RFC 
 3620 
 TOC 
Network Working GroupD. New
Request for Comments: 3620October 2003
Category: Standards Track 


The TUNNEL Profile

Status of this Memo

This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the “Internet Official Protocol Standards” (STD 1) for the standardization state and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

Copyright © The Internet Society (2003). All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

This memo describes a BEEP profile that allows a BEEP peer to serve as an application-layer proxy. It allows authorized users to access services through a firewall.


 RFC 
 3620 
 TOC 

Table of Contents

1.  Rationale
2.  Examples
    2.1.  One-Hop Example
    2.2.  Two-Hop Example
    2.3.  Failed Set-Up Example
    2.4.  Non-BEEP Example
    2.5.  Profile Example
    2.6.  Endpoint Example
3.  Message Syntax
4.  Message Semantics
5.  Provisioning
6.  Reply Codes
7.  Security Considerations
8.  Normative References
Appendix A.  IANA Considerations
    A.1.  Registration: BEEP Profile
    A.2.  Registration: The System (Well-Known) TCP port number for TUNNEL
Appendix B.  Acknowledgements
§  Author's Address
§  Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements




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1.  Rationale

The TUNNEL profile provides a mechanism for cooperating BEEP peers to form an application-layer tunnel. The peers exchange "tunnel" elements that specify a source route, with the outermost element being stripped off and used to decide the next hop. The innermost, empty "tunnel" element tells the final destination that it is, indeed, the final destination. The term "proxy" is used to refer any of the BEEP peers other than the initiator and the final destination.

In one use of this profile, a BEEP peer implementing the TUNNEL profile is co-resident with a firewall. An initiating machine inside the firewall makes a connection to the proxy, then ask that proxy to make a connection to an endpoint outside the firewall. Once this connection is established, the proxy tells the outside endpoint that it will be tunneling. If the outside machine agrees, the proxy "gets out of the way," simply passing octets transparently, and both the initiating and terminating machines perform a "tuning reset," not unlike the way starting a TLS negotiation discards cached session state and starts anew.

Another use for this profile is to limit connections to outside servers based on the user identity negotiated via SASL. For example, a manager may connect to a proxy, authenticate herself with SASL, then instruct the proxy to tunnel to an information service restricted to managers. Since each proxy knows the identity of the next proxy being requested, it can refuse to tunnel connections if inadequate levels of authorization have been established. It is also possible to use the TUNNEL profile to anonymize the true source of a BEEP connection, in much the way a NAT translates IP addresses. However, detailed discussion of such uses is beyond the scope of this document.

Once both endpoint machines are connected, the tunneling proxy machine does no further interpretation of the data. In particular, it does not look for any BEEP framing. The two endpoint machines may therefore negotiate TLS between them, passing certificates appropriate to the endpoints rather than the proxy, with the assurance that even the proxy cannot access the information exchanged.

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 (Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels,” March 1997.) [RFC2119].



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2.  Examples

While the semantics described in Section 4 (Message Semantics) may seem complex, the results are actually relatively simple. A few examples will show the operation and use of this profile. In these examples, the machine attempting to establish the connection is named "initial", while the intermediate proxies are "proxy1" or "proxy2", and the machine with the service that "initial" wishes to access is called "final". The examples also assume that the BEEP framework (Rose, M., “The Blocks Extensible Exchange Protocol Core,” March 2001.) [RFC3080] is implemented on top of TCP (Rose, M., “Mapping the BEEP Core onto TCP,” March 2001.) [RFC3081], or some other mapping where one transport connection carries all channels.



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2.1.  One-Hop Example

A simple one-hop connection through a single proxy is illustrated first.

  initial                   proxy1                     final
     ----- xport connect ----->
    <------- greeting -------->
     --- start TUNNEL [1] ---->
                               ----- xport connect ------>
                              <-------- greeting -------->
                               ---- start TUNNEL [2] ---->
                              <---------- ok ------------
    <------- ok -------------- [3]
    <------------- greeting [4]-------------------------->

Notes:
  [1] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
      <tunnel fqdn='final.example.com' port='604'>
        <tunnel/>
      </tunnel>

  [2] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
      <tunnel/>

  [3] At this point, immediately after sending the <ok/>
      element, proxy1 starts passing octets transparently.
      It continues to do so until either transport connection
      is closed, after which it closes the other.

