Internet DRAFT - draft-ietf-ippm-multipoint-alt-mark


IPPM Working Group                                      G. Fioccola, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                       Huawei Technologies
Intended status: Experimental                                M. Cociglio
Expires: September 24, 2020                               Telecom Italia
                                                                A. Sapio
                                                                R. Sisto
                                                   Politecnico di Torino
                                                          March 23, 2020

 Multipoint Alternate Marking method for passive and hybrid performance


   The Alternate Marking method, as presented in RFC 8321, can be
   applied only to point-to-point flows because it assumes that all the
   packets of the flow measured on one node are measured again by a
   single second node.  This document generalizes and expands this
   methodology to measure any kind of unicast flows, whose packets can
   follow several different paths in the network, in wider terms a
   multipoint-to-multipoint network.  For this reason the technique here
   described is called Multipoint Alternate Marking.

Status of This Memo

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   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on September 24, 2020.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2020 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.1.  Correlation with RFC5644  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   3.  Flow classification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   4.  Multipoint Performance Measurement  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     4.1.  Monitoring Network  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   5.  Multipoint Packet Loss  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   6.  Network Clustering  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     6.1.  Algorithm for Cluster partition . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   7.  Timing Aspects  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   8.  Multipoint Delay and Delay Variation  . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     8.1.  Delay measurements on multipoint paths basis  . . . . . .  17
       8.1.1.  Single Marking measurement  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     8.2.  Delay measurements on single packets basis  . . . . . . .  17
       8.2.1.  Single and Double Marking measurement . . . . . . . .  17
       8.2.2.  Hashing selection method  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
   9.  A Closed Loop Performance Management approach . . . . . . . .  20
   10. Examples of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   11. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   12. Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   13. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   14. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     14.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     14.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24

1.  Introduction

   The Alternate Marking method, as described in RFC 8321 [RFC8321], is
   applicable to a point-to-point path.  The extension proposed in this
   document applies to the most general case of multipoint-to-multipoint
   path and enables flexible and adaptive performance measurements in a
   managed network.

   The Alternate Marking methodology described in RFC 8321 [RFC8321]
   allows the synchronization of the measurements in different points by

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   dividing the packet flow into batches.  So it is possible to get
   coherent counters and show what is happening in every marking period
   for each monitored flow.  The monitoring parameters are the packet
   counter and timestamps of a flow for each marking period.  Note that
   additional details about the applicability of the Alternate Marking
   methodology are described both in RFC 8321 [RFC8321] and in the paper

   There are some applications of the Alternate Marking method where
   there are a lot of monitored flows and nodes.  Multipoint Alternate
   Marking aims to reduce these values and makes the performance
   monitoring more flexible in case a detailed analysis is not needed.
   For instance, by considering n measurement points and m monitored
   flows,the order of magnitude of the packet counters for each time
   interval is n*m*2 (1 per color).  The number of measurement points
   and monitored flows may vary and depends on the portion of the
   network we are monitoring (core network, metro network, access
   network) and on the granularity (for each service, each customer).
   So if both n and m are high values the packet counters increase a lot
   and Multipoint Alternate Marking offers a tool to control these

   The approach presented in this document is applied only to unicast
   flows and not to multicast.  Broadcast, Unknown-unicast, and
   Multicast (BUM) traffic is not considered here, because traffic
   replication is not covered by the Multipoint Alternate Marking
   method.  Furthermore it can be applicable to anycast flows and Equal-
   Cost MultiPath (ECMP) paths can also be easily monitored with this

   In short, RFC 8321 [RFC8321] applies to point-to-point unicast flows
   and BUM traffic while this document and its Clustered Alternate
   Marking method is valid for multipoint-to-multipoint unicast flows,
   anycast and ECMP flows.

   The Alternate Marking method can therefore be extended to any kind of
   multipoint to multipoint paths, and the network clustering approach
   presented in this document is the formalization of how to implement
   this property and allow a flexible and optimized performance
   measurement support for network management in every situation.

   Without network clustering, it is possible to apply Alternate Marking
   only for all the network or per single flow.  Instead, with network
   clustering, it is possible to use the partition of the network into
   clusters at different levels in order to perform the needed degree of
   detail.  In some circumstances it is possible to monitor a Multipoint
   Network by analysing the Network Clustering, without examining in
   depth.  In case of problems (packet loss is measured or the delay is

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   too high) the filtering criteria could be specified more in order to
   perform a detailed analysis by using a different combination of
   clusters up to a per-flow measurement as described in RFC 8321

   This approach fits very well with the Closed Loop Network and
   Software Defined Network (SDN) paradigm where the SDN Orchestrator
   and the SDN Controllers are the brains of the network and can manage
   flow control to the switches and routers and, in the same way, can
   calibrate the performance measurements depending on the desired
   accuracy.  An SDN Controller Application can orchestrate how accurate
   the network performance monitoring is setup by applying the
   Multipoint Alternate Marking as described in this document.

