IP over InfiniBand (ipoib)

Last Modified: 2006-04-14


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Description of Working Group:

E-mail archive:

InfiniBand is an emerging standard intended as an interconnect for
processor and I/O systems and devices (see the Infiniband Trade
Association web site at http://www.infinibandta.org for details). IP
is one type of traffic (and a very important one) that could use this
interconnect. InfiniBand would benefit greatly from a standardized
method of handling IP traffic on IB fabrics. It is also important to
be able to manage InfiniBand devices in a common way.

This working group has two tasks:

- specify the protocols and encapsulations to transport IPv4/v6 over
  an InfiniBand fabric.

- specify a set of MIB objects to allow management of the InfiniBand
  fabric itself.

The initial scope of the WG was limited to the use of the basic IB
Unreliable Datagram (UD) transport mode for transporting IP over
Infiniband. With that work mostly done, the scope has been extended to
develop an optional mechanism for transporting IP over other IB
transport modes. In particular, there is a desire to transport IP over
one or both of IB's connected modes, which enable the use of a much
larger MTU than the IB link MTU size. They also provide improved
reliability and performance through the use of link level orderly and
reliable delivery, and IB's automatic path migration (APM) feature.
However, care must be taken to ensure that use of an IB reliable
transport does not unduly interfere with the retransmission and
congestion control mechanisms used by higher layers (e.g., TCP and

Other more advanced functionalities such as mapping IP QOS into
IB-specific capabilities remain out of scope of the WG charter.

Work items

1. Specify standards track procedures for transporting IP over
IB. This includes:

- supporting ARP/ND packets in order to map IP addresses into IB
  link-layer addresses.

- define encapsulations for carrying ARP, IPv4 and IPv6
  packets over IB

- Define  how to transport IP multicast over IB.

2. Specify a standards track channel adapter MIB that allows
management of an InfiniBand channel adapter. There will require that
InfiniBand types be added to the ifType defined by IANA

3. Specify a standards track baseboard management MIB that will allow
management of specified device properties

4. Specify sample counter MIBs to allow InfiniBand sample counters to
exposed to external SNMP management applications

5. Specify an optional, standards track encapsulation for carrying IPv4
and IPv6 packets over either IB unreliable connections or reliable

Goals and Milestones:

Done    Submit initial Internet-Draft of ARP encapsulation
Done    Submit initial Internet-Draft of Requirements/Overview
Done    Submit initial Internet-Draft of IP V4/V6 Encapsulation
Done    Submit initial Internet-Draft of Infiniband-Like MIB
Done    Submit initial Internet-Draft of Channel Adapter MIB
Done    Submit initial Internet-Draft of Multicast
Done    Submit initial Internet-Draft of Baseboard MIB
Done    Submit initial Internet-Draft of Subnet Mangement MIB
Done    Submit ARP/IP/Multicast encapsulation drafts for IESG Last Call
Mar 2002    Submit Infiniband-Like MIB for IESG Last Call
Mar 2002    Submit Channel Adapter MIB for IESG Last Call
Nov 2002    Submit initial Internet-Draft of Advanced Encapsulation over Connected Transports
Mar 2003    Submit initial Internet-Draft of Sample Counter MIB

No Current Internet-Drafts

Request For Comments:

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) over InfiniBand (RFC 4390) (10754 bytes)
Transmission of IP over InfiniBand (IPoIB) (RFC 4391) (45858 bytes)
IP over InfiniBand (IPoIB) Architecture (RFC 4392) (53506 bytes)
IP over InfiniBand: Connected Mode (RFC 4755) (26314 bytes)