Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Additional Header Information

Headers are used to convey certain information about a packet. There are situations where additional information might be helpful, beyond that originally provided in the header.

One example of providing additional header information is explicit congestion notification. Routers mark headers with congestion information which can then be used by senders to avoid congesting the network.

Another example is NetFence. In this proposed solution to the problem of DoS attacks, a special NetFence header is inserted between the IP and TCP headers. The purpose of this header is to facilitate communication between routers and hosts, aimed at minimizing damage from malicious hosts.

In these examples, problems related to congestion and security are addressed by adding information to packet headers as they travel through the network. This is an observation that is interesting to me. I am seeing headers as more than just a place to store static information, but rather has a means for routers and hosts to communicate with each other regarding the packets they are transporting.

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