Gen-ART LC Review of draft-ietf-core-groupcomm-21
Ben Campbell <ben <at> nostrum.com>
2014-08-14 21:06:25 GMT
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Reviewer: Ben Campbell
Review Date: 2014-08-14
IETF LC End Date: 2014-08-14
IESG Telechat date:
Summary: This draft is not ready for publication as an informational RFC. It has some significant issues,
**** Major issues:
-- The draft contains significant material that I do not believe is appropriate for an informational RFC,
at least without some clear explanations about why it appears. It purports to clarify the normative stuff
in RFC 7252 concerning multicast, but it does quite a bit more than that.
Section 2.7 defines protocol, in the form of a RESTful methods and attributes to manage multicast group
membership.I agree in some cases it makes sense for an informational RFC to define protocol. A common
example is when we want to document a proprietary protocol for some reason. As written, this does not seem
to fall unto such a case. If the authors and working group believe it does, it would be helpful to add text
explaining that, and how the reader should interpret the section. (I recognize that this interface is
optional--but I don't think making it optional changes whether it should be standards track.)
In addition to that, the draft contains quite a bit of guidance that might be more appropriate BCP. For
example, there is guidance here where not following it might do harm to the network. Additionally, I don't
see how anyone could expect to achieve interoperability the multicast features of RFC 7252 without
understanding this draft. (I have to wonder why RFC 7252 did not have a normative dependency on this draft.)
-- The security aspects of group CoAP are pretty bad. To its credit, the draft does a pretty good job of
calling that out, and that work is in progress to improve it. But I have to wonder if we would be better off not
encouraging multicast CoAP at all until such improvements are available. Section 5.3 calls out some
reasonable examples of mitigation approaches, but I am a little concerned at the guidance that one should
worry about these for "sensitive" or "safety-critical" data. People are not good at knowing what data is
"sensitive" until it gets used against them. I think this is especially true for IoT applications where we
have less deployment experience.
Along those lines, the Pervasive Monitoring Considerations section (kudos for having one, btw), tries to
balance application needs vs protecting information. But the smart-grid example seems to be a case where
the two are really at odds. I am afraid people will interpret this along the lines of "well, the smart-grid
application requirements force me to send unprotected data all over the place", when I think the right
answer is "Group CoAP should not be used for this sort of application until we can protect the data".
**** Minor issues:
-- 2.2, 5th paragraph: "For sending nodes, it is recommended to use the IP multicast address literal in a
Can you elaborate on why? I can guess, but anytime we suggest using literal IP addresses rather than DNS
names, it's worth elaborating.
-- 2.4: " ... if the resource being POSTed to has been designed to cope with the unreliable and lossy nature of
Can you elaborate on what it means to be "designed to cope..."? (Or reference something that does?)
I think the Resource Directory reference needs to be normative. (I see the discussion of this from Barry's
AD review, where the authors argued that the reference is optional for implementations. But our
definition of normative references also includes things necessary to fully understand this draft.
Fully understanding even optional features is part of that.)
-- 2.7.1, 2nd paragraph:
Does this imply a need to coordinate pre-configured group addresses to avoid collisions?
-- 22.214.171.124: 2nd 2 last paragraph:
Are there any scenarios where a missing port might be determined from DNS, rather than just assuming the default?
-- 126.96.36.199, 1st paragraph: "This operation MUST only be used to delete or update group membership objects
for which the CoAP client, invoking this operation, is responsible"
Do I understand correctly that this replaces the entire set? Is it possible for two different clients to be
responsible for two different subsets? If so, how?
-- 2.8 and (especially) 2.9:
Lack of 2119 language in the "additional guidlines" seems inconsistent with other parts of this draft that
do use 2119 language. (I agree the places where you talk about what 7252 already says should not use 2119
language.) I can maybe see the difference for 2.8, but the congestion-avoidance stuff in 2.9 seems as
appropriate for 2119 language as most anything else in the draft.
(To be clear, I'm not suggesting more or less normative language--only consistency in its use.)
**** Nits/editorial comments:
Please expand CoAP on first use in abstract. (But don't remove the expansion in the body.)
-- 2.2, 4th paragraph: " ... it is recommended ..."
Was that intended as normative?
Along those lines, I see a number of sections where 2119 words are used in lower case where it looks like they
were not intended as normative (e.g., where you talk about normative requirements from RFC 7252), but in
other areas it's not as clear (like this one.) It would be best to either avoid lower case versions of 2119
words, or make it very clear whether they should be interpreted normatively or not.
-- 2.7.2, 2nd paragraph:
Wording is confusing. Do you mean MUST use the DTLS method, or MUST use some method, with DTLS an option?
Sentence seems to mean the former, in which it would be more clear to say "MUST use DTLS as described in ..."
-- 188.8.131.52, 3rd paragraph:
Please expand JDON on first use.
-- 184.108.40.206, paragraph after examples:
You mention an optional port for "a" attributes, but not for "n" attributes. The BNF for group-name seems to
allow an optional port. (and you mention an optional port for "n" later.