RFC 9391

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                          E. Ramos
Request for Comments: 9391                                      Ericsson
Category: Standards Track                                    A. Minaburo
ISSN: 2070-1721                                                   Acklio
                                                              April 2023

  Static Context Header Compression over Narrowband Internet of Things


   This document describes Static Context Header Compression and
   fragmentation (SCHC) specifications, RFCs 8724 and 8824, in
   combination with the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and
   the Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT).

   This document has two parts: one normative part that specifies the
   use of SCHC over NB-IoT and one informational part that recommends
   some values if 3GPP wants to use SCHC inside their architectures.

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) 2023 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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   Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described
   in the Revised BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
   2.  Conventions and Definitions
   3.  Terminology
   4.  NB-IoT Architecture
   5.  Data Transmission in the 3GPP Architecture
     5.1.  Normative Scenarios
       5.1.1.  SCHC over Non-IP Data Delivery (NIDD)
     5.2.  Informational Scenarios
       5.2.1.  Use of SCHC over the Radio Link
       5.2.2.  Use of SCHC over the Non-Access Stratum (NAS)
       5.2.3.  Parameters for Static Context Header Compression and
               Fragmentation (SCHC) for the Radio Link and DoNAS Use
   6.  Padding
   7.  IANA Considerations
   8.  Security Considerations
   9.  References
     9.1.  Normative References
     9.2.  Informative References
   Appendix A.  NB-IoT User Plane Protocol Architecture
     A.1.  Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP)
     A.2.  Radio Link Protocol (RLC)
     A.3.  Medium Access Control (MAC)
   Appendix B.  NB-IoT Data over NAS (DoNAS)

   Authors' Addresses

1.  Introduction

   This document defines scenarios where Static Context Header
   Compression and fragmentation (SCHC) [RFC8724] [RFC8824] are suitable
   for 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and Narrowband Internet
   of Things (NB-IoT) protocol stacks.

   In the 3GPP and the NB-IoT networks, header compression efficiently
   brings Internet connectivity to the Device UE (Dev-UE), the radio
   (RGW-eNB) and network (NGW-MME) gateways, and the Application Server.
   This document describes the SCHC parameters supporting SCHC over the
   NB-IoT architecture.

   This document assumes functionality for NB-IoT of 3GPP release 15
   [R15-3GPP].  Otherwise, the text explicitly mentions other versions'

   This document has two parts: normative end-to-end scenarios
   describing how any application must use SCHC over the 3GPP public
   service and informational scenarios about how 3GPP could use SCHC in
   their protocol stack network.

2.  Conventions and Definitions

   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.

3.  Terminology

   This document will follow the terms defined in [RFC8724], [RFC8376],
   and [TR23720].

   Capillary Gateway:  Facilitates seamless integration because it has
      wide-area connectivity through cellular and provides wide-area
      access as a proxy to other devices using LAN technologies (BT, Wi-
      Fi, Zigbee, or others).

   Cellular IoT Evolved Packet System (CIoT EPS):  A functionality to
      improve the support of small data transfers.

   Device UE (Dev-UE):  As defined in [RFC8376], Section 3.

   Data over Non-Access Stratum (DoNAS):  Sending user data within
      signaling messages over the NAS functional layer.

   Evolved Packet Connectivity (EPC):  Core network of 3GPP LTE systems.

   Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (EUTRAN):  Radio
      access network of LTE-based systems.

   Hybrid Automatic Repeat reQuest (HARQ):  A combination of high-rate
      Forward Error Correction (FEC) and Automatic Repeat reQuest (ARQ)
      error control.

   Home Subscriber Server (HSS):  A database that contains users'
      subscription data, including data needed for mobility management.

   IP address:  IPv6 or IPv4 address used.

   InterWorking Service Capabilities Exposure Function (IWK-SCEF):  Used
      in roaming scenarios, is located in the Visited PLMN, and serves
      for interconnection with the Service Capabilities Exposure
      Function (SCEF) of the Home PLMN.

   Layer 2 (L2):  L2 in the 3GPP architectures includes MAC, RLC, and
      PDCP layers; see Appendix A.

   Logical Channel ID (LCID):  The logical channel instance of the
      corresponding MAC SDU.

   Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol:  Part of L2.

   Non-Access Stratum (NAS):  Functional layer for signaling messages
      that establishes communication sessions and maintains the
      communication while the user moves.

   Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT):  A 3GPP Low-Power WAN (LPWAN) technology
      based on the LTE architecture but with additional optimization for
      IoT and using a Narrowband spectrum frequency.

   Network Gateway - CIoT Serving Gateway Node (NGW-CSGN):  As defined
      in [RFC8376], Section 3.

   Network Gateway - Cellular Serving Gateway (NGW-CSGW):  Routes and
      forwards the user data packets through the access network.

   Network Gateway - Mobility Management Entity (NGW-MME):  An entity in
      charge of handling mobility of the Dev-UE.

   Network Gateway - Packet Data Network Gateway (NGW-PGW):  An
      interface between the internal and external network.

   Network Gateway - Service Capability Exposure Function (NGW-SCEF):  E
      PC node for exposure of 3GPP network service capabilities to third
      party applications.

   Non-IP Data Delivery (NIDD):  End-to-end communication between the UE
      and the Application Server.

   Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP):  Part of L2.

   Public Land-based Mobile Network (PLMN):  A combination of wireless
      communication services offered by a specific operator.

   Protocol Data Unit (PDU):  A data packet including headers that are
      transmitted between entities through a protocol.