   It is important to underline that, as extension of RFC 8321
   [RFC8321], this is a methodology draft, so the mechanism that can be
   used to transmit the counters and the timestamps is out of scope here
   and the implementation is open.  Several options are possible, e.g.

   Note that, as for RFC 8321 [RFC8321], the fragmented packets case can
   be managed with this methodology if fragmentation happens outside the
   portion of the monitored network.

2.  Terminology

   The definitions of the basic terms are identical to those found in
   Alternate Marking (RFC 8321 [RFC8321]).  It is to be remembered that
   RFC 8321 [RFC8321] is valid for point-to-point unicast flows and BUM

   The important new terms that need to be explained are listed below:

      Multipoint Alternate Marking: Extension to RFC 8321 [RFC8321],
      valid for multipoint-to-multipoint unicast flows, anycast and ECMP
      flows.  It can also be referred as Clustered Alternate Marking;

      Flow definition: The concept of flow is generalized in this
      document.  The identification fields are selected without any
      constraints and, in general, the flow can be a multipoint-to-
      multipoint flow, as a result of aggregate point-to-point flows;

      Monitoring Network: it is identified with the nodes of the network
      that are the measurement points (MPs) and the links that are the
      connections between MPs.  The Monitoring Network graph depends on
      the flow definition, so it can represent a specific flow or the
      the entire network topology as aggregate of all the flows;

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      Cluster: smallest identifiable subnetwork of the entire Monitoring
      Network graph that still satisfies the condition that the number
      of packets that goes in is the same that goes out;

      Multipoint metrics: packet loss, delay and delay variation are
      extended to the case of multipoint flows.  It is possible to
      compute these metrics on multipoint paths basis in order to
      associate the measurements to a cluster, to a combination of
      clusters or to the entire monitored network.  For delay and delay
      variation, it is also possible to define the metrics on a single
      packet basis and it means that the multipoint path is used to
      easily couple packets between input and output nodes of a
      multipoint path.

   The next section highlights the correlation with the terms used in
   RFC 5644 [RFC5644].

2.1.  Correlation with RFC5644

   RFC 5644 [RFC5644] is limited to active measurements using a single
   source packet or stream, and observations of corresponding packets
   along the path (spatial), at one or more destinations (one-to-group),
   or both.

   Instead, the scope of this memo is to define multiparty metrics for
   passive and hybrid measurements in a group-to-group topology with
   multiple sources and destinations.

   RFC 5644 [RFC5644] introduces metric names that can be reused also
   here but have to be extended and rephrased to be applied to the
   Alternate Marking schema:

   a.  the multiparty metrics are not only one-to-group metrics but can
       be also group-to-group metrics;

   b.  the spatial metrics, used for measuring the performance of
       segments of a source to destination path, are applied here to
       group-to-group segments (called Clusters).

3.  Flow classification

   An unicast flow is identified by all the packets having a set of
   common characteristics.  This definition is inspired by RFC 7011

   As an example, by considering a flow as all the packets sharing the
   same source IP address or the same destination IP address, it is easy
   to understand that the resulting pattern will not be a point-to-point

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   connection, but a point-to-multipoint or multipoint-to-point

   In general a flow can be defined by a set of selection rules used to
   match a subset of the packets processed by the network device.  These
   rules specify a set of layer-3 and layer-4 headers fields
   (Identification Fields) and the relative values that must be found in
   matching packets.

   The choice of the identification fields directly affects the type of
   paths that the flow would follow in the network.  In fact, it is
   possible to relate a set of identification fields with the pattern of
   the resulting graphs, as listed in Figure 1.

   A TCP 5-tuple usually identifies flows following either a single path
   or a point-to-point multipath (in case of load balancing).  On the
   contrary, a single source address selects aggregate flows following a
   point-to-multipoint, while a multipoint-to-point can be the result of
   a matching on a single destination address.  In case a selection rule
   and its reverse are used for bidirectional measurements, they can
   correspond to a point-to-multipoint in one direction and a
   multipoint-to-point in the opposite direction.

   So the flows to be monitored are selected into the monitoring points
   using packet selection rules, that can also change the pattern of the
   monitored network.

   Note that, more in general, the flow can be defined at different
   levels based on the encapsulation considered and additional
   conditions that are not in the packet header can also be included as
   part of matching criteria.

