Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Request for Comments: 7390
Category: Experimental
ISSN: 2070-1721
A. Rahman, Ed.
InterDigital Communications, LLC
E. Dijk, Ed.
Philips Research
October 2014

Group Communication for the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP)


The Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is a specialized web transfer protocol for constrained devices and constrained networks. It is anticipated that constrained devices will often naturally operate in groups (e.g., in a building automation scenario, all lights in a given room may need to be switched on/off as a group). This specification defines how CoAP should be used in a group communication context. An approach for using CoAP on top of IP multicast is detailed based on existing CoAP functionality as well as new features introduced in this specification. Also, various use cases and corresponding protocol flows are provided to illustrate important concepts. Finally, guidance is provided for deployment in various network topologies.

Status of This Memo

This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is published for examination, experimental implementation, and evaluation.

This document defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet community. 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). Not all documents approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.

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

Copyright Notice

Copyright © 2014 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved. This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal Provisions Relating to IETF Documents ( in effect on the date of publication of this document. Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect to this document. Code Components extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.1.  Background  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.2.  Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.3.  Conventions and Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   2.  Protocol Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.1.  IP Multicast Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.2.  Group Definition and Naming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     2.3.  Port and URI Configuration  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     2.4.  RESTful Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     2.5.  Request and Response Model  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     2.6.  Membership Configuration  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       2.6.1.  Background  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       2.6.2.  Membership Configuration RESTful Interface  . . . . .  11
     2.7.  Request Acceptance and Response Suppression Rules . . . .  17
     2.8.  Congestion Control  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     2.9.  Proxy Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
     2.10. Exceptions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   3.  Use Cases and Corresponding Protocol Flows  . . . . . . . . .  22
     3.1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     3.2.  Network Configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     3.3.  Discovery of Resource Directory . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
     3.4.  Lighting Control  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26
     3.5.  Lighting Control in MLD-Enabled Network . . . . . . . . .  30
     3.6.  Commissioning the Network Based on Resource Directory . .  31
   4.  Deployment Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  32
     4.1.  Target Network Topologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  32
     4.2.  Networks Using the MLD Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . .  33
     4.3.  Networks Using RPL Multicast without MLD  . . . . . . . .  33
     4.4.  Networks Using MPL Forwarding without MLD . . . . . . . .  34
     4.5.  6LoWPAN Specific Guidelines for the 6LBR  . . . . . . . .  35
   5.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  35
     5.1.  Security Configuration  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  35
     5.2.  Threats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36
     5.3.  Threat Mitigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36
       5.3.1.  WiFi Scenario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37
       5.3.2.  6LoWPAN Scenario  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37
       5.3.3.  Future Evolution  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37
     5.4.  Monitoring Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  38
       5.4.1.  General Monitoring  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  38
       5.4.2.  Pervasive Monitoring  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  38
   6.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  39
     6.1.  New '' Resource Type . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  39
     6.2.  New 'coap-group+json' Internet Media Type . . . . . . . .  39
   7.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  41
     7.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  41
     7.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  43
   Appendix A.  Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) . . . . . . . . .  45
   Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  45
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  46

1. Introduction

1.1. Background

CoAP is a web transfer protocol based on Representational State Transfer (REST) for resource constrained devices operating in an IP network [RFC7252]. CoAP has many similarities to HTTP [RFC7230] but also some key differences. Constrained devices can be large in numbers but are often related to each other in function or by location. For example, all the light switches in a building may belong to one group, and all the thermostats may belong to another group. Groups may be preconfigured before deployment or dynamically formed during operation. If information needs to be sent to or received from a group of devices, group communication mechanisms can improve efficiency and latency of communication and reduce bandwidth requirements for a given application. HTTP does not support any equivalent functionality to CoAP group communication.

1.2. Scope

Group communication involves a one-to-many relationship between CoAP endpoints. Specifically, a single CoAP client can simultaneously get (or set) resources from multiple CoAP servers using CoAP over IP multicast. An example would be a CoAP light switch turning on/off multiple lights in a room with a single CoAP group communication PUT request and handling the potential multitude of (unicast) responses.

The base protocol aspects of sending CoAP requests on top of IP multicast and processing the (unicast IP) responses are given in Section 8 of [RFC7252]. To provide a more complete CoAP group communication functionality, this specification introduces new CoAP processing functionality (e.g., new rules for reuse of Token values, request suppression, and proxy operation) and a new management interface for RESTful group membership configuration.

CoAP group communication will run in the Any Source Multicast (ASM) mode [RFC5110] of IP multicast operation. This means that there is no restriction on the source node that sends (originates) the CoAP messages to the IP multicast group. For example, the source node may or may not be part of the IP multicast group. Also, there is no restriction on the number of source nodes.

While Section 9.1 of [RFC7252] supports various modes of security based on Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) for CoAP over unicast IP, it does not specify any security modes for CoAP over IP multicast. That is, it is assumed per [RFC7252] that CoAP over IP multicast is not encrypted, nor authenticated, nor access controlled. This document assumes the same security model (see Section 5.1). However, there are several promising security approaches being developed that should be considered in the future for protecting CoAP group communications (see Section 5.3.3).

1.3. Conventions and Terminology

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119] when they appear in ALL CAPS. When these words are not in ALL CAPS (such as "should" or "Should"), they have their usual English meanings and are not to be interpreted as [RFC2119] key words.

Note that this document refers back to other RFCs, and especially [RFC7252], to help explain overall CoAP group communication features. However, use of [RFC2119] key words is reserved for new CoAP functionality introduced by this specification.

This document assumes readers are familiar with the terms and concepts that are used in [RFC7252]. In addition, this document defines the following terminology:

Group Communication:

A source node sends a single application-layer (e.g., CoAP) message that is delivered to multiple destination nodes, where all destinations are identified to belong to a specific group. The source node itself may be part of the group. The underlying mechanisms for CoAP group communication are UDP/IP multicast for the requests and unicast UDP/IP for the responses. The network involved may be a constrained network such as a low-power, lossy network.

Reliable Group Communication:

A special case of group communication where for each destination node, it is guaranteed that the node either 1) eventually receives the message sent by the source node or 2) does not receive the message and the source node is notified of the non-reception event. An example of a reliable group communication protocol is [RFC5740].


Sending a message to multiple destination nodes with one network invocation. There are various options to implement multicast, including layer 2 (Media Access Control) and layer 3 (IP) mechanisms.

IP Multicast:

A specific multicast approach based on the use of IP multicast addresses as defined in "IANA Guidelines for IPv4 Multicast Address Assignments" [RFC5771] and "IP Version 6 Addressing Architecture" [RFC4291]. A complete IP multicast solution may include support for managing group memberships and IP multicast routing/forwarding (see Section 2.1).

Low-Power and Lossy Network (LLN):

A type of constrained IP network where devices are interconnected by low-power and lossy links. The links may be composed of one or more technologies such as IEEE 802.15.4, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication (DECT), and IEEE P1901.2 power-line communication.

2. Protocol Considerations

2.1. IP Multicast Background

IP multicast protocols have been evolving for decades, resulting in standards such as Protocol Independent Multicast - Sparse Mode (PIM- SM) [RFC4601]. IP multicast is very popular in specific deployments such as in enterprise networks (e.g., for video conferencing), smart home networks (e.g., Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)), and carrier IPTV deployments. The packet economy and minimal host complexity of IP multicast make it attractive for group communication in constrained environments.

To achieve IP multicast beyond link-local (LL) scope, an IP multicast routing or forwarding protocol needs to be active on IP routers. An example of a routing protocol specifically for LLNs is the IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks (RPL) (Section 12 of [RFC6550]), and an example of a forwarding protocol for LLNs is the Multicast Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks (MPL) [MCAST-MPL]. RPL and MPL do not depend on each other; each can be used in isolation, and both can be used in combination in a network. Finally, PIM-SM [RFC4601] is often used for multicast routing in traditional IP networks (i.e., networks that are not constrained).

IP multicast can also be run in an LL scope. This means that there is no routing involved, and an IP multicast message is only received over the link on which it was sent.

For a complete IP multicast solution, in addition to a routing/ forwarding protocol, a "listener" protocol may be needed for the devices to subscribe to groups (see Section 4.2). Also, a multicast forwarding proxy node [RFC4605] may be required.

IP multicast is generally classified as an unreliable service in that packets are not guaranteed to be delivered to each and every member of the group. In other words, it cannot be directly used as a basis for "reliable group communication" as defined in Section 1.3. However, the level of reliability can be increased by employing a multicast protocol that performs periodic retransmissions as is done, for example, in MPL.

2.2. Group Definition and Naming

A CoAP group is defined as a set of CoAP endpoints, where each endpoint is configured to receive CoAP group communication requests that are sent to the group's associated IP multicast address. The individual response by each endpoint receiver to a CoAP group communication request is always sent back as unicast. An endpoint may be a member of multiple groups. Group membership of an endpoint may dynamically change over time.

