Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) J. Rabadan, Ed.
Request for Comments: 9161
Category: Standards Track G. Hankins
ISSN: 2070-1721 Nokia
Operational Aspects of Proxy ARP/ND in Ethernet Virtual Private Networks
This document describes the Ethernet Virtual Private Network (EVPN)
Proxy ARP/ND function augmented by the capability of the ARP/ND
Extended Community. From that perspective, this document updates the
EVPN specification to provide more comprehensive documentation of the
operation of the Proxy ARP/ND function. The EVPN Proxy ARP/ND
function and the ARP/ND Extended Community help operators of Internet
Exchange Points, Data Centers, and other networks deal with IPv4 and
IPv6 address resolution issues associated with large Broadcast
Domains by reducing and even suppressing the flooding produced by
address resolution in the EVPN network.
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 https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9161
Copyright (c) 2022 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
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) in effect on the date of
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in the Revised BSD License.
Table of Contents 1.
The Data Center Use Case 1.2.
The Internet Exchange Point Use Case 2.
Solution Description 3.1.
Proxy ARP/ND Sub-functions 3.2.
Learning Sub-function 3.2.1.
Proxy ND and the NA Flags 3.3.
Reply Sub-function 3.4.
Unicast-Forward Sub-function 3.5.
Maintenance Sub-function 3.6.
Flood (to Remote PEs) Handling 3.7.
Duplicate IP Detection 4.
Solution Benefits 5.
Deployment Scenarios 5.1.
All Dynamic Learning 5.2.
Dynamic Learning with Proxy ARP/ND 5.3.
Hybrid Dynamic Learning and Static Provisioning with Proxy
All Static Provisioning with Proxy ARP/ND 5.5.
Example of Deployment in Internet Exchange Points 5.6.
Example of Deployment in Data Centers 6.
Security Considerations 7.
IANA Considerations 8.
Normative References 8.2.
As specified in [RFC7432
], the IP Address field in the Ethernet
Virtual Private Network (EVPN) Media Access Control (MAC) / IP
Advertisement route may optionally carry one of the IP addresses
associated with the MAC address. A Provider Edge (PE) may learn
local IP->MAC pairs and advertise them in EVPN MAC/IP Advertisement
routes. Remote PEs importing those routes in the same Broadcast
Domain (BD) may add those IP->MAC pairs to their Proxy ARP/ND tables
and reply to local ARP Requests or Neighbor Solicitations (or
"unicast-forward" those packets to the owner MAC), reducing and even
suppressing, in some cases, the flooding in the EVPN network.
EVPN and its associated Proxy ARP/ND function are extremely useful in
Data Centers (DCs) or Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) with large
Broadcast Domains, where the amount of ARP/ND flooded traffic causes
issues on connected routers and Customer Edges (CEs). [RFC6820
describes the address resolution problems in large DC networks.
This document describes the Proxy ARP/ND function in [RFC7432
networks, augmented by the capability of the ARP/ND Extended
]. From that perspective, this document updates
Proxy ARP/ND may be implemented to help IXPs, DCs, and other
operators deal with the issues derived from address resolution in
large Broadcast Domains.
1.1. The Data Center Use Case
As described in [RFC6820
], the IPv4 and IPv6 address resolution can
create a lot of issues in large DCs. In particular, the issues
created by IPv4 Address Resolution Protocol procedures may be
On one hand, ARP Requests use broadcast MAC addresses; therefore, any
Tenant System in a large Broadcast Domain will see a large amount of
ARP traffic, which is not addressed to most of the receivers.
On the other hand, the flooding issue becomes even worse if some
Tenant Systems disappear from the Broadcast Domain, since some
implementations will persistently retry sending ARP Requests. As
] states, there are no clear requirements for retransmitting
ARP Requests in the absence of replies; hence, an implementation may
choose to keep retrying endlessly even if there are no replies.
The amount of flooding that address resolution creates can be
mitigated by the use of EVPN and its Proxy ARP/ND function.
1.2. The Internet Exchange Point Use Case
The implementation described in this document is especially useful in
A typical IXP provides access to a large Layer 2 Broadcast Domain for
peering purposes (referred to as "the peering network"), where
(hundreds of) Internet routers are connected. We refer to these
Internet routers as CE devices in this section. Because of the
requirement to connect all routers to a single Layer 2 network, the
peering networks use IPv4 addresses in length ranges from /21 to /24
(and even bigger for IPv6), which can create very large Broadcast
Domains. This peering network is transparent to the CEs and
therefore floods any ARP Requests or NS messages to all the CEs in
the network. Gratuitous ARP and NA messages are flooded to all the
In these IXP networks, most of the CEs are typically peering routers
and roughly all the Broadcast, Unknown Unicast, and Multicast (BUM)
traffic is originated by the ARP and ND address resolution
procedures. This ARP/ND BUM traffic causes significant data volumes
that reach every single router in the peering network. Since the
ARP/ND messages are processed in "slow path" software processors and
they take high priority in the routers, heavy loads of ARP/ND traffic
can cause some routers to run out of resources. CEs disappearing
from the network may cause address resolution explosions that can
make a router with limited processing power fail to keep BGP sessions
The issue might be better in IPv6 routers if Multicast Listener
Discovery (MLD) snooping was enabled, since ND uses an SN-multicast
address in NS messages; however, ARP uses broadcast and has to be
processed by all the routers in the network. Some routers may also
be configured to broadcast periodic Gratuitous ARPs (GARPs)
]. For IPv6, the fact that IPv6 CEs have more than one IPv6
address contributes to the growth of ND flooding in the network. The
amount of ARP/ND flooded traffic grows linearly with the number of
IXP participants; therefore, the issue can only grow worse as new CEs
In order to deal with this issue, IXPs have developed certain
solutions over the past years. While these solutions may mitigate
the issues of address resolution in large Broadcast Domains, EVPN
provides new more efficient possibilities to IXPs. EVPN and its
Proxy ARP/ND function may help solve the issue in a distributed and
scalable way, fully integrated with the PE network.