   Radio Link Protocol (RLC):  Part of L2.

   Radio Gateway - evolved Node B (RGW-eNB):  Base Station that controls
      the UE.

   Service Data Unit (SDU):  A data packet (PDU) from higher-layer
      protocols used by lower-layer protocols as a payload of their own

4.  NB-IoT Architecture

   The NB-IoT architecture has a complex structure.  It relies on
   different Network Gateways (NGWs) from different providers.  It can
   send data via different paths, each with different characteristics in
   terms of bandwidth, acknowledgments, and L2 reliability and

   Figure 1 shows this architecture, where the Network Gateway -
   Cellular IoT Serving Gateway Node (NGW-CSGN) optimizes co-locating
   entities in different paths.  For example, a Dev-UE using the path
   formed by the Network Gateway - Mobility Management Entity (NGW-MME),
   the NGW-CSGW, and the Network Gateway - Packet Data Network Gateway
   (NGW-PGW) may get a limited bandwidth transmission from a few bytes/s
   to one thousand bytes/s only.

   Another node introduced in the NB-IoT architecture is the Network
   Gateway - Service Capability Exposure Function (NGW-SCEF), which
   securely exposes service and network capabilities to entities
   external to the network operator.  The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA)
   [OMA0116] and the One Machine to Machine (OneM2M) [TR-0024] define
   the northbound APIs.  [TS23222] defines architecture for the common
   API framework for 3GPP northbound APIs.  [TS33122] defines security
   aspects for a common API framework for 3GPP northbound APIs.  In this
   case, the path is small for data transmission.  The main functions of
   the NGW-SCEF are path connectivity and device monitoring.

   +---+              +---------+    +------+
   |Dev| \            | +-----+ | ---| HSS  |
   |-UE|  \           | | NGW | |    +------+
   +---+  |           | |-MME |\__
           \          / +-----+ | \
   +---+    \+-----+ /|   |     | +------+
   |Dev| ----| RGW |- |   |     | | NGW- |
   |-UE|     |-eNB |  |   |     | | SCEF |---------+
   +---+    /+-----+ \|   |     | +------+         |
           /          \ +------+|                  |
          /           |\| NGW- || +-----+   +-----------+
   +---+ /            | | CSGW |--| NGW-|---|Application|
   |Dev|              | |      || | PGW |   |   Server  |
   |-UE|              | +------+| +-----+   +-----------+
   +---+              |         |
                      |NGW-CSGN |

                    Figure 1: 3GPP Network Architecture

5.  Data Transmission in the 3GPP Architecture

   NB-IoT networks deal with end-to-end user data and in-band signaling
   between the nodes and functions to configure, control, and monitor
   the system functions and behaviors.  The signaling uses a different
   path with specific protocols, handling processes, and entities but
   can transport end-to-end user data for IoT services.  In contrast,
   the end-to-end application only transports end-to-end data.

   The recommended 3GPP MTU size is 1358 bytes.  The radio network
   protocols limit the packet sizes over the air, including radio
   protocol overhead, to 1600 bytes; see Section 5.2.3.  However, the
   recommended 3GPP MTU is smaller to avoid fragmentation in the network
   backbone due to the payload encryption size (multiple of 16) and the
   additional core transport overhead handling.

   3GPP standardizes NB-IoT and, in general, the interfaces and
   functions of cellular technologies.  Therefore, the introduction of
   SCHC entities to Dev-UE, RGW-eNB, and NGW-CSGN needs to be specified
   in the NB-IoT standard.

   This document identifies the use cases of SCHC over the NB-IoT

   The first use case is of the radio transmission (see Section 5.2.1)
   where the Dev-UE and the RGW-eNB can use the SCHC functionalities.

   The second is where the packets transmitted over the control path can
   also use SCHC when the transmission goes over the NGW-MME or NGW-SCEF
   (see Section 5.2.2).

   These two use cases are also valid for any 3GPP architecture and not
   only for NB-IoT.  And as the 3GPP internal network is involved, they
   have been put in the informational part of this section.

   And the third covers the SCHC over Non-IP Data Delivery (NIDD)
   connection or at least up to the operator network edge (see
   Section 5.1.1).  In this case, SCHC functionalities are available in
   the application layer of the Dev-UE and the Application Servers or a
   broker function at the edge of the operator network.  NGW-PGW or NGW-
   SCEF transmit the packets that are Non-IP traffic, using IP tunneling
   or API calls.  It is also possible to benefit legacy devices with
   SCHC by using the Non-IP transmission features of the operator

   A Non-IP transmission refers to an L2 transport that is different
   from NB-IoT.

5.1.  Normative Scenarios

   These scenarios do not modify the 3GPP architecture or any of its
   components.  They only use the architecture as an L2 transmission.

