BFD on top of SCION

BFD (Bidirectional Forwarding Detection) is a network protocol that is used to detect faults between two forwarding engines connected by a link. See RFC 5880 and RFC 5881.

BFD can be layered on top of different transport protocols. This document describes how BFD should be layered on top of SCION.

The Protocol

BFD packets, as they are described in the relevant RFCs, should be placed directly into SCION payload, with no additional intermediate protocol:

| SCION common header  |
| SCION address header |
|  SCION path header   |
|         BFD          |

The NextHdr field in the SCION common header must be set to type BFD (17).

BFD in SCION Router


SCION router should choose its discriminators for BFD sessions at random.


BFD bootstrapping process (that is, how incoming BFD packet with Your Discriminator field equal to zero is mapped to a BFD session) is to be defined by each particular application.

SCION router, in particular, does bootstrapping in the following way.

It creates one “external” BFD session for each SCION interface that it owns. Its BFD peer is the SCION router in the neighbouring AS. The associated BFD packets must use SCION OneHopPath type.

This kind of BFD session in unambiguously identified by the ID of the SCION interface the packet was received on.

Furthermore, SCION router creates one “internal” BFD session for every other SCION router instance within the same AS. The associated BFD packets must use SCION Empty path type.

These BFD sessions are uniquely identified by the source address and port, as it appears in the underlay UPD header.

NOTE: Using underlay to identify the sibling SCION router is a workaround. Eventually we don’t want SCION protocols to depend on the underlay protocol. The plan is to use UDP/BFD inside in the SCION payload.

Any other BFD packets (e.g. packets with standard SCION path) are invalid and must be dropped by the SCION router.