  [4] This greeting may include the TLS profile, allowing
      initial and final to communicate without proxy1
      understanding or interfering without being caught.


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2.2.  Two-Hop Example

The second example shows the initiator connecting to its proxy, that proxy connecting to another, and finally that second proxy finding a service outside.

initial             proxy1                proxy2                 final
  --- xport connect -->
 <---- greeting ------>
  --start TUNNEL [1]-->
                       -- xport connect --->
                      <----- greeting ----->
                       --start TUNNEL [2]-->
                                            --- xport  connect --->
                                           <------- greeting ----->
                                            ---start TUNNEL [3]--->
                                           <-------- ok ----------
                      <------- ok --------- [4]
 <------- ok --------- [5]
 <-------------------------- greeting ---------------------------->

Notes:
  [1] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
      <tunnel fqdn='proxy2.example.com' port='604'>
        <tunnel fqdn='final.example.com' port='10290'>
          <tunnel/>
        </tunnel>
      </tunnel>

  [2] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
        <tunnel fqdn='final.example.com' port='10290'>
          <tunnel/>
        </tunnel>

  [3] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
          <tunnel/>

  [4] Proxy2 starts passing octets transparently after
      sending the <ok/>.

  [5] Proxy1 starts passing octets transparently after
      sending the <ok/>.


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2.3.  Failed Set-Up Example

The third example shows the initiator connecting through two proxys, the second proxy attempting to connect to the specified service and finding the destination is not a BEEP server. (Of course, specifying the telnet service can be expected to lead to this error.) The same would result if the destination did not support the TUNNEL profile.

initial             proxy1                proxy2                 final
  --- xport connect -->
 <---- greeting ------>
  --start TUNNEL [1]-->
                       --- xport connect -->
                      <----- greeting ----->
                       --start TUNNEL [2]-->
                                            ---- xport connect --->
                                           <------- login: -------
                                            ----- xport close ---->
                      <---- <error> -------
                       --- xport close ---->
 <---- <error> ------
  --- xport close ---> [3]

Notes:
  [1] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
      <tunnel fqdn='proxy2.example.com' port='604'>
        <tunnel fqdn='final.example.com' srv='_telnet._tcp'>
          <tunnel/>
        </tunnel>
      </tunnel>

  [2] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
        <tunnel fqdn='final.example.com' srv='_telnet._tcp'>
          <tunnel/>
        </tunnel>

  [3] This close is optional. "Initial" may also send another
      <tunnel> element, attempting to contact a different
      server, for example.



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2.4.  Non-BEEP Example

This example shows the initiator connecting through two proxys, the second proxy attempting to connect to the specified service and accepting that the destination is not a BEEP server. The difference at the protocol level is two-fold: The "initial" machine does not include the innermost "tunnel" element, and the final proxy ("proxy2") therefore does not expect a BEEP greeting.

initial             proxy1                proxy2                 final
  --- xport connect -->
 <---- greeting ------>
  --start TUNNEL [1]-->
                       --- xport connect -->
                      <----- greeting ----->
                       --start TUNNEL [2]-->
                                            ---- xport connect --->
                                           <------- login: -------
                       <------ <ok> ------- [3]
                       <----- login: ------ [4]
 <------ <ok> --------- [3]
 <----- login: -------- [4] [5]


Notes:
  [1] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
      <tunnel fqdn='proxy2.example.com' port='604'>
        <tunnel fqdn='final.example.com' svc='_telnet._tcp'>
        </tunnel>
      </tunnel>
      Note the lack of an innermost no-attribute <tunnel> element.

  [2] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
        <tunnel fqdn='final.example.com' srv='_telnet._tcp'>
        </tunnel>
      Note the lack of an innermost no-attribute <tunnel> element.

