Path MTU discovery

Path MTU discovery

Path MTU discovery (PMTUD) is a technique in computing for determining the maximum transmission unit (MTU) size on the network path between two IP hosts with a view to avoiding IP fragmentation.

Path MTU discovery works by setting the DF (Don't Fragment) option bit in the IP headers of outgoing packets. Then, any device along the path whose MTU is smaller than the packet will drop it, and send back an ICMP "Fragmentation Needed" message containing its MTU, allowing the source host to reduce its assumed path MTU appropriately. The process repeats until the MTU is small enough to traverse the entire path without fragmentation.

If the path MTU changes after the connection is set up and is lower than the previously determined path MTU, the first large packet will cause an ICMP error and the new, lower path MTU will be found. Conversely, if PMTUD finds that the path allows a larger MTU than what is possible on the lower link, the OS will periodically reprobe to see if the path has changed and now allows larger packets. On Linux this timer is set by default to ten minutes.

Problems with PMTUD

Many "security" devices incorrectly block all ICMP messages, including the errors that are necessary for PMTUD to work. This can result in connections that complete the TCP three-way handshake correctly, but then hang when data is transferred. This state is referred to as a "black hole connection".

Some implementations of PMTUD now try to work around this by inferring that large payload packets have been dropped due to MTU rather than because of link congestion. However, in order for TCP to operate most efficiently, ICMP unreachables (type 3) should be permitted. A robust method for PMTUD that relies on TCP or some other Packetization Layer to probe the path with progressively larger packets has been standardized in RFC 4821 (Packetization Layer Path MTU Discovery, PLPMTUD).

Another workaround used by some routers is to change the maximum segment size of all connections passing through links with MTU lower than the Ethernet default of 1500. This is known as MSS clamping.

External links

* Internet Engineering Task Force [http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/pmtud-charter.html Path MTU Discovery (pmtud) Working Group]
* [http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1191.txt RFC 1191] , Path MTU Discovery
* [http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1981.txt RFC 1981] , Path MTU Discovery for IP version 6
* [http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2923.txt RFC 2923] , TCP Problems with Path MTU Discovery
* [http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4821.txt RFC 4821] , Packetization Layer Path MTU Discovery


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Path mtu discovery — (PMTUd) est une technique permettant de déterminer, dans un réseau informatique, la taille du MTU sur le chemin entre deux hôtes IP, afin d éviter la fragmentation des paquets. Il est défini pour ICMP par le RFC 1191 et pour ICMPv6 par la RFC… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Path MTU discovery — (PMTUd) est une technique permettant de déterminer, dans un réseau informatique, la taille du MTU sur le chemin entre deux hôtes IP, afin d éviter la fragmentation des paquets. Il est défini pour ICMP par le RFC 1191 et pour ICMPv6 par la RFC… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Path MTU Discovery — ist ein Verfahren zum dynamischen Erkennen der Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) und damit der maximalen Paketgröße für einen bestimmten Pfad im Netzwerk. Im Allgemeinen kann mit dieser Information Overhead vermindert und Fragmentierung von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • MTU — В компьютерных сетях термин Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) используется для определения максимального размера блока (в байтах), который может быть передан на канальном уровне сетевой модели OSI. Значения MTU зависят от коммуникационного… …   Википедия

  • Equal-cost multi-path routing — ECMP can also stand for Electronic Countermeasure Pod.Equal cost multi path routing (ECMP) is a routing strategy where next hop packet forwarding to a single destination can occur over multiple best paths which tie for top place in routing metric …   Wikipedia

  • Open Shortest Path First — (OSPF) is an adaptive routing protocol for Internet Protocol (IP) networks. It uses a link state routing algorithm and falls into the group of interior routing protocols, operating within a single autonomous system (AS). It is defined as OSPF… …   Wikipedia

  • PMTUD — Path MTU Discovery ist ein Verfahren zum dynamischen Erkennen der Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) und damit der maximalen Paketgröße für einen bestimmten Pfad im Netzwerk. Im Allgemeinen kann mit dieser Information Overhead vermindert werden. Für …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • RFC 1191 — Path MTU discovery. Mogul, J.C.; Deering, S.E. 1990 November (Ersetzt folgendes RFC :RFC 1063) …   Acronyms

  • RFC 1981 — Path MTU Discovery for IP version 6. J. McCann, S. Deering J. Mogul. August 1996 …   Acronyms

  • RFC 1191 — Path MTU discovery. Mogul, J.C.; Deering, S.E. 1990 November ( Ersetzt folgendes RFC :RFC 1063) …   Acronyms von A bis Z

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