   The Alternate Marking method is applicable only to a single path (and
   partially to a one-to-one multipath), so the extension proposed in
   this document is suitable also for the most general case of
   multipoint-to-multipoint, which embraces all the other patterns of
   Figure 1.

          point-to-point single path
              +------+      +------+      +------+
          ---<>  R1  <>----<>  R2  <>----<>  R3  <>---
              +------+      +------+      +------+

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          point-to-point multipath
                          <>  R2  <>
                         / +------+ \
                        /            \
              +------+ /              \ +------+
          ---<>  R1  <>                <>  R4  <>---
              +------+ \              / +------+
                        \            /
                         \ +------+ /
                          <>  R3  <>

                                     <>  R4  <>---
                                    / +------+
                          +------+ /
                         <>  R2  <>
                        / +------+ \
              +------+ /            \ +------+
          ---<>  R1  <>              <>  R5  <>---
              +------+ \              +------+
                        \ +------+
                         <>  R3  <>
                          +------+ \
                                    \ +------+
                                     <>  R6  <>---

          ---<>  R1  <>
              +------+ \
                        \ +------+
                        <>  R4  <>
                        / +------+ \
              +------+ /            \ +------+
          ---<>  R2  <>              <>  R6  <>---
              +------+              / +------+
                          +------+ /
                         <>  R5  <>
                        / +------+
              +------+ /
          ---<>  R3  <>

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              +------+                +------+
          ---<>  R1  <>              <>  R6  <>---
              +------+ \            / +------+
                        \ +------+ /
                         <>  R4  <>
                          +------+ \
              +------+              \ +------+
          ---<>  R2  <>             <>  R7  <>---
              +------+ \            / +------+
                        \ +------+ /
                         <>  R5  <>
                        / +------+ \
              +------+ /            \ +------+
          ---<>  R3  <>              <>  R8  <>---
              +------+                +------+

                       Figure 1: Flow classification

   The case of unicast flow is considered in the previous figure.
   Anyway the anycast flow is also in scope because there is no
   replication and only a single node from the anycast group receives
   the traffic, so it can be viewed as a special case of unicast flow.
   Furthermore, an ECMP flow is in scope by definition, since it is a
   point-to-multipoint unicast flow.

4.  Multipoint Performance Measurement

   By Using the Alternate Marking method only point-to-point paths can
   be monitored.  To have an IP (TCP/UDP) flow that follows a point-to-
   point path we have to define, with a specific value, 5 identification
   fields (IP Source, IP Destination, Transport Protocol, Source Port,
   Destination Port).

   Multipoint Alternate Marking enables the performance measurement for
   multipoint flows selected by identification fields without any
   constraints (even the entire network production traffic).  It is also
   possible to use multiple marking points for the same monitored flow.

4.1.  Monitoring Network

   The Monitoring Network is deduced from the Production Network, by
   identifying the nodes of the graph that are the measurement points,
   and the links that are the connections between measurement points.

   There are some techniques that can help with the building of the
   monitoring network (as an example it is possible to mention

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   [I-D.ietf-ippm-route]).  In general there are different options: the
   monitoring network can be obtained by considering all the possible
   paths for the traffic or also by periodically checking the traffic
   (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly) and update the graph as appropriate,
   but this is up to the Network Management System (NMS) configuration.

   So a graph model of the monitoring network can be built according to
   the Alternate Marking method: the monitored interfaces and links are
   identified.  Only the measurement points and links where the traffic
   has flowed have to be represented in the graph.

   The following figure shows a simple example of a Monitoring Network

                                                   <>  R6  <>---
                                                  / +------+
                           +------+     +------+ /
                          <>  R2  <>---<>  R4  <>
                         / +------+ \   +------+ \
                        /            \            \ +------+
              +------+ /   +------+   \ +------+   <>  R7  <>---
          ---<>  R1  <>---<>  R3  <>---<>  R5  <>   +------+
              +------+ \   +------+ \   +------+ \
                        \            \            \ +------+
                         \            \            <>  R8  <>---
                          \            \            +------+
                           \            \
                            \            \ +------+
                             \            <>  R9  <>---
                              \            +------+
                                \ +------+
                                 <>  R10 <>---

                    Figure 2: Monitoring Network Graph

   Each monitoring point is characterized by the packet counter that
   refers only to a marking period of the monitored flow.

   The same is applicable also for the delay but it will be described in
   the following sections.

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5.  Multipoint Packet Loss

   Since all the packets of the considered flow leaving the network have
   previously entered the network, the number of packets counted by all
   the input nodes is always greater or equal than the number of packets
   counted by all the output nodes.  Non-initial fragments are not
   considered here.

   The assumption is the use of the Alternate Marking method.  And in
   case of no packet loss occurring in the marking period, if all the
   input and output points of the network domain to be monitored are
   measurement points, the sum of the number of packets on all the
   ingress interfaces equals the number on egress interfaces for the
   monitored flow.  In this circumstance, if no packet loss occurs, the
   intermediate measurement points have only the task to split the

   It is possible to define the Network Packet Loss of one monitored
   flow for a single period: <<In a packet network, the number of lost
   packets is the number of packets counted by the input nodes minus the
   number of packets counted by the output nodes>>.  This is true for
   every packet flow in each marking period.