5.1.1.  SCHC over Non-IP Data Delivery (NIDD)

   This section specifies the use of SCHC over NIDD services of 3GPP.
   The NIDD services of 3GPP enable the transmission of SCHC packets
   compressed by the application layer.  The packets can be delivered
   between the NGW-PGW and the Application Server or between the NGW-
   SCEF and the Application Server, using IP-tunnels or API calls.  In
   both cases, as compression occurs before transmission, the network
   will not understand the packet, and the network does not have context
   information of this compression.  Therefore, the network will treat
   the packet as Non-IP traffic and deliver it to the other side without
   any other protocol stack element, directly over L2.  SCHC Entities Placing over NIDD

   In the two scenarios using NIDD compression, SCHC entities are
   located almost on top of the stack.  The NB-IoT connectivity services
   implement SCHC in the Dev-UE, an in the Application Server.  The IP
   tunneling scenario requires that the Application Server send the
   compressed packet over an IP connection terminated by the 3GPP core
   network.  If the transmission uses the NGW-SCEF services, it is
   possible to utilize an API call to transfer the SCHC packets between
   the core network and the Application Server.  Also, an IP tunnel
   could be established by the Application Server if negotiated with the

   +---------+       XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX             +--------+
   | SCHC    |      XXX                    XXX            | SCHC   |
   |(Non-IP) +-----XX........................XX....+--*---+(Non-IP)|
   +---------+    XX                  +----+  XX   |  |   +--------+
   |         |    XX                  |SCEF+-------+  |   |        |
   |         |   XXX     3GPP RAN &   +----+  XXX     +---+  UDP   |
   |         |   XXX    CORE NETWORK          XXX     |   |        |
   |  L2     +---+XX                  +------------+  |   +--------+
   |         |     XX                 |IP TUNNELING+--+   |        |
   |         |      XXX               +------------+  +---+  IP    |
   +---------+       XXXX                 XXXX        |   +--------+
   | PHY     +------+ XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX         +---+  PHY   |
   +---------+                                            +--------+
     Dev-UE                                              Application

     Figure 2: End-to-End Compression: SCHC Entities Placed when Using
                    Non-IP Delivery (NIDD) 3GPP Services  Parameters for Static Context Header Compression and
          Fragmentation (SCHC)

   These scenarios MAY use the SCHC header compression capability to
   improve the transmission of IPv6 packets.

   *  SCHC Context Initialization

      The application layer handles the static context.  Consequently,
      the context distribution MUST be according to the application's
      capabilities, perhaps utilizing IP data transmissions up to
      context initialization.  Also, the static context delivery may use
      the same IP tunneling or NGW-SCEF services used later for the
      transport of SCHC packets.

   *  SCHC Rules

      For devices acting as a capillary gateway, several rules match the
      diversity of devices and protocols used by the devices associated
      with the gateway.  Meanwhile, simpler devices may have
      predetermined protocols and fixed parameters.

   *  RuleID

      This scenario can dynamically set the RuleID size before the
      context delivery, for example, by negotiating between the
      applications when choosing a profile according to the type of
      traffic and application deployed.  Transmission optimization may
      require only one Physical Layer transmission.  SCHC overhead
      SHOULD NOT exceed the available number of effective bits of the
      smallest physical Transport Block (TB) available to optimize the
      transmission.  The packets handled by 3GPP networks are byte-
      aligned.  Thus, to use the smallest TB, the maximum SCHC header
      size is 12 bits.  On the other hand, more complex NB-IoT devices
      (such as a capillary gateway) might require additional bits to
      handle the variety and multiple parameters of higher-layer
      protocols deployed.  The configuration may be part of the agreed
      operation profile and content distribution.  The RuleID field size
      may range from 2 bits, resulting in 4 rules, to an 8-bit value,
      yielding up to 256 rules for use by operators.  A 256-rule maximum
      limit seems to be quite reasonable, even for a device acting as a
      NAT.  An application may use a larger RuleID, but it should
      consider the byte alignment of the expected Compression Residue.
      In the minimum TB size case, 2 bits of RuleID leave only 6 bits
      available for Compression Residue.


      In these scenarios, the maximum RECOMMENDED MTU size is 1358 bytes
      since the SCHC packets (and fragments) are traversing the whole
      3GPP network infrastructure (core and radio), not only the radio
      as in the IP transmissions case.

   *  Fragmentation

      Packets larger than 1358 bytes need the SCHC fragmentation
      function.  Since the 3GPP uses reliability functions, the No-ACK
      fragmentation mode MAY be enough in point-to-point connections.
      Nevertheless, additional considerations are described below for
      more complex cases.

   *  Fragmentation Modes

      A global service assigns a QoS to the packets, e.g., depending on
      the billing.  Packets with very low QoS may get lost before
      arriving in the 3GPP radio network transmission, e.g., in between
      the links of a capillary gateway or due to buffer overflow
      handling in a backhaul connection.  The use of SCHC fragmentation
      with the ACK-on-Error mode is RECOMMENDED to secure additional
      reliability on the packets transmitted with a small trade-off on
      further transmissions to signal the end-to-end arrival of the
      packets if no transport protocol takes care of retransmission.
      Also, the ACK-on-Error mode could be desirable to keep track of
      all the SCHC packets delivered.  In that case, the fragmentation
      function could be activated for all packets transmitted by the
      applications.  SCHC ACK-on-Error fragmentation MAY be activated in
      transmitting Non-IP packets on the NGW-MME.  A Non-IP packet will
      use SCHC reserved RuleID for non-compressing packets as [RFC8724]
      allows it.

   *  Fragmentation Parameters

      SCHC profile will have specific Rules for the fragmentation modes.
      The rule will identify which fragmentation mode is in use, and
      Section 5.2.3 defines the RuleID size.

   SCHC parametrization considers that NB-IoT aligns the bit and uses
   padding and the size of the Transfer Block.  SCHC will try to reduce
   padding to optimize the compression of the information.  The header
   size needs to be a multiple of 4.  The Tiles MAY keep a fixed value
   of 4 or 8 bits to avoid padding, except for when the transfer block
   equals 16 bits as the Tiles may be 2 bits.  The transfer block size
   has a wide range of values.  Two configurations are RECOMMENDED for
   the fragmentation parameters.

