INTERNET-DRAFTNetwork Working Group Bob Quinn
INTERNET-DRAFT Celox Networks; Networks
Category: Standards Track Ross Finlayson
Expires 15 August
Expires: October 2003 15 February LIVE.COM
April 15, 2003
Session Description Protocol (SDP) Source Filters
Status of this Memo
This document is an Internet-Draft and is subject to in full conformance with
all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026.
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Copyright (C) The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
"SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [REQMNT]. Internet Society (2003). All Rights Reserved.
This document describes how to adapt the Session Description Protocol
(SDP) to express one or more source addresses as a source filter for
one or more destination "connection" addresses. It defines the
syntax and semantics for an SDP "source-filter" attribute that may
reference either IPv4 or IPv6 address(es) as either an inclusive or
exclusive source list for either multicast or unicast destinations.
In particular, an inclusive source-filter can be used to specify a
Source-Specific Multicast (SSM) session.
Receiver applications are expected use the SDP source-filter
information to identify traffic from legitimate senders and discard
traffic from illegitimate senders. Applications
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
"SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and hosts may also
share the source-filter information with network elements (e.g., with
routers using IGMPv3) so they can potentially perform the traffic
filtering operation further "upstream," closer "OPTIONAL" in this
document are to the source(s).
1 be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [REQMNT].
The Session Description Protocol [SDP] provides a general-purpose
format for describing multimedia sessions in announcements or
invitations. SDP uses an entirely textual data format (the US-ASCII
subset of [UTF-8]) to maximize portability among transports.
SDP does not define a protocol, but only the syntax to describe a
multimedia session with sufficient information to discover and
participate in that session. Session descriptions may be sent using
any number of existing application protocols for transport
(e.g., SAP, SIP, RTSP, email, HTTP, etc.).
Typically, session descriptions reference an IP multicast address for
the "connection-address" (destination), though unicast addresses or
fully qualified domain names (FQDNs) MAY also be used. The "source-
filter" attribute defined in this document defines qualifies the session
traffic by identifying the address (or FQDN) of legitimate source(s)
(senders). The intent is for receivers to use the source and
destination address pair(s) to filter traffic, so that applications
receive only legitimate session traffic.
Receiver applications are expected to use the SDP source-filter
information to identify traffic from legitimate senders, and discard
traffic from illegitimate senders. Applications and hosts may also
share the source-filter information with network elements (e.g., with
routers using [IGMPv3]) so they can potentially perform the traffic
filtering operation further "upstream," closer to the source(s).
The "source-filter" attribute can appear at the session level
and/or the media level.
The purpose of a source-filter is to help protect receivers from
traffic sent from illegitimate source addresses. Filtering traffic
can help to preserve content integrity and protect against denial of
service (DoS) attacks.
For multicast destination addresses, receiver applications MAY apply
source-filters using the Multicast Source Filter APIs [MSF API].
Hosts are likely to implement these APIs using protocol mechanisms to
convey the source filters to local multicast routers. Other
"upstream" multicast routers MAY apply the filters and thereby
provide more explicit multicast group management and efficient
utilization of network resources. The protocol mechanisms to enable
these operations are beyond the scope of this document, but their
potential provided motivation for SDP source-filters.
3. The "source-filter" Attribute
The SDP source-filter attribute does not change any existing SDP
syntax or semantics, but defines a format for additional session
description information. Specifically, source-filter syntax can
prescribe one or more unicast addresses as either legitimate or
illegitimate sources for any (or all) SDP session description
"connection-address" field values.
The source-filter attribute has the following syntax:
a=source-filter: <filter-mode> <filter-spec>
The <filter-mode> is either "incl" or "excl" (for inclusion or
exclusion, respectively). The <filter-spec> has four sub-components:
<nettype> <address-types> <dest-address> <src-list>
A <filter-mode> of "incl" means that an incoming packet is accepted
only if its source address is in the set specified by <src-list>.
A <filter-mode> of "excl" means that an incoming packet is rejected
if its source address is in the set specified by <src-list>.
The first sub-field <nettype> indicates the network type, since SDP
is protocol independent. This document is most relevant to the value
"IN", which designates the Internet Protocol.
