RFC 9149

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                          T. Pauly
Request for Comments: 9149                                    Apple Inc.
Category: Standards Track                                    D. Schinazi
ISSN: 2070-1721                                               Google LLC
                                                               C.A. Wood
                                                              April 2022

                          TLS Ticket Requests


   TLS session tickets enable stateless connection resumption for
   clients without server-side, per-client state.  Servers vend an
   arbitrary number of session tickets to clients, at their discretion,
   upon connection establishment.  Clients store and use tickets when
   resuming future connections.  This document describes a mechanism by
   which clients can specify the desired number of tickets needed for
   future connections.  This extension aims to provide a means for
   servers to determine the number of tickets to generate in order to
   reduce ticket waste while simultaneously priming clients for future
   connection attempts.

Status of This Memo

   This is an Internet Standards Track document.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Further information on
   Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2022 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (https://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Revised BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the
   Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described
   in the Revised BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
     1.1.  Requirements Language
   2.  Use Cases
   3.  Ticket Requests
   4.  IANA Considerations
   5.  Performance Considerations
   6.  Security Considerations
   7.  References
     7.1.  Normative References
     7.2.  Informative References

   Authors' Addresses

1.  Introduction

   As described in [RFC8446], TLS servers vend clients an arbitrary
   number of session tickets at their own discretion in NewSessionTicket
   messages.  There are at least three limitations with this design.

   First, servers vend some (often hard-coded) number of tickets per
   connection.  Some server implementations return a different default
   number of tickets for session resumption than for the initial
   connection that created the session.  No static choice, whether fixed
   or dependent upon resumption, is ideal for all situations.

   Second, clients do not have a way of expressing their desired number
   of tickets, which can impact future connection establishment.  For
   example, clients can open parallel TLS connections to the same server
   for HTTP, or they can race TLS connections across different network
   interfaces.  The latter is especially useful in transport systems
   that implement Happy Eyeballs [RFC8305].  Since clients control
   connection concurrency and resumption, a standard mechanism for
   requesting more than one ticket is desirable for avoiding ticket
   reuse.  See Appendix C.4 of [RFC8446] for discussion of ticket reuse

   Third, all tickets in the client's possession ultimately derive from
   some initial connection.  Especially when the client was initially
   authenticated with a client certificate, that session may need to be
   refreshed from time to time.  Consequently, a server may periodically
   force a new connection even when the client presents a valid ticket.
   When that happens, it is possible that any other tickets derived from
   the same original session are equally invalid.  A client avoids a
   full handshake on subsequent connections if it replaces all stored
   tickets with new ones obtained from the just-performed full
   handshake.  The number of tickets the server should vend for a new
   connection may therefore need to be larger than the number for
   routine resumption.

   This document specifies a new TLS extension, "ticket_request", that
   clients can use to express their desired number of session tickets.
   Servers can use this extension as a hint for the number of
   NewSessionTicket messages to vend.  This extension is only applicable
   to TLS 1.3 [RFC8446], DTLS 1.3 [RFC9147], and future versions of

1.1.  Requirements Language

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
   BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

2.  Use Cases

   The ability to request one or more tickets is useful for a variety of

   Parallel HTTP connections:  To improve performance, a client may open
      parallel connections.  To avoid ticket reuse, the client may use
      distinct tickets on each connection.  Clients must therefore bound
      the number of parallel connections they initiate by the number of
      tickets in their possession or risk ticket reuse.

   Connection racing:  Happy Eyeballs V2 [RFC8305] describes techniques
      for performing connection racing.  The Transport Services
      Implementation document [TAPS] also describes how connections can
      race across interfaces and address families.  In such cases,
      clients may use more than one ticket while racing connection
      attempts in order to establish one successful connection.  Having
      multiple tickets equips clients with enough tickets to initiate
      connection racing while avoiding ticket reuse and ensuring that
      their cache of tickets does not empty during such races.
      Moreover, as some servers may implement single-use tickets,
      distinct tickets prevent premature ticket invalidation by racing.

   Less ticket waste:  Currently, TLS servers use application-specific,
      and often implementation-specific, logic to determine how many
      tickets to issue.  By moving the burden of ticket count to
      clients, servers do not generate wasteful tickets.  As an example,
      clients might only request one ticket during resumption.
      Moreover, as ticket generation might involve expensive
      computation, e.g., public key cryptographic operations, avoiding
      waste is desirable.

   Decline resumption:  Clients can indicate they do not intend to
      resume a connection by sending a ticket request with count of

3.  Ticket Requests

   As discussed in Section 1, clients may want different numbers of
   tickets for new or resumed connections.  Clients may indicate to
   servers their desired number of tickets to receive on a single
   connection, in the case of a new or resumed connection, via the
   following "ticket_request" extension:

   enum {
       ticket_request(58), (65535)
   } ExtensionType;

   Clients MAY send this extension in ClientHello.  It contains the
   following structure:

   struct {
       uint8 new_session_count;
       uint8 resumption_count;
   } ClientTicketRequest;

   new_session_count:  The number of tickets desired by the client if
      the server chooses to negotiate a new connection.

   resumption_count:  The number of tickets desired by the client if the
      server is willing to resume using a ticket presented in this

   A client starting a new connection SHOULD set new_session_count to
   the desired number of session tickets and resumption_count to 0.
   Once a client's ticket cache is primed, a resumption_count of 1 is a
   good choice that allows the server to replace each ticket with a new
   ticket without over-provisioning the client with excess tickets.
   However, clients that race multiple connections and place a separate
   ticket in each will ultimately end up with just the tickets from a
   single resumed session.  In that case, clients can send a
   resumption_count equal to the number of connections they are
   attempting in parallel.  (Clients that send a resumption_count less
   than the number of parallel connection attempts might end up with
   zero tickets.)

