SCION Header Specification

This document contains the specification of the SCION packet header.

SCION Header Formats

Header Alignment

The SCION Header is aligned to 4 bytes.

Common Header

The Common Header has the following format:

 0                   1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|Version|      QoS      |                FlowID                 |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|    NextHdr    |    HdrLen     |          PayloadLen           |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|    PathType   |DT |DL |ST |SL |              RSV              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
Version
The version of the SCION Header. Currently, only 0 is supported.
QoS
8-bit traffic class field. The value of the Traffic Class bits in a received packet or fragment might be different from the value sent by the packet’s source. The current use of the Traffic Class field for Differentiated Services and Explicit Congestion Notification is specified in RFC2474 and RFC3168
FlowID
The 20-bit FlowID field is used by a source to label sequences of packets to be treated in the network as a single flow. It is mandatory to be set.
NextHdr
Field that encodes the type of the first header after the SCION header. This can be either a SCION extension or a layer-4 protocol such as TCP or UDP. Values of this field respect the Assigned SCION Protocol Numbers.
HdrLen
Length of the SCION header in bytes (i.e., the sum of the lengths of the common header, the address header, and the path header). All SCION header fields are aligned to a multiple of 4 bytes. The SCION header length is computed as HdrLen * 4 bytes. The 8 bits of the HdrLen field limit the SCION header to a maximum of 1024 bytes.
PayloadLen
Length of the payload in bytes. The payload includes extension headers and the L4 payload. This field is 16 bits long, supporting a maximum payload size of 65’535 bytes.
PathType
The PathType specifies the SCION path type with up to 256 different types. The format of each path type is independent of each other. The initially proposed SCION path types are Empty (0), SCION (1), OneHopPath (2), EPIC (3) and COLIBRI (4). Here, we only specify the Empty, SCION and OneHopPath path types.
DT/DL/ST/SL
DT/ST and DL/SL encode host-address type and host-address length, respectively, for destination/ source. The possible host address length values are 4 bytes, 8 bytes, 12 bytes and 16 bytes. ST and DT additionally specify the type of the address. If some address has a length different from the supported values, the next larger size can be used and the address can be padded with zeros.
RSV
These bits are currently reserved for future use.

Address Header

The Address Header has the following format:

 0                   1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|            DstISD             |                               |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+                               +
|                             DstAS                             |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|            SrcISD             |                               |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+                               +
|                             SrcAS                             |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                    DstHostAddr (variable Len)                 |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                    SrcHostAddr (variable Len)                 |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
DstISD, SrcISD
16-bit ISD identifier of the destination/source.
DstAS, SrcAS
48-bit AS identifier of the destination/source.
DstHostAddr, SrcHostAddr
Variable length host address of the destination/source. The length and type is given by the DT/DL/ST/SL flags in the common header.

Path Type: SCION

The path type SCION has the following layout:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                          PathMetaHdr                          |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           InfoField                           |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                              ...                              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           InfoField                           |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           HopField                            |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           HopField                            |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                              ...                              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+`

It consists of a path meta header, up to 3 info fields and up to 64 hop fields.

PathMeta Header

The PathMeta field is a 4 byte header containing meta information about the SCION path contained in the path header. It has the following format:

 0                   1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| C |  CurrHF   |    RSV    |  Seg0Len  |  Seg1Len  |  Seg2Len  |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
(C)urrINF
2-bits index (0-based) pointing to the current info field (see offset calculations below).
CurrHF
6-bits index (0-based) pointing to the current hop field (see offset calculations below).
Seg{0,1,2}Len
The number of hop fields in a given segment. \(Seg_iLen > 0\) implies the existence of info field i.

Path Offset Calculations

The number of info fields is implied by \(Seg_iLen > 0,\; i \in [0,2]\), thus \(NumINF = N + 1 \: \text{if}\: Seg_NLen > 0, \; N \in [2, 1, 0]\). It is an error to have \(Seg_XLen > 0 \land Seg_YLen == 0, \; 2 \geq X > Y \geq 0\). If all \(Seg_iLen == 0\) then this denotes an empty path, which is only valid for intra-AS communication.

The offsets of the current info field and current hop field (relative to the end of the address header) are now calculated as

\[\begin{split}\begin{align} \text{InfoFieldOffset} &= 4B + 8B \cdot \text{CurrINF}\\ \text{HopFieldOffset} &= 4B + 8B \cdot \text{NumINF} + 12B \cdot \text{CurrHF} \end{align}\end{split}\]

To check that the current hop field is in the segment of the current info field, the CurrHF needs to be compared to the SegLen fields of the current and preceding info fields.