The key words "MUST
", "MUST NOT
", "SHALL NOT
", "SHOULD NOT
", "NOT RECOMMENDED
" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
BCP 14 [RFC2119
] when, and only when, they appear in all
capitals, as shown here.
ARP: Address Resolution Protocol
AS-MAC: Anti-spoofing MAC. It is a special MAC configured on all
the PEs attached to the same BD and used for the
duplicate IP detection procedures.
BD: Broadcast Domain
BUM: Broadcast, Unknown Unicast, and Multicast Layer 2 traffic
CE: Customer Edge router
DAD: Duplicate Address Detection, as per [RFC4861
DC: Data Center
EVI: EVPN Instance
EVPN: Ethernet Virtual Private Network, as per [RFC7432
GARP: Gratuitous ARP
IP->MAC: An IP address associated to a MAC address. IP->MAC
entries are programmed in Proxy ARP/ND tables and may be
of three different types: dynamic, static, or EVPN-
IXP: Internet Exchange Point
IXP-LAN: The IXP's large Broadcast Domain to where Internet
routers are connected.
LAG: Link Aggregation Group
MAC or IP DA: MAC or IP Destination Address
MAC or IP SA: MAC or IP Source Address
ND: Neighbor Discovery
NS: Neighbor Solicitation
NA: Neighbor Advertisement
NUD: Neighbor Unreachability Detection, as per [RFC4861
O Flag: Override Flag in NA messages, as per [RFC4861
PE: Provider Edge router
R Flag: Router Flag in NA messages, as per [RFC4861
RT2: EVPN Route type 2 or EVPN MAC/IP Advertisement route, as
S Flag: Solicited Flag in NA messages, as per [RFC4861
SN-multicast address: Solicited-Node IPv6 multicast address used by
TLLA: Target Link Layer Address, as per [RFC4861
VPLS: Virtual Private LAN Service
This document assumes familiarity with the terminology used in
3. Solution Description
Figure 1 illustrates an example EVPN network where the Proxy ARP/ND
function is enabled.
IP1/M1 +----------------------------+ |IP1->M1 EVPN|
GARP --->Proxy ARP/ND | |IP2->M2 EVPN|
+---+ +--------+ RT2(IP1/M1) | |IP3->M3 sta |
|CE1+------| BD1 | ------> +------+---|IP4->M4 dyn |
+---+ +--------+ | +------------+
PE1 | +--------+ Who has IP1?
| EVPN | | BD1 | <----- +---+
| EVI1 | | | -----> |CE3|
IP2/M2 | | | | IP1->M1 +---+
GARP --->Proxy ARP/ND | +--------+ | IP3/M3
+---+ +--------+ RT2(IP2/M2) | |
|CE2+----| BD1 | ------> +--------------+
+---+ +--------+ PE3| +---+
PE2 | +----+CE4|
Figure 1: Proxy ARP/ND Network Example
When the Proxy ARP/ND function is enabled in a BD (Broadcast Domain)
of the EVPN PEs, each PE creates a Proxy table specific to that BD
that can contain three types of Proxy ARP/ND entries:
Learned by snooping a CE's ARP and ND messages; for instance, see
IP4->M4 in Figure 1.
Provisioned on the PE by the management system; for instance, see
IP3->M3 in Figure 1.
Learned from the IP/MAC information encoded in the received RT2's
coming from remote PEs; for instance, see IP1->M1 and IP2->M2 in
As a high-level example, the operation of the EVPN Proxy ARP/ND
function in the network of Figure 1 is described below. In this
example, we assume IP1, IP2, and IP3 are IPv4 addresses: 1.
Proxy ARP/ND is enabled in BD1 of PE1, PE2, and PE3. 2.
The PEs start adding dynamic, static, and EVPN-learned entries to
their Proxy tables:
a. PE3 adds IP1->M1 and IP2->M2 based on the EVPN routes
received from PE1 and PE2. Those entries were previously
learned as dynamic entries in PE1 and PE2, respectively, and
advertised in BGP EVPN.
b. PE3 adds IP4->M4 as dynamic. This entry is learned by
snooping the corresponding ARP messages sent by CE4.
c. An operator also provisions the static entry IP3->M3. 3.
When CE3 sends an ARP Request asking for the MAC address of IP1,
a. Intercept the ARP Request and perform a Proxy ARP lookup for
b. If the lookup is successful (as in Figure 1), PE3 will send
an ARP Reply with IP1->M1. The ARP Request will not be
flooded to the EVPN network or any other local CEs.
c. If the lookup is not successful, PE3 will flood the ARP
Request in the EVPN network and the other local CEs.
In the same example, if we assume IP1, IP2, IP3, and IP4 are now IPv6
addresses and Proxy ARP/ND is enabled in BD1: 1.
PEs will start adding entries in a similar way as they would for
IPv4; however, there are some differences:
a. IP1->M1 and IP2->M2 are learned as dynamic entries in PE1 and
PE2, respectively, by snooping NA messages and not by
snooping NS messages. In the IPv4 case, any ARP frame can be
snooped to learn the dynamic Proxy ARP entry. When learning
the dynamic entries, the R and O Flags contained in the
snooped NA messages will be added to the Proxy ND entries
b. PE1 and PE2 will advertise those entries in EVPN MAC/IP
Advertisement routes, including the corresponding learned R
and O Flags in the ARP/ND Extended Community.
c. PE3 also adds IP4->M4 as dynamic after snooping an NA message
sent by CE4. 2.
