[tor-dev] Proposal: Move IPv6 ORPorts to the Microdesc Consensus
teor2345 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 25 03:35:16 UTC 2017
We would like to move IPv6 ORPorts from microdescriptors to the
microdesc consensus. This makes it easier for IPv6 clients to bootstrap
and choose reachable guards.
The proposal is inlined below, it is also available with the corresponding
dir-spec updates in my torspec branch bug23826-23828 on GitHub:
The tor code that implements these new consensus methods is in my tor
branch on bug23826-23828 on GitHub:
The parent ticket for these related changes is #20916. The code changes are
being tracked in #23826 and #23828, and the spec changes and proposal in
If we've spoken about this, and I've left you out as an author, please let
Here is the proposal text:
Title: Move IPv6 ORPorts from microdescriptors to the microdesc consensus
Author: Tim Wilson-Brown (teor)
Moving IPv6 ORPorts from microdescs to the microdesc consensus will make
it easier for IPv6 clients to bootstrap and select reachable guards.
Since consensus method 14, authorities have voted for IPv6 address/port
pairs (ORPorts) in "a" lines. Unreachable IPv6 ORPorts are dropped from the
full consensus. But for clients that use microdescriptors (the default),
IPv6 ORPorts are placed in microdescriptors. So these clients can only tell
if an IPv6 ORPort is unreachable when a majority of voting authorities
mark the relay as not Running.
This proposal puts reachable relay IPv6 ORPorts in an "a" line in the
microdesc consensus. This allows clients to discover unreachable IPv6
ORPorts, even if a minority of voting authorities set
We add two new consensus methods, here represented as M and N (M < N), to
be allocated when this proposal's implementation is merged. These consensus
methods move IPv6 ORPorts from microdescs to the microdesc consensus.
We use two different methods because this allows us to modify client code
based on each method. Also, if a bug is discovered in one of the methods,
authorities can be patched to stop voting for it, and then we can implement
a fix in a later method.
2.1. Add Reachable IPv6 ORPorts to the Microdesc Consensus
We specify that microdescriptor consensuses created with methods M or later
contain reachable IPv6 ORPorts.
2.2. Remove IPv6 ORPorts from Microdescriptors
We specify that microdescriptors created with methods N or later do not
contain any IPv6 ORPorts.
3. Retaining Existing Behaviour
The following existing behaviour will be retained:
3.1. Authority IPv6 Reachability
Only authorities configured with AuthDirHasIPv6Connectivity 1 will test
IPv6 ORPort reachability, and vote for IPv6 ORPorts.
This means that:
* if no voting authorities set AuthDirHasIPv6Connectivity 1, there will be
no IPv6 ORPorts in the consensus,
* if a minority of voting authorities set AuthDirHasIPv6Connectivity 1,
unreachable IPv6 ORPort lines will be dropped from the consensus, but the
relay will still be listed as Running,
* if a majority of voting authorities set AuthDirHasIPv6Connectivity 1,
relays with unreachable IPv6 ORPorts will be dropped from the consensus.
We will document this behaviour in the tor manual page, see #23870.
3.2. Full Consensus IPv6 ORPorts
The full consensus will continue to contain reachable IPv6 ORPorts.
3.3. Clients that use Full Descriptors
Tor clients that use full descriptors already ignore unreachable IPv6
ORPorts, and have done so since at least 0.2.8.x.
4. Impact and Related Changes
4.1. Directory Authority Configuration
We will work to get a super-majority (75%) of authorities checking relay
IPv6 reachability, to avoid Running-flag flapping. To do this, authorities
need to get IPv6 connectivity, and set AuthDirHasIPv6Connectivity 1.
4.2. Relays and Bridges
Tor relays and bridges do not currently use IPv6 ORPorts from the
We expect that 2/3 of authorities will be voting for consensus method N
before future Tor relay or bridge versions use IPv6 ORPorts from the
4.3.1. Legacy Clients
220.127.116.11. IPv6 ORPort Circuits
Tor clients on versions 0.2.8.x to 0.3.2.x check directory documents for
ORPorts in the following order:
* descriptors (routerinfo, available if using bridges or full descriptors)
* consensus (routerstatus)
* microdescriptors (IPv6 ORPorts only)
Their behaviour will be identical to the current behaviour for consensus
methods M and earlier. When consensus method N is used, they will ignore
unreachable IPv6 ORPorts without any code changes.
18.104.22.168. IPv6 ORPort Bootstrap
Tor clients on versions 0.2.8.x and 0.2.9.x are currently unable to
bootstrap over IPv6 only connections when using microdescriptors. This
happens because the microdesc consensus does not contain IPv6 ORPorts.
When consensus method M is used, they will be able to bootstrap over IPv6
only connections using microdescriptors, without any code changes.
4.3.2. Future Clients
22.214.171.124. Ignoring IPv6 ORPorts in Microdescs
Tor clients on versions 0.3.3.x and later will ignore unreachable IPv6
ORPorts once consensus method M or later is in use. (See #23827.)
126.96.36.199. IPv6 ORPort Bootstrap
If a bootstrapping IPv6-only client has a consensus made with method M or
later, it should download microdescriptors from one of the IPv6 ORPorts in
that consensus. Previously, IPv6-only clients would use fallback directory
mirrors to download microdescs, because there were no IPv6 ORPorts in the
microdesc consensus. (See #23827.)
188.8.131.52. Ignoring Addresses in Unused Directory Documents
If a client doesn't use a particular directory document type for a node,
it should ignore any addresses in that document type. (See #23975.)
5. Data Size
This change removes 2-50 bytes from the microdescriptors of relays that
have an IPv6 ORPort, and adds them to reachable IPv6 relays' microdesc
As of October 2017, 600 relays (9%) have IPv6 ORPorts in the full
consensus. Their "a" lines take up 19 KB, or 33 bytes each on average.
The microdesc consensus is 1981 KB, so this represents about 1% of its
Most tor clients are already running 0.3.1.7, which implements consensus
diffs. We expect that most directory mirrors will also implement consensus
diffs by the time 2/3 of authorities are voting for consensus method M.
So we expect that this change will have a minimal impact, which is made
even smaller by compression and consensus diffs.
6. External Impacts
We don't expect this change to impact Onionoo and similar projects, because
they typically use the full consensus.
Metrics doesn't currently graph IPv6 usage in Tor, but would like to in
Tim / teor
PGP C855 6CED 5D90 A0C5 29F6 4D43 450C BA7F 968F 094B
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