  [3] Each proxy starts transparently forwarding octets after this <ok>.

  [4] Each proxy forwards any data it received from the final host,
      even if that data arrived before the <ok> was sent.

  [5] After receiving the "ok" message, the "initial" peer can expect
      raw, non-BEEP data to be sent to and received from the "final"
      machine.


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2.5.  Profile Example

This example shows the initiator connecting through two proxys. The initial machine knows there is a server offering the SEP2 profile somewhere beyond proxy1, but it need not know where. Proxy1 has been locally configured to know that all SEP2 servers are beyond proxy2. Proxy2 has been locally configured to chose "final" as the server of choice for SEP2 services. Note that "final" does not necessarily need to offer the requested profile in its initial greeting.

initial             proxy1                proxy2                 final
  --- xport connect -->
 <---- greeting ------>
  --start TUNNEL [1]-->
                       -- xport connect --->
                      <----- greeting ----->
                       --start TUNNEL [2]-->
                                            --- xport  connect --->
                                           <------- greeting ----->
                                            ---start TUNNEL [3]--->
                                           <-------- ok ----------
                      <------- ok --------- [4]
 <------- ok --------- [5]
 <-------------------------- greeting ---------------------------->


Notes:
  [1] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
        <tunnel profile="http://xml.resource/org/profiles/SEP2"/>
      Note the lack of an innermost no-attribute <tunnel> element.

  [2] Proxy1 maps this to
        <tunnel fqdn="proxy2.example.com" port="10288">
          <tunnel profile="http://xml.resource/org/profiles/SEP2"/>
        </tunnel>
      based on local configuration, then processes the new
      element, stripping off the outer element and routing
        <tunnel profile="http://xml.resource/org/profiles/SEP2"/>
      to proxy2.

  [3] Proxy2 receives the TUNNEL element with simply the SEP2
      URI specified. Local provisioning maps this to
        <tunnel fqdn='final.example.com' srv='_beep._tcp'>
          <tunnel/>
        </tunnel>
      Note the presence of an innermost no-attribute <tunnel> element.
      Proxy2 then strips the outermost element, looking up the
      appropriate address and port, and forwards the <tunnel/>
      element to the final machine.

  [4] Proxy2 starts transparently forwarding octets after this <ok>.

  [5] Proxy1 starts transparently forwarding octets after this <ok>.


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2.6.  Endpoint Example

This example shows the initiator connecting through two proxys. The initial machine knows there is a server known as "operator console" somewhere beyond proxy1, but it needs not know where. Proxy1 has been locally configured to know that "operator console" is beyond proxy2. Proxy2 has been locally configured to use "final" as "operator console". This example is almost identical to the previous example, except that "endpoint" is intended to route to a particular server, while "profile" is intended to route to a particular service. Otherwise, these two attributes are very similar.

initial             proxy1                proxy2                 final
  --- xport connect -->
 <---- greeting ------>
  --start TUNNEL [1]-->
                       -- xport connect --->
                      <----- greeting ----->
                       --start TUNNEL [2]-->
                                            --- xport  connect --->
                                           <------- greeting ----->
                                            ---start TUNNEL [3]--->
                                           <-------- ok ----------
                      <------- ok --------- [4]
 <------- ok --------- [5]
 <-------------------------- greeting ---------------------------->


Notes:
  [1] The TUNNEL element looks like this:
        <tunnel endpoint="operator console">
        </tunnel>
      Note the lack of an innermost no-attribute <tunnel> element.

  [2] Proxy1 maps this to
        <tunnel fqdn="proxy2.example.com" port="604">
          <tunnel endpoint="operator console">
          </tunnel>
        </tunnel>
      based on local configuration, then processes the new
      element, stripping off the outer element and routing
        <tunnel endpoint="operator console">
        </tunnel>
      to proxy2.