When CE3 sends an NS message asking for the MAC address of IP1,
PE3 behaves as in the IPv4 example, by intercepting the NS,
performing a lookup on the IP, and replying with an NA if the
lookup is successful. If it is successful, the NS is not flooded
to the EVPN PEs or any other local CEs. 3.
If the lookup is not successful, PE3 will flood the NS to remote
EVPN PEs attached to the same BD and the other local CEs as in
the IPv4 case.
As PE3 learns more and more host entries in the Proxy ARP/ND table,
the flooding of ARP Request messages among PEs is reduced and in some
cases, it can even be suppressed. In a network where most of the
participant CEs are not moving between PEs and are advertising their
presence with GARPs or unsolicited-NA messages, the ARP/ND flooding
among PEs, as well as the unknown unicast flooding, can practically
be suppressed. In an EVPN-based IXP network, where all the entries
are static, the ARP/ND flooding among PEs is in fact totally
In a network where CEs move between PEs, the Proxy ARP/ND function
relies on the CE signaling its new location via GARP or unsolicited-
NA messages so that tables are immediately updated. If a CE moves
"silently", that is, without issuing any GARP or NA message upon
getting attached to the destination PE, the mechanisms described in Section 3.5
make sure that the Proxy ARP/ND tables are eventually
3.1. Proxy ARP/ND Sub-functions
The Proxy ARP/ND function can be structured in six sub-functions or
Learning sub-function 2.
Reply sub-function 3.
4. Maintenance sub-function
5. Flood handling sub-function
6. Duplicate IP detection sub-function
A Proxy ARP/ND implementation MUST
at least support the Learning,
Reply, Maintenance, and duplicate IP detection sub-functions. The
following sections describe each individual sub-function.
3.2. Learning Sub-function
A Proxy ARP/ND implementation in an EVPN BD MUST
support dynamic and
EVPN-learned entries and SHOULD
support static entries.
Static entries are provisioned from the management plane. A static
entry is configured on the PE attached to the host using the IP
address in that entry. The provisioned static IP->MAC entry MUST
advertised in EVPN with an ARP/ND Extended Community where the
Immutable ARP/ND Binding Flag (I) is set to 1, as per [RFC9047
When the I Flag in the ARP/ND Extended Community is 1, the
advertising PE indicates that the IP address must not be associated
to a MAC other than the one included in the EVPN MAC/IP Advertisement
route. The advertisement of I = 1 in the ARP/ND Extended Community
is compatible with any value of the Sticky bit (S) or sequence number
in the [RFC7432
] MAC Mobility Extended Community. Note that the I
bit in the ARP/ND Extended Community refers to the immutable
configured association between the IP and the MAC address in the
IP->MAC binding, whereas the S bit in the MAC Mobility Extended
Community refers to the fact that the advertised MAC address is not
subject to the [RFC7432
] mobility procedures.
An entry may associate a configured static IP to a list of potential
MACs, i.e., IP1->(MAC1,MAC2..MACN). Until a frame (including a local
ARP/NA message) is received from the CE, the PE will not advertise
any IP1->MAC in EVPN. Upon receiving traffic from the CE, the PE
will check that the source MAC, e.g., MAC1, is included in the list
of allowed MACs. Only in that case, the PE will activate the
IP1->MAC1 and advertise only that IP1 and MAC1 in an EVPN MAC/IP
The PE MUST
create EVPN-learned entries from the received valid EVPN
MAC/IP Advertisement routes containing a MAC and IP address.
Dynamic entries are learned in different ways depending on whether
the entry contains an IPv4 or IPv6 address:
Proxy ARP dynamic entries:
The PE MUST
snoop all ARP packets (that is, all frames with
Ethertype 0x0806) received from the CEs attached to the BD in
order to learn dynamic entries. ARP packets received from remote
EVPN PEs attached to the same BD are not snooped. The Learning
function will add the sender MAC and sender IP of the snooped ARP
packet to the Proxy ARP table. Note that a MAC or an IP address
with value 0 SHOULD NOT
Proxy ND dynamic entries:
The PE MUST
snoop the NA messages (Ethertype 0x86dd, ICMPv6 type
136) received from the CEs attached to the BD and learn dynamic
entries from the Target Address and TLLA information. NA messages
received from remote EVPN PEs are not snooped. A PE implementing
Proxy ND as in this document MUST NOT
create dynamic IP->MAC
entries from NS messages because they don't contain the R Flag
required by the Proxy ND reply function. See Section 3.2.1
more information about the R Flag.
This document specifies an "anycast" capability that can be
configured for the Proxy ND function of the PE and affects how
dynamic Proxy ND entries are learned based on the O Flag of the
snooped NA messages. If the O Flag is zero in the received NA
message, the IP->MAC SHOULD
only be learned in case the IPv6
"anycast" capability is enabled in the BD. Irrespective, an NA
message with O Flag = 0 will be normally forwarded by the PE based
on a MAC DA lookup.
The following procedure associated to the Learning sub-function is RECOMMENDED
* When a new Proxy ARP/ND EVPN or static active entry is learned (or
provisioned), the PE SHOULD
send a GARP or unsolicited-NA message
to all the connected access CEs. The PE SHOULD
send a GARP or
unsolicited-NA message for dynamic entries only if the ARP/NA
message that previously created the entry on the PE was NOT
flooded to all the local connected CEs before. This GARP/
unsolicited-NA message makes sure the CE ARP/ND caches are updated
even if the ARP/NS/NA messages from CEs connected to remote PEs
are not flooded in the EVPN network.
Note that if a static entry is provisioned with the same IP as an
existing EVPN-learned or dynamic entry, the static entry takes
In case of a PE reboot, the static and EVPN entries will be re-added
as soon as the PE is back online and receives all the EVPN routes for
the BD. However, the dynamic entries will be gone. Due to that
reason, new NS and ARP Requests will be flooded by the PE to remote
PEs and dynamic entries gradually relearned again.