   When a client presenting a previously obtained ticket finds that the
   server nevertheless negotiates a new connection, the client SHOULD
   assume that any other tickets associated with the same session as the
   presented ticket are also no longer valid for resumption.  This
   includes tickets obtained during the initial (new) connection and all
   tickets subsequently obtained as part of subsequent resumptions.
   Requesting more than one ticket when servers complete a new
   connection helps keep the session cache primed.

   Servers SHOULD NOT send more tickets than requested for the
   connection type selected by the server (new or resumed connection).
   Moreover, servers SHOULD place a limit on the number of tickets they
   are willing to send, whether for new or resumed connections, to save
   resources.  Therefore, the number of NewSessionTicket messages sent
   will typically be the minimum of the server's self-imposed limit and
   the number requested.  Servers MAY send additional tickets, typically
   using the same limit, if the tickets that are originally sent are
   somehow invalidated.

   A server that supports and uses a client "ticket_request" extension
   MUST also send the "ticket_request" extension in the
   EncryptedExtensions message.  It contains the following structure:

   struct {
       uint8 expected_count;
   } ServerTicketRequestHint;

   expected_count:  The number of tickets the server expects to send in
      this connection.

   Servers MUST NOT send the "ticket_request" extension in any handshake
   message, including ServerHello or HelloRetryRequest messages.  A
   client MUST abort the connection with an "illegal_parameter" alert if
   the "ticket_request" extension is present in any server handshake

   If a client receives a HelloRetryRequest, the presence (or absence)
   of the "ticket_request" extension MUST be maintained in the second
   ClientHello message.  Moreover, if this extension is present, a
   client MUST NOT change the value of ClientTicketRequest in the second
   ClientHello message.

4.  IANA Considerations

   IANA has added the following entry to the "TLS ExtensionType Values"
   registry [RFC8446] [RFC8447]:

      | Value | Extension Name | TLS 1.3 | DTLS-Only | Recommended |
      | 58    | ticket_request | CH, EE  | N         | Y           |

          Table 1: Addition to TLS ExtensionType Values Registry

5.  Performance Considerations

   Servers can send tickets in NewSessionTicket messages any time after
   the server Finished message (see Section 4.6.1 of [RFC8446]).  A
   server that chooses to send a large number of tickets to a client can
   potentially harm application performance if the tickets are sent
   before application data.  For example, if the transport connection
   has a constrained congestion window, ticket messages could delay
   sending application data.  To avoid this, servers should prioritize
   sending application data over tickets when possible.

6.  Security Considerations

   Ticket reuse is a security and privacy concern.  Moreover, clients
   must take care when pooling tickets as a means of avoiding or
   amortizing handshake costs.  If servers do not rotate session ticket
   encryption keys frequently, clients may be encouraged to obtain and
   use tickets beyond common lifetime windows of, e.g., 24 hours.
   Despite ticket lifetime hints provided by servers, clients SHOULD
   dispose of cached tickets after some reasonable amount of time that
   mimics the session ticket encryption key rotation period.
   Specifically, as specified in Section 4.6.1 of [RFC8446], clients
   MUST NOT cache tickets for longer than 7 days.

   In some cases, a server may send NewSessionTicket messages
   immediately upon sending the server Finished message rather than
   waiting for the client Finished message.  If the server has not
   verified the client's ownership of its IP address, e.g., with the TLS
   cookie extension (see Section 4.2.2 of [RFC8446]), an attacker may
   take advantage of this behavior to create an amplification attack
   proportional to the count value toward a target by performing a
   (DTLS) key exchange over UDP with spoofed packets.  Servers SHOULD
   limit the number of NewSessionTicket messages they send until they
   have verified the client's ownership of its IP address.

   Servers that do not enforce a limit on the number of NewSessionTicket
   messages sent in response to a "ticket_request" extension could leave
   themselves open to DoS attacks, especially if ticket creation is

7.  References

7.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.

   [RFC8446]  Rescorla, E., "The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol
              Version 1.3", RFC 8446, DOI 10.17487/RFC8446, August 2018,

   [RFC8447]  Salowey, J. and S. Turner, "IANA Registry Updates for TLS
              and DTLS", RFC 8447, DOI 10.17487/RFC8447, August 2018,

   [RFC9147]  Rescorla, E., Tschofenig, H., and N. Modadugu, "The
              Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) Protocol Version
              1.3", RFC 9147, DOI 10.17487/RFC9147, April 2022,

7.2.  Informative References

   [RFC8305]  Schinazi, D. and T. Pauly, "Happy Eyeballs Version 2:
              Better Connectivity Using Concurrency", RFC 8305,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8305, December 2017,

   [TAPS]     Brunstrom, A., Ed., Pauly, T., Ed., Enghardt, T., Tiesel,
              P., and M. Welzl, "Implementing Interfaces to Transport
              Services", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-
              taps-impl-12, 7 March 2022,


   The authors would like to thank David Benjamin, Eric Rescorla, Nick
   Sullivan, Martin Thomson, Hubert Kario, and other members of the TLS
   Working Group for discussions on earlier draft versions of this
   document.  Viktor Dukhovni contributed text allowing clients to send
   multiple counts in a ticket request.

Authors' Addresses

   Tommy Pauly
   Apple Inc.
   One Apple Park Way
   Cupertino, CA 95014
   United States of America
   Email: tpauly@apple.com

   David Schinazi
   Google LLC
   1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
   Mountain View, CA 94043
   United States of America
   Email: dschinazi.ietf@gmail.com

   Christopher A. Wood
   101 Townsend St
   San Francisco, CA 94107
   United States of America
   Email: caw@heapingbits.net