberg, J., et. al., "SIP: Session Initiation Protocol",
Proposed Standard, RFC 3261, June 2002.
13 ANSI, "Signaling System No. 7(SS7), High Probability of
Completion (HPC) Network Capability", ANSI T1.631-1993, (R1999).
14 Robust Audio Tool (RAT):
15 Schulzrinne, H, "Requirements for Resource Priority Mechanisms for
the Session Initiation Protocol", Informational, RFC 3487,
February 2003
16 Nichols, K., et. al.,"Definition of the Differentiated Services
Field (DS Field) in the Ipv4 and Ipv6 Headers", Proposed
Standard, RFC 2474, December 1998.
17 Durham, D., "The COPS (Common Open Policy Service) Protocol",
Proposed Standard, RFC 2748, Jan 2000.
18 ITU, "International Emergency Preparedness Scheme", ITU
Recommendation, E.106, March 2000.
19 Rosenburg, J., Schulzrinne, H., "A Framework for Telephony Routing
Over IP", Informational, RFC 2871, June 2000
20 Heinanen. et. al, "Assured Forwarding PHB Group", Proposed
Standard, RFC 2597, June 1999
21 ITU, "Multi-Level Precedence and Preemption Service, ITU,
Recomendation, I.255.3, July, 1990.
22 Rosenburg, J, et. al, "Telephony Routing over IP (TRIP)",
Standards Track, RFC 3219, January 2002.
23 Cuervo, F., et. al, "Gateway Control Protocol Version 1",
Standards Track, RFC 3525, June 2003
24 Perkins, C., et al., "RTP Payload for Redundant Audio Data",
Standards Track, RFC 2198, September, 1997
25 Rosenburg, J., Schulzrinne, H., "An RTP Payload Format for
Generic Forward Error Correction", Standards Track, RFC 2733,
December, 1999.
26 ANSI, "Signaling System No. 7, ISDN User Part", ANSI T1.113-2000,
27 Brown, I., "Securing IEPS over IP", White Paper,
28 "Description of an International Emergency Preference
Scheme (IEPS)", ITU-T Recommendation E.106 March, 2002
29 Carlberg, K., "The Classifier Extension Header for RTP", Internet
Draft, Work In Progress, October 2001.
30 National Communications System: http://www.ncs.gov
31 Bansal, R., Ravikanth, R., "Performance Measures for Voice on IP",
IETF Presentation: IPPM-Voiceip, Aug, 1997
32 Hardman, V., et al, "Reliable Audio for Use over the Internet",
Proceedings, INET'95, Aug, 1995.
33 Awduche, D, et al, "Requirements for Traffic Engineering Over
MPLS", Informational, RFC 2702, September, 1999.
34 Polk, J., "An Architecture for Multi-Level Precedence and
Preemption over IP", Internet Draft, Work In Progress,
November, 2001.
35 "Service Class Designations for H.323 Calls", ITU
Recommendation H.460.4, November, 2002
36 Awduche, D., et. al., "Overview and Principles of Internet Traffic
Engineering", Informational, RFC 3272, May 2002.
37 Vemuri, A., Peterson, J., "SIP for Telephones (SIP-T): Context and
Architectures", Best Current Practice, RFC 3372, September 2002
38 Polk, J., "IEPREP Telephony Topology Terminology", Informational,
RFC 3523, April 2003
39 Carlberg, K., Atkinson, R., "General Requirements for Emergency
Telecommunications Service", Informational, RFC 3689, Feb 2004
40 Carlberg, K., Atkinson, R., "IP Telephony Requirements for
Emergency Telecommunications Service", Informational, RFC 3690
Feb 2004
41 Meyers, D., "Some Thoughts on CoS and Backbone Networks"
IETF Presentation: IEPREP, Dec, 2002
42 Huston, G., "Commentary on Inter-Domain Routing In the Internet",
Informational, RFC 3221, December 2001.
43 Baugher, M, et. al., "The Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol
(SRTP)", Proposed Standard, RFC 3711, March, 2004.
44 Davie, B., et. al., "An Expedited Forwarding PHB (Per-Hop
Behavior)", Proposed Standard, RFC 3246, March, 2002.
8. Appendix A: Government Telephone Preference Scheme (GTPS)
This framework document uses the T1.631 and ITU IEPS standard as a
target model for defining a framework for supporting authorized emer-
gency related communication within the context of IP telephony. We
also use GETS as a helpful model to draw experience from. We take
this position because of the various areas that must be considered;
from the application layer to the (inter)network layer, in addition
to policy, security (authorized access), and traffic engineering.
The U.K. has a different type of authorized use of telephony services
referred to as the Government Telephone Preference Scheme (GTPS). At
present, GTPS only applies to a subset of the local loop lines of
within the UK. The lines are divided into Categories 1, 2, and 3.
The first two categories involve authorized personnel involved in
emergencies such as natural disasters. Category 3 identifies the
general public. Priority marks, via C7/NUP, are used to bypass
call-gaping for a given Category. The authority to activate GTPS has
been extended to either a central or delegated authority.