   The Monitored Network Packet Loss with n input nodes and m output
   nodes is given by:

   PL = (PI1 + PI2 +...+ PIn) - (PO1 + PO2 +...+ POm)


   PL is the Network Packet Loss (number of lost packets)

   PIi is the Number of packets flowed through the i-th Input node in
   this period

   POj is the Number of packets flowed through the j-th Output node in
   this period

   The equation is applied on a per-time-interval basis and on an per-
   flow basis:

      The reference interval is the Alternate Marking period as defined
      in RFC 8321 [RFC8321].

      The flow definition is generalized here, indeed, as described
      before, a multipoint packet flow is considered and the
      identification fields can be selected without any constraints.

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6.  Network Clustering

   The previous Equation can determine the number of packets lost
   globally in the monitored network, exploiting only the data provided
   by the counters in the input and output nodes.

   In addition it is also possible to leverage the data provided by the
   other counters in the network to converge on the smallest
   identifiable subnetworks where the losses occur.  These subnetworks
   are named Clusters.

   A Cluster graph is a subnetwork of the entire Monitoring Network
   graph that still satisfies the packet loss equation (introduced in
   the previous section) where PL in this case is the number of packets
   lost in the Cluster.  As for the entire Monitoring Network graph, the
   Cluster is defined on a per-flow basis.

   For this reason a Cluster should contain all the arcs emanating from
   its input nodes and all the arcs terminating at its output nodes.
   This ensures that we can count all the packets (and only those)
   exiting an input node again at the output node, whatever path they

   In a completely monitored unidirectional network (a network where
   every network interface is monitored), each network device
   corresponds to a Cluster and each physical link corresponds to two
   Clusters (one for each device).

   Clusters can have different sizes depending on flow filtering
   criteria adopted.

   Moreover, sometimes Clusters can be optionally simplified.  For
   example when two monitored interfaces are divided by a single router
   (one is the input interface and the other is the output interface and
   the router has only these two interfaces), instead of counting
   exactly twice, upon entering and leaving, it is possible to consider
   a single measurement point (in this case we do not care of the
   internal packet loss of the router).

   It is worth highlighting that it might also be convenient to define
   Clusters based on the topological information and applicable to all
   the possible flows in the monitored network.

6.1.  Algorithm for Cluster partition

   A simple algorithm can be applied in order to split our monitoring
   network into Clusters.  This can be done for each direction
   separately.  The Cluster partition is based on the Monitoring Network

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   Graph that can be valid for a specific flow or can also be general
   and valid for the entire network topology.

   It is a two-step algorithm:

   o  Group the links where there is the same starting node;

   o  Join the grouped links with at least one ending node in common.

   Considering that the links are unidirectional, the first step implies
   to list all the links as connection between two nodes and to group
   the different links if they have the same starting node.  Note that
   it is possible to start from any link and the procedure works anyway.
   Following this classification, the second step implies to eventually
   join the groups classified in the first step by looking at the ending
   nodes.  If different groups have at least one common ending node,
   they are put together and belong to the same set.  After the
   application of the two steps of the algorithm, each one of the
   composed sets of links together with the endpoint nodes constitutes a

   In our monitoring network graph example it is possible to identify
   the Clusters partition by applying this two-step algorithm.

   The first step identifies the following groups:

   1.  Group 1: (R1-R2), (R1-R3), (R1-R10)

   2.  Group 2: (R2-R4), (R2-R5)

   3.  Group 3: (R3-R5), (R3-R9)

   4.  Group 4: (R4-R6), (R4-R7)

   5.  Group 5: (R5-R8)

   And then, the second step builds the Clusters partition (in
   particular we can underline that Group 2 and Group 3 connect
   together, since R5 is in common):

   1.  Cluster 1: (R1-R2), (R1-R3), (R1-R10)

   2.  Cluster 2: (R2-R4), (R2-R5), (R3-R5), (R3-R9)

   3.  Cluster 3: (R4-R6), (R4-R7)

   4.  Cluster 4: (R5-R8)

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   The flow direction here considered is from left to right.  For the
   opposite direction the same way of reasoning can be applied and, in
   this example, you get the same Clusters partition.