   *  For Transfer Blocks smaller than or equal to 304 bits using an
      8-bit Header_size configuration, with the size of the header
      fields as follows:

      -  RuleID from 1 - 3 bits

      -  DTag 1 bit

      -  FCN 3 bits

      -  W 1 bits

   *  For Transfer Blocks bigger than 304 bits using a 16-bit
      Header_size configuration, with the size of the header fields as

      -  RulesID from 8 - 10 bits

      -  DTag 1 or 2 bits

      -  FCN 3 bits

      -  W 2 or 3 bits

   *  WINDOW_SIZE of (2^N)-1 is RECOMMENDED.

   *  Reassembly Check Sequence (RCS) will follow the default size
      defined in Section 8.2.3 of [RFC8724], with a length equal to the
      L2 Word.

   *  MAX_ACK_REQ is RECOMMENDED to be 2, but applications MAY change
      this value based on transmission conditions.

   The IoT devices communicate with small data transfers and use the
   Power Save Mode and the Idle Mode Discontinuous Reception (DRX),
   which govern how often the device wakes up, stays up, and is
   reachable.  The use of the different modes allows the battery to last
   ten years.  Table 10.5.163a in [TS24008] defines the radio timer
   values with units incrementing by N.  The units of N can be 1 hour or
   10 hours.  The range used for IoT is of N to 3N, where N increments
   by one.  The Inactivity Timer and the Retransmission Timer can be set
   based on these limits.

5.2.  Informational Scenarios

   These scenarios show how 3GPP could use SCHC for their transmissions.

5.2.1.  Use of SCHC over the Radio Link

   Deploying SCHC over the Radio Link only would require placing it as
   part of the protocol stack for data transfer between the Dev-UE and
   the RGW-eNB.  This stack is the functional layer responsible for
   transporting data over the wireless connection and managing radio
   resources.  There is support for features such as reliability,
   segmentation, and concatenation.  The transmissions use link
   adaptation, meaning that the system will optimize the transport
   format used according to the radio conditions, the number of bits to
   transmit, and the power and interference constraints.  That means
   that the number of bits transmitted over the air depends on the
   selected Modulation and Coding Schemes (MCSs).  Transport Block (TB)
   transmissions happen in the Physical Layer at network-synchronized
   intervals called Transmission Time Interval (TTI).  Each TB has a
   different MCS and number of bits available to transmit.  The MAC
   layer [TR36321] defines the characteristics of the TBs.  The Radio
   Link stack shown in Figure 3 comprises the Packet Data Convergence
   Protocol (PDCP) [TS36323], the Radio Link Protocol (RLC) [TS36322],
   the Medium Access Control protocol (MAC) [TR36321], and the Physical
   Layer [TS36201].  Appendix A gives more details about these

   +---------+                              +---------+  |
   +---------+   |   +---------------+   |  +---------+  |
   | PDCP    +-------+ PDCP  | GTP|U +------+ GTP-U   |->+
   | (SCHC)  +       + (SCHC)|       +      +         |  |
   +---------+   |   +---------------+   |  +---------+  |
   | RLC     +-------+ RLC   |UDP/IP +------+ UDP/IP  +->+
   +---------+   |   +---------------+   |  +---------+  |
   | MAC     +-------+ MAC   | L2    +------+ L2      +->+
   +---------+   |   +---------------+   |  +---------+  |
   | PHY     +-------+ PHY   | PHY   +------+ PHY     +->+
   +---------+       +---------------+      +---------+  |
              C-Uu/                    S1-U             SGi
     Dev-UE               RGW-eNB             NGW-CSGN
             Radio Link

                     Figure 3: SCHC over the Radio Link  Placing SCHC Entities over the Radio Link

   The 3GPP architecture supports Robust Header Compression (ROHC)
   [RFC5795] in the PDCP layer.  Therefore, the architecture can deploy
   SCHC header compression entities similarly without the need for
   significant changes in the 3GPP specifications.

   The RLC layer has three functional modes: Transparent Mode (TM),
   Unacknowledged Mode (UM), and Acknowledged Mode (AM).  The mode of
   operation controls the functionalities of the RLC layer.  TM only
   applies to signaling packets, while AM or UM carry signaling and data

   The RLC layer takes care of fragmentation except for the TM.  In AM
   or UM, the SCHC fragmentation is unnecessary and SHOULD NOT be used.
   While sending IP packets, the Radio Link does not commonly use the
   RLC TM.  However, if other protocol overhead optimizations are
   targeted for NB-IoT traffic, SCHC fragmentation may be used for TM
   transmission in the future.

5.2.2.  Use of SCHC over the Non-Access Stratum (NAS)

   This section consists of IETF suggestions to the 3GPP.  The NGW-MME
   conveys mainly signaling between the Dev-UE and the cellular network
   [TR24301].  The network transports this traffic on top of the Radio

   This kind of flow supports data transmissions to reduce the overhead
   when transmitting infrequent small quantities of data.  This
   transmission is known as Data over Non-Access Stratum (DoNAS) or
   Control Plane CIoT EPS optimizations.  In DoNAS, the Dev-UE uses the
   pre-established security, can piggyback small uplink data into the
   initial uplink message, and uses an additional message to receive a
   downlink small data response.

   The NGW-MME performs the data encryption from the network side in a
   DoNAS PDU.  Depending on the data type signaled indication (IP or
   Non-IP data), the network allocates an IP address or establishes a
   direct forwarding path.  DoNAS is regulated under rate control upon
   previous agreement, meaning that a maximum number of bits per unit of
   time is agreed upon per device subscription beforehand and configured
   in the device.