The second sub-field <address-types> identifies the address family family,
and for the purpose of this document may be either <addrtype> values value
"IP4" or "IP6". Alternately, when <dest-address> is an FQDN, FQDN
(fully-qualified domain name), the value MAY be "*" to apply to both
address types, since either address type can be returned from a DNS
The third sub-field <dest-address> is the destination address, which
MUST correspond to one or more of the session's "connection-address"
field values. It may be either a unicast or multicast address, an FQDN
(fully-qualified domain name),
a FQDN, or the "*" wildcard to match any/all of the session's
The fourth sub-field <src-list> is the list of source
hosts/interfaces in the source-filter, and consists of one or more
unicast addresses or FQDNs, separated by space characters.
The format and content of these semantic elements are derived from
and compatible with those defined in [SDP]. For more detail, see
Appendix A in of this document.
3.1. Processing Rules
There are a number of details to consider when parsing the SDP source-
The <dest-address> value in a "source-filter" attribute MUST
correspond to an existing <connection-field> value in the session
description. The only exception to this is when a "*" wildcard is
used to indicate that the source-filter applies to all
When the <dest-address> value is a multicast address, the field value
MUST NOT include the sub-fields <ttl> and <number of addresses> from
the <connection-address> value. The <number of addresses> is implied,
and all unicast addresses in the <src-list> are valid sources for any
of If the <connection-address>
specifies more than one multicast addresses in the address series implied by (in the
<number of addresses>.
When the <addrtype> value is the "*" wildcard, the <dest-address> MUST addresses> field), then a source filter, if any, for each
such address must be either an stated explicitly, using a separate
"a=source-filter" line for each address (unless a "*" wildcard is
used for <dest-address>). See section 3.2.4 for an example.
When the <addrtype> value is the "*" wildcard, the <dest-address>
MUST be either a FQDN or "*" (i.e., it MUST NOT be an IPv4 or IPv6
address). See section 2.2.5 3.2.6 for an example.
As has always been the case, the default behavior when a
source-filter attribute is not provided in a session description is
that all traffic sent to the specified <connection-address> value
should be accepted (i.e., from any source address). The
source-filter grammar does not include syntax to express either
"exclude none" or "include all."
Like the standard <connection-field> described in [SDP], the location
of the "source-filter" attribute determines whether it applies to the
entire session or only to a specific medium (i.e., "session-level" or
"media-level"). A media-level source-filter will always completely
override a session-level source-filter.
A "source-filter" need not be located at the same hierarchy level as
its corresponding <connection-field>. So, a media-level <source-
filter> can reference a session-level <connection-field> value, and a
session-level "source-filter" can be applied to all matching media-
level <connection-field> values. See section 2.2.3 3.2.3 for an example.
An SDP description MUST NOT contain more than one session-level
"source-filter" attribute, nor more than one media-level
"source-filter" attribute for the same medium.
There is no specified limit to the number of entries allowed in the
<src-list>, however there are practical limits that should be
considered. For example, depending on the transport to be used for
the session description, there may be a limit to the total size of
the session description (e.g., as determined by the maximum payload
in a single datagram). Also, when the source-filter is applied to
control protocols, there may be a limit to the number of source
addresses that can be sent. These limits are outside the scope of
this document, but should be considered when defining source-filter
values for SDP.
Here are a number of examples that illustrate how to use the source-
filter attribute in some common scenarios. We use the following
session description components as the starting point for the examples
to follow. For each example, we show the source filter with
additional relevant information, and provide a brief explanation.
o=The King <Elvis@example.com>
i=All Elvis, all the time
<media-description 1> =
m=audio 54320 RTP/AVP 0
<media-description 2> =
m=video 54322 RTP/AVP 34
3.2.1. Source-Specific Multicast Example
Multicast addresses in the Source-Specific Multicast [SSM] range
require a single unicast sender address for each multicast
destination, so the source-filter specification provides a natural
fit. In this example, a session member should receive only traffic
sent from 192.168.9.10 to the multicast session address 188.8.131.52.
c=IN IP4 184.108.40.206/127
a=source-filter: incl IN IP4 220.127.116.11 192.168.9.10
This source filter example uses an inclusion list with a single
multicast "connection-address" as the destination and single unicast
address as the source. Note that the value of the connection-address
matches the value specified in the connection-field.
Also note that since the connection-field is located in the session-
description section, the source-filter applies to all media.
Furthermore, if the SDP description specifies a RTP session
(e.g., its "m=" line(s) specify "RTP/AVP" as the transport protocol),
then the "incl" specification will apply not only to RTP packets,
but also to any RTCP packets that are sent to the specified multicast
address. This means that, as a side effect of the "incl"
specification, the only possible multicast RTCP packets will be
"Sender Report" (SR) packets sent from the specified source address.