All CoAP server nodes SHOULD join the "All CoAP Nodes" multicast group (Section 12.8 of [RFC7252]) by default to enable CoAP discovery. For IPv4, the address is, and for IPv6, a server node joins at least both the link-local scoped address ff02::fd and the site-local scoped address ff05::fd. IPv6 addresses of other scopes MAY be enabled.

A CoAP group URI has the scheme 'coap' and includes in the authority part either a group IP multicast address or a hostname (e.g., Group Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN)) that can be resolved to the group

IP multicast address. A group URI also contains an optional CoAP port number in the authority part. Group URIs follow the regular CoAP URI syntax (Section 6 of [RFC7252]).

Note: A group URI is needed to initiate CoAP group communications. For CoAP client implementations, it is recommended to use the URI decomposition method of Section 6.4 of [RFC7252] in such a way that, from a group URI, a CoAP group communication request is generated.

For sending nodes, it is recommended to use the IP multicast address literal in a group URI. (This is because DNS infrastructure may not be deployed in many constrained network deployments.) However, in case a group hostname is used, it can be uniquely mapped to an IP multicast address via DNS resolution (if supported). Some examples of hierarchical group FQDN naming (and scoping) for a building control application are shown below:

     URI authority                           Targeted group of nodes
     --------------------------------------- --------------------------                   "all nodes in building 6"              "all nodes in west wing,
                                              building 6"       "all nodes in floor 1,
                                              west wing, building 6" "all nodes in office bu036,
                                              floor 1, west wing,
                                              building 6"

Similarly, if supported, reverse mapping (from IP multicast address to Group FQDN) is possible using the reverse DNS resolution technique ([RFC1033]). Reverse mapping is important, for example, in troubleshooting to translate IP multicast addresses back to human- readable hostnames to show in a diagnostics user interface.

2.3. Port and URI Configuration

A CoAP server that is a member of a group listens for CoAP messages on the group's IP multicast address, usually on the CoAP default UDP port, 5683. If the group uses a specified non-default UDP port, be careful to ensure that all group members are configured to use that same port.

Different ports for the same IP multicast address are preferably not used to specify different CoAP groups. If disjoint groups share the same IP multicast address, then all the devices interested in one group will accept IP traffic also for the other disjoint groups, only to ultimately discard the traffic higher in their IP stack (based on UDP port discrimination).

CoAP group communication will not work if there is diversity in the authority port (e.g., different dynamic port addresses across the group) or if other parts of the group URI such as the path, or the query, differ on different endpoints. Therefore, some measures must be present to ensure uniformity in port number and resource names/ locations within a group. All CoAP group communication requests MUST be sent using a port number according to one of the below options:

  1. A preconfigured port number.
  1. If the client is configured to use service discovery including URI and port discovery, it uses the port number obtained via a service discovery lookup operation for the targeted CoAP group.
  1. Use the default CoAP UDP port (5683).

For a CoAP server node that supports resource discovery, the default port 5683 must be supported (Section 7.1 of [RFC7252]) for the "All CoAP Nodes" group. Regardless of the method of selecting the port number, the same port MUST be used across all CoAP servers in a group and across all CoAP clients performing the group requests.

All CoAP group communication requests SHOULD operate on group URI paths in one of the following ways:

  1. Preconfigured group URI paths, if available. Implementers are free to define the paths as they see fit. However, note that [RFC7320] prescribes that a specification must not constrain or define the structure or semantics for any path component. So for this reason, a predefined URI path is not specified in this document and also must not be provided in other specifications.
  1. If the client is configured to use default Constrained RESTful Environments (CoRE) resource discovery, it uses URI paths retrieved from a "/.well-known/core" lookup on a group member. The URI paths the client will use MUST be known to be available also in all other endpoints in the group. The URI path configuration mechanism on servers MUST ensure that these URIs (identified as being supported by the group) are configured on all group endpoints.
  1. If the client is configured to use another form of service discovery, it uses group URI paths from an equivalent service discovery lookup that returns the resources supported by all group members.
  1. If the client has received a group URI through a previous RESTful interaction with a trusted server, it can use this URI in a CoAP group communication request. For example, a commissioning tool may instruct a sensor device in this way to which target group (group URI) it should report sensor events.

However, when the URI path is selected, the same path MUST be used across all CoAP servers in a group and all CoAP clients performing the group requests.

2.4. RESTful Methods

Group communication most often uses the idempotent CoAP methods GET and PUT. The idempotent method DELETE can also be used. The non- idempotent CoAP method POST may only be used for group communication if the resource being POSTed to has been designed to cope with the unreliable and lossy nature of IP multicast. For example, a client may resend a multicast POST request for additional reliability. Some servers will receive the request two times while others may receive it only once. For idempotent methods, all these servers will be in the same state while for POST, this is not guaranteed; so, the resource POST operation must be specifically designed to take message loss into account.

2.5. Request and Response Model

All CoAP requests that are sent via IP multicast must be Non- confirmable (Section 8.1 of [RFC7252]). The Message ID in an IP multicast CoAP message is used for optional message deduplication as detailed in Section 4.5 of [RFC7252].

A server optionally sends back a unicast response to the CoAP group communication request (e.g., response "2.05 Content" to a group GET request). The unicast responses received by the CoAP client may be a mixture of success (e.g., 2.05 Content) and failure (e.g., 4.04 Not Found) codes depending on the individual server processing results. Detailed processing rules for IP multicast request acceptance and unicast response suppression are given in Section 2.7.

A CoAP request sent over IP multicast and any unicast response it causes must take into account the congestion control rules defined in Section 2.8.

The CoAP client can distinguish the origin of multiple server responses by the source IP address of the UDP message containing the CoAP response or any other available unique identifier (e.g., contained in the CoAP payload). In case a CoAP client sent multiple group requests, the responses are as usual matched to a request using the CoAP Token.

For multicast CoAP requests, there are additional constraints on the reuse of Token values, compared to the unicast case. In the unicast case, receiving a response effectively frees up its Token value for reuse since no more responses will follow. However, for multicast CoAP, the number of responses is not bounded a priori. Therefore, the reception of a response cannot be used as a trigger to "free up" a Token value for reuse. Reusing a Token value too early could lead to incorrect response/request matching in the client and would be a protocol error. Therefore, the time between reuse of Token values used in multicast requests MUST be greater than:


where NON_LIFETIME and MAX_LATENCY are defined in Section 4.8 of [RFC7252]. MAX_SERVER_RESPONSE_DELAY is defined here as the expected maximum response delay over all servers that the client can send a multicast request to. This delay includes the maximum Leisure time period as defined in Section 8.2 of [RFC7252]. CoAP does not define a time limit for the server response delay. Using the default CoAP parameters, the Token reuse time MUST be greater than 250 seconds plus MAX_SERVER_RESPONSE_DELAY. A preferred solution to meet this requirement is to generate a new unique Token for every multicast request, such that a Token value is never reused. If a client has to reuse Token values for some reason, and also MAX_SERVER_RESPONSE_DELAY is unknown, then using MAX_SERVER_RESPONSE_DELAY = 250 seconds is a reasonable guideline. The time between Token reuses is in that case set to a value greater than 500 seconds.

2.6. Membership Configuration

2.6.1. Background Member Discovery

CoAP groups, and the membership of these groups, can be discovered via the lookup interfaces in the Resource Directory (RD) defined in [CoRE-RD]. This discovery interface is not required to invoke CoAP group communications. However, it is a potential complementary interface useful for overall management of CoAP groups. Other methods to discover groups (e.g., proprietary management systems) can also be used. An example of doing some of the RD-based lookups is given in Section 3.6. Configuring Members

The group membership of a CoAP endpoint may be configured in one of the following ways. First, the group membership may be preconfigured before node deployment. Second, a node may be programmed to discover (query) its group membership using a specific service discovery means. Third, it may be configured by another node (e.g., a commissioning device).

In the first case, the preconfigured group information may be either an IP multicast address or a hostname (FQDN) that is resolved later (during operation) to an IP multicast address by the endpoint using DNS (if supported).

For the second case, a CoAP endpoint may look up its group membership using techniques such as DNS-based Service Discovery (DNS-SD) and RD [CoRE-RD].

In the third case, typical in scenarios such as building control, a dynamic commissioning tool determines to which group(s) a sensor or actuator node belongs, and writes this information to the node, which can subsequently join the correct IP multicast group(s) on its network interface. The information written per group may again be an IP multicast address or a hostname.

2.6.2. Membership Configuration RESTful Interface

To achieve better interoperability between endpoints from different manufacturers, an OPTIONAL CoAP membership configuration RESTful interface for configuring endpoints with relevant group information is described here. This interface provides a solution for the third case mentioned above. To access this interface, a client will use unicast CoAP methods (GET/PUT/POST/DELETE). This interface is a method of configuring group information in individual endpoints.

Also, a form of authorization (preferably making use of unicast DTLS- secured CoAP per Section 9.1 of [RFC7252]) should be used such that only authorized controllers are allowed by an endpoint to configure its group membership.