This construction allows for up to three info fields, which is the maximum for a SCION path. Should there ever be a path type with more than three segments, this would require a new path type to be introduced (which would also allow for a backwards-compatible upgrade). The advantage of this construction is that all the offsets can be calculated and validated purely from the path meta header, which greatly simplifies processing logic.

Info Field

InfoField has the following format:

 0                   1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|r r r r r r P C|      RSV      |             SegID             |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           Timestamp                           |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
r
Unused and reserved for future use.
P
Peering flag. If set to true, then the forwarding path is built as a peering path, which requires special processing on the dataplane.
C
Construction direction flag. If set to true then the hop fields are arranged in the direction they have been constructed during beaconing.
RSV
Unused and reserved for future use.
SegID
SegID is a updatable field that is required for the MAC-chaining mechanism.
Timestamp
Timestamp created by the initiator of the corresponding beacon. The timestamp is expressed in Unix time, and is encoded as an unsigned integer within 4 bytes with 1-second time granularity. This timestamp enables validation of the hop field by verification of the expiration time and MAC.

Hop Field

The Hop Field has the following format:

 0                   1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|r r r r r r I E|    ExpTime    |           ConsIngress         |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|        ConsEgress             |                               |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+                               +
|                              MAC                              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
r
Unused and reserved for future use.
I
ConsIngress Router Alert. If the ConsIngress Router Alert is set, the ingress router (in construction direction) will process the L4 payload in the packet.
E

ConsEgress Router Alert. If the ConsEgress Router Alert is set, the egress router (in construction direction) will process the L4 payload in the packet.

Note

A sender cannot rely on multiple routers retrieving and processing the payload even if it sets multiple router alert flags. This is entirely use case dependent and in the case of SCMP traceroute for example the router for which the traceroute request is intended will process it (if the corresponding router alert flag is set) and reply to the request without further forwarding the request along the path. Use cases that require multiple routers/hops on the path to process a packet should instead rely on a hop-by-hop extension.

ExpTime

Expiry time of a hop field. The field is 1-byte long, thus there are 256 different values available to express an expiration time. The expiration time expressed by the value of this field is relative, and an absolute expiration time in seconds is computed in combination with the timestamp field (from the corresponding info field) as follows

\[Timestamp + (1 + ExpTime) \cdot \frac{24\cdot60\cdot60}{256}\]
ConsIngress, ConsEgress
The 16-bits ingress/egress interface IDs in construction direction.
MAC
6-byte Message Authentication Code to authenticate the hop field. For details on how this MAC is calculated refer to Hop Field MAC Computation.

Hop Field MAC Computation

The MAC in each hop field has two purposes:

  1. Authentication of the information contained in the hop field itself, in particular ExpTime, ConsIngress, and ConsEgress.
  2. Prevention of addition, removal, or reordering hops within a path segment created during beaconing.

To that end, MACs are calculated over the relevant fields of a hop field and additionally (conceptually) chained to other hop fields in the path segment. In the following, we specify the computation of a hop field MAC.

We write the i-th hop field in a path segment (in construction direction) as

\[HF_i = \langle Flags_i || ExpTime_i || InIF_i || EgIF_i || \sigma_i \rangle\]

\(\sigma_i\) is the hop field MAC calculated from the following input data:

 0                   1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|               0               |            Beta_i             |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           Timestamp                           |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|       0       |    ExpTime    |          ConsIngress          |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|          ConsEgress           |               0               |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
\[\sigma_i = \text{MAC}_{K_i}(InputData)\]

where \(\beta_i\) is the current SegID of the info field. The above input data layout comes from the 8 Bytes of the Info field and the first 8 Bytes of the Hop field with some fields zeroed out.

\(\beta_i\) changes at each hop according to the following rules:

\[\begin{split}\begin{align} \beta_0 &= \text{RND}()\\ \beta_{i+1} &= \beta_i \oplus \sigma_i[:2] \end{align}\end{split}\]

Here, \(\sigma_i[:2]\) is the hop field MAC truncated to 2 bytes and \(\oplus\) denotes bitwise XOR.