   In the end the following 4 Clusters are obtained:

          Cluster 1
                          <>  R2  <>---
                         / +------+
              +------+ /   +------+
          ---<>  R1  <>---<>  R3  <>---
              +------+ \   +------+
                                \ +------+
                                 <>  R10 <>---

          Cluster 2
              +------+     +------+
          ---<>  R2  <>---<>  R4  <>---
              +------+ \   +------+
              +------+   \ +------+
          ---<>  R3  <>---<>  R5  <>---
              +------+ \   +------+
                            \ +------+
                             <>  R9  <>---

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          Cluster 3
                         <>  R6  <>---
                        / +------+
              +------+ /
          ---<>  R4  <>
              +------+ \
                        \ +------+
                         <>  R7  <>---

          Cluster 4
          ---<>  R5  <>
              +------+ \
                        \ +------+
                         <>  R8  <>---

                        Figure 3: Clusters example

   There are Clusters with more than 2 nodes and two-nodes Clusters.  In
   the two-nodes Clusters the loss is on the link (Cluster 4).  In more-
   than-2-nodes Clusters the loss is on the Cluster but we cannot know
   in which link (Cluster 1, 2, 3).

   In this way the calculation of packet loss can be made on Cluster
   basis.  Note that the packet counters for each marking period permit
   to calculate the packet rate on Cluster basis, so Committed
   Information Rate (CIR) and Excess Information Rate (EIR) could also
   be deduced on Cluster basis.

   Obviously, by combining some Clusters in a new connected subnetwork
   (called Super Cluster) the Packet Loss Rule is still true.

   In this way, in a very large network there is no need to configure
   detailed filter criteria to inspect the traffic.  You can check a
   multipoint network and, in case of problems, you can go deep with a
   step-by-step cluster analysis, but only for the cluster or
   combination of clusters where the problem happens.

   In summary, once defined a flow, the algorithm to build the Cluster
   Partition considers all the possible links and nodes crossed by the
   given flow, even if there is no traffic.  It is based on topological
   information.  So, if the flow does not enter or traverse all the
   nodes, the counters have a non-zero value for the involved nodes,

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   while a zero value for the other nodes without traffic, but, in the
   end all the formulas are still valid.

   The algorithm described above is an Iterative clustering algorithm,
   but it is also possible to apply a Recursive clustering algorithm by
   using the node-node adjacency matrix representation

   The complete and mathematical analysis of the possible Algorithms for
   Cluster partition, including the considerations in terms of
   efficiency and a comparison between the different methods, is in the
   paper [IEEE-ACM-ToN-MPNPM].

7.  Timing Aspects

   It is important to consider the timing aspects, since out of order
   packets happen and have to be handled as well as described in RFC
   8321 [RFC8321].  But, in a multi-source situation an additional issue
   has to be considered.  With multipoint path, the egress nodes will
   receive alternate marked packets in random order from different
   ingress nodes, and this must not affect the measurement.

   So, if we analyse a multipoint-to-multipoint path with more than one
   marking node, it is important to recognize the reference measurement
   interval.  In general the measurement interval for describing the
   results is the interval of the marking node that is more aligned with
   the start of the measurement, as reported in the following figure.

   Note that the mark switching approach based on a fixed timer is
   considered in this document.

           time -> start         stop
           T(R1)   |-------------|
           T(R2)     |-------------|
           T(R3)        |------------|

                      Figure 4: Measurement Interval

   In the figure it is assumed that the node with the earliest clock
   (R1) identifies the right starting and ending time of the
   measurement, but it is just an assumption and other possibilities
   could occur.  So, in this case, T(R1) is the measurement interval and
   its recognition is essential in order to be compatible and make
   comparison with other active/passive/hybrid Packet Loss metrics.

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   When we expand to multipoint-to-multipoint flows, we have to consider
   that all source nodes mark the traffic and this adds more complexity.

   Regarding the timing aspects of the methodology, RFC 8321 [RFC8321]
   already describes two contributions that are taken into account: the
   clock error between network devices and the network delay between
   measurement points.

   But we should now consider an additional contribution.  Since all
   source nodes mark the traffic, the source measurement intervals can
   be of different lengths and with different offsets and this mismatch
   m can be added to d, as shown in figure.

                |                   L                    |
                |         L/2                L/2         |
                |<=><===>|                      |<===><=>|
                  m   d  |                      |  d   m
                       available counting interval

               Figure 5: Timing Aspects for Multipoint paths

   So the misalignment between the marking source routers gives an
   additional constraint and the value of m is added to d (that already
   includes clock error and network delay).

   Thus, three different possible contributions are considered: clock
   error between network devices, network delay between measurement
   points and the misalignment between the marking source routers.

   In the end, the condition that must be satisfied to enable the method
   to function properly is that the available counting interval must be
   > 0, and that means:

   L - 2m - 2d > 0.

   This formula needs to be verified for each measurement point on the
   multipoint path, where m is misalignment between the marking source
   routers, while d, already introduced in RFC 8321 [RFC8321], takes
   into account clock error and network delay between network nodes.
   Therefore, the mismatch between measurement intervals must satisfy
   this condition.

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   Note that the timing considerations are valid for both packet loss
   and delay measurements.