It is important to note that other approaches may be used to configure CoAP endpoints with relevant group information. These alternative approaches may support a subset or superset of the membership configuration RESTful interface described in this document. For example, a simple interface to just read the endpoint group information may be implemented via a classical Management Information Base (MIB) approach (e.g., following the approach of [RFC3433]). CoAP-Group Resource Type and Media Type

CoAP endpoints implementing the membership configuration RESTful interface MUST support the CoAP group configuration Internet Media Type "application/coap-group+json" (Section 6.2).

A resource offering this representation can be annotated for direct discovery [RFC6690] using the Resource Type (rt=) Link Target Attribute "", where "gp" is shorthand for "group" (Section 6.1). An authorized client uses this media type to query/ manage group membership of a CoAP endpoint as defined in the following subsections.

The Group Configuration resource and its sub-resources have a content format based on JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) (as indicated by the "application/coap-group+json" media type). The resource includes zero or more group membership JSON objects [RFC7159] in a format as defined in Section A group membership JSON object contains one or more key/value pairs as defined below, and represents a single IP multicast group membership for the CoAP endpoint. Each key/value pair is encoded as a member of the JSON object, where the key is the member name and the value is the member's value.

Examples of four different group membership objects are as follows:

{ "n": "",


             "[ff15::4200:f7fe:ed37:abcd]:4567" }

{ "n": "" }

{ "n": "coap-test",


             "" }

{ "a": "[ff15::c0a7:15:c001]" }

The OPTIONAL "n" key/value pair stands for "name" and identifies the group with a hostname (and optionally the port number), for example, an FQDN. The OPTIONAL "a" key/value pair specifies the IP multicast address (and optionally the port number) of the group. It contains an IPv4 address (in dotted-decimal notation) or an IPv6 address. The following ABNF rule can be used for parsing the address, referring to the definitions in Section 3.2.2 of [RFC3986] that are also used in the base CoAP (Section 6 of [RFC7252].

      group-address = IPv4address [ ":" port ]
                      / "[" IPv6address "]" [":" port ]

In any group membership object, if the IP address is known when the object is created, it is included in the "a" key/value pair. If the "a" value cannot be provided, the "n" value MUST be included, containing a valid hostname with an optional port number that can be translated to an IP multicast address via DNS.

      group-name = host [ ":" port ]

If the port number is not provided, then the endpoint will attempt to look up the port number from DNS if it supports a method to do this. The possible DNS methods include DNS SRV [RFC2782] or DNS-SD [RFC6763]. If port lookup is not supported or not provided by DNS, the default CoAP port (5683) is assumed.

After any change on a Group Configuration resource, the endpoint MUST effect registration/deregistration from the corresponding IP multicast group(s) by making use of APIs such as IPV6_RECVPKTINFO [RFC3542]. Creating a New Multicast Group Membership (POST)
   Method:       POST
   URI Template: /{+gp}
   Location-URI Template: /{+gp}/{index}
   URI Template Variables:
     gp    - Group Configuration Function Set path (mandatory).
     index - Group index.  Index MUST be a string of maximum two (2)
       alphanumeric ASCII characters (case insensitive).  It MUST be
       locally unique to the endpoint server.  It indexes the particular
       endpoint's list of group memberships.


     Req: POST /coap-group
          Content-Format: application/coap-group+json
       { "n": "",
         "a": "[ff15::4200:f7fe:ed37:abcd]:4567" }
     Res: 2.01 Created
          Location-Path: /coap-group/12

For the 'gp' variable, it is recommended to use the path "coap-group" by default. The "a" key/value pair is always used if it is given. The "n" pair is only used when there is no "a" pair. If only the "n" pair is given, the CoAP endpoint performs DNS resolution to obtain the IP multicast address from the hostname in the "n" pair. If DNS resolution is not successful, then the endpoint does not attempt joining or listening to any multicast group for this case since the IP multicast address is unknown.

After any change on a Group Configuration resource, the endpoint MUST effect registration/deregistration from the corresponding IP multicast group(s) by making use of APIs such as IPV6_RECVPKTINFO [RFC3542]. When a POST payload contains an "a", an IP multicast address to which the endpoint is already subscribed, no change to that subscription is needed. Deleting a Single Group Membership (DELETE)
   Method:       DELETE
   URI Template: {+location}
   URI Template Variables:
     location - The Location-Path returned by the CoAP server
       as a result of a successful group creation.


     Req: DELETE /coap-group/12
     Res: 2.02 Deleted Reading All Group Memberships at Once (GET)

A (unicast) GET on the CoAP-group resource returns a JSON object containing multiple keys and values. The keys (member names) are group indices, and the values (member values) are the corresponding group membership objects. Each group membership object describes one IP multicast group membership. If no group memberships are configured, then an empty JSON object is returned.


   URI Template: /{+gp}

URI Template Variables:

   gp - see Section


     Req: GET /coap-group
     Res: 2.05 Content
          Content-Format: application/coap-group+json
       { "8" :{ "a": "[ff15::4200:f7fe:ed37:14ca]" },
         "11":{ "n": "",
                "a": "[ff15::4200:f7fe:ed37:25cb]" },
         "12":{ "n": "",
                "a": "[ff15::4200:f7fe:ed37:abcd]:4567" }

Note: the returned IPv6 address string will represent the same IPv6 address that was originally submitted in group membership creation, though it might be a different string because of different choices in IPv6 string representation formatting that may be allowed for the same address (see [RFC5952]). Reading a Single Group Membership (GET)

Similar to Section, but only a single group membership is read. If the requested group index does not exist, then a 4.04 Not Found response is returned.


   URI Template 1: {+location}
   URI Template 2: /{+gp}/{index}

URI Template Variables:

   location - see Section
   gp, index - see Section


     Req: GET /coap-group/12
     Res: 2.05 Content
          Content-Format: application/coap-group+json
       {"n": "",
        "a": "[ff15::4200:f7fe:ed37:abcd]:4567"} Creating/Updating All Group Memberships at Once (PUT)

A (unicast) PUT with a group configuration media type as payload will replace all current group memberships in the endpoint with the new ones defined in the PUT request. This operation MUST only be used to delete or update group membership objects for which the CoAP client, invoking this operation, is responsible. The responsibility is based on application-level knowledge. For example, a commissioning tool will be responsible for any group membership objects that it created.


   URI Template: /{+gp}

URI Template Variables:

   gp - see Section

Example: (replacing all existing group memberships with two new

             group memberships)
     Req: PUT /coap-group
          Content-Format: application/coap-group+json
       { "1":{ "a": "[ff15::4200:f7fe:ed37:1234]" },
         "2":{ "a": "[ff15::4200:f7fe:ed37:5678]" }
     Res: 2.04 Changed

Example: (clearing all group memberships at once)

     Req: PUT /coap-group
          Content-Format: application/coap-group+json
     Res: 2.04 Changed

After a successful PUT on the Group Configuration resource, the endpoint MUST effect registration to any new IP multicast group(s) and deregistration from any previous IP multicast group(s), i.e., not any more present in the new memberships. An API such as IPV6_RECVPKTINFO [RFC3542] should be used for this purpose. Also, it MUST take into account the group indices present in the new resource during the generation of any new unique group indices in the future. Updating a Single Group Membership (PUT)

A (unicast) PUT with a group membership JSON object will replace an existing group membership in the endpoint with the new one defined in the PUT request. This can be used to update the group membership.


   URI Template 1: {+location}
   URI Template 2: /{+gp}/{index}

URI Template Variables:

   location - see Section
   gp, index - see Section

Example: (group name and IP multicast port change)

     Req: PUT /coap-group/12
          Content-Format: application/coap-group+json
       {"n": "",
        "a": "[ff15::4200:f7fe:ed37:abcd]"}
     Res: 2.04 Changed

After a successful PUT on the Group Configuration resource, the endpoint MUST effect registration to any new IP multicast group(s) and deregistration from any previous IP multicast group(s), i.e., not any more present in the new membership. An API such as IPV6_RECVPKTINFO [RFC3542] should be used for this purpose.

2.7. Request Acceptance and Response Suppression Rules

CoRE Link Format [RFC6690] and Section 8 of CoAP [RFC7252] define behaviors for the following:

  1. IP multicast request acceptance -- in which cases a CoAP request is accepted and executed, and when it is not.
  1. IP multicast response suppression -- in which cases the CoAP response to an already executed request is returned to the requesting endpoint, and when it is not.

A CoAP response differs from a CoAP ACK; ACKs are never sent by servers in response to an IP multicast CoAP request. This section first summarizes these behaviors and then presents additional guidelines for response suppression. Also, a number of IP multicast example applications are given to illustrate the overall approach.

To apply any rules for request and/or response suppression, a CoAP server must be aware that an incoming request arrived via IP multicast by making use of APIs such as IPV6_RECVPKTINFO [RFC3542].