Because of this, a an SDP description for a Source-Specific Multicast
(SSM) RTP session SHOULD also include a
a=rtcp: unicast ...
attribute, as described in [RTCP-SSM]. [RTCP-SSM] (section 10.1). This specifies
that RTCP "Reception Report" (RR) packets are to be sent back via
3.2.2. Unicast Exclusion Example
Typically, an SDP session <connection-address> value is a multicast
address, although it is also possible to use either a unicast
address or FQDN. This example illustrates a scenario whereby a
session description indicates the unicast source address 192.168.9.10
in an exclusion filter. In effect, this sample source-filter says, "host
"destination 192.168.10.11 destination should accept traffic from any sender
c=IN IP4 192.168.10.11
a=source-filter: excl IN IP4 192.168.10.11 192.168.9.10
3.2.3. Multiple Session Address Example
This source-filter example uses the wildcard "*" value for
<dest-addr> to correspond to any/all <connection-address> values.
Hence, the only legitimate source for traffic sent to either
18.104.22.168 or 22.214.171.124 multicast addresses is 192.168.9.10.
Traffic sent from any other unicast source address should be
discarded by the receiver.
a=source-filter: incl IN IP4 * 192.168.9.10
c=IN IP4 126.96.36.199/127
c=IN IP4 188.8.131.52/63
3.2.4. Multiple Multicast Address Example
In this example, the <connection-address> specifies three multicast
addresses: 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11, and 18.104.22.168. The first and third
of these addresses are given source filters. However, in this
example the second address - 22.214.171.124 - is *not* given a
c=IN IP4 126.96.36.199/127/3
a=source-filter: incl IN IP4 188.8.131.52 192.168.9.10
a=source-filter: incl IN IP4 184.108.40.206 192.168.9.42
3.2.5. IPv6 Multicast Source-Filter Example
This simple example defines a single session-level source-filter that
references a single IPv6 multicast destination and source pair. The
IP multicast traffic sent to FFOE::11A is valid only from the unicast
source address 2001:210:1:2:240:96FF:FE25:8EC9
c=IN IP6 FF0E::11A/127
a=source-filter incl IN IP6 FF0E::11A 2001:210:1:2:240:96FF:FE25:8EC9
3.2.6. IPv4 and IPv6 FQDN Example
This example illustrates use of the <addrtype> "*" wildcard, along
with multicast and source FQDNs that may resolve to either an IPv6
or IPv4 address, or both. Although typically both the multicast and
source addresses will be the same (either both IPv4 or IPv6), using
the wildcard for addrtype in the source filter allows asymmetry
between the two addresses (so an IPv4 source address may be used
with an IPv6 multicast address).
c=IN IP4 channel-1.example.com/127
c=IN IP6 channel-1.example.com/127
a=source-filter: incl IN * channel-1.example.com src-1.example.com
4. Interoperability Issues
Defining a list of legitimate sources for a multicast destination
address represents a departure from the Any-Source Multicast
(ASM) model, as originally described in [IGMPv1]. The ASM model
supports anonymous senders, and all types of multicast applications
(e.g., many-to-many). Use of a source-filter excludes some (unknown
or undesirable) senders, which lends itself more to one-to-many or few-to-
few-to-few type multicast applications.
Although these two models have contrasting operational
characteristics and requirements, they can coexist on the same
network using the same protocols. Use of source-filters do not
corrupt the ASM semantics but provide more control for receivers,
at their discretion.
5. Normative References
[ABNF] D. Crocker, D., P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
Specifications: ABNF," RFC 2234, November 1997 1997.
[REQMNT] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Levels," BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
[RTCP-SSM] J. Chesterfield, et al. J., E. Schooler, J. Ott,
"RTCP Extensions for Single-Source Multicast Sessions
with Unicast Feedback," Work in progress, November 2002 March 2003.
[SDP] M. Handley, M., V. Jacobson, C. Perkins,
"SDP: Session Description Protocol," RFC 2327, April 1998
Work in Progress, March 2003.
[UTF-8] F. Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of Unicode
and ISO 10646," RFC 2044, October 1996
6. Informative References
[CA-96.21] CERT Advisory CA-96.21, "TCP SYN Flooding and IP
Spoofing Attacks," September 1996 1996.