8.  Multipoint Delay and Delay Variation

   The same line of reasoning can be applied to Delay and Delay
   Variation.  Similarly to the delay measurements defined in RFC 8321
   [RFC8321], the marking batches anchor the samples to a particular
   period and this is the time reference that can be used.  It is
   important to highlight that both delay and delay variation
   measurements make sense in a multipoint path.  The Delay Variation is
   calculated by considering the same packets selected for measuring the

   In general, it is possible to perform delay and delay variation
   measurements on multipoint paths basis or on single packets basis:

   o  Delay measurements on multipoint paths basis means that the delay
      value is representative of an entire multipoint path (e.g. whole
      multipoint network, a cluster or a combination of clusters).

   o  Delay measurements on a single packet basis means that you can use
      multipoint path just to easily couple packets between input and
      output nodes of a multipoint path, as it is described in the
      following sections.

8.1.  Delay measurements on multipoint paths basis

8.1.1.  Single Marking measurement

   Mean delay and mean delay variation measurements can also be
   generalized to the case of multipoint flows.  It is possible to
   compute the average one-way delay of packets, in one block, in a
   cluster or in the entire monitored network.

   The average latency can be measured as the difference between the
   weighted averages of the mean timestamps of the sets of output and
   input nodes.  This means that, in the calculation, it is possible to
   weigh the timestamps by considering the number of packets for each

8.2.  Delay measurements on single packets basis

8.2.1.  Single and Double Marking measurement

   Delay and delay variation measurements relative to only one picked
   packet per period (both single and double marked) can be performed in
   the Multipoint scenario with some limitations:

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      Single marking based on the first/last packet of the interval
      would not work, because it would not be possible to agree on the
      first packet of the interval.

      Double marking or multiplexed marking would work, but each
      measurement would only give information about the delay of a
      single path.  However, by repeating the measurement multiple
      times, it is possible to get information about all the paths in
      the multipoint flow.  This can be done in case of point-to-
      multipoint path but it is more difficult to achieve in case of
      multipoint-to-multipoint path because of the multiple source

   If we would perform a delay measurement for more than one picked
   packet in the same marking period and, especially, if we want to get
   delay measurements on multipoint-to-multipoint basis, both single and
   double marking method are not useful in the Multipoint scenario,
   since they would not be representative of the entire flow.  The
   packets can follow different paths with various delays, and in
   general it can be very difficult to recognize marked packets in a
   multipoint-to-multipoint path especially in the case when there is
   more than one per period.

   A desirable option is to monitor simultaneously all the paths of a
   multipoint path in the same marking period and, for this purpose,
   hashing can be used as reported in the next Section.

8.2.2.  Hashing selection method

   RFC 5474 [RFC5474] and RFC 5475 [RFC5475] introduce sampling and
   filtering techniques for IP Packet Selection.

   The hash-based selection methodologies for delay measurement can work
   in a multipoint-to-multipoint path and can be used both coupled to
   mean delay or stand alone.

   [I-D.mizrahi-ippm-compact-alternate-marking] introduces how to use
   the Hash method (RFC 5474 [RFC5474] and RFC 5475 [RFC5475]) combined
   with Alternate Marking method for point-to-point flows.  It is also
   called Mixed Hashed Marking: the coupling of marking method and
   hashing technique is very useful because the marking batches anchor
   the samples selected with hashing and this simplifies the correlation
   of the hashing packets along the path.

   It is possible to use a basic hash or a dynamic hash method.  One of
   the challenges of the basic approach is that the frequency of the
   sampled packets may vary considerably.  For this reason the dynamic
   approach has been introduced for point-to-point flow in order to have

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   the desired and almost fixed number of samples for each measurement
   period.  In the hash-based sampling, Alternate Marking is used to
   create periods, so that hash-based samples are divided into batches,
   allowing to anchor the selected samples to their period.  Moreover in
   the dynamic hash-based sampling, by dynamically adapting the length
   of the hash value, the number of samples is bounded in each marking
   period.  This can be realized by choosing the maximum number of
   samples (NMAX) to be caught in a marking period.  The algorithm
   starts with only few hash bits, that permit to select a greater
   percentage of packets (e.g. with 0 bit of hash all the packets are
   sampled, with 1 bit of hash half of the packets are sampled, and so
   on).  When the number of selected packets reaches NMAX, a hashing bit
   is added.  As a consequence, the sampling proceeds at half of the
   original rate and also the packets already selected that do not match
   the new hash are discarded.  This step can be repeated iteratively.
   It is assumed that each sample includes the timestamp (used for delay
   measurement) and the hash value, allowing the management system to
   match the samples received from the two measurement points.  The
   dynamic process statistically converges at the end of a marking
   period and the final number of selected samples is between NMAX/2 and
   NMAX.  Therefore, the dynamic approach paces the sampling rate,
   allowing to bound the number of sampled packets per sampling period.