For IP multicast request acceptance, the behaviors are as follows:

  • A server should not accept an IP multicast request that cannot be "authenticated" in some way (i.e, cryptographically or by some multicast boundary limiting the potential sources); see Section 11.3 of [RFC7252]. See Section 5.3 for examples of multicast boundary limiting methods.
  • A server should not accept an IP multicast discovery request with a query string (as defined in CoRE Link Format [RFC6690]) if filtering [RFC6690] is not supported by the server.
  • A server should not accept an IP multicast request that acts on a specific resource for which IP multicast support is not required. (Note that for the resource "/.well-known/core", IP multicast support is required if "multicast resource discovery" is supported as specified in Section 1.2.1 of [RFC6690].) Implementers are advised to disable IP multicast support by default on any other resource, until explicitly enabled by an application or by configuration.
  • Otherwise, accept the IP multicast request.

For IP multicast response suppression, the behaviors are as follows:

  • A server should not respond to an IP multicast discovery request if the filter specified by the request's query string does not match.
  • A server may choose not to respond to an IP multicast request if there's nothing useful to respond back (e.g., error or empty response).

The above response suppression behaviors are complemented by the following guidelines. CoAP servers should implement configurable response suppression, enabling at least the following options per resource that supports IP multicast requests:

  • Suppression of all 2.xx success responses;
  • Suppression of all 4.xx client errors;
  • Suppression of all 5.xx server errors; and
  • Suppression of all 2.05 responses with empty payload.

A number of CoAP group communication example applications are given below to illustrate how to make use of response suppression:

  • CoAP resource discovery: Suppress 2.05 responses with empty payload and all 4.xx and 5.xx errors.
  • Lighting control: Suppress all 2.xx responses after a lighting change command.
  • Update configuration data in a group of devices using group communication PUT: No suppression at all. The client uses collected responses to identify which group members did not receive the new configuration and then attempts using CoAP CON unicast to update those specific group members. Note that in this case, the client implements a "reliable group communication" (as defined in Section 1.3) function using additional, non- standardized functions above the CoAP layer.
  • IP multicast firmware update by sending blocks of data: Suppress all 2.xx and 5.xx responses. After having sent all IP multicast blocks, the client checks each endpoint by unicast to identify which data blocks are still missing in each endpoint.
  • Conditional reporting for a group (e.g., sensors) based on a group URI query: Suppress all 2.05 responses with empty payload (i.e., if a query produces no matching results).

2.8. Congestion Control

CoAP group communication requests may result in a multitude of responses from different nodes, potentially causing congestion. Therefore, both the sending of IP multicast requests and the sending of the unicast CoAP responses to these multicast requests should be conservatively controlled.

CoAP [RFC7252] reduces IP multicast-specific congestion risks through the following measures:

  • A server may choose not to respond to an IP multicast request if there's nothing useful to respond to (e.g., error or empty response); see Section 8.2 of [RFC7252]. See Section 2.7 for more detailed guidelines on response suppression.
  • A server should limit the support for IP multicast requests to specific resources where multicast operation is required (Section 11.3 of [RFC7252]).
  • An IP multicast request must be Non-confirmable (Section 8.1 of [RFC7252]).
  • A response to an IP multicast request should be Non-confirmable (Section 5.2.3 of [RFC7252]).
  • A server does not respond immediately to an IP multicast request and should first wait for a time that is randomly picked within a predetermined time interval called the Leisure (Section 8.2 of [RFC7252]).

Additional guidelines to reduce congestion risks defined in this document are as follows:

  • A server in an LLN should only support group communication GET for resources that are small. For example, the payload of the response is limited to approximately 5% of the IP Maximum Transmit Unit (MTU) size, so it fits into a single link-layer frame in case IPv6 over Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN) (see Section 4 of [RFC4944]) is used.
  • A server can minimize the payload length in response to a group communication GET on "/.well-known/core" by using hierarchy in arranging link descriptions for the response. An example of this is given in Section 5 of [RFC6690].
  • A server can also minimize the payload length of a response to a group communication GET (e.g., on "/.well-known/core") using CoAP blockwise transfers [BLOCKWISE-CoAP], returning only a first block of the CoRE Link Format description. For this reason, a CoAP client sending an IP multicast CoAP request to "/.well-known/core" should support core-block.
  • A client should use CoAP group communication with the smallest possible IP multicast scope that fulfills the application needs. As an example, site-local scope is always preferred over global scope IP multicast if this fulfills the application needs. Similarly, realm-local scope is always preferred over site-local scope if this fulfills the application needs.

More guidelines specific to the use of CoAP in 6LoWPAN networks [RFC4919] are given in Section 4.5 of this document.

2.9. Proxy Operation

CoAP (Section 5.7.2 of [RFC7252]) allows a client to request a forward-proxy to process its CoAP request. For this purpose, the client specifies either the request group URI as a string in the Proxy-URI option or the Proxy-Scheme option with the group URI constructed from the usual Uri-* options. This approach works well for unicast requests. However, there are certain issues and limitations of processing the (unicast) responses to a CoAP group communication request made in this manner through a proxy.

A proxy may buffer all the individual (unicast) responses to a CoAP group communication request and then send back only a single (aggregated) response to the client. However, there are some issues with this aggregation approach:

  • Aggregation of (unicast) responses to a CoAP group communication request in a proxy is difficult. This is because the proxy does not know how many members there are in the group or how many group members will actually respond. Also, the proxy does not know how long to wait before deciding to send back the aggregated response to the client.
  • There is no default format defined in CoAP for aggregation of multiple responses into a single response.

Alternatively, if a proxy follows directly the specification for a CoAP Proxy (Section 5.7.2 of [RFC7252]), the proxy would simply forward all the individual (unicast) responses to a CoAP group communication request to the client (i.e., no aggregation). There are also issues with this approach:

  • The client may be confused as it may not have known that the Proxy-URI contained a group URI target. That is, the client may be expecting only one (unicast) response but instead receives multiple (unicast) responses, potentially leading to fault conditions in the application.
  • Each individual CoAP response will appear to originate (IP source address) from the CoAP Proxy, and not from the server that produced the response. This makes it impossible for the client to identify the server that produced each response.

Due to the above issues, a CoAP Proxy SHOULD NOT support processing an IP multicast CoAP request but rather return a 501 (Not Implemented) response in such case. The exception case here (i.e., to process it) is allowed if all the following conditions are met:

  • The CoAP Proxy MUST be explicitly configured (whitelist) to allow proxied IP multicast requests by a specific client(s).
  • The proxy SHOULD return individual (unicast) CoAP responses to the client (i.e., not aggregated). The exception case here occurs when a (future) standardized aggregation format is being used.
  • It MUST be known to the person/entity doing the configuration of the proxy, or otherwise verified in some way, that the client configured in the whitelist supports receiving multiple responses to a proxied unicast CoAP request.

2.10. Exceptions

CoAP group communication using IP multicast offers improved network efficiency and latency among other benefits. However, group communication may not always be implementable in a given network. The primary reason for this will be that IP multicast is not (fully) supported in the network.

For example, if only RPL [RFC6550] is used in a network with its optional multicast support disabled, there will be no IP multicast routing at all. The only multicast that works in this case is link- local IPv6 multicast. This implies that any CoAP group communication request will be delivered to nodes on the local link only, regardless of the scope value used in the IPv6 destination address.

CoAP Observe [OBSERVE-CoAP] is a feature for a client to "observe" resources (i.e., to retrieve a representation of a resource and keep this representation updated by the server over a period of time). CoAP Observe does not support a group communication mode. CoAP Observe only supports a unicast mode of operation.

3. Use Cases and Corresponding Protocol Flows

3.1. Introduction

The use of CoAP group communication is shown in the context of the following two use cases and corresponding protocol flows:

   o  Discovery of RD [CoRE-RD]: discovering the local CoAP RD, which
      contains links to resources stored on other CoAP servers
  • Lighting Control: synchronous operation of a group of IPv6-connected lights (e.g., 6LoWPAN [RFC4944] lights).

3.2. Network Configuration

To illustrate the use cases, we define two IPv6 network configurations. Both are based on the topology as shown in Figure 1. The two configurations using this topology are as follows:

  1. Subnets are 6LoWPAN networks; the routers Rtr-1 and Rtr-2 are 6LoWPAN Border Routers (6LBRs) [RFC6775].
  1. Subnets are Ethernet links; the routers Rtr-1 and Rtr-2 are multicast-capable Ethernet routers.