[IGMPv1] S. Deering, S., "Host Extensions for IP Multicasting,"
RFC 1112 (STD 5), August 1989 1989.
[IGMPv3] Cain, B. Cain et al. "Internet Group Management Protocol,
Version 3,", Work in progress, May 2002.
[MSF API] D. Thaler, D., B. Fenner, B. Quinn, "Socket Interface
Extensions for Multicast Source Filters,"
Work in progress, July 2002.
[SSM] Bhattacharyya, S. et al., "An Overview of Source-Specific
Multicast (SSM)", (SSM)," Work in progress, October 2002.
7. Security Considerations
See [SDP] for security considerations specific to the Session
Description Protocol in general. The central issue relevant to
using unicast source address filters is the question of address
Using the source IP address for authentication is weak, since
addresses are often dynamically assigned and it is possible for a
sender to "spoof" its source address (use (i.e., use one other than its
own) in datagrams that it sends. Proper router configuration configuration,
however, can reduce the likelihood of "spoofed" source addresses
being sent to or from a network, however. network. Specifically, border routers are
encouraged to filter traffic so that datagrams with invalid source
addresses are not forwarded (e.g., routers drop datagrams if the
source address is non-local) [CA-96.21].
Use of FQDNs for either <dest-address> or <src-list> values provides
a layer of indirection that provides great flexibility. However, it
also exposes the source-filter to any security inadequacies that the
DNS system may have (if any). have. If unsecured, it is conceivable that the DNS
server could return illegitimate addresses.
8. IANA Considerations
As recommended by [SDP] (in Appendix (Appendix B), the new "source-filter" attribute described in this document name
"source-filter" should be registered with IANA.
8 IANA, as follows:
The following contact information shall be used for all
registrations included here:
Contact: Ross Finlayson
email: finlayson (at) live.com
SDP Attribute ("att-field"):
Attribute name: source-filter
Long form: Source Filter
Type of name: att-field
Type of attribute: Session level or media level
Subject to charset: No
Purpose: See this document
Reference: This document
Values: See this document, and registrations below
In addition, a new sub-registry needs to be set up for the
"filter-mode" values of the "source-filter" attribute, with the
following registrations created initially: "incl", "excl", as defined
in this document:
Source Filter Mode ("filter-mode"):
Value name: incl
Long name: Inclusion
Reference: This document
Value name: excl
Long name: Exclusion
Reference: This document
The authors would like to thank Dave Thaler and Mark Handley, whose
input provided much of the substance of this document. Also, Magnus
Westerlund also provided valuable feedback during editing.
10. Authors' Addresses
2 Park Central Drive
Southborough, MA 01772
email: bquinn (at) celoxnetworks.com
Live Networks, Inc. (LIVE.COM)
650 Castro St., suite 120-196
Mountain View, CA 94041
email: finlayson (at) live.com
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Appendix A: A. Source-Filter Attribute Syntax
This appendix provides an Augmented BNF [ABNF] grammar for expressing
an exclusion or inclusion list of one or more (IPv4 or IPv6) unicast
source addresses. It is intended as an extension to the grammar for
the Session Description Protocol, as defined in [SDP]. Specifically,
it describes the syntax for the new "source-filter" attribute field,
which MAY be either a session-level or media-level attribute.
The "connection-address" value in each source filter field MUST match
an existing connection-field value, unless the wildcard connection-
address value "*" is specified.
source-filter = "source-filter" ":" filter-mode filter-spec
filter-mode = "excl" | / "incl"
; either exclusion or inclusion mode
filter-spec = nettype address-types dest-address src-list
; nettype is as defined in [SDP].
address-types = "*" | / addrtype
; "*" for all address types (both IP4 and IP6),
; but only when <dest-address> and <src-list>
; reference FQDNs.
; addrtype is as defined in [SDP].
dest-address = "*" | / IP4-address | / IP6-address | / FQDN
; "*" applies to all connection-address values.
; IP4-address, IP6-address, FQDN are as defined
; in [SDP].
src-list = *(addr SP) addr
; one or more unicast source addresses (in standard
; standard IPv4 or IPv6 ASCII-notation form)
; or FQDNs.
; addr is as defined in [SDP].
; SP is the ASCII 'space' character (0x20).
; addr is as (0x20, defined in [SDP].
Expires 15 August [ABNF]).
Expires: October 2003 15 February April 15, 2003