8.1. GTPS and the Framework Document
The design of the current GTPS, with its designation of preference
based on physical static devices, precludes the need for several
aspects presented in this document. However, one component that can
have a direct correlation is the labeling capability of the proposed
Resource Priority extension to SIP. A new label mechanism for SIP
could allow a transparent interoperation between IP telephony and the
U.K. PSTN that supports GTPS.
9. Appendix B: Related Standards Work
The process of defining various labels to distinguish calls has been,
and continues to be, pursued in other standards groups. As mentioned
in section 1.1.1, the ANSI T1S1 group has previously defined a label
SS7 ISUP Initial Address Message. This single label or value is
referred to as the National Security and Emergency Preparedness
(NS/EP) indicator and is part of the T1.631 standard. The following
subsections presents a snap shot of parallel on-going efforts in
various standards groups.
It is important to note that the recent activity in other groups have
gravitated to defining 5 labels or levels of priority. The impact of
this approach is minimal in relation to this ETS framework document
because it simply generates a need to define a set of corresponding
labels for the resource priority header of SIP.
9.1. Study Group 16 (ITU)
Study Group 16 (SG16) of the ITU is responsible for studies relating
to multimedia service definition and multimedia systems, including
protocols and signal processing.
A contribution [35] has been accepted by this group that adds a
Priority Class parameter to the call establishment messages of H.323.
This class is further divided into two parts; one for Priority Value
and the other is a Priority Extension for indicating subclasses. It
is this former part that roughly corresponds to the labels tran-
sported via the Resource Priority field for SIP [15].
The draft recommendation advocates defining PriorityClass information
that would be carried in the GenericData parameter in the H323-UU-PDU
or RAS messages. The GenericData parameter contains Priori-
tyClassGenericData. The PriorityClassInfo of the PriorityClassGener-
icData contains the Priority and Priority Extension fields.
At present, 4 levels have been defined for the Priority Value part of
the Priority Class parameter: Normal, High, Emergency-Public,
Emergency-Authorized. An additional 8-bit priority extension has been
defined to provide for subclasses of service at each priority.
The suggested ASN.1 definition of the service class is the following:
CALL-PRIORITY {itu-t(0) recommendation(0) h(8) 460 4 version1(0)}
CallPriorityInfo::= SEQUENCE
priorityValue CHOICE
emergencyAuthorized NULL,
emergencyPublic NULL,
high NULL,
normal NULL,
priorityExtension INTEGER (0..255) OPTIONAL,
cryptoTokens SEQUENCE OF CryptoToken OPTIONAL,
rejectReason CHOICE
priorityUnavailable NULL,
priorityUnauthorized NULL,
priorityValueUnknown NULL,
} OPTIONAL, -- Only used in CallPriorityConfirm
The advantage in using the GenericData parameter is that an existing
parameter is used, as opposed to defining a new parameter and causing
subsequent changes in existing H.323/H.225 documents.
10. Acknowledgments
The authors would like to acknowledge the helpful comments, opinions,
and clarifications of Stu Goldman, James Polk, Dennis Berg, Ran
Atkinson as well as those comments received from the IEPS and IEPREP
mailing lists. Additional thanks to Peter Walker of Oftel for
private discussions on the operation of GTPS, and Gary Thom on cla-
rifications of the SG16 draft contribution.
11. Author's Addresses
Ken Carlberg Ian Brown
University College London University College London
Department of Computer Science Department of Computer Science
Gower Street Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom United Kingdom
k.carlberg@cs.ucl.ac.uk I.Brown@cs.ucl.ac.uk
Cory Beard
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Division of Computer Science
Electrical Engineering
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
Table of Contents
1. Introduction ................................................... 2
1.1 Emergency Related Data ....................................... 3
1.1.1 Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) ..... 4
1.1.2 International Emergency Preparedness Scheme (IEPS) ......... 4
1.2 Scope of this Document ....................................... 4
2. Objective ..................................................... 6
3. Considerations ................................................ 6
4. Protocols and Capabilities .................................... 7
4.1 Signaling & State Information ................................ 7
4.1.1 SIP ........................................................ 8
4.1.2 Diff-Serv .................................................. 8
4.1.3 Variations Related to Diff-Serv and Queuing ................ 9
4.1.4 RTP ........................................................ 10
4.1.5 GCP/H.248 .................................................. 11
4.2 Policy ....................................................... 11
4.3 Traffic Engineering .......................................... 12
4.4 Security ..................................................... 13
4.4.1 Denial of Service ........................................... 13
4.4.2 User authorization .......................................... 14
4.4.3 Confidentiality and integrity ............................... 15
4.5 Alternate Path Routing ....................................... 15
4.6 End-to-End Fault Tolerance ................................... 16
5. Key Scenarios ................................................. 17
6. Security Considerations ....................................... 20
7. References .................................................... 20
8. Appendix A: Government Telephone Preference Scheme (GTPS) ..... 23
8.1 GTPS and the Framework Document .............................. 23
9. Appendix B: Related Standards Work ............................ 24
9.1 Study Group 16 (ITU) ......................................... 24
10. Acknowledgments .............................................. 25
11. Author's Addresses ........................................... 26
Full Copyright Statement
Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004). This document is subject
to the rights, licenses and restrictions contained in BCP 78, and
except as set forth therein, the authors retain all their rights.
This document and the information contained herein is provided as an
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