3.2.1. Proxy ND and the NA Flags
] describes the use of the R Flag in IPv6 address resolution:
* Nodes capable of routing IPv6 packets must reply to NS messages
with NA messages where the R Flag is set (R Flag = 1).
* Hosts that are not able to route IPv6 packets must indicate that
inability by replying with NA messages that contain R Flag = 0.
The use of the R Flag in NA messages has an impact on how hosts
select their default gateways when sending packets off-link, as per
* Hosts build a Default Router List based on the received RAs and
NAs with R Flag = 1. Each cache entry has an IsRouter flag, which
must be set for received RAs and is set based on the R Flag in the
received NAs. A host can choose one or more Default Routers when
sending packets off-link.
* In those cases where the IsRouter flag changes from TRUE to FALSE
as a result of an NA update, the node must remove that router from
the Default Router List and update the Destination Cache entries
for all destinations using that neighbor as a router, as specified
in Section 7.3.3 of [RFC4861
]. This is needed to detect when a
node that is used as a router stops forwarding packets due to
being configured as a host.
The R and O Flags for a Proxy ARP/ND entry will be learned in the
* The R Flag information SHOULD
be added to the static entries by
the management interface. The O Flag information MAY
added by the management interface. If the R and O Flags are not
configured, the default value is 1.
* Dynamic entries SHOULD
learn the R Flag and MAY
learn the O Flag
from the snooped NA messages used to learn the IP->MAC itself.
* EVPN-learned entries SHOULD
learn the R Flag and MAY
learn the O
Flag from the ARP/ND Extended Community [RFC9047
] received from
EVPN along with the RT2 used to learn the IP->MAC itself. If no
ARP/ND Extended Community is received, the PE will add a
configured R Flag / O Flag to the entry. These configured R and O
be an administrative choice with a default value of 1.
The configuration of this administrative choice provides a
backwards-compatible option with EVPN PEs that follow [RFC7432
but do not support this specification.
Note that, typically, IP->MAC entries with O = 0 will not be learned;
therefore, the Proxy ND function will reply to NS messages with NA
messages that contain O = 1. However, this document allows the
configuration of the "anycast" capability in the BD where the Proxy
ND function is enabled. If "anycast" is enabled in the BD and an NA
message with O = 0 is received, the associated IP->MAC entry will be
learned with O = 0. If this "anycast" capability is enabled in the
BD, duplicate IP detection must be disabled so that the PE is able to
learn the same IP mapped to different MACs in the same Proxy ND
table. If the "anycast" capability is disabled, NA messages with O
Flag = 0 will not create a Proxy ND entry (although they will be
forwarded normally); hence, no EVPN advertisement with ARP/ND
Extended Community will be generated.
3.3. Reply Sub-function
This sub-function will reply to address resolution requests/
solicitations upon successful lookup in the Proxy ARP/ND table for a
given IP address. The following considerations should be taken into
account, assuming that the ARP Request / NS lookup hits a Proxy ARP/
ND entry IP1->MAC1:
a. When replying to ARP Requests or NS messages:
* The PE SHOULD
use the Proxy ARP/ND entry MAC address MAC1 as
MAC SA. This is RECOMMENDED
so that the resolved MAC can be
learned in the MAC forwarding database of potential Layer 2
switches sitting between the PE and the CE requesting the
* For an ARP reply, the PE MUST
use the Proxy ARP entry IP1 and
MAC1 addresses in the sender Protocol Address and Hardware
Address fields, respectively.
* For an NA message in response to an address resolution NS or
DAD NS, the PE MUST
use IP1 as the IP SA and Target Address.
be used as the Target Link Local Address (TLLA).
b. A PE SHOULD NOT
reply to a request/solicitation received on the
same attachment circuit over which the IP->MAC is learned. In
this case, the requester and the requested IP are assumed to be
connected to the same Layer 2 CE/access network linked to the
PE's attachment circuit; therefore, the requested IP owner will
receive the request directly.
c. A PE SHOULD
reply to broadcast/multicast address resolution
messages, i.e., ARP Requests, ARP probes, NS messages, as well as
DAD NS messages. An ARP probe is an ARP Request constructed with
an all-zero sender IP address that may be used by hosts for IPv4
Address Conflict Detection as specified in [RFC5227
]. A PE SHOULD NOT
reply to unicast address resolution requests (for
instance, NUD NS messages).
d. When replying to an NS, a PE SHOULD
set the Flags in the NA
messages as follows:
* The R bit is set as it was learned for the IP->MAC entry in
the NA messages that created the entry (see Section 3.2.1
* The S Flag will be set/unset as per [RFC4861
* The O Flag will be set in all the NA messages issued by the PE
except in the case in which the BD is configured with the
"anycast" capability and the entry was previously learned with
O = 0. If "anycast" is enabled and there is more than one MAC
for a given IP in the Proxy ND table, the PE will reply to NS
messages with as many NA responses as "anycast" entries there
are in the Proxy ND table.
e. For Proxy ARP, a PE MUST
only reply to ARP Requests with the
format specified in [RFC0826
f. For Proxy ND, a PE MUST
reply to NS messages with known options
with the format and options specified in [RFC4861
] and MAY
discard, forward, or unicast-forward NS messages containing other
options. An administrative choice to control the behavior for
received NS messages with unknown options ("reply", "discard",
"unicast-forward", or "forward") MAY
* The "reply" option implies that the PE ignores the unknown
options and replies with NA messages, assuming a successful
lookup on the Proxy ND table. An unsuccessful lookup will
result in a "forward" behavior (i.e., flood the NS message
based on the MAC DA).