During beaconing, the initial random value \(\beta_0\) can be stored in the info field and all subsequent segment identifiers can be added to the respective hop entries, i.e., \(\beta_{i+1}\) can be added to the i-th hop entry. On the data plane, the SegID field must contain \(\beta_{i+1}/\beta_i\) for a segment in up/down direction before being processed at the i-th hop (this also applies to core segments).

Path Calculation

Initialization

The paths must be initialized correctly for the border routers to verify the hop fields in the data plane. SegID is an updatable field and is initialized based on the location of sender in relation to path construction.

Initialization cases:

  • The non-peering path segment is traversed in construction direction. It starts at the i-th AS of the full segment discovered in beaconing:

    \(SegID := \beta_{i}\)

  • The peering path segment is traversed in construction direction. It starts at the i-th AS of the full segment discovered in beaconing:

    \(SegID := \beta_{i+1}\)

  • The path segment is traversed against construction direction. The full segment discovered in beaconing has n hops:

    \(SegID := \beta_{n}\)

AS Traversal Operations

Each AS on the path verifies the hop fields with the help of the current value in SegID. The operations differ based on the location of the AS on the path. Each AS has to set the SegID correctly for the next AS to verify its hop field.

Each operation is described form the perspective of AS i.

Against construction direction (up, i.e., ConsDir == 0):
  1. SegID contains \(\beta_{i+1}\) at this point.

  2. Compute \(\beta'_{i} := SegID \oplus \sigma_i[:2]\)

  3. At the ingress router update SegID:

    \(SegID := \beta'_{i}\)

  4. SegID now contains \(\beta'_{i}\)

  5. Compute \(\sigma_i\) with the formula above by replacing \(\beta_{i}\) with \(SegID\).

  6. Check that the MAC in the hop field matches \(\sigma_{i}\). If the MAC matches it follows that \(\beta'_{i} == \beta_{i}\).

In construction direction (down, i.e., ConsDir == 1):
  1. SegID contains \(\beta_{i}\) at this point.

  2. Compute \(\sigma'_i\) with the formula above by replacing \(\beta_{i}\) with SegID.

  3. Check that the MAC in the hop field matches \(\sigma'_{i}\).

  4. At the egress router update SegID for the next hop:

    \(SegID := SegID \oplus \sigma_i[:2]\)

  5. SegID now contains \(\beta_{i+1}\).

An example of how processing is done in up and down direction is shown in the illustration below:

../_images/seg-id-calculation.png

The computation for ASes where a peering link is crossed between path segments is special cased. A path containing a peering link contains exactly two path segments, one in construction direction (down) and one against construction direction (up). On the path segment in construction direction, the peering AS is the first hop of the segment. Against construction direction (up), the peering AS is the last hop of the segment.

Against construction direction (up):
  1. SegID contains \(\beta_{i+1}\) at this point.
  2. Compute \({\sigma^P_i}'\) with the formula above by replacing \(\beta_{i+1}\) with SegID.
  3. Check that the MAC in the hop field matches \({\sigma^P_i}'\).
  4. Do not update SegID as it already contains \(\beta_{i+1}\).
In construction direction (down):
  1. SegID contains \(\beta_{i+1}\) at this point.
  2. Compute \({\sigma^P_i}'\) with the formula above by replacing \(\beta_{i+1}\) with SegID.
  3. Check that the MAC in the hop field matches \({\sigma^P_i}'\).
  4. Do not update SegID as it already contains \(\beta_{i+1}\).

Path Type: EmptyPath

Empty path is used to send traffic within the AS. It has no additional fields, i.e., it consumes 0 bytes on the wire.

Path Type: OneHopPath

The OneHopPath path type is a special case of the SCION path type. It is used to handle communication between two entities from neighboring ASes that do not have a forwarding path. Currently, it’s only used for bootstrapping beaconing between neighboring ASes.

A OneHopPath has exactly one info field and two hop fields with the speciality that the second hop field is not known a priori, but is instead created by the corresponding BR upon processing of the OneHopPath:

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           InfoField                           |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           HopField                            |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           HopField                            |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Because of its special structure, no PathMeta header is needed. There is only a single info field and the appropriate hop field can be processed by a border router based on the source and destination address, i.e., if srcIA == self.IA: CurrHF := 0 and if dstIA == self.IA: CurrHF := 1.