Both configurations are further specified by the following:

   o  A large room (Room-A) with three lights (Light-1, Light-2, Light-
      3) controlled by a light switch (Light Switch).  The devices are
      organized into two subnets.  In reality, there could be more
      lights (up to several hundreds) but, for clarity, only three are
  • Light-1 and the light switch are connected to a router (Rtr-1).
  • Light-2 and Light-3 are connected to another router (Rtr-2).
  • The routers are connected to an IPv6 network backbone (Network Backbone) that is also multicast enabled. In the general case, this means the network backbone and Rtr-1/Rtr-2 support a PIM- based multicast routing protocol and Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) for forming groups.
  • A CoAP RD is connected to the network backbone.
  • The DNS server (DNS Server) is optional. If the server is there (connected to the network backbone), then certain DNS-based features are available (e.g., DNS resolution of the hostname to the IP multicast address). If the DNS server is not there, then different provisioning of the network is required (e.g., IP multicast addresses are hard-coded into devices, or manually configured, or obtained via a service discovery method).
  • A controller (CoAP client) is connected to the backbone, which is able to control various building functions including lighting.
     #         **********************        Room-A #
     #       **  Subnet-1            **             #           Network
     #     *                           **           #          Backbone
     #    *     +----------+             *          #                 |
     #   *      |  Light   |-------+      *         #                 |
     #  *       |  Switch  |       |       *        #                 |
     #  *       +----------+  +---------+  *        #                 |
     #  *                     |  Rtr-1  |-----------------------------+
     #  *                     +---------+  *        #                 |
     #  *       +----------+        |      *        #                 |
     #   *      |  Light-1 |--------+     *         #                 |
     #    *     +----------+             *          #                 |
     #     **                          **           #                 |
     #       **************************             #                 |
     #                                              #                 |
     #         **********************               # +------------+  |
     #       **  Subnet-2            **             # | DNS Server |  |
     #     *                           **           # | (Optional) |--+
     #    *     +----------+             *          # +------------+  |
     #   *      |  Light-2 |-------+      *         #                 |
     #  *       |          |       |       *        #                 |
     #  *       +----------+  +---------+  *        #                 |
     #  *                     |  Rtr-2  |-----------------------------+
     #  *                     +---------+  *        #                 |
     #  *       +----------+        |      *        #                 |
     #   *      |  Light-3 |--------+     *         #                 |
     #    *     +----------+             *          # +------------+  |
     #     **                          **           # | Controller |--+
     #       **************************             # | Client     |  |
     ################################################ +------------+  |
                                       +------------+                 |
                                       |   CoAP     |                 |
                                       |  Resource  |-----------------+
                                       |  Directory |

Figure 1: Network Topology of a Large Room (Room-A)

3.3. Discovery of Resource Directory

The protocol flow for discovery of the CoAP RD for the given network (of Figure 1) is shown in Figure 2:

  • Light-2 is installed and powered on for the first time.
  • Light-2 will then search for the local CoAP RD by sending out a group communication GET request (with the "/.well-known/ core?rt=core.rd" request URI) to the site-local "All CoAP Nodes" multicast address (ff05:::fd).
  • This multicast message will then go to each node in Subnet-2. Rtr-2 will then forward it into the network backbone where it will be received by the CoAP RD. All other nodes in Subnet-2 will ignore the group communication GET request because it is qualified by the query string "?rt=core.rd" (which indicates it should only be processed by the endpoint if it contains a resource of type "core.rd").
  • The CoAP RD will then send back a unicast response containing the requested content, which is a CoRE Link Format representation of a resource of type "core.rd".
  • Note that the flow is shown only for Light-2 for clarity. Similar flows will happen for Light-1, Light-3, and light switch when they are first installed.

The CoAP RD may also be discovered by other means such as by assuming a default location (e.g., on a 6LBR), using DHCP, anycast address, etc. However, these approaches do not invoke CoAP group communication so are not further discussed here. (See [CoRE-RD] for more details.)

For other discovery use cases such as discovering local CoAP servers, services, or resources, CoAP group communication can be used in a similar fashion as in the above use case. For example, link-local, realm-local, admin-local, or site-local scoped discovery can be done this way.

                                    Light                           CoAP
   Light-1   Light-2    Light-3     Switch     Rtr-1     Rtr-2       RD
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    **********************************          |          |          |
    *   Light-2 is installed         *          |          |          |
    *   and powers on for first time *          |          |          |
    **********************************          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          | COAP NON Mcast(GET                        |          |
    |          |           /.well-known/core?rt=core.rd)   |          |
    |          |--------->-------------------------------->|          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |--------->|
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          | COAP NON (2.05 Content                    |          |
    |          |         </rd>;rt="core.rd";ins="Primary") |<---------|
    |          |<------------------------------------------|          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |

Figure 2: Resource Directory Discovery via Multicast Request

3.4. Lighting Control

The protocol flow for a building automation lighting control scenario for the network (Figure 1) is shown in Figure 3. The network is assumed to be in a 6LoWPAN configuration. Also, it is assumed that the CoAP servers in each light are configured to suppress CoAP responses for any IP multicast CoAP requests related to lighting control. (See Section 2.7 for more details on response suppression by a server.)

In addition, Figure 4 shows a protocol flow example for the case that servers do respond to a lighting control IP multicast request with (unicast) CoAP NON responses. There are two success responses and one 5.00 error response. In this particular case, the light switch does not check that all lights in the group received the IP multicast request by examining the responses. This is because the light switch is not configured with an exhaustive list of the IP addresses of all lights belonging to the group. However, based on received error responses, it could take additional action such as logging a fault or alerting the user via its LCD display. In case a CoAP message is delivered multiple times to a light, the subsequent CoAP messages can be filtered out as duplicates, based on the CoAP Message ID.

Reliability of IP multicast is not guaranteed. Therefore, one or more lights in the group may not have received the CoAP control request due to packet loss. In this use case, there is no detection nor correction of such situations: the application layer expects that the IP multicast forwarding/routing will be of sufficient quality to provide on average a very high probability of packet delivery to all CoAP endpoints in an IP multicast group. An example protocol to accomplish this using randomized retransmission is the MPL forwarding protocol for LLNs [MCAST-MPL].

We assume the following steps have already occurred before the illustrated flows:

  1. Startup phase: 6LoWPANs are formed. IPv6 addresses are assigned to all devices. The CoAP network is formed.
   2)  Network configuration (application independent): 6LBRs are
       configured with IP multicast addresses, or address blocks, to
       filter out or to pass through to/from the 6LoWPAN.

3a) Commissioning phase (application related): The IP multicast

address of the group (Room-A-Lights) has been configured in all the lights and in the light switch.

3b) As an alternative to the previous step, when a DNS server is

available, the light switch and/or the lights have been configured with a group hostname that each node resolves to the above IP multicast address of the group.

Note for the Commissioning phase: the switch's 6LoWPAN/CoAP software stack supports sending unicast, multicast, or proxied unicast CoAP requests, including processing of the multiple responses that may be generated by an IP multicast CoAP request.

                                    Light                       Network
   Light-1   Light-2    Light-3     Switch    Rtr-1      Rtr-2  Backbone
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          ***********************          |          |
    |          |          *   User flips on     *          |          |
    |          |          *   light switch to   *          |          |
    |          |          *   turn on all the   *          |          |
    |          |          *   lights in Room-A  *          |          |
    |          |          ***********************          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |    COAP NON Mcast(PUT,         |          |
    |          |          |    Payload=lights ON)          |          |
    |<-------------------------------+--------->|          |          |
    ON         |          |          |          |-------------------->|
    |          |          |          |          |          |<---------|
    |          |<---------|<-------------------------------|          |
    |          ON         ON         |          |          |          |
    ^          ^          ^          |          |          |          |
    ***********************          |          |          |          |
    *   Lights in Room-A  *          |          |          |          |
    *   turn on (nearly   *          |          |          |          |
    *   simultaneously)   *          |          |          |          |
    ***********************          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |

Figure 3: Light Switch Sends Multicast Control Message

                                    Light                       Network
   Light-1   Light-2    Light-3     Switch    Rtr-1      Rtr-2  Backbone
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |     COAP NON (2.04 Changed)    |          |          |          |
    |------------------------------->|          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          COAP NON (2.04 Changed)          |          |          |
    |          |------------------------------------------>|          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |--------->|
    |          |          |          |          |<--------------------|
    |          |          |          |<---------|          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |        COAP NON (5.00 Internal Server Error)         |
    |          |          |------------------------------->|          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |--------->|
    |          |          |          |          |<--------------------|
    |          |          |          |<---------|          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |

Figure 4: Lights (Optionally) Respond to Multicast CoAP Request

Another, but similar, lighting control use case is shown in Figure 5. In this case, a controller connected to the network backbone sends a CoAP group communication request to turn on all lights in Room-A. Every light sends back a CoAP response to the controller after being turned on.