* If "discard" is available, the operator should assess if
flooding NS unknown options may be a security risk for the
EVPN BD (and if so, enable "discard") or, on the contrary, if
not forwarding/flooding NS unknown options may disrupt
connectivity. This option discards NS messages with unknown
options irrespective of the result of the lookup on the Proxy
* The "unicast-forward" option is described in Section 3.4
* The "forward" option implies flooding the NS message based on
the MAC DA. This option forwards NS messages with unknown
options irrespective of the result of the lookup on the Proxy
ND table. The "forward" option is RECOMMENDED
3.4. Unicast-Forward Sub-function
As discussed in Section 3.3
, in some cases, the operator may want to
"unicast-forward" certain ARP Requests and NS messages as opposed to
reply to them. The implementation of a "unicast-forward" function is RECOMMENDED
. This option can be enabled with one of the following
a. unicast-forward always
b. unicast-forward unknown-options
If "unicast-forward always" is enabled, the PE will perform a Proxy
ARP/ND table lookup and, in case of a hit, the PE will forward the
packet to the owner of the MAC found in the Proxy ARP/ND table. This
is irrespective of the options carried in the ARP/ND packet. This
option provides total transparency in the BD and yet reduces the
amount of flooding significantly.
If "unicast-forward unknown-options" is enabled, upon a successful
Proxy ARP/ND lookup, the PE will perform a "unicast-forward" action
only if the ARP Requests or NS messages carry unknown options, as
explained in Section 3.3
. The "unicast-forward unknown-options"
configuration allows the support of new applications using ARP/ND in
the BD while still reducing the flooding.
Irrespective of the enabled option, if there is no successful Proxy
ARP/ND lookup, the unknown ARP Request / NS message will be flooded
in the context of the BD, as per Section 3.6
3.5. Maintenance Sub-function
The Proxy ARP/ND tables SHOULD
follow a number of maintenance
procedures so that the dynamic IP->MAC entries are kept if the owner
is active and flushed (and the associated RT2 withdrawn) or if the
owner is no longer in the network. The following procedures are RECOMMENDED
A dynamic Proxy ARP/ND entry MUST
be flushed out of the table if
the IP->MAC has not been refreshed within a given age-time. The
entry is refreshed if an ARP or NA message is received for the
same IP->MAC entry. The age-time is an administrative option, and
its value should be carefully chosen depending on the specific use
case; in IXP networks (where the CE routers are fairly static),
the age-time may normally be longer than in DC networks (where
mobility is required).
The PE MAY
send periodic refresh messages (ARP/ND "probes") to the
owners of the dynamic Proxy ARP/ND entries, so that the entries
can be refreshed before they age out. The owner of the IP->MAC
entry would reply to the ARP/ND probe and the corresponding entry
age-time reset. The periodic send-refresh timer is an
administrative option and is RECOMMENDED
to be a third of the age-
time or a half of the age-time in scaled networks.
An ARP refresh issued by the PE will be an ARP Request message
with the sender's IP = 0 sent from the PE's MAC SA. If the PE has
an IP address in the subnet, for instance, on an Integrated
Routing and Bridging (IRB) interface, then it MAY
use it as a
source for the ARP Request (instead of sender's IP = 0). An ND
refresh will be an NS message issued from the PE's MAC SA and a
Link Local Address associated to the PE's MAC.
The refresh request messages SHOULD
be sent only for dynamic
entries and not for static or EVPN-learned entries. Even though
the refresh request messages are broadcast or multicast, the PE SHOULD
only send the message to the attachment circuit associated
to the MAC in the IP->MAC entry.
The age-time and send-refresh options are used in EVPN networks to
avoid unnecessary EVPN RT2 withdrawals; if refresh messages are sent
before the corresponding BD Bridge-Table and Proxy ARP/ND age-time
for a given entry expires, inactive but existing hosts will reply,
refreshing the entry and therefore avoiding unnecessary EVPN MAC/IP
Advertisement withdrawals in EVPN. Both entries (MAC in the BD and
IP->MAC in the Proxy ARP/ND) are reset when the owner replies to the
ARP/ND probe. If there is no response to the ARP/ND probe, the MAC
and IP->MAC entries will be legitimately flushed and the RT2s
3.6. Flood (to Remote PEs) Handling
The Proxy ARP/ND function implicitly helps reduce the flooding of ARP
Requests and NS messages to remote PEs in an EVPN network. However,
in certain use cases, the flooding of ARP/NS/NA messages (and even
the unknown unicast flooding) to remote PEs can be suppressed
completely in an EVPN network.
For instance, in an IXP network, since all the participant CEs are
well known and will not move to a different PE, the IP->MAC entries
for the local CEs may be all provisioned on the PEs by a management
system. Assuming the entries for the CEs are all provisioned on the
local PE, a given Proxy ARP/ND table will only contain static and
EVPN-learned entries. In this case, the operator may choose to
suppress the flooding of ARP/NS/NA from the local PE to the remote
The flooding may also be suppressed completely in IXP networks with
dynamic Proxy ARP/ND entries assuming that all the CEs are directly
connected to the PEs and that they all advertise their presence with
a GARP/unsolicited-NA when they connect to the network. If any of
those two assumptions are not true and any of the PEs may not learn
all the local Proxy ARP/ND entries, flooding of the ARP/NS/NA
messages from the local PE to the remote PEs SHOULD NOT
suppressed, or the address resolution process for some CEs will not
In networks where fast mobility is expected (DC use case), it is NOT
to suppress the flooding of unknown ARP Requests / NS
messages or GARPs/unsolicited-NAs. Unknown ARP Requests / NS
messages refer to those ARP Requests / NS messages for which the
Proxy ARP/ND lookups for the requested IPs do not succeed.