Pseudo Header for Upper-Layer Checksum

Upper-layer protocols that include the addresses from the SCION header in the checksum computation should use the following pseudo header:

 0                   1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|            DstISD             |                               |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+                               +
|                             DstAS                             |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|            SrcISD             |                               |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+                               +
|                             SrcAS                             |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                    DstHostAddr (variable Len)                 |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                    SrcHostAddr (variable Len)                 |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                    Upper-Layer Packet Length                  |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                      zero                     |  Next Header  |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
DstISD, SrcISD, DstAS, SrcAS, DstHostAddr, SrcHostAddr
The values are taken from the SCION Address header.
Upper-Layer Packet Length
The length of the upper-layer header and data. Some upper-layer protocols define headers that carry the length information explicitly (e.g., UDP). This information is used as the upper-layer packet length in the pseudo header for these protocols. For the remaining protocols, that do not carry the length information directly (e.g., SCMP), the value is defined as the PayloadLen from the SCION header, minus the sum of the extension header lengths.
Next Header
The protocol identifier associated with the upper-layer protocol (e.g., 1 for SCMP, 17 for UDP). This field can differ from the NextHdr field in the SCION header, if extensions are present.

Path Type: EPIC-HP

EPIC-HP (EPIC for Hidden Paths) provides improved path authorization for the last link of the path. For the SCION path type, an attacker that once observed or brute-forced the hop authenticators for some path can use them to send arbitrary traffic along this path. EPIC-HP solves this problem on the last link, which is particularly important for the security of hidden paths.

The EPIC-HP header has the following structure:
  • A PktID field (8 bytes)
  • A 4-byte PHVF (Penultimate Hop Validation Field) and a 4-byte LHVF (Last Hop Validation Field)
  • The complete SCION path type header
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                             PktID                             |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                             PHVF                              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                             LHVF                              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                          PathMetaHdr                          |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           InfoField                           |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                              ...                              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           InfoField                           |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           HopField                            |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                              ...                              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                           HopField                            |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

The EPIC-HP header contains the full SCION path type header. The calculation of the hop field MAC is identical. This allows the destination host to directly send back (many) SCION path type answer packets to the source. This can be done by extracting and reversing the SCION path type header contained in the EPIC-HP packet.

This is allowed from a security perspective, because the SCION path type answer packets do not leak information that would allow unauthorized entities to use the hidden path. In particular, a SCION path type response packet only contains strictly less information than the previously received EPIC-HP packet, as the response packet does not include the PktID, the PHVF, and the LHVF.

If the sender is reachable through a hidden path itself, then it is likely that its AS will not accept SCION path type packets, which means that the destination can only respond using EPIC-HP traffic. The destination is responsible to configure or fetch the necessary EPIC-HP authenticators.

To protect the services behind the hidden link (only authorized entities should be able to access the services, downgrade to the SCION path type should be prevented, etc.), ASes need to be able to configure the border routers such that only certain Path Types are allowed. This is further described in the accompanying EPIC design document.

Packet identifier (PktID)

The packet identifier represents the precise time at which a packet was sent. It contains the EPIC timestamp (EpicTS), which is a timestamp relative to the Timestamp in the first Info Field. Together with the (ISD, AS, host) triple of the packet source and the Timestamp in the first Info Field, the packet identifier uniquely identifies a packet. Unique packet identifiers are a requirement for replay suppression. The EPIC timestamp further allows the border router to discard packets that exceed their lifetime or lie in the future.

 0                   1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                            EpicTS                             |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                            Counter                            |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
EpicTS
A 4-byte timestamp relative to the (segment) Timestamp in the first Info Field. EpicTS is calculated by the source host as follows:
\[\begin{split}\begin{align} \text{Timestamp}_{\mu s} &= \text{Timestamp [s]} \times 10^6 \\ \text{Ts} &= \text{current unix timestamp [}\mu s\text{]} \\ \text{q} &= \left\lceil\left(\frac{24 \times 60 \times 60 \times 10^6}{2^{32}}\right)\right\rceil\mu s = \text{21}\mu s\\ \text{EpicTS} &= \text{max} \left\{0, \frac{\text{Ts - Timestamp}_{\mu s}} {\text{q}} -1 \right\} \\ \textit{Get back the time when} &~\textit{the packet was timestamped:} \\ \text{Ts} &= \text{Timestamp}_{\mu s} + (1 + \text{EpicTS}) \times \text{q} \end{align}\end{split}\]

EpicTS has a precision of \(21 \mu s\) and covers at least one day (1 day and 63 minutes). When sending packets at high speeds (more than one packet every \(21 \mu s\)) or when using multiple cores, collisions may occur in EpicTS. To solve this problem, the source further identifies the packet using a Counter.