   The system will use DoNAS when a terminal in a power-saving state
   requires a short transmission and receives an acknowledgment or short
   feedback from the network.  Depending on the size of the buffered
   data to be transmitted, the Dev-UE might deploy the connected mode
   transmission instead.  The connected mode would limit and control the
   DoNAS transmissions to predefined thresholds, and it would be a good
   resource optimization balance for the terminal and the network.  The
   support for mobility of DoNAS is present but produces additional
   overhead.  Appendix B gives additional details of DoNAS.  Placing SCHC Entities over DoNAS

   SCHC resides in this scenario's Non-Access Stratum (NAS) protocol
   layer.  The same principles as for Section 5.2.1 apply here as well.
   Because the NAS protocol already uses ROHC [RFC5795], it can also
   adapt SCHC for header compression.  The main difference compared to
   the Radio Link (Section 5.2.1) is the physical placing of the SCHC
   entities.  On the network side, the NGW-MME resides in the core
   network and is the terminating node for NAS instead of the RGW-eNB.

   +--------+                       +--------+--------+  +  +--------+
   | IP/    +--+-----------------+--+  IP/   |   IP/  +-----+   IP/  |
   | Non-IP |  |                 |  | Non-IP | Non-IP |  |  | Non-IP |
   +--------+  |                 |  +-----------------+  |  +--------+
   | NAS    +-----------------------+   NAS  |GTP-C/U +-----+GTP-C/U |
   |(SCHC)  |  |                 |  | (SCHC) |        |  |  |        |
   +--------+  |  +-----------+  |  +-----------------+  |  +--------+
   | RRC    +-----+RRC  |S1|AP+-----+ S1|AP  |        |  |  |        |
   +--------+  |  +-----------+  |  +--------+  UDP   +-----+  UDP   |
   | PDCP*  +-----+PDCP*|SCTP +-----+ SCTP   |        |  |  |        |
   +--------+  |  +-----------+  |  +-----------------+  |  +--------+
   | RLC    +-----+ RLC | IP  +-----+ IP     | IP     +-----+ IP     |
   +--------+  |  +-----------+  |  +-----------------+  |  +--------+
   | MAC    +-----+ MAC | L2  +-----+ L2     | L2     +-----+ L2     |
   +--------+  |  +-----------+  |  +-----------------+  |  +--------+
   | PHY    +--+--+ PHY | PHY +--+--+ PHY    | PHY    +-----+ PHY    |
   +--------+     +-----+-----+     +--------+--------+  |  +--------+
              C-Uu/             S1                   SGi
    Dev-UE           RGW-eNB               NGW-MME             NGW-PGW

       *PDCP is bypassed until AS security is activated TGPP36300.

     Figure 4: SCHC Entities Placement in the 3GPP CIOT Radio Protocol
                    Architecture for DoNAS Transmissions

5.2.3.  Parameters for Static Context Header Compression and
        Fragmentation (SCHC) for the Radio Link and DoNAS Use Cases

   If 3GPP incorporates SCHC, it is recommended that these scenarios use
   the SCHC header compression [RFC8724] capability to optimize the data

   *  SCHC Context Initialization

      The Radio Resource Control (RRC) protocol is the main tool used to
      configure the parameters of the Radio Link.  It will configure
      SCHC and the static context distribution as it has been made for
      ROHC operation [RFC5795] [TS36323].

   *  SCHC Rules

      The network operator defines the number of rules in these
      scenarios.  For this, the network operator must know the IP
      traffic the device will carry.  The operator might supply rules
      compatible with the device's use case.  For devices acting as a
      capillary gateway, several rules match the diversity of devices
      and protocols used by the devices associated with the gateway.
      Meanwhile, simpler devices may have predetermined protocols and
      fixed parameters.  The use of IPv6 and IPv4 may force the operator
      to develop more rules to deal with each case.

   *  RuleID

      There is a reasonable assumption of 9 bytes of radio protocol
      overhead for these transmission scenarios in NB-IoT, where PDCP
      uses 5 bytes due to header and integrity protection and where RLC
      and MAC use 4 bytes.  The minimum physical TBs that can withhold
      this overhead value, according to the 3GPP Release 15
      specification [R15-3GPP], are 88, 104, 120, and 144 bits.  As for
      Section, these scenarios must optimize the Physical Layer
      where the smallest TB is 12 bits.  These 12 bits must include the
      Compression Residue in addition to the RuleID.  On the other hand,
      more complex NB-IoT devices (such as a capillary gateway) might
      require additional bits to handle the variety and multiple
      parameters of higher-layer protocols deployed.  In that sense, the
      operator may want flexibility on the number and type of rules
      independently supported by each device; consequently, these
      scenarios require a configurable value.  The configuration may be
      part of the agreed operation profile with the content
      distribution.  The RuleID field size may range from 2 bits,
      resulting in 4 rules, to an 8-bit value, yielding up to 256 rules
      for use with the operators.  A 256-rule maximum limit seems to be
      quite reasonable, even for a device acting as a NAT.  An
      application may use a larger RuleID, but it should consider the
      byte alignment of the expected Compression Residue.  In the
      minimum TB size case, 2 bits of RuleID leave only 6 bits available
      for Compression Residue.


      The Radio Link can handle the fragmentation of SCHC packets if
      needed, including reliability.  Hence, the packet size is limited
      by the MTU that is handled by the radio protocols, which
      corresponds to 1600 bytes for the 3GPP Release 15.