In order to give the operator the choice to suppress/allow the
flooding to remote PEs, a PE MAY
support administrative options to
individually suppress/allow the flooding of:
* Unknown ARP Requests and NS messages.
* GARP and unsolicited-NA messages.
The operator will use these options based on the expected behavior on
3.7. Duplicate IP Detection
The Proxy ARP/ND function MUST
support duplicate IP detection as per
this section so that ARP/ND-spoofing attacks or duplicate IPs due to
human errors can be detected. For IPv6 addresses, CEs will continue
to carry out the DAD procedures as per [RFC4862
]. The solution
described in this section is an additional security mechanism carried
out by the PEs that guarantees IPv6 address moves between PEs are
legitimate and not the result of an attack. [RFC6957
] describes a
solution for the IPv6 Duplicate Address Detection Proxy; however, it
is defined for point-to-multipoint topologies with a split-horizon
forwarding, where the "CEs" have no direct communication within the
same L2 link; therefore, it is not suitable for EVPN Broadcast
Domains. In addition, the solution described in this section
includes the use of the AS-MAC for additional security.
ARP/ND spoofing is a technique whereby an attacker sends "fake" ARP/
ND messages onto a Broadcast Domain. Generally, the aim is to
associate the attacker's MAC address with the IP address of another
host causing any traffic meant for that IP address to be sent to the
The distributed nature of EVPN and Proxy ARP/ND allows the easy
detection of duplicated IPs in the network in a similar way to the
MAC duplication detection function supported by [RFC7432
] for MAC
Duplicate IP detection monitors "IP-moves" in the Proxy ARP/ND table
in the following way:
a. When an existing active IP1->MAC1 entry is modified, a PE starts
an M-second timer (default value of M = 180), and if it detects N
IP moves before the timer expires (default value of N = g5), it
concludes that a duplicate IP situation has occurred. An IP move
is considered when, for instance, IP1->MAC1 is replaced by
IP1->MAC2 in the Proxy ARP/ND table. Static IP->MAC entries,
i.e., locally provisioned or EVPN-learned entries with I = 1 in
the ARP/ND Extended Community, are not subject to this procedure.
Static entries MUST NOT
be overridden by dynamic Proxy ARP/ND
b. In order to detect the duplicate IP faster, the PE SHOULD
Confirm message to the former owner of the IP. A Confirm message
is a unicast ARP Request / NS message sent by the PE to the MAC
addresses that previously owned the IP, when the MAC changes in
the Proxy ARP/ND table. The Confirm message uses a sender's IP
0.0.0.0 in case of ARP (if the PE has an IP address in the
subnet, then it MAY
use it) and an IPv6 Link Local Address in
case of NS. If the PE does not receive an answer within a given
time, the new entry will be confirmed and activated. The default RECOMMENDED
time to receive the confirmation is 30 seconds. In
case of spoofing, for instance, if IP1->MAC1 moves to IP1->MAC2,
the PE may send a unicast ARP Request / NS message for IP1 with
MAC DA = MAC1 and MAC SA = PE's MAC. This will force the
legitimate owner to respond if the move to MAC2 was spoofed and
make the PE issue another Confirm message, this time to MAC DA =
MAC2. If both, the legitimate owner and spoofer keep replying to
the Confirm message. The PE would then detect the duplicate IP
within the M-second timer, and a response would be triggered as
* If the IP1->MAC1 pair was previously owned by the spoofer and
the new IP1->MAC2 was from a valid CE, then the issued Confirm
message would trigger a response from the spoofer.
* If it were the other way around, that is, IP1->MAC1 was
previously owned by a valid CE, the Confirm message would
trigger a response from the CE.
Either way, if this process continues, then duplicate
detection will kick in.
c. Upon detecting a duplicate IP situation: 1.
The entry in duplicate detected state cannot be updated with
new dynamic or EVPN-learned entries for the same IP. The
override the entry, though, with a static
The PE SHOULD
alert the operator and stop responding to ARP/
NS for the duplicate IP until a corrective action is taken. 3.
Optionally, the PE MAY
associate an "anti-spoofing-mac" (AS-
MAC) to the duplicate IP in the Proxy ARP/ND table. The PE
will send a GARP/unsolicited-NA message with IP1->AS-MAC to
the local CEs as well as an RT2 (with IP1->AS-MAC) to the
remote PEs. This will update the ARP/ND caches on all the
CEs in the BD; hence, all the CEs in the BD will use the AS-
MAC as MAC DA when sending traffic to IP1. This procedure
prevents the spoofer from attracting any traffic for IP1.
Since the AS-MAC is a managed MAC address known by all the
PEs in the BD, all the PEs MAY
apply filters to drop and/or
log any frame with MAC DA = AS-MAC. The advertisement of the
AS-MAC as a "drop-MAC" (by using an indication in the RT2)
that can be used directly in the BD to drop frames is for
d. The duplicate IP situation will be cleared when a corrective
action is taken by the operator or, alternatively, after a HOLD-
DOWN timer (default value of 540 seconds).
The values of M, N, and HOLD-DOWN timer SHOULD
be a configurable
administrative option to allow for the required flexibility in
For Proxy ND, the duplicate IP detection described in this section SHOULD
only monitor IP moves for IP->MACs learned from NA messages
with O Flag = 1. NA messages with O Flag = 0 would not override the
ND cache entries for an existing IP; therefore, the procedure in this
section would not detect duplicate IPs. This duplicate IP detection
for IPv6 SHOULD
be disabled when the IPv6 "anycast" capability is
activated in a given BD.4.
