Network Working Group
Requests for Comments 1278
S.E. Hardcastle-Kille
University College London
November 1991

A string encoding of Presentation Address

Status of this Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

RFC 1278 String encoded P-Address November 1991

1 Introduction

OSI Application Entities use presentation addresses to address other Application Entities. The model for this is defined in [ISO87b]. Presentation addresses are stored in the OSI Directory using an ASN.1 representation defined by the OSI Directory [CCI88]. Logically, a presentation address consists of:

  • A presentation selector
  • A session selector
  • A transport selector
  • A set of network addresses

The selectors are all octet strings, but often have IA5 character representations. The format of network addresses is defined in [ISO87a].
There is a need to represent presentation addresses as strings in a number of different contexts. This Internet Draft defines a format for use on the Internet. It is for display to human users, and its use is recommended whenever this needs to be done. Typically, this will be for system managers rather than for end users. It is not intended for internal storage.

This Internet Draft was originally published as UCL Research Note RN/89/14 [Kil89]. It was agreed as a unified syntax for the THORN and ISODE projects. It is used throughout ISODE.
Christian Huitema of Inria and Marshall Rose of PSI Inc. gave much useful input to this document.

2 Requirements

The main requirements are:

  • Must be able to specify any legal value.
  • Should be clean in the common case of the presentation address containing network addresses and no selectors.

RFC 1278 String encoded P-Address November 1991

  • Must deal with selectors in the following encodings:
    --  IA5

-- Decimal digits encoded as IA5 (this is the most common syntax

in Europe, as it is required by X.400(84) and should receive a straightforward encoding)

-- Numeric encoded as a 16 bit unsigned integer (US GOSIP). This

is mapped onto two octets, with the first octet being the high order byte of the integer.

-- General Hexadecimal

  • Should give special encodings for the ad hoc encoding proposed in ``An interim approach to use of Network Addresses'' [HK91].
    --  X.25(80) Networks

-- TCP/IP Networks

  • Should be extensible for additional forms.
  • Should provide a reasonably compact representation .

3 Format


<digit> ::= [0-9]
<other> ::= [0-9a-zA-Z+-.]
<domainchar> ::= [0-9a-zA-Z-.]
<hexdigit> ::= [0-9a-fA-F]
<hexoctet> ::= <hexdigit> <hexdigit>
<decimaloctet> ::= <digit> | <digit> <digit>

                        | <digit> <digit> <digit>

<digitstring> ::= <digit> <digitstring>                             10
                        | <digit>
<otherstring> ::= <other> <otherstring>
                        | <other>

RFC 1278 String encoded P-Address November 1991

<domainstring> ::= <domainchar> <otherstring>
                        | <domainchar>
<hexstring> ::= <hexoctet> <hexstring> | <hexoctet>

<dotstring> ::= <decimaloctet> "." <dotstring>
                | <decimaloctet> "." <decimaloctet>

<dothexstring> ::= <dotstring> | <hexstring>

<presentation-address> ::=

                [[[ <psel> "/" ] <ssel> "/" ] <tsel> "/" ]

<network-address-list> ::= <network-address> "_" <network-address-list>30

| <network-address>

<psel> ::= <selector>
<ssel> ::= <selector>
<tsel> ::= <selector>

<selector>  ::= '"' <otherstring> '"'        -- IA5
                                             -- For chars not in this
                                             -- string use hex
                | "#" <digitstring>          -- US GOSIP            40
                | "'" <hexstring> "'H"       -- Hex
                | ""                         -- Empty but present

<network-address> ::=   "NS" "+" <dothexstring>
                                 -- Concrete Binary Representation
                                 -- This is the compact encoding
        | <afi> "+" <idi> [ "+" <dsp> ]
                                -- A user oriented form
        | <idp> "+" <hexstring>
                                -- ISO 8348 Compatability           50