  [3] Proxy2 receives the TUNNEL element with simply the endpoint
      specified. Local provisioning maps this to
        <tunnel fqdn='final.example.com' srv='_beep._tcp'>
          <tunnel/>
        </tunnel>
      Note the presence of an innermost no-attribute <tunnel> element.
      Proxy2 then strips the outermost element, looking up the
      appropriate address and port, and forwards the <tunnel/>
      element to the final machine.

  [4] Proxy2 starts transparently forwarding octets after this <ok>.

  [5] Proxy1 starts transparently forwarding octets after this <ok>.


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3.  Message Syntax

The only element defined in this profile is the "tunnel" element. It is described in the following DTD, with additional limitations as described afterwards.



<!--
  DTD for the TUNNEL Profile, as of 2001-02-03

  Refer to this DTD as:

    <!ENTITY % TUNNEL PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD TUNNEL//EN" "">
    %TUNNEL;
  -->

<!--
  TUNNEL messages

     role           MSG                 RPY
    ======          ===                 ===
    I or L          TUNNEL              +: ok
                                        -: error
  -->

<!ELEMENT tunnel      (tunnel?)>
<!ATTLIST tunnel
          fqdn         CDATA    #IMPLIED
          ip4          CDATA    #IMPLIED
          ip6          CDATA    #IMPLIED
          port         CDATA    #IMPLIED
          srv          CDATA    #IMPLIED
          profile      CDATA    #IMPLIED
          endpoint     CDATA    #IMPLIED
          >

The format of the "fqdn" attribute is a fully qualified domain name, such as "proxy.example.com". The format of the "ip4" attribute is four sets of decimal numbers separated by periods, such as "10.23.34.45". The format of the "ip6" attribute is as specified in RFC2373 (Hinden, R. and S. Deering, “IP Version 6 Addressing Architecture,” July 1998.) [RFC2373]. The format of the "port" attribute is a decimal number between one and 65535, inclusive. The format of the "srv" attribute is a pair of identifiers each starting with an underline and separated by a period, such as "_sep._tcp". The format of the "profile" attribute is a URI (Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R., and L. Masinter, “Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax,” August 1998.) [RFC2396]. The format of the "endpoint" attribute is any string that may appear as an attribute value.

The only allowable combinations of attributes are as follows:



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4.  Message Semantics

When a TUNNEL channel is started, the listener expects a "tunnel" element from the initiator, either in the "start" element on channel zero or on the new channel created. As usual, if it arrives on channel zero, it is processed before the reply is returned.

In either case, the outermost "tunnel" element is examined. If it has no attributes, then this peer is hosting the BEEP service that the initiator wishes to use. In this case, the listener performs a tuning reset:

If the outermost element has a "port" attribute and an "fqdn" attribute but no "srv" attribute, then "fqdn" is looked up as an A record via DNS for translation to an IP number. An "ip4" attribute is interpreted as the dotted-quad representation of an IPv4 address. An "ip6" attribute is interpreted as a text representation of an IPv6 address. In each of these cases, a transport connection is established to the so-identified server. If the outermost element has a "srv" attribute, the concatenation of the "srv" attribute and the "fqdn" attribute (with a period between) is looked up in the DNS for a SRV record (Gulbrandsen, A., Vixie, P., and L. Esibov, “A DNS RR for specifying the location of services (DNS SRV),” February 2000.) [RFC2782], and the appropriate server is contacted; if that lookup fails and a "port" attribute is present, the connection is attempted as if the "srv" attribute were not specified.

Alternately, if the outermost element has a "profile" attribute, then it must have no nested elements. The proxy processing this element is responsible for determining the appropriate routing to reach a peer serving the BEEP profile indicated by the URI in the attribute's value. Rather than source routing, this provides a hop-by-hop routing mechanism to a desired service.

Similarly, if the outermost element has an "endpoint" attribute, then it must have no nested elements. The proxy processing this element is responsible for determining the appropriate routing to reach a peer indicated by the value of the "endpoint" attribute. Rather than source routing, this provides a hop-by-hop routing mechanism to a desired machine. There are no restrictions on how machines are identified.