  Light-1   Light-2    Light-3     Rtr-1      Rtr-2  Backbone Controller
   |          |          |           |          |          |        |
   |          |          |           |          |    COAP NON Mcast(PUT,
   |          |          |           |          |    Payload=lights ON)
   |          |          |           |          |          |<-------|
   |          |          |           |<----------<---------|        |
   |<--------------------------------|          |          |        |
   ON         |          |           |          |          |        |
   |          |<----------<---------------------|          |        |
   |          ON         ON          |          |          |        |
   ^          ^          ^           |          |          |        |
   ***********************           |          |          |        |
   *   Lights in Room-A  *           |          |          |        |
   *   turn on (nearly   *           |          |          |        |
   *   simultaneously)   *           |          |          |        |
   ***********************           |          |          |        |
   |          |          |           |          |          |        |
   |          |          |           |          |          |        |
   |    COAP NON (2.04 Changed)      |          |          |        |
   |-------------------------------->|          |          |        |
   |          |          |           |-------------------->|        |
   |          |  COAP NON (2.04 Changed)        |          |------->|
   |          |-------------------------------->|          |        |
   |          |          |           |          |--------->|        |
   |          |          | COAP NON (2.04 Changed)         |------->|
   |          |          |--------------------->|          |        |
   |          |          |           |          |--------->|        |
   |          |          |           |          |          |------->|
   |          |          |           |          |          |        |

Figure 5: Controller on Backbone Sends Multicast Control Message

3.5. Lighting Control in MLD-Enabled Network

The use case in the previous section can also apply in networks where nodes support the MLD protocol [RFC3810]. The lights then take on the role of MLDv2 listener, and the routers (Rtr-1 and Rtr-2) are MLDv2 routers. In the Ethernet-based network configuration, MLD may be available on all involved network interfaces. Use of MLD in the 6LoWPAN-based configuration is also possible but requires MLD support in all nodes in the 6LoWPAN. In current 6LoWPAN implementations, MLD is, however, not supported.

The resulting protocol flow is shown in Figure 6. This flow is executed after the commissioning phase, as soon as lights are configured with a group address to listen to. The (unicast) MLD

Reports may require periodic refresh activity as specified by the MLD protocol. In the figure, 'LL' denotes link-local communication.

After the shown sequence of MLD Report messages has been executed, both Rtr-1 and Rtr-2 are automatically configured to forward IP multicast traffic destined to Room-A-Lights onto their connected subnet. Hence, no manual network configuration of routers, as previously indicated in Section 3.4, step 2, is needed anymore.

                                    Light                       Network
   Light-1   Light-2    Light-3     Switch    Rtr-1      Rtr-2  Backbone
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    | MLD Report: Join    |          |          |          |          |
    | Group (Room-A-Lights)          |          |          |          |
    |---LL------------------------------------->|          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |MLD Report: Join     |
    |          |          |          |          |Group (Room-A-Lights)|
    |          |          |          |          |---LL---->----LL---->|
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          | MLD Report: Join    |          |          |          |
    |          | Group (Room-A-Lights)          |          |          |
    |          |---LL------------------------------------->|          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          | MLD Report: Join    |          |          |
    |          |          | Group (Room-A-Lights)          |          |
    |          |          |---LL-------------------------->|          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |MLD Report: Join     |
    |          |          |          |          |Group (Room-A-Lights)|
    |          |          |          |          |<--LL-----+---LL---->|
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
    |          |          |          |          |          |          |

Figure 6: Joining Lighting Groups Using MLD

3.6. Commissioning the Network Based on Resource Directory

This section outlines how devices in the lighting use case (both switches and lights) can be commissioned, making use of the RD [CoRE-RD] and its group configuration feature.

Once the RD is discovered, the Switches and lights need to be discovered and their groups need to be defined. For the commissioning of these devices, a commissioning tool can be used that defines the entries in the RD. The commissioning tool has the authority to change the contents of the RD and the light/switch nodes. DTLS-based unicast security is used by the commissioning tool to modify operational data in RD, switches, and lights.

In our particular use case, a group of three lights is defined with one IP multicast address and hostname:


The commissioning tool has a list of the three lights and the associated IP multicast address. For each light in the list, the tool learns the IP address of the light and instructs the RD with three (unicast) POST commands to store the endpoints associated with the three lights as prescribed by the RD specification [CoRE-RD]. Finally, the commissioning tool defines the group in the RD to contain these three endpoints. Also the commissioning tool writes the IP multicast address in the light endpoints with, for example, the (unicast) POST command discussed in Section

The light switch can discover the group in RD and thus learn the IP multicast address of the group. The light switch will use this address to send CoAP group communication requests to the members of the group. When the message arrives, the lights should recognize the IP multicast address and accept the message.

4. Deployment Guidelines

This section provides guidelines on how IP multicast-based CoAP group communication can be deployed in various network configurations.

4.1. Target Network Topologies

CoAP group communication can be deployed in various network topologies. First, the target network may be a traditional IP network, or an LLN such as a 6LoWPAN network, or consist of mixed traditional/constrained network segments. Second, it may be a single subnet only or a multi-subnet, e.g., multiple 6LoWPAN networks joined by a single backbone LAN. Third, a wireless network segment may have all its nodes reachable in a single IP hop (fully connected), or it may require multiple IP hops for some pairs of nodes to reach each other.

Each topology may pose different requirements on the configuration of routers and protocol(s), in order to enable efficient CoAP group communication. To enable all the above target network topologies, an implementation of CoAP group communication needs to allow the following:

  1. Routing/forwarding of IP multicast packets over multiple hops.
  1. Routing/forwarding of IP multicast packets over subnet boundaries between traditional and constrained (e.g., LLN) networks.

The remainder of this section discusses solutions to enable both features.

4.2. Networks Using the MLD Protocol

CoAP nodes that are IP hosts (i.e., not IP routers) are generally unaware of the specific IP multicast routing/forwarding protocol being used. When such a host needs to join a specific (CoAP) multicast group, it requires a way to signal to IP multicast routers which IP multicast traffic it wants to receive.

The MLD protocol [RFC3810] (see Appendix A of this document) is the standard IPv6 method to achieve this; therefore, this approach should be used on traditional IP networks. CoAP server nodes would then act in the role of MLD Multicast Address Listener.

The guidelines from [RFC6636] on the tuning of MLD for mobile and wireless networks may be useful when implementing MLD in LLNs. However, on LLNs and 6LoWPAN networks, the use of MLD may not be feasible at all due to constraints on code size, memory, or network capacity.

4.3. Networks Using RPL Multicast without MLD

It is assumed in this section that the MLD protocol is not implemented in a network, for example, due to resource constraints. The RPL routing protocol (see Section 12 of [RFC6550]) defines the advertisement of IP multicast destinations using Destination Advertisement Object (DAO) messages and routing of multicast IPv6 packets based on this. It requires the RPL mode of operation to be 3 (Storing mode with multicast support).

Hence, RPL DAO can be used by CoAP nodes that are RPL routers, or are RPL Leaf Nodes, to advertise IP multicast group membership to parent routers. Then, RPL is used to route IP multicast CoAP requests over multiple hops to the correct CoAP servers.

The same DAO mechanism can be used to convey IP multicast group membership information to an edge router (e.g., 6LBR), in case the edge router is also the root of the RPL Destination-Oriented Directed Acyclic Graph (DODAG). This is useful because the edge router then learns which IP multicast traffic it needs to pass through from the backbone network into the LLN subnet. In 6LoWPAN networks, such selective "filtering" helps to avoid congestion of a 6LoWPAN subnet by IP multicast traffic from the traditional backbone IP network.

4.4. Networks Using MPL Forwarding without MLD

The MPL forwarding protocol [MCAST-MPL] can be used for propagation of IPv6 multicast packets to all MPL Forwarders within a predefined network domain, over multiple hops. MPL is designed to work in LLNs. In this section, it is again assumed that MLD is not implemented in the network, for example, due to resource limitations in an LLN.

The purpose of MPL is to let a predefined group of Forwarders collectively work towards the goal of distributing an IPv6 multicast packet throughout an MPL Domain. (A Forwarder node may be associated to multiple MPL Domains at the same time.) So, it would appear that there is no need for CoAP servers to advertise their multicast group membership, since any IP multicast packet that enters the MPL Domain is distributed to all MPL Forwarders without regard to what multicast addresses the individual nodes are listening to.

However, if an IP multicast request originates just outside the MPL Domain, the request will not be propagated by MPL. An example of such a case is the network topology of Figure 1 where the subnets are 6LoWPAN subnets and for each 6LoWPAN subnet, one Realm-Local ([RFC7346]) MPL Domain is defined. The backbone network in this case is not part of any MPL Domain.

This situation can become a problem in building control use cases, for example, when the controller client needs to send a single IP multicast request to the group Room-A-Lights. By default, the request would be blocked by Rtr-1 and by Rtr-2 and not enter the Realm-Local MPL Domains associated to Subnet-1 and Subnet-2. The reason is that Rtr-1 and Rtr-2 do not have the knowledge that devices in Subnet-1/2 want to listen for IP packets destined to IP multicast group Room-A-Lights.

