|Title||Applicability Statement for IP Mobility Support
Network Working Group J. Solomon
Request for Comments: 2005 Motorola
Category: Standards Track October 1996
Applicability Statement for IP Mobility Support
Status of this Memo
This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
As required by [RFC 1264], this report discusses the applicability of
Mobile IP to provide host mobility in the Internet. In particular,
this document describes the key features of Mobile IP and shows how
the requirements for advancement to Proposed Standard RFC have been
1. Protocol Overview
Mobile IP provides an efficient, scalable mechanism for node mobility
within the Internet. Using Mobile IP, nodes may change their point-
of-attachment to the Internet without changing their IP address.
This allows them to maintain transport and higher-layer connections
while moving. Node mobility is realized without the need to
propagate host-specific routes throughout the Internet routing
fabric. The protocol is documented in [MIP-PROTO].
In brief, Mobile IP routing works as follows. Packets destined to a
mobile node are routed first to its home network -- a network
identified by the network prefix of the mobile node's (permanent)
home address. At the home network, the mobile node's home agent
intercepts such packets and tunnels them to the mobile node's most
recently reported care-of address. At the endpoint of the tunnel,
the inner packets are decapsulated and delivered to the mobile node.
In the reverse direction, packets sourced by mobile nodes are routed
to their destination using standard IP routing mechanisms.
Thus, Mobile IP relies on protocol tunneling to deliver packets to
mobile nodes that are away from their home network. The mobile
node's home address is hidden from routers along the path from the
home agent to the mobile node due to the presence of the tunnel. The
encapsulating packet is destined to the mobile node's care-of address
-- a topologically significant address -- to which standard IP
routing mechanisms can deliver packets.
The Mobile IP protocol defines the following:
- an authenticated registration procedure by which a mobile node
informs its home agent(s) of its care-of address(es);
- an extension to ICMP Router Discovery [RFC1256] which allows mobile
nodes to discover prospective home agents and foreign agents; and
- the rules for routing packets to and from mobile nodes, including
the specification of one mandatory tunneling mechanism ([MIP-IPinIP])
and several optional tunneling mechanisms ([MIP-MINENC] and
Mobile IP is intended to solve node mobility across changes in IP
subnet. It is just as suitable for mobility across homogeneous media
as it is for mobility across heterogeneous media. That is, Mobile IP
facilitates node movement from one Ethernet segment to another as
well as it accommodates node movement from an Ethernet segment to a
One can think of Mobile IP as solving the "macro" mobility management
problem. It is less well suited for more "micro" mobility management
applications -- for example, handoff amongst wireless transceivers,
each of which covers only a very small geographic area. In this
later situation, link-layer mechanisms for link maintenance (i.e.
link-layer handoff) might offer faster convergence and less overhead
than Mobile IP.
Mobile IP scales to handle a large number of mobile nodes in the
Internet. Without route optimization as described in [MIP-OPTIM],
however, the home agent is a potential load point when serving many
mobile nodes. When home agents become overburdened, additional home
agents can be added -- and even dynamically discovered by mobile
nodes -- using mechanisms defined in the Mobile IP documents.
Finally, it is noted that mobile nodes are assigned (home) IP
addresses largely the same way in which stationary hosts are assigned
long-term IP addresses; namely, by the authority who owns them.
Properly applied, Mobile IP allows mobile nodes to communicate using
only their home address regardless of their current location. Mobile
IP, therefore, makes no attempt to solve the problems related to
local or global, IP address, renumbering.
Mobile IP mandates the use of cryptographically strong authentication
for all registration messages exchanged between a mobile node and its
home agent. Optionally, strong authentication can be used between
foreign agents and mobile nodes or home agents. Replay protection is
realized via one of two possible mechanisms -- timestamps or nonces.
Due to the unavailability of an Internet key management protocol,
agent discovery messages are not required to be authenticated.
All Mobile IP implementations are required to support, at a minimum,
keyed MD5 authentication with manual key distribution. Other
authentication and key distribution algorithms may be supported.
Mobile IP defines security mechanisms only for the registration
protocol. Implementations requiring privacy and/or authentication of
data packets sent to and from a mobile node should use the IP
security protocols described in RFCs 1827 and 1826 for this purpose.
At the time of publication of this Applicability Statement, a
Management Information Base (MIB) for Mobile IP has been written and
documented in RFC 2006.
Several implementations of Mobile IP are known to exist. The
following list gives the origin and a contact for several such
CMU Dave Johnson <email@example.com>
FTP Software Frank Kastenholz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
IBM Charlie Perkins <email@example.com>
Motorola Jim Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nokia Gunyho Gabor <email@example.com>
SUN Gabriel Montenegro <gab@cali.Eng.Sun.COM>
Telxon Frank Ciotti <firstname.lastname@example.org>
6. Implementation Experience
FTP Software hosted an interim meeting, October 23-27, 1995 in which
interoperability of several implementations was demonstrated. The
following major features of the Mobile IP protocol were tested:
1) Mobile Nodes receiving and processing Agent Advertisements.
2) Agents receiving Agent Solicitations and responding with Agent
3) Mobile Nodes registering with foreign agents on foreign networks.
4) Packets being received by the mobile node after having been
tunneled by the home agent and de-tunneled by the foreign agent.
5) Packets from the mobile node being routed directly to their
6) Mobile nodes discovering that their connectivity/subnet had
changed and re-registering at their new location.
7) Mobile nodes discovering that their current foreign agent had
rebooted and therefore re-registering with that foreign agent.
8) The required form of tunneling (IP-in-IP encapsulation
[MIP-IPinIP]) as well as the one of the optional forms of tunneling;
namely, Minimal Encapsulation [MIP-MINENC].
9) Mobile nodes de-registering upon returning to their home network.
10) Registrations being rejected for authentication failures,
including invalid authenticators as well as mismatched
identification values (replay protection).
11) TCP connections remaining open (with data flowing) while a mobile
node moved from its home network to a foreign network and then
back again to the home network.
Interoperability of at least two independent implementations was
demonstrated for all of the features listed above.
The co-chairs, on behalf of the working group participants, believe
that the Mobile IP working group has satisfied the requirements set
forth in [RFC1264] for the advancement of Mobile IP to Proposed
Standard RFC. Specifically, the technical specification document is
stable, a MIB has been written, the security architecture has been
set forth in accordance with IAB principles, and several independent
implementations have been demonstrated to be interoperable.
[RFC1256] Deering, S., Editor, "ICMP Router Discovery Messages", RFC
1256, September 1991.
[RFC1701] Hanks, S. et. al., "Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE)",
RFC 1701, October 1994.
[RFC1264] Hinden, R., "Internet Routing Protocol Standardization
Criteria", RFC 1264, October 1991.
[MIP-IPinIP] Perkins, C., Editor, "IP Encapsulation within IP",
RFC 2003, October 1996.
[MIP-OPTIM] Johnson, D., and C. Perkins, "Route Optimization in
Mobile IP", Work in Progress.
[MIP-PROTO] Perkins, C., Editor, "IP Mobility Support", RFC 2002,
[MIP-MINENC] Perkins, C., Editor, "Minimal Encapsulation within IP",
RFC 2004, October 1994.
9. Author's Address
Questions about this memo can be directed to:
1301 E. Algonquin Rd. - Rm 2240
Schaumburg, IL 60196