Then, if the outermost element has no nested elements, but it does have attributes other than "profile" or "endpoint", then this peer is the final BEEP hop. (This corresponds to "proxy2" in the "Non-BEEP" example above.) In this case, as soon as the final underlying transport connection is established, an "ok" element is returned over the listening session, and the tunneling of data starts. No BEEP greeting (or indeed any data) from the final hop is expected. Starting with the octet following the END(CR)(LF) trailer of the frame with the completion flag set (more=".") of the RPY carrying the "ok" element, the proxy begins copying octets directly and without any interpretation between the two underlying transport connections.

If the identified server cannot be contacted, an "error" element is returned over the listening channel and any connection established as an initiator is closed. If there is a nested "tunnel" element, and the server that has been contacted does not offer a BEEP greeting, or the BEEP greeting offered does not include the TUNNEL profile, then this too is treated as an error: the initiating transport connection is closed, and an error is returned.

If there is a nested "tunnel" element, and the identified server is contacted and offers a BEEP greeting including the TUNNEL profile, then the outermost element from the "tunnel" element received is stripped off, a new TUNNEL channel is started on the initiating session, and the stripped (inner) element is sent to start the next hop. In this case, the peer is considered a "proxy" (meaning that the next paragraph is applicable).

Once the proxy has passed the "tunnel" element on the TUNNEL channel, it awaits an "error" or an "ok" element in response. If it receives an "error" element, it closes the initiated session and its underlying transport connection. It then passes the "error" element unchanged back on the listening session. If, on the other hand, it receives an "ok" element, it passes the "ok" element back on the listening session. Starting with the octet following the END(CR)(LF) trailer of the frame with the completion flag set (more=".") of the RPY carrying the "ok" element, the proxy begins copying octets directly and without any interpretation between the two underlying transport connections.



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5.  Provisioning

While the BEEP Framework (Rose, M., “The Blocks Extensible Exchange Protocol Core,” March 2001.) [RFC3080] is used, the attributes described are sufficient for the TCP mapping (Rose, M., “Mapping the BEEP Core onto TCP,” March 2001.) [RFC3081] of BEEP. The attributes on the "tunnel" element may need to be extended to handle other transport layers.

In a mapping where multiple underlying transport connections are used, once the "ok" element is passed, all channels are closed, including channel zero. Thus, only the underlying transport connection initially established remains, and all other underlying transport connections for the session should be closed as well.

If a transport security layer (such as TLS) has been negotiated over the session, the semantics for the TUNNEL profile are ill-defined. The TUNNEL profile MUST NOT be advertised in any greetings after transport security has been negotiated.

An SRV identifier of "_tunnel" is reserved by IANA for use with this profile. Hence, the "srv" attribute "_tunnel._tcp" MAY be used as a default for finding the appropriate address for tunneling into a particular domain.

System port number 604 has been allocated by the IANA for TUNNEL.



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6.  Reply Codes

This section lists the three-digit error codes the TUNNEL profile may generate.

   code   meaning
   ====   =======
    421   Service not available
          (E.g., the proxy does not have sufficient resources.)

    450   Requested action not taken
          (E.g., DNS lookup failed or connection could not
           be established. See too 550.)

    500   General syntax error (E.g., poorly-formed XML)

    501   Syntax error in parameters
          (E.g., non-valid XML, letters in "ip4" attribute, etc.)

    504   Parameter not implemented

    530   Authentication required

    534   Authentication mechanism insufficient
          (E.g., too weak, sequence exhausted, etc.)

    537   Action not authorized for user

    538   Encryption already enabled
          (E.g., TLS already negotiated, or a SASL that
           provides encryption already negotiated.)

    550   Requested action not taken
          (E.g., next hop could be contacted, but
           malformed greeting or no TUNNEL profile advertised.)

    553   Parameter invalid

    554   Transaction failed (E.g., policy violation)

Note that the 450 error code is appropriate when the destination machine could not be contacted, while the 550 error code is appropriate when the destination machine could be contacted but the next phase of the protocol could not be negotiated. It is suggested that the beginning of any reply from the destination machine be included as part of the CDATA text of the error element, for debugging purposes.