   *  Fragmentation

      For the Radio Link (Section 5.2.1) and DoNAS (Section 5.2.2)
      scenarios, the SCHC fragmentation functions are disabled.  The RLC
      layer of NB-IoT can segment packets into suitable units that fit
      the selected TB for transmissions of the Physical Layer.  The
      block selection is made according to the link adaptation input
      function in the MAC layer and the quantity of data in the buffer.
      The link adaptation layer may produce different results at each
      TTI, resulting in varying physical TBs that depend on the network
      load, interference, number of bits transmitted, and QoS.  Even if
      setting a value that allows the construction of data units
      following the SCHC tiles principle, the protocol overhead may be
      greater or equal to allowing the Radio Link protocols to take care
      of the fragmentation intrinsically.

   *  Fragmentation in RLC TM

      The RLC TM mostly applies to control signaling transmissions.
      When RLC operates in TM, the MAC layer mechanisms ensure
      reliability and generate overhead.  This additional reliability
      implies sending repetitions or automatic retransmissions.

      The ACK-Always fragmentation mode of SCHC may reduce this overhead
      in future operations when data transmissions may use this mode.
      The ACK-Always mode may transmit compressed data with fewer
      possible transmissions by using fixed or limited TBs compatible
      with the tiling SCHC fragmentation handling.  For SCHC
      fragmentation parameters, see Section

6.  Padding

   NB-IoT and 3GPP wireless access, in general, assumes a byte-aligned
   payload.  Therefore, the L2 Word for NB-IoT MUST be considered 8
   bits, and the padding treatment should use this value accordingly.

7.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

8.  Security Considerations

   This document does not add any security considerations and follows
   [RFC8724] and the 3GPP access security document specified in

9.  References

9.1.  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>.

   [RFC8724]  Minaburo, A., Toutain, L., Gomez, C., Barthel, D., and JC.
              Zuniga, "SCHC: Generic Framework for Static Context Header
              Compression and Fragmentation", RFC 8724,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8724, April 2020,

   [RFC8824]  Minaburo, A., Toutain, L., and R. Andreasen, "Static
              Context Header Compression (SCHC) for the Constrained
              Application Protocol (CoAP)", RFC 8824,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8824, June 2021,

9.2.  Informative References

   [OMA0116]  Open Mobile Alliance, "Common definitions for RESTful
              Network APIs", Version 1.0, January 2018,

   [R15-3GPP] 3GPP, "Release 15", April 2019, <https://www.3gpp.org/

   [RFC5795]  Sandlund, K., Pelletier, G., and L-E. Jonsson, "The RObust
              Header Compression (ROHC) Framework", RFC 5795,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5795, March 2010,

   [RFC8376]  Farrell, S., Ed., "Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN)
              Overview", RFC 8376, DOI 10.17487/RFC8376, May 2018,

   [TR-0024]  OneM2M, "3GPP_Interworking", TR-0024-V4.3.0, March 2020,

   [TR23720]  3GPP, "Study on architecture enhancements for Cellular
              Internet of Things", 3GPP TR 23.720 V13.0.0, March 2016,

   [TR24301]  3GPP, "Non-Access-Stratum (NAS) protocol for Evolved
              Packet System (EPS); Stage 3", 3GPP TS 24.301 V15.8.0,
              December 2019, <https://www.3gpp.org/ftp//Specs/

   [TR36321]  3GPP, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access
              (E-UTRA); Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol
              specification", 3GPP TS 36.321 V13.2.0, June 2016,

   [TS23222]  3GPP, "Functional architecture and information flows to
              support Common API Framework for 3GPP Northbound APIs;
              Stage 2", 3GPP TS 23.222 V15.6.0, September 2022,

   [TS24008]  3GPP, "Mobile radio interface Layer 3 specification; Core
              network protocols; Stage 3", 3GPP TS 24.008 V15.5.0,
              December 2018, <https://www.3gpp.org/ftp//Specs/

   [TS33122]  3GPP, "Security aspects of Common API Framework (CAPIF)
              for 3GPP northbound APIs", 3GPP TS 33.122 V15.3.0, March
              2019, <https://www.3gpp.org/ftp//Specs/

   [TS36201]  3GPP, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access
              (E-UTRA); LTE physical layer; General description", 3GPP
              TS 36.201 V15.1.0, June 2018,

   [TS36322]  3GPP, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access
              (E-UTRA); Radio Link Control (RLC) protocol
              specification", 3GPP TS 36.322 V15.0.1, April 2018,

   [TS36323]  3GPP, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access
              (E-UTRA); Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP)
              specification", 3GPP TS 36.323 V13.2.0, June 2016,

   [TS36331]  3GPP, "Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access
              (E-UTRA); Radio Resource Control (RRC); Protocol
              specification", 3GPP TS 36.331 V15.5.1, April 2019,

Appendix A.  NB-IoT User Plane Protocol Architecture

A.1.  Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP)

   Each of the Radio Bearers (RBs) is associated with one PDCP entity
   [TS36323].  Moreover, a PDCP entity is associated with one or two RLC
   entities, depending on the unidirectional or bidirectional
   characteristics of the RB and RLC mode used.  A PDCP entity is
   associated with either a control plane or a user plane with
   independent configuration and functions.  The maximum supported size
   for NB-IoT of a PDCP SDU is 1600 octets.  The primary services and
   functions of the PDCP sublayer for NB-IoT for the user plane include:

   *  Header compression and decompression using ROHC [RFC5795]