   In a multipoint environment the behaviour is similar to a point-to
   point flow.  In particular, in the context of a multipoint-to-
   multipoint flow, the dynamic hash could be the solution to perform
   delay measurements on specific packets and to overcome the single and
   double marking limitations.

   The management system receives the samples including the timestamps
   and the hash value from all the MPs, and this happens both for point-
   to-point and for multipoint-to-multipoint flows.  Then the longest
   hash used by MPs is deduced and it is applied to couple timestamps of
   the same packets of 2 MPs of a point-to-point path or of input and
   output MPs of a Cluster (or a Super Cluster or the entire network).
   But some considerations are needed: if there isn't packet loss the
   set of input samples is always equal to the set of output samples.
   In case of packet loss the set of output samples can be a subset of
   input samples but the method still works because, at the end, it is
   easy to couple the input and output timestamps of each caught packet
   using the hash (in particular the "unused part of the hash" that
   should be different for each packet).

   Therefore, the basic hash is logically similar to the double marking
   method, and in case of point-to-point path double marking and basic
   hash selection are equivalent.  The dynamic approach scales the
   number of measurements per interval, and it would seem that double
   marking would also work well if we reduced the interval length, but

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   this can be done only for point-to-point path and not for multipoint
   path, where we cannot couple the picked packets in a multipoint
   paths.  So, in general, if we want to get delay measurements on
   multipoint-to-multipoint path basis and want to select more than one
   packet per period, double marking cannot be used because we could not
   be able to couple the picked packets between input and output nodes.
   On the other hand we can do that by using hashing selection.

9.  A Closed Loop Performance Management approach

   The Multipoint Alternate Marking framework that is introduced in this
   document adds flexibility to Performance Management (PM) because it
   can reduce the order of magnitude of the packet counters.  This
   allows an SDN Orchestrator to supervise, control and manage PM in
   large networks.

   The monitoring network can be considered as a whole or can be split
   in Clusters, that are the smallest subnetworks (group-to-group
   segments), maintaining the packet loss property for each subnetwork.
   They can also be combined in new connected subnetworks at different
   levels depending on the detail we want to achieve.

   An SDN Controller or a Network Management System (NMS) can calibrate
   Performance Measurements since they are aware of the network
   topology.  They can start without examining in depth.  In case of
   necessity (packet loss is measured or the delay is too high), the
   filtering criteria could be immediately reconfigured in order to
   perform a partition of the network by using Clusters and/or different
   combinations of Clusters.  In this way the problem can be localized
   in a specific Cluster or in a single combination of Clusters and a
   more detailed analysis can be performed step-by-step by successive
   approximation up to a point-to-point flow detailed analysis.  This is
   the so called Closed Loop.

   This approach can be called Network Zooming and can be performed in
   two different ways:

   1) change the traffic filter and select more detailed flows;

   2) activate new measurement points by defining more specified

   The Network Zooming approach implies that the some filters or rules
   are changed and there is a transient time to wait once the new
   network configuration takes effect and it can be determined by the
   Network Orchestrator/Controller, based on the network conditions.

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   For example, if the Network Zooming identifies the performance
   problem for the traffic coming from a specific source, we need to
   recognize the marked signal from this specific source node and its
   relative path.  For this purpose we can activate all the available
   measurement points and specify better the flow filter criteria (i.e.
   5-tuple).  As an alternative, it can be enough to select packets from
   the specific source for delay measurements, and in this case it is
   possible to apply the hashing technique as mentioned in the previous

   [] defines an architecture where the
   centralized Data Collector and Network Management can apply the
   intelligent and flexible Alternate Marking algorithm as previously

   As for RFC 8321 [RFC8321], it is possible to classify the traffic and
   mark a portion of the total traffic.  For each period the packet rate
   and bandwidth are calculated from the number of packets.  In this way
   the Network Orchestrator becomes aware if the traffic rate overcomes
   limits.  In addition more precision can be obtained by reducing the
   marking period, indeed some implementations use a marking period of 1
   sec and less.

   In addition an SDN Controller could also collect the measurement

   It is important to mention that the Multipoint Alternate Marking
   framework also helps Traffic Visualization.  Indeed this methodology
   is very useful to identify which path or which cluster is crossed by
   the flow.

