2.3.4 IP Over Fibre Channel (ipfc)

NOTE: This charter is a snapshot of the 43rd IETF Meeting in Orlando, Florida. It may now be out-of-date. Last Modified: 25-Nov-98


Murali Rajagopal <murali@gadzoox.com>

Internet Area Director(s):

Jeffrey Burgan <burgan@home.net>
Thomas Narten <narten@raleigh.ibm.com>

Internet Area Advisor:

Jeffrey Burgan <burgan@home.net>

Mailing Lists:

General Discussion:ipfc@standards.gadzoox.com
To Subscribe: ipfc-request@standards.gadzoox.com
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Archive: standards.gadzoox.com/pub/archives/ipfc/ipfc

Description of Working Group:

The importance of running IP and ARP over Fibre Channels has reached a critical point wherein a standardized approach seems to be the only solution. Historically over the past few years, there have been a multitude of attempts and approaches to implementing IP and ARP over Fibre Channel (FC). This has resulted in islands of implementations with no interoperability. Several vendors from the Fibre Channel Association (FCA) have proposed taking this problem to the IETF with the intent of generating one "standard" specification.

This working group will be responsible for standardizing a specification that will allow IP and ARP to ride over various Fibre Channel topologies, which may include point-to-point, Loop, and Fabric.

The specification will include procedures and protocols for the broadcast of ARP packets between Fibre Channel devices and an encapsulation mechanism to carry IP payloads.


1. Specify a Standards Track procedure for broadcasting ARP packets and resolving IP to FC MAC address and FC MAC to FC port address

2. Specify a Standards Track encapsulation for carrying IP over FC.

Goals and Milestones:

Aug 98


Review progress at Chicago IETF meeting; resolve outstanding issues

Oct 98


Submit ARP/Encapsulation draft to IESG for consideration as Proposed Standard

Dec 98


Review status of WG


No Request For Comments

Current Meeting Report

The 43rd IETF Meeting in Orlando had 31 attendees. There were many new company reps. Including international attendees (Korea, Germany, Japan, France). The companies that were in the room included: Brocade, Sony, 3Com, NEC, Compuserve, Lucent, Ericsson, IBM, EMC, Boeing, Qlogic, Tellabs, Emulex, ADC, Fujitsu, Compaq, among others.

The meeting addressed issues and comments raised by many on the reflector

1. NAA Issue : Compaq wanted to optionally include other NAA Types besides the IEEE 48-bit addresses. Their motivation was that their future SAN were likely to use other addressing schemes.

2. MTU Issue: There was some disagreement on the MTU sizes in the 03.txt draft because it did not include optional IP headers.

- The Max MTU for IP: 65,280 bytes.
- The Min MTU for IP: 92 bytes
- The Max MTU = Min MTU for ARP: 52 bytes
- Action: Include this in 04.txt

3. Inverse ARP Issue: Raj Bhagwat initiated this protocol as a way to solve the lack of broadcast support in some implementations.

4. Multiple IP Addresses per MAC address for InARP Issue: This requirement was originated by Jeff Stai from Brocade as a Fibre Channel VI requirement.

Action: If this is really required include the new scheme in the 04.txt.

5. Modes of FARP and Interoperability Issue: Ezio from Brocade believes that the spec. as it is written today may end up having interoperability problems. FARP specifies two mechanisms.

6. Next Step: The 04.txt document will include the suggested changes. The goal is to send out the 04.txt document out before the end of the year.

7. MIB: It is anticipated that the MIB work will reassume during the March/April meeting.


None received.