The solution described in this document provides the following
a. May completely suppress the flooding of the ARP/ND messages in
the EVPN network, assuming that all the CE IP->MAC addresses
local to the PEs are known or provisioned on the PEs from a
management system. Note that in this case, the unknown unicast
flooded traffic can also be suppressed, since all the expected
unicast traffic will be destined to known MAC addresses in the PE
b. Significantly reduces the flooding of the ARP/ND messages in the
EVPN network, assuming that some or all the CE IP->MAC addresses
are learned on the data plane by snooping ARP/ND messages issued
by the CEs.
c. Provides a way to refresh periodically the CE IP->MAC entries
learned through the data plane so that the IP->MAC entries are
not withdrawn by EVPN when they age out unless the CE is not
active anymore. This option helps reducing the EVPN control
plane overhead in a network with active CEs that do not send
d. Provides a mechanism to detect duplicate IP addresses and avoid
ARP/ND-spoof attacks or the effects of duplicate addresses due to
Four deployment scenarios with different levels of ARP/ND control are
available to operators using this solution depending on their
requirements to manage ARP/ND: all dynamic learning, all dynamic
learning with Proxy ARP/ND, hybrid dynamic learning and static
provisioning with Proxy ARP/ND, and all static provisioning with
5.1. All Dynamic Learning
In this scenario for minimum security and mitigation, EVPN is
deployed in the BD with the Proxy ARP/ND function shutdown. PEs do
not intercept ARP/ND requests and flood all requests issued by the
CEs as a conventional Layer 2 network among those CEs would suffice.
While no ARP/ND mitigation is used in this scenario, the operator can
still take advantage of EVPN features such as control plane learning
and all-active multihoming in the peering network.
Although this option does not require any of the procedures described
in this document, it is added as a baseline/default option for
completeness. This option is equivalent to VPLS as far as ARP/ND is
concerned. The options described in Sections 5.2
, and 5.4
only possible in EVPN networks in combination with their Proxy ARP/ND
5.2. Dynamic Learning with Proxy ARP/ND
This scenario minimizes flooding while enabling dynamic learning of
IP->MAC entries. The Proxy ARP/ND function is enabled in the BDs of
the EVPN PEs so that the PEs snoop ARP/ND messages issued by the CEs
and respond to CE ARP Requests / NS messages.
PEs will flood requests if the entry is not in their Proxy table.
Any unknown source IP->MAC entries will be learned and advertised in
EVPN, and traffic to unknown entries is discarded at the ingress PE.
This scenario makes use of the Learning, Reply, and Maintenance sub-
functions, with an optional use of the Unicast-forward and duplicate
IP detection sub-functions. The Flood handling sub-function uses
default flooding for unknown ARP Requests / NS messages.
5.3. Hybrid Dynamic Learning and Static Provisioning with Proxy ARP/ND
Some IXPs and other operators want to protect particular hosts on the
BD while allowing dynamic learning of CE addresses. For example, an
operator may want to configure static IP->MAC entries for management
and infrastructure hosts that provide critical services. In this
scenario, static entries are provisioned from the management plane
for protected IP->MAC addresses, and dynamic learning with Proxy ARP/
ND is enabled as described in Section 5.2
on the BD.
This scenario makes use of the same sub-functions as in Section 5.2
but with static entries added by the Learning sub-function.
5.4. All Static Provisioning with Proxy ARP/ND
For a solution that maximizes security and eliminates flooding and
unknown unicast in the peering network, all IP->MAC entries are
provisioned from the management plane. The Proxy ARP/ND function is
enabled in the BDs of the EVPN PEs so that the PEs intercept and
respond to CE requests. Dynamic learning and ARP/ND snooping is
disabled so that ARP Requests and NS messages to unknown IPs are
discarded at the ingress PE. This scenario provides an operator the
most control over IP->MAC entries and allows an operator to manage
all entries from a management system.
In this scenario, the Learning sub-function is limited to static
entries, the Maintenance sub-function will not require any procedures
due to the static entries, and the Flood handling sub-function will
completely suppress unknown ARP Requests / NS messages as well as
GARP and unsolicited-NA messages.
5.5. Example of Deployment in Internet Exchange Points
Nowadays, almost all IXPs install some security rules in order to
protect the peering network (BD). These rules are often called port
security. Port security summarizes different operational steps that
limit the access to the IXP-LAN and the customer router and controls
the kind of traffic that the routers are allowed to exchange (e.g.,
Ethernet, IPv4, and IPv6). Due to this, the deployment scenario as
described in Section 5.4
, "All Static Provisioning with Proxy ARP/
ND", is the predominant scenario for IXPs.
In addition to the "All Static Provisioning" behavior, in IXP
networks it is recommended to configure the Reply sub-function to
"discard" ARP Requests / NS messages with unrecognized options.
At IXPs, customers usually follow a certain operational life cycle.
For each step of the operational life cycle, specific operational
procedures are executed.
The following describes the operational procedures that are needed to
guarantee port security throughout the life cycle of a customer with
focus on EVPN features: 1.
A new customer is connected the first time to the IXP:
Before the connection between the customer router and the IXP-LAN
is activated, the MAC of the router is allowlisted on the IXP's
switch port. All other MAC addresses are blocked. Pre-defined
IPv4 and IPv6 addresses of the IXP peering network space are
configured at the customer router. The IP->MAC static entries
(IPv4 and IPv6) are configured in the management system of the
IXP for the customer's port in order to support Proxy ARP/ND.
In case a customer uses multiple ports aggregated to a single
logical port (LAG), some vendors randomly select the MAC address
of the LAG from the different MAC addresses assigned to the
ports. In this case, the static entry will be used and
associated to a list of allowed MACs. 2.
Replacement of customer router:
If a customer router is about to be replaced, the new MAC
address(es) must be installed in the management system in
addition to the MAC address(es) of the currently connected
router. This allows the customer to replace the router without
any active involvement of the IXP operator. For this, static
entries are also used. After the replacement takes place, the
MAC address(es) of the replaced router can be removed. 3.