To solve the above issue, the following solutions could be applied:

   1.  Extend the MPL Domain, e.g., in the above example, include the
       network backbone to be part of each of the two MPL Domains.  Or,
       in the above example, create just a single MPL Domain that
       includes both 6LoWPAN subnets plus the backbone link, which is
       possible since MPL is not tied to a single link-layer technology.
  1. Manual configuration of an edge router(s) as an MPL Seed(s) for specific IP multicast traffic. In the above example, this could be done through the following three steps: First, configure Rtr-1 and Rtr-2 to act as MLD Address Listeners for the Room-A-Lights

IP multicast group. This step allows any (other) routers on the backbone to learn that at least one node on the backbone link is interested in receiving any IP multicast traffic to Room-A-Lights. Second, configure both routers to "inject" any IP multicast packets destined to group Room-A-Lights into the (Realm-Local) MPL Domain that is associated to that router. Third, configure both routers to propagate any IPv6 multicast packets originating from within their associated MPL Domain to the backbone, if at least one node on the backbone has indicated interest in receiving such IPv6 packets (for which MLD is used on the backbone).

  1. Use an additional protocol/mechanism for injection of IP multicast traffic from outside an MPL Domain into that MPL Domain, based on IP multicast group subscriptions of Forwarders within the MPL Domain. Such a protocol is currently not defined in [MCAST-MPL].

In conclusion, MPL can be used directly in case all sources of IP multicast CoAP requests (CoAP clients) and also all the destinations (CoAP servers) are inside a single MPL Domain. Then, each source node acts as an MPL Seed. In all other cases, MPL can only be used with additional protocols and/or configuration on how IP multicast packets can be injected from outside into an MPL Domain.

4.5. 6LoWPAN Specific Guidelines for the 6LBR

To support multi-subnet scenarios for CoAP group communication, it is recommended that a 6LBR will act in an MLD router role on the backbone link. If this is not possible, then the 6LBR should be configured to act as an MLD Multicast Address Listener (see Appendix A) on the backbone link.

5. Security Considerations

This section describes the relevant security configuration for CoAP group communication using IP multicast. The threats to CoAP group communication are also identified, and various approaches to mitigate these threats are summarized.

5.1. Security Configuration

As defined in Sections 8.1 and 9.1 of [RFC7252], CoAP group communication based on IP multicast will do the following:

  • Operate in CoAP NoSec (No Security) mode, until a future group security solution is developed (see also Section 5.3.3).
  • Use the "coap" scheme. The "coaps" scheme should only be used when a future group security solution is developed (see also Section 5.3.3).

Essentially, the above configuration means that there is currently no security at the CoAP layer for group communication. Therefore, for sensitive and mission-critical applications (e.g., health monitoring systems and alarm monitoring systems), it is currently recommended to deploy CoAP group communication with an application-layer security mechanism (e.g., data object security) for improved security.

Application-level security has many desirable properties, including maintaining security properties while forwarding traffic through intermediaries (proxies). Application-level security also tends to more cleanly separate security from the dynamics of group membership (e.g., the problem of distributing security keys across large groups with many members that come and go).

Without application-layer security, CoAP group communication should only be currently deployed in non-critical applications (e.g., read- only temperature sensors). Only when security solutions at the CoAP layer are mature enough (see Section 5.3.3) should CoAP group communication without application-layer security be considered for sensitive and mission-critical applications.

5.2. Threats

As noted above, there is currently no security at the CoAP layer for group communication. This is due to the fact that the current DTLS- based approach for CoAP is exclusively unicast oriented and does not support group security features such as group key exchange and group authentication. As a direct consequence of this, CoAP group communication is vulnerable to all attacks mentioned in Section 11 of [RFC7252] for IP multicast.

5.3. Threat Mitigation

Section 11 of [RFC7252] identifies various threat mitigation techniques for CoAP group communication. In addition to those guidelines, it is recommended that for sensitive data or safety- critical control, a combination of appropriate link-layer security and administrative control of IP multicast boundaries should be used. Some examples are given below.

5.3.1. WiFi Scenario

In a home automation scenario (using WiFi), the WiFi encryption should be enabled to prevent rogue nodes from joining. The Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) that enables access to the Internet should also have its IP multicast filters set so that it enforces multicast scope boundaries to isolate local multicast groups from the rest of the Internet (e.g., as per [RFC6092]). In addition, the scope of the IP multicast should be set to be site-local or smaller scope. For site-local scope, the CPE will be an appropriate multicast scope boundary point.

5.3.2. 6LoWPAN Scenario

In a building automation scenario, a particular room may have a single 6LoWPAN network with a single edge router (6LBR). Nodes on the subnet can use link-layer encryption to prevent rogue nodes from joining. The 6LBR can be configured so that it blocks any incoming (6LoWPAN-bound) IP multicast traffic. Another example topology could be a multi-subnet 6LoWPAN in a large conference room. In this case, the backbone can implement port authentication (IEEE 802.1X) to ensure only authorized devices can join the Ethernet backbone. The access router to this secured network segment can also be configured to block incoming IP multicast traffic.

5.3.3. Future Evolution

In the future, to further mitigate the threats, security enhancements need to be developed at the IETF for group communications. This will allow introduction of a secure mode of CoAP group communication and use of the "coaps" scheme for that purpose.

At the time of writing this specification, there are various approaches being considered for security enhancements for group communications. Specifically, a lot of the current effort at the IETF is geared towards developing DTLS-based group communication. This is primarily motivated by the fact that unicast CoAP security is DTLS based (Section 9.1 of [RFC7252]. For example, [MCAST-SECURITY] proposes DTLS-based IP multicast security. However, it is too early to conclude if this is the best approach. Alternatively, [IPSEC-PAYLOAD] proposes IPsec-based IP multicast security. This approach also needs further investigation and validation.

5.4. Monitoring Considerations

5.4.1. General Monitoring

CoAP group communication is meant to be used to control a set of related devices (e.g., simultaneously turn on all the lights in a room). This intrinsically exposes the group to some unique monitoring risks that solitary devices (i.e., devices not in a group) are not as vulnerable to. For example, assume an attacker is able to physically see a set of lights turn on in a room. Then the attacker can correlate a CoAP group communication message to that easily observable coordinated group action even if the contents of the message are encrypted by a future security solution (see Section 5.3.3). This will give the attacker side-channel information to plan further attacks (e.g., by determining the members of the group, then some network topology information may be deduced).

One mitigation to group communication monitoring risks that should be explored in the future is methods to decorrelate coordinated group actions. For example, if a CoAP group communication GET is sent to all the alarm sensors in a house, then their (unicast) responses should be as decorrelated as possible. This will introduce greater entropy into the system and will make it harder for an attacker to monitor and gather side-channel information.

5.4.2. Pervasive Monitoring

A key additional threat consideration for group communication is pointed to by [RFC7258], which warns of the dangers of pervasive monitoring. CoAP group communication solutions that are built on top of IP multicast need to pay particular heed to these dangers. This is because IP multicast is easier to intercept (e.g., and to secretly record) compared to unicast traffic. Also, CoAP traffic is meant for the Internet of Things. This means that CoAP traffic (once future security solutions are developed as in Section 5.3.3) may be used for the control and monitoring of critical infrastructure (e.g., lights, alarms, etc.) that may be prime targets for attack.

For example, an attacker may attempt to record all the CoAP traffic going over the smart grid (i.e., networked electrical utility) of a country and try to determine critical nodes for further attacks. For example, the source node (controller) sends out the CoAP group communication messages. CoAP multicast traffic is inherently more vulnerable (compared to a unicast packet) as the same packet may be replicated over many links, so there is a much higher probability of it getting captured by a pervasive monitoring system.

One useful mitigation to pervasive monitoring is to restrict the scope of the IP multicast to the minimal scope that fulfills the application need. Thus, for example, site-local IP multicast scope is always preferred over global scope IP multicast if this fulfills the application needs. This approach has the added advantage that it coincides with the guidelines for minimizing congestion control (see Section 2.8).

In the future, even if all the CoAP multicast traffic is encrypted, an attacker may still attempt to capture the traffic and perform an off-line attack, though of course having the multicast traffic protected is always desirable as it significantly raises the cost to an attacker (e.g., to break the encryption) versus unprotected multicast traffic.

6. IANA Considerations

6.1. New '' Resource Type

This memo registers a new Resource Type (rt=) Link Target Attribute, '', in the "Resource Type (rt=) Link Target Attribute Values" subregistry under the "Constrained RESTful Environments (CoRE) Parameters" registry.

   Attribute Value:

Description: Group Configuration resource. This resource is used to query/manage the group membership of a CoAP server.


See Section 2.6.2.

6.2. New 'coap-group+json' Internet Media Type

This memo registers a new Internet media type for the CoAP Group Configuration resource called 'application/coap-group+json'.

   Type name: application
   Subtype name: coap-group+json
   Required parameters: None
   Optional parameters: None

Encoding considerations: 8-bit UTF-8.

JSON to be represented using UTF-8, which is 8-bit compatible (and most efficient for resource constrained implementations).