10.  Examples of application

   There are application fields where it may be useful to take into
   consideration the Multipoint Alternate Marking:

   o  VPN: The IP traffic is selected on IP source basis in both
      directions.  At the endpoint WAN interface all the output traffic
      is counted in a single flow.  The input traffic is composed by all
      the other flows aggregated for source address.  So, by considering
      n end-points, the monitored flows are n (each flow with 1 ingress
      point and (n-1) egress points) instead of n*(n-1) flows (each
      flow, with 1 ingress point and 1 egress point);

   o  Mobile Backhaul: LTE traffic is selected, in the Up direction, by
      the EnodeB source address and, in Down direction, by the EnodeB
      destination address because the packets are sent from the Mobile

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      Packet Core to the EnodeB.  So the monitored flow is only one per
      EnodeB in both directions;

   o  Over The Top (OTT) services: The traffic is selected, in the Down
      direction by the source addresses of the packets sent by OTT
      Servers.  In the opposite direction (Up) by the destination IP
      addresses of the same Servers.  So the monitoring is based on a
      single flow per OTT Servers in both directions.

   o  Enterprise SD-WAN: SD-WAN allows to connect remote branch offices
      to Data Centers and build higher-performance WANs.  A centralized
      controller is used to set policies and prioritize traffic.  The
      SD-WAN takes into account these policies and the availability of
      network bandwidth to route traffic.  This helps ensure that
      application performance meets service level agreements (SLAs).
      This methodology can also help the path selection for the WAN
      connection based on per Cluster and per flow performance.

   Note that the list is just an example and it is not exhaustive.  More
   applications are possible.

11.  Security Considerations

   This document specifies a method to perform measurements that does
   not directly affect Internet security nor applications that run on
   the Internet.  However, implementation of this method must be mindful
   of security and privacy concerns, as explained in RFC 8321 [RFC8321].

12.  Acknowledgements

   The authors would like to thank Al Morton, Tal Mizrahi, Rachel Huang
   for the precious contribution.

13.  IANA Considerations

   This memo makes no requests of IANA.

14.  References

14.1.  Normative References

   [RFC5474]  Duffield, N., Ed., Chiou, D., Claise, B., Greenberg, A.,
              Grossglauser, M., and J. Rexford, "A Framework for Packet
              Selection and Reporting", RFC 5474, DOI 10.17487/RFC5474,
              March 2009, <>.

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   [RFC5475]  Zseby, T., Molina, M., Duffield, N., Niccolini, S., and F.
              Raspall, "Sampling and Filtering Techniques for IP Packet
              Selection", RFC 5475, DOI 10.17487/RFC5475, March 2009,

   [RFC5644]  Stephan, E., Liang, L., and A. Morton, "IP Performance
              Metrics (IPPM): Spatial and Multicast", RFC 5644,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5644, October 2009,

   [RFC8321]  Fioccola, G., Ed., Capello, A., Cociglio, M., Castaldelli,
              L., Chen, M., Zheng, L., Mirsky, G., and T. Mizrahi,
              "Alternate-Marking Method for Passive and Hybrid
              Performance Monitoring", RFC 8321, DOI 10.17487/RFC8321,
              January 2018, <>.

14.2.  Informative References

              Alvarez-Hamelin, J., Morton, A., Fabini, J., Pignataro,
              C., and R. Geib, "Advanced Unidirectional Route Assessment
              (AURA)", draft-ietf-ippm-route-07 (work in progress),
              December 2019.

              Mizrahi, T., Arad, C., Fioccola, G., Cociglio, M., Chen,
              M., Zheng, L., and G. Mirsky, "Compact Alternate Marking
              Methods for Passive and Hybrid Performance Monitoring",
              draft-mizrahi-ippm-compact-alternate-marking-05 (work in
              progress), July 2019.

              Song, H., Qin, F., Chen, H., Jin, J., and J. Shin, "In-
              situ Flow Information Telemetry", draft-song-opsawg-ifit-
              framework-11 (work in progress), March 2020.

              Zhou, T., Fioccola, G., Li, Z., Lee, S., and M. Cociglio,
              "Enhanced Alternate Marking Method", draft-zhou-ippm-
              enhanced-alternate-marking-04 (work in progress), October

              IEEE/ACM TRANSACTION ON NETWORKING, "Multipoint Passive
              Monitoring in Packet Networks",
              DOI 10.1109/TNET.2019.2950157, 2019.

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              IEEE Network, "AM-PM: Efficient Network Telemetry using
              Alternate Marking", DOI 10.1109/MNET.2019.1800152, 2019.

   [RFC7011]  Claise, B., Ed., Trammell, B., Ed., and P. Aitken,
              "Specification of the IP Flow Information Export (IPFIX)
              Protocol for the Exchange of Flow Information", STD 77,
              RFC 7011, DOI 10.17487/RFC7011, September 2013,

Authors' Addresses

   Giuseppe Fioccola (editor)
   Huawei Technologies
   Riesstrasse, 25
   Munich  80992


   Mauro Cociglio
   Telecom Italia
   Via Reiss Romoli, 274
   Torino  10148


   Amedeo Sapio
   Politecnico di Torino
   Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24
   Torino  10129


   Riccardo Sisto
   Politecnico di Torino
   Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24
   Torino  10129


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