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7.  Security Considerations

The TUNNEL profile is a profile of BEEP. In BEEP, transport security, user authentication, and data exchange are orthogonal. Refer to Section 8 of [RFC3080] (Rose, M., “The Blocks Extensible Exchange Protocol Core,” March 2001.) for a discussion of this.

However, the intent of the TUNNEL profile is to allow bidirectional contact between two machines normally separated by a firewall. Since TUNNEL allows this connection between BEEP peers, and BEEP peers can offer a range of services with appropriate greetings, the TUNNEL profile should be configured with care. It is reasonable to strictly limit the hosts and services that a proxy is allowed to contact. It is also reasonable to limit the use of the TUNNEL profile to authorized users, as identified by a SASL profile.

Negotiation of a TLS profile in an end-to-end manner after a TUNNEL has been established will prevent intermediate proxies from observing or modifying the cleartext information exchanged, but only if TLS certificates are properly configured during the negotiation. The proxy could mount a "man in the middle" attack if public key infrastructure is not deployed.

In some environments, it is undesirable to expose the names of machines on one side of a firewall in unencrypted messages on the other side of that firewall. In this case, source routing (using the "fqdn", "ip4", "ip6", "port" and "srv" attributes) can route a connection to the firewall proxy, with an innermost "profile" or "endpoint" attribute which the firewall proxy understands. Local provisioning can allow a proxy to translate a particular "profile" or "endpoint" element into a new source route to reach the desired service. This can prevents two attacks:



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8. Normative References

[RFC2119] Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels,” BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997 (HTML, XML).
[RFC3080] Rose, M., “The Blocks Extensible Exchange Protocol Core,” RFC 3080, March 2001 (HTML, XML).
[RFC3081] Rose, M., “Mapping the BEEP Core onto TCP,” RFC 3081, March 2001 (HTML, XML).
[RFC2373] Hinden, R. and S. Deering, “IP Version 6 Addressing Architecture,” RFC 2373, July 1998 (HTML, XML).
[RFC2396] Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R., and L. Masinter, “Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax,” RFC 2396, August 1998 (HTML, XML).
[RFC2782] Gulbrandsen, A., Vixie, P., and L. Esibov, “A DNS RR for specifying the location of services (DNS SRV),” RFC 2782, February 2000.


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Appendix A.  IANA Considerations



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A.1.  Registration: BEEP Profile

The IANA has registered the profiles specified in this section and has selected an IANA-specific URI: "http://iana.org/beep/TUNNEL".

Profile identification:
http://iana.org/beep/TUNNEL
Message exchanged during channel creation:
"tunnel"
Messages starting one-to-one exchanges:
"tunnel"
Messages in positive replies:
"ok"
Messages in negative replies:
"error"
Messages in one-to-many exchanges:
None.
Message syntax:
See Section Section 3 (Message Syntax) of this document.
Message semantics:
See Section Section 4 (Message Semantics) of this document.
Contact information:
See the Author's Address appendix of this document.

Any extensions to this protocol MUST be documented in a Standards track RFC."



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A.2.  Registration: The System (Well-Known) TCP port number for TUNNEL

A single well-known port, 604, is allocated by the IANA to the TUNNEL profile.

Protocol Number:
TCP
Message Formats, Types, Opcodes, and Sequences:
See Section 3 (Message Syntax).
Functions:
See Section 4 (Message Semantics).
Use of Broadcast/Multicast:
none
Proposed Name:
TUNNEL Profile
Short name:
tunnel
Contact Information:
See the "Authors' Addresses" section of this memo


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Appendix B.  Acknowledgements

The author gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Marshall Rose, Greg Matthews, and Ben Feinstein.

Inspiration for this profile comes from the Intrusion Detection Working Group of the IETF.



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Author's Address

  Darren New
  5390 Caminito Exquisito
  San Diego, CA 92130
  US
Phone:  +1 858 350 9733
Email:  dnew@san.rr.com


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Full Copyright Statement

Intellectual Property

Acknowledgment