Security considerations:

Denial-of-Service attacks could be performed by constantly (re-)setting the Group Configuration resource of a CoAP endpoint to different values. This will cause the endpoint to register (or deregister) from the related IP multicast group. To prevent this, it is recommended that a form of authorization (making use of unicast DTLS-secured CoAP) be used such that only authorized controllers are allowed by an endpoint to configure its group membership.

   Interoperability considerations: None

Published specification: RFC 7390

Applications that use this media type:

CoAP client and server implementations that wish to set/read the Group Configuration resource via the 'application/coap-group+json' payload as described in Section 2.6.2.

Fragment identifier considerations: N/A

Additional Information:

Deprecated alias names for this type: None

      Magic number(s): None
      File extension(s): *.json
      Macintosh file type code(s): TEXT

Person and email address to contact for further information:

      Esko Dijk ("")
   Intended usage: COMMON

Restrictions on usage: None


           CoRE WG
   Change controller: IETF
   Provisional registration? (standards tree only): N/A

7. References

7.1. Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997,
   [RFC2782]  Gulbrandsen, A., Vixie, P., and L. Esibov, "A DNS RR for
              specifying the location of services (DNS SRV)", RFC 2782,
              February 2000, <>.
   [RFC3376]  Cain, B., Deering, S., Kouvelas, I., Fenner, B., and A.
              Thyagarajan, "Internet Group Management Protocol, Version
              3", RFC 3376, October 2002,
   [RFC3433]  Bierman, A., Romascanu, D., and K. Norseth, "Entity Sensor
              Management Information Base", RFC 3433, December 2002,
   [RFC3542]  Stevens, W., Thomas, M., Nordmark, E., and T. Jinmei,
              "Advanced Sockets Application Program Interface (API) for
              IPv6", RFC 3542, May 2003,
   [RFC3810]  Vida, R. and L. Costa, "Multicast Listener Discovery
              Version 2 (MLDv2) for IPv6", RFC 3810, June 2004,
   [RFC3986]  Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R., and L. Masinter, "Uniform
              Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax", STD 66, RFC
              3986, January 2005,
   [RFC4291]  Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IP Version 6 Addressing
              Architecture", RFC 4291, February 2006,
   [RFC4601]  Fenner, B., Handley, M., Holbrook, H., and I. Kouvelas,
              "Protocol Independent Multicast - Sparse Mode (PIM-SM):
              Protocol Specification (Revised)", RFC 4601, August 2006,
   [RFC4919]  Kushalnagar, N., Montenegro, G., and C. Schumacher, "IPv6
              over Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPANs):
              Overview, Assumptions, Problem Statement, and Goals", RFC
              4919, August 2007,
   [RFC4944]  Montenegro, G., Kushalnagar, N., Hui, J., and D. Culler,
              "Transmission of IPv6 Packets over IEEE 802.15.4
              Networks", RFC 4944, September 2007,
   [RFC5110]  Savola, P., "Overview of the Internet Multicast Routing
              Architecture", RFC 5110, January 2008,
   [RFC5771]  Cotton, M., Vegoda, L., and D. Meyer, "IANA Guidelines for
              IPv4 Multicast Address Assignments", BCP 51, RFC 5771,
              March 2010, <>.
   [RFC5952]  Kawamura, S. and M. Kawashima, "A Recommendation for IPv6
              Address Text Representation", RFC 5952, August 2010,
   [RFC6092]  Woodyatt, J., "Recommended Simple Security Capabilities in
              Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) for Providing
              Residential IPv6 Internet Service", RFC 6092, January
              2011, <>.
   [RFC6550]  Winter, T., Thubert, P., Brandt, A., Hui, J., Kelsey, R.,
              Levis, P., Pister, K., Struik, R., Vasseur, JP., and R.
              Alexander, "RPL: IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low-Power and
              Lossy Networks", RFC 6550, March 2012,
   [RFC6636]  Asaeda, H., Liu, H., and Q. Wu, "Tuning the Behavior of
              the Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) and
              Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) for Routers in Mobile
              and Wireless Networks", RFC 6636, May 2012,
   [RFC6690]  Shelby, Z., "Constrained RESTful Environments (CoRE) Link
              Format", RFC 6690, August 2012,
   [RFC6763]  Cheshire, S. and M. Krochmal, "DNS-Based Service
              Discovery", RFC 6763, February 2013,
   [RFC6775]  Shelby, Z., Chakrabarti, S., Nordmark, E., and C. Bormann,
              "Neighbor Discovery Optimization for IPv6 over Low-Power
              Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPANs)", RFC 6775,
              November 2012, <>.
   [RFC7159]  Bray, T., "The JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) Data
              Interchange Format", RFC 7159, March 2014,
   [RFC7230]  Fielding, R. and J. Reschke, "Hypertext Transfer Protocol
              (HTTP/1.1): Message Syntax and Routing", RFC 7230, June
              2014, <>.
   [RFC7252]  Shelby, Z., Hartke, K., and C. Bormann, "The Constrained
              Application Protocol (CoAP)", RFC 7252, June 2014,
   [RFC7258]  Farrell, S. and H. Tschofenig, "Pervasive Monitoring Is an
              Attack", BCP 188, RFC 7258, May 2014,
   [RFC7320]  Nottingham, M., "URI Design and Ownership", BCP 190, RFC
              7320, July 2014, <>.

7.2. Informative References

   [RFC1033]  Lottor, M., "Domain administrators operations guide", RFC
              1033, November 1987,
   [RFC4605]  Fenner, B., He, H., Haberman, B., and H. Sandick,
              "Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) / Multicast
              Listener Discovery (MLD)-Based Multicast Forwarding
              ("IGMP/MLD Proxying")", RFC 4605, August 2006,
   [RFC5740]  Adamson, B., Bormann, C., Handley, M., and J. Macker,
              "NACK-Oriented Reliable Multicast (NORM) Transport
              Protocol", RFC 5740, November 2009,
   [RFC7346]  Droms, R., "IPv6 Multicast Address Scopes", RFC 7346,
              August 2014, <>.


              Bormann, C. and Z. Shelby, "Blockwise transfers in CoAP",
              Work in Progress, draft-ietf-core-block-15, July 2014.
   [CoRE-RD]  Shelby, Z., Bormann, C., and S. Krco, "CoRE Resource
              Directory", Work in Progress, draft-ietf-core-resource-
              directory-01, December 2013.


              Hartke, K., "Observing Resources in CoAP", Work in
              Progress, draft-ietf-core-observe-14, June 2014.


              Hui, J. and R. Kelsey, "Multicast Protocol for Low power
              and Lossy Networks (MPL)", Work in Progress, draft-ietf-
              roll-trickle-mcast-09, April 2014.


              Keoh, S., Kumar, S., Garcia-Morchon, O., Dijk, E., and A.
              Rahman, "DTLS-based Multicast Security in Constrained
              Environments", Work in Progress, draft-keoh-dice-
              multicast-security-08, July 2014.


              Migault, D. and C. Bormann, "IPsec/ESP for Application
              Payload", Work in Progress, draft-mglt-dice-ipsec-for-
              application-payload-00, July 2014.

Appendix A. Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD)

In order to extend the scope of IP multicast beyond link-local scope, an IP multicast routing or forwarding protocol has to be active in routers on an LLN. To achieve efficient IP multicast routing (i.e., avoid always flooding IP multicast packets), routers have to learn which hosts need to receive packets addressed to specific IP multicast destinations.

The MLD protocol [RFC3810] (or its IPv4 equivalent, IGMP [RFC3376]) is today the method of choice used by a (IP multicast-enabled) router to discover the presence of IP multicast listeners on directly attached links, and to discover which IP multicast addresses are of interest to those listening nodes. MLD was specifically designed to cope with fairly dynamic situations in which IP multicast listeners may join and leave at any time.

Optimal tuning of the parameters of MLD/IGMP for routers for mobile and wireless networks is discussed in [RFC6636]. These guidelines may be useful when implementing MLD in LLNs.


Thanks to Jari Arkko, Peter Bigot, Anders Brandt, Ben Campbell, Angelo Castellani, Alissa Cooper, Spencer Dawkins, Badis Djamaa, Adrian Farrel, Stephen Farrell, Thomas Fossati, Brian Haberman, Bjoern Hoehrmann, Matthias Kovatsch, Guang Lu, Salvatore Loreto, Kerry Lynn, Andrew McGregor, Kathleen Moriarty, Pete Resnick, Dale Seed, Zach Shelby, Martin Stiemerling, Peter van der Stok, Gengyu Wei, and Juan Carlos Zuniga for their helpful comments and discussions that have helped shape this document.

Special thanks to Carsten Bormann and Barry Leiba for their extensive and thoughtful Chair and AD reviews of the document. Their reviews helped to immeasurably improve the document quality.

Authors' Addresses

   Akbar Rahman (editor)
   InterDigital Communications, LLC
   1000 Sherbrooke Street West
   Montreal, Quebec  H3A 3G4
   Esko Dijk (editor)
   Philips Research
   High Tech Campus 34
   Eindhoven  5656AE