<idp> ::= <digitstring> -

<dsp>  ::=
        | "d" <digitstring>          -- Abstract Decimal
        | "x" <dothexstring>            -- Abstract Binary
        | "l" <otherstring>             -- IA5:  local form only

RFC 1278 String encoded P-Address November 1991

        | "RFC-1006" "+" <prefix> "+" <ip>
           [ "+" <port> [ "+" <tset> ]]
        | "X.25(80)" "+" <prefix> "+" <dte>                         60
           [ "+" <cudf-or-pid> "+" <hexstring> ]
        | "ECMA-117-Binary" "+" <hexstring> "+" <hexstring>
           "+" <hexstring>
        | "ECMA-117-Decimal" "+" <digitstring> "+"
           <digitstring> "+" <digitstring>

<idi> ::= <digitstring>
<afi> ::= "X121" | "DCC" | "TELEX" | "PSTN" | "ISDN"
                | "ICD" | "LOCAL"
<prefix> ::= <digit> <digit>

<ip> ::= <domainstring>
                        -- dotted decimal form (e.g.,
                        -- or domain (e.g.,
<port> ::= <digitstring>
<tset> ::= <digitstring>

<dte> ::= <digitstring>

<cudf-or-pid> ::= "CUDF" | "PID" 80


Four examples:





Note that the RFC 1006 encoding permits use of either a DNS Domain Name or an IP address. The former is primarily for ease of entry. If this DNS Domain Name maps onto multiple IP addresses, then multiple network addresses should be generated. The DNS Domain Name form is

RFC 1278 String encoded P-Address November 1991

for convenient input. When mapping from an encoded address to string

form, the IP address form should always be used.

4 Encoding

Selectors are represented in a manner which can be easily encoded. In the NS notation, the concrete binary form of network address is given. Otherwise, this string notation provides a mechanism for representing the Abstract Syntax of a Network Address. This must be encoded according to Addendum 2 of ISO 8348 [ISO87a].

5 Macros

There are often common addresses, for which a cleaner representation is desired. This is achieved by use of Macros. If a <network-address> can be parsed as:

<otherstring> "=" *( any )

Then the leading string is taken as a Macro, which is substituted. This may be applied recursively. When presenting Network Address to humans, the longest available substitution should be used. For example:

                       |_Macro_|Value__________ |
                       | UK.AC |DCC+826+d110000 |
                       |_Leeds_|UK.AC=120______ |

Then ``Leeds=22'' would be expanded to ``DCC+826+d11000012022''.

6 Standard Macros

No Macros should ever be relied on. However, the following are

suggested as standard.

RFC 1278 String encoded P-Address November 1991

           |_Macro_____________|Value______________________ |
           | Int-X25(80)       |TELEX+00728722+X25(80)+01+  |
           | Janet-X25(80)     |TELEX+00728722+X25(80)+02+  |
           | Internet-RFC-1006 |TELEX+00728722+RFC-1006+03+ |

7 References


[CCI88]  The Directory --- overview of concepts, models and services,
         December 1988. CCITT X.500 Series Recommendations.

[HK91]   S.E. Hardcastle-Kille. Encoding network addresses to support
         operation over non-osi lower layers. Request for Comments
         RFC 1277, Department of Computer Science, University College
         London, November 1991.

[ISO87a] Information processing systems - data communications -
         network services definition:  Addendum 2 - network layer
         addressing, March 1987. ISO TC 97/SC 6.

[ISO87b] ISO DIS 7498-3 on naming and addressing, May 1987.


[Kil89]  S.E. Kille. A string encoding of presentation address.
         Research Note RN/89/14, Department of Computer Science,
         University College London, February 1989.

8 Security Considerations

Security considerations are not discussed in this memo.

9 Author's Address

Steve Hardcastle-Kille
Department of Computer Science
University College London
Gower Street

RFC 1278 String encoded P-Address November 1991

    Phone:  +44-71-380-7294
    EMail:  S.Kille@CS.UCL.AC.UK

Hardcastle-Kille Page 7