Decommissioning a customer router:
If a customer router is decommissioned, the router is
disconnected from the IXP PE. Right after that, the MAC
address(es) of the router and IP->MAC bindings can be removed
from the management system.
5.6. Example of Deployment in Data Centers
DCs normally have different requirements than IXPs in terms of Proxy
ARP/ND. Some differences are listed below:
a. The required mobility in virtualized DCs makes the "Dynamic
Learning" or "Hybrid Dynamic and Static Provisioning" models more
appropriate than the "All Static Provisioning" model.
b. IPv6 "anycast" may be required in DCs, while it is typically not
a requirement in IXP networks. Therefore, if the DC needs IPv6
anycast addresses, the "anycast" capability will be explicitly
enabled in the Proxy ND function and hence the Proxy ND sub-
functions modified accordingly. For instance, if IPv6 "anycast"
is enabled in the Proxy ND function, the duplicate IP detection
procedure in Section 3.7
must be disabled.
c. DCs may require special options on ARP/ND as opposed to the
address resolution function, which is the only one typically
required in IXPs. Based on that, the Reply sub-function may be
modified to forward or discard unknown options.6.
The security considerations of [RFC7432
] and [RFC9047
] apply to this
document too. Note that EVPN does not inherently provide
cryptographic protection (including confidentiality protection).
The procedures in this document reduce the amount of ARP/ND message
flooding, which in itself provides a protection to "slow path"
software processors of routers and Tenant Systems in large BDs. The
ARP/ND requests that are replied to by the Proxy ARP/ND function
(hence not flooded) are normally targeted to existing hosts in the
BD. ARP/ND requests targeted to absent hosts are still normally
flooded; however, the suppression of unknown ARP Requests and NS
messages described in Section 3.6
can provide an additional level of
security against ARP Requests / NS messages issued to non-existing
While the unicast-forward and/or flood suppression sub-functions
provide an added security mechanism for the BD, they can also
increase the risk of blocking the service for a CE if the EVPN PEs
cannot provide the ARP/ND resolution that the CE needs.
The solution also provides protection against Denial-of-Service (DoS)
attacks that use ARP/ND spoofing as a first step. The duplicate IP
detection and the use of an AS-MAC as explained in Section 3.7
protects the BD against ARP/ND spoofing.
The Proxy ARP/ND function specified in this document does not allow
for the learning of an IP address mapped to multiple MAC addresses in
the same table unless the "anycast" capability is enabled (and only
in case of Proxy ND). When "anycast" is enabled in the Proxy ND
function, the number of allowed entries for the same IP address MUST
be limited by the operator to prevent DoS attacks that attempt to
fill the Proxy ND table with a significant number of entries for the
This document provides some examples and guidelines that can be used
by IXPs in their EVPN BDs. When EVPN and its associated Proxy ARP/ND
function are used in IXP networks, they provide ARP/ND security and
mitigation. IXPs must still employ additional security mechanisms
that protect the peering network as per the established BCPs such as
the ones described in [EURO-IX-BCP]. For example, IXPs should
disable all unneeded control protocols and block unwanted protocols
from CEs so that only IPv4, ARP, and IPv6 Ethertypes are permitted on
the peering network. In addition, port security features and ACLs
can provide an additional level of security.
Finally, it is worth noting that the Proxy ARP/ND solution in this
document will not work if there is a mechanism securing ARP/ND
exchanges among CEs because the PE is not able to secure the
"proxied" ND messages.
7. IANA Considerations
This document has no IANA actions.
8.1. Normative References
] Plummer, D., "An Ethernet Address Resolution Protocol: Or
Converting Network Protocol Addresses to 48.bit Ethernet
Address for Transmission on Ethernet Hardware", STD 37, RFC 826
, DOI 10.17487/RFC0826
, November 1982,
] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119
, March 1997,
] Narten, T., Nordmark, E., Simpson, W., and H. Soliman,
"Neighbor Discovery for IP version 6 (IPv6)", RFC 4861
, September 2007,
] Cheshire, S., "IPv4 Address Conflict Detection", RFC 5227
, July 2008,
] Sajassi, A., Ed., Aggarwal, R., Bitar, N., Isaac, A.,
Uttaro, J., Drake, J., and W. Henderickx, "BGP MPLS-Based
Ethernet VPN", RFC 7432
, DOI 10.17487/RFC7432
] 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
] Rabadan, J., Ed., Sathappan, S., Nagaraj, K., and W. Lin,
"Propagation of ARP/ND Flags in an Ethernet Virtual
Private Network (EVPN)", RFC 9047
, DOI 10.17487/RFC9047
June 2021, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9047
8.2. Informative References
Euro-IX, "European Internet Exchange Association",
] Thomson, S., Narten, T., and T. Jinmei, "IPv6 Stateless
Address Autoconfiguration", RFC 4862
, September 2007,
] Narten, T., Karir, M., and I. Foo, "Address Resolution
Problems in Large Data Center Networks", RFC 6820
, January 2013,
] Costa, F., Combes, J-M., Ed., Pougnard, X., and H. Li,
"Duplicate Address Detection Proxy", RFC 6957
, June 2013,
The authors want to thank Ranganathan Boovaraghavan, Sriram
Venkateswaran, Manish Krishnan, Seshagiri Venugopal, Tony Przygienda,
Robert Raszuk, and Iftekhar Hussain for their review and
contributions. Thank you to Oliver Knapp as well for his detailed
In addition to the authors listed on the front page, the following
coauthors have also contributed to this document:
DE-CIX Management GmbH
Jorge Rabadan (editor)
777 Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA 94043
United States of America
701 E. Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA 94043
United States of America
701 E. Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA 94043
United States of America
DE-CIX Management GmbH