   *  Transfer of user and control data to higher and lower layers

   *  Duplicate detection of lower-layer SDUs when re-establishing
      connection (when RLC with Acknowledge Mode is in use for User
      Plane only)

   *  Ciphering and deciphering

   *  Timer-based SDU discard in uplink

A.2.  Radio Link Protocol (RLC)

   RLC [TS36322] is an L2 protocol that operates between the User
   Equipment (UE) and the base station (eNB).  It supports the packet
   delivery from higher layers to MAC, creating packets transmitted over
   the air, optimizing the TB utilization.  RLC flow of data packets is
   unidirectional, and it is composed of a transmitter located in the
   transmission device and a receiver located in the destination device.
   Therefore, to configure bidirectional flows, two sets of entities,
   one in each direction (downlink and uplink), must be configured and
   effectively peered to each other.  The peering allows the
   transmission of control packets (e.g., status reports) between
   entities.  RLC can be configured for a data transfer in one of the
   following modes:

   *  Transparent Mode (TM)

      RLC does not segment or concatenate SDUs from higher layers in
      this mode and does not include any header with the payload.  RLC
      receives SDUs from upper layers when acting as a transmitter and
      transmits directly to its flow RLC receiver via lower layers.
      Similarly, upon reception, a TM RLC receiver would not process the
      packets and only deliver them to higher layers.

   *  Unacknowledged Mode (UM)

      This mode provides support for segmentation and concatenation of
      payload.  The RLC packet's size depends on the indication given at
      a particular transmission opportunity by the lower layer (MAC) and
      is octet-aligned.  The packet delivery to the receiver does not
      include reliability support, and the loss of a segment from a
      packet means a complete packet loss.  Also, in lower-layer
      retransmissions, there is no support for re-segmentation in case
      the radio conditions change and trigger the selection of a smaller
      TB.  Additionally, it provides PDU duplication detection and
      discards, out-of-sequence reordering, and loss detection.

   *  Acknowledged Mode (AM)

      In addition to the same functions supported by UM, this mode also
      adds a moving windows-based reliability service on top of the
      lower-layer services.  It also supports re-segmentation, and it
      requires bidirectional communication to exchange acknowledgment
      reports, called RLC Status Reports, and to trigger
      retransmissions.  This model also supports protocol-error
      detection.  The mode used depends on the operator configuration
      for the type of data to be transmitted.  For example, data
      transmissions supporting mobility or requiring high reliability
      would be most likely configured using AM.  Meanwhile, streaming
      and real-time data would be mapped to a UM configuration.

A.3.  Medium Access Control (MAC)

   MAC [TR36321] provides a mapping between the higher layers
   abstraction called Logical Channels (which are comprised by the
   previously described protocols) and the Physical Layer channels
   (transport channels).  Additionally, MAC may multiplex packets from
   different Logical Channels and prioritize which ones to fit into one
   TB if there is data and space available to maximize data transmission
   efficiency.  MAC also provides error correction and reliability
   support through Hybrid Automatic Repeat reQuest (HARQ), transport
   format selection, and scheduling information reported from the
   terminal to the network.  MAC also adds the necessary padding and
   piggyback control elements, when possible, as well as the higher
   layers data.

                                               <Max. 1600 bytes>
                       +---+         +---+          +------+
   Application         |AP1|         |AP1|          |  AP2 |
   (IP/Non-IP)         |PDU|         |PDU|          |  PDU |
                       +---+         +---+          +------+
                       |   |         |  |           |      |
   PDCP           +--------+    +--------      +-----------+
                  |PDCP|AP1|    |PDCP|AP1|     |PDCP|  AP2 |
                  |Head|PDU|    |Head|PDU|     |Head|  PDU |
                  +--------+    +--------+     +--------+--\
                  |    |   |    |     |  |     |    |   |\  `--------\
            +---------------------------+      |    |(1)| `-------\(2)\
   RLC      |RLC |PDCP|AP1|RLC |PDCP|AP1| +-------------+    +----|---+
            |Head|Head|PDU|Head|Head|PDU| |RLC |PDCP|AP2|    |RLC |AP2|
            +-------------|-------------+ |Head|Head|PDU|    |Head|PDU|
            |         |   |         |   | +---------|---+    +--------+
            |         |   | LCID1   |   | /         /   /   /         /
           /         /   /        _/  _//        _/  _/    / LCID2   /
           |        |   |        |   | /       _/  _/     /      ___/
           |        |   |        |   ||       |   |      /      /
       +------------------------------------------+ +-----------+---+
       |Hea|Hea|Hea |PDU|Hea|Hea |PDU|Hea|Hea |PDU| |Hea|Hea|PDU|din|
       |der|der|der |   |der|der |   |der|der |   | |der|der|   |g  |
       +------------------------------------------+ +-----------+---+
                         TB1                               TB2

   (1) Segment One
   (2) Segment Two

        Figure 5: Example of User Plane Packet Encapsulation for Two
                              Transport Blocks

Appendix B.  NB-IoT Data over NAS (DoNAS)

   The Access Stratum (AS) protocol stack used by DoNAS is specific
   because the radio network still needs to establish the security
   associations and reduce the protocol overhead so that the PDCP is
   bypassed until the AS security is activated.  By default, RLC uses
   the AM.  However, depending on the network's features and the
   terminal, RLC may change to other modes by the network operator.  For
   example, the TM does not add any header nor process the payload to
   reduce the overhead, but the MTU would be limited by the TB used to
   transmit the data, which is a couple of thousand bits maximum.  If UM
   (only terminals compatible with 3GPP Release 15 [R15-3GPP]) is used,
   the RLC mechanisms of reliability are disabled, and only the
   reliability provided by the MAC layer by HARQ is available.  In this
   case, the protocol overhead might be smaller than the AM case because
   of the lack of status reporting, but the overhead would have the same
   support for segmentation up to 1600 bytes.  NAS packets are
   encapsulated within an RRC [TS36331] message.