Counter
A 4-byte identifier that allows to distinguish packets with the same EpicTS. Every source is free to set the Counter arbitrarily (it only needs to be unique for all packets with the same EpicTS), but we recommend to use the following structure:
 0                   1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|    CoreID     |                  CoreCounter                  |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
CoreID
Unique identifier representing one of the cores of the source host.
CoreCounter
Current value of the core counter belonging to the core specified by CoreID. Every time a core sends an EPIC packet, it increases its core counter (modular addition by 1).

Note that the Packet Identifier is at the very beginning of the header, this allows other components (like the replay suppression system) to access it without having to go through any parsing overhead.

Hop Validation Fields (PHVF and LHVF)

 0                   1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                             PHVF                              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                             LHVF                              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

Those 4-byte fields are the Hop Validation Fields of the penultimate and the last hop of the last segment. They contain the output of a MAC function (truncated to 4 bytes). Before an EPIC-HP packet is sent, the source computes the MACs and inserts them into the PHVF and the LHVF. When the packet arrives at the border router of the penultimate AS, the border router recomputes and validates the PHVF, and when the packet arrives at the border router of the last AS on the path, its border router recomputes and validates the LHVF.

The specification of how the MACs for the Hop Validation Fields are calculated can be found in the EPIC Procedures section.

EPIC Header Length Calculation

The length of the EPIC Path header is the same as the SCION Path header plus 8 bytes (Packet Identifier), and plus 8 bytes for the PHVF and LHVF.

Procedures

Control plane: The beaconing process is the same as for SCION, but the ASes not only add the 6 bytes of the truncated MAC to the beacon, but further append the remaining 10 bytes.

Data plane: The source fetches the path, including all the 6-byte short hop authenticators and the remaining 10 bytes of the authenticators, from a (hidden) path server. We will refer to the fully assembled 16-byte authenticators of the penultimate and last hop on the path as \({\sigma_{\text{PH}}}\) for the penultimate hop (PH) and \({\sigma_{\text{LH}}}\) for the last hop (LH), respectively.

The source then copies the short authenticators to the corresponding MAC-subfield of the Hop Fields as for SCION path type packets and adds the current Packet Timestamp. In addition, it calculates the PHVF and LHVF as follows:

\[\begin{split}\begin{align} \text{Origin} &= \text{(SrcISD, SrcAS, SrcHostAddr)} \\ \text{PHVF} &= \text{MAC}_{\sigma_{\text{PH}}} (\text{Flags}, \text{Timestamp}, \text{PktID}, \text{Origin}, \text{PayloadLen})~\text{[0:4]} \\ \text{LHVF} &= \text{MAC}_{\sigma_{\text{LH}}} (\text{Flags}, \text{Timestamp}, \text{PktID}, \text{Origin}, \text{PayloadLen})~\text{[0:4]} \\ \end{align}\end{split}\]

Here, “Timestamp” is the Timestamp from the first Info Field and “Flags” is a 1-byte field structured as follows:

 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|SL |      0      |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

“SL” denotes the source host address length as defined in the Common Header. Because the length of the source host address varies based on SL, also the length of the input to the MAC is dynamic.

The border routers of the on-path ASes validate and forward the EPIC-HP data plane packets as for SCION path type packets (recalculate \(\sigma_{i}\) and compare it to the MAC field in the packet).

In addition, the penultimate hop of the last segment recomputes and verifies the PHVF field. As it has already calculated the 16-byte authenticator \(\sigma_{\text{PH}}\) in the previous step, the penultimate hop only needs to extract the Flags, Timestamp, PktID and Origin fields from the EPIC-HP packet, and the PayloadLen from the Common Header, which is all the information it needs to recompute the PHVF. If the verification fails, i.e., the calculated PHVF is not equal to the PHVF field in the EPIC-HP packet, the packet is dropped. In the case of an authorized source (a source that knows the \(\sigma_{\text{PH}}\) and \(\sigma_{\text{LH}}\)), the recomputed PHVF and the PHVF in the packet will always be equal (assuming the packet has not been tampered with on the way).

Similarly, the last hop of the last segment recomputes and verifies the LHVF field. Again, if the verification fails, the packet is dropped.

How to only allow EPIC-HP traffic on a hidden path (and not SCION path type packets) is described in the EPIC design document.