   Depending on the data type indication signaled (IP or Non-IP data),
   the network allocates an IP address or establishes a direct
   forwarding path.  DoNAS is regulated under rate control upon previous
   agreement, meaning that a maximum number of bits per unit of time is
   agreed upon per device subscription beforehand and configured in the
   device.  The use of DoNAS is typically expected when a terminal in a
   power-saving state requires a short transmission and is receiving an
   acknowledgment or short feedback from the network.  Depending on the
   size of buffered data to be transmitted, the UE might be instructed
   to deploy the connected mode transmissions instead, limiting and
   controlling the DoNAS transmissions to predefined thresholds and a
   good resource optimization balance for the terminal and the network.
   The support for mobility of DoNAS is present but produces additional

      +--------+   +--------+   +--------+
      |        |   |        |   |        |       +-----------------+
      |   UE   |   |  C-BS  |   |  C-SGN |       |Roaming Scenarios|
      +----|---+   +--------+   +--------+       |  +--------+     |
           |            |            |           |  |        |     |
       +----------------|------------|+          |  |  P-GW  |     |
       |        Attach                |          |  +--------+     |
       +------------------------------+          |       |         |
           |            |            |           |       |         |
    +------|------------|--------+   |           |       |         |
    |RRC connection establishment|   |           |       |         |
    |with NAS PDU transmission   |   |           |       |         |
    |& Ack Rsp                   |   |           |       |         |
    +----------------------------+   |           |       |         |
           |            |            |           |       |         |
           |            |Initial UE  |           |       |         |
           |            |message     |           |       |         |
           |            |----------->|           |       |         |
           |            |            |           |       |         |
           |            | +---------------------+|       |         |
           |            | |Checks Integrity     ||       |         |
           |            | |protection, decrypts ||       |         |
           |            | |data                 ||       |         |
           |            | +---------------------+|       |         |
           |            |            |       Small data packet     |
           |            |            |------------------------------->
           |            |            |       Small data packet     |
           |            |            |<-------------------------------
           |            | +----------|---------+ |       |         |
           |            | Integrity protection,| |       |         |
           |            | encrypts data        | |       |         |
           |            | +--------------------+ |       |         |
           |            |            |           |       |         |
           |            |Downlink NAS|           |       |         |
           |            |message     |           |       |         |
           |            |<-----------|           |       |         |
   +-----------------------+         |           |       |         |
   |Small data delivery,   |         |           |       |         |
   |RRC connection release |         |           |       |         |
   +-----------------------+         |           |       |         |
                                                 |                 |
                                                 |                 |

   Figure 6: DoNAS Transmission Sequence from an Uplink Initiated Access

                      +---+ +---+ +---+                  +----+
    Application       |AP1| |AP1| |AP2|                  |AP2 |
   (IP/Non-IP)        |PDU| |PDU| |PDU|  ............... |PDU |
                      +---+ +---+ +---+                  +----+
                      |   | |   | |   |                  |    |
                      |   | |   | |   |                  |    |
                      |   | |   | |   |                  |    |
                      |   | |   | |   |                  |    |
                      |   |/   /  |    \                 |    |
   NAS /RRC      +--------+---|---+----+            +---------+
                 |NAS/|AP1|AP1|AP2|NAS/|            |NAS/|AP2 |
                 |RRC |PDU|PDU|PDU|RRC |            |RRC |PDU |
                 +--------+-|-+---+----+            +---------|
                 |          |         |            |         |
                 |          |\         |            |         |
                 |<--Max. 1600 bytes-->|__          |_        |
                 |          |  \__        \___        \_       \
                 |          |     \           \         \__     \
                 |          |      \          |           |      \_
            +---------------|+-----|----------+            \       \
   RLC      |RLC | NAS/RRC  ||RLC  | NAS/RRC  |       +----|-------+
            |Head|  PDU(1/2)||Head | PDU (2/2)|       |RLC |NAS/RRC|
            +---------------++----------------+       |Head|PDU    |
            |    |          | \               |       +------------+
            |    |    LCID1 |  \              |       |           /
            |    |          |   \              \      |           |
            |    |          |    \              \     |           |
            |    |          |     \              \     \          |
   MAC |MAC |RLC |    RLC   ||MAC  |RLC |  RLC    ||MAC |  RLC    |Pad|
       |Head|Head|  PAYLOAD ||Head |Head| PAYLOAD ||Head|  PDU    |   |
                TB1                   TB2                     TB3

       Figure 7: Example of User Plane Packet Encapsulation for Data
                                  over NAS


   The authors would like to thank (in alphabetic order): Carles Gomez,
   Antti Ratilainen, Pascal Thubert, Tuomas Tirronen, and Éric Vyncke.

Authors' Addresses

   Edgar Ramos
   Hirsalantie 11
   FI-02420 Jorvas, Kirkkonummi
   Email: edgar.ramos@ericsson.com

   Ana Minaburo
   1137A Avenue des Champs Blancs
   35510 Cesson-Sevigne Cedex
   Email: ana@ackl.io