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Subjectproblems with GRE tunnels and PMTU discovery

i'm experiencing some trouble using GRE tunnels with PMTU discovery turned

i've already checked out the mailinglists and newsgroups for more infos but
haven't found any solutions so far ...

first things first: here is my test setup.

C1 ---- R1 ---- G1 ==== R2 ---- C2
| |
| |
----- G2 ------


---- MTU 1500
==== MTU 1492

ok, what is that all about. C1 and C2 are some normal workstation PCs, R1
and R2 are some linux routers which should have a few redundant links to
each other over different gateways G1 and G2 (only 2 for simplicity here).
in the real world there would be probably more intermediate gateways
between R1 and R2.

now i wanna connect C1 and C2 over the routers R1 and R2 using GRE tunnels
because we use private ips vor the C?---R? nets and don't want to use NAT.
so i have built two tunnels:
R1 -- G1 -- R2
R1 -- G2 -- R2
for the two different paths between both routers.

on the router R1 i have set a route to the client net R2--C2 over the
selected tunnel device and on router R2 vice versa for client net R1--C1.

in addition to that i use policy routing with multiple tables:
for example on R1:

ip rule add from <ip_r1_1> table x
ip rule add from <ip_r1_2> table y

ip route add default via G1 dev eth1 table x
ip route add default via G2 dev eth2 table y

equivalent entries are on R2.

the policy routing stuff is required since it might be that R1 has multiple
connections via different gateways but R2 has only one connection, so we
end up having only one ip address on R2 which we have to route via
different gateways on R1 at the same time (for link checking purposes to
select the best tunnel to use).

now that i described the setup a little bit i'll explain how the mtu
problems arise:
i want to send packets between C1 and C2 ... take a ping for example.
what happens is that c1 sends the ping packet to R1 which in turn looks
which gre tunnel to use (by looking up the route to c2). R1 then
encapsulates the ping packet into one GRE packet with outer ips src=ip_r1_x
and dst=ip_r2_x and sends this new packet over the appropriate gateway G?.
on R2 the gre packet will be decapsulated and the inner packet is forwarded
to C2 as the real destination.

so far so good! :)

as you probably noticed in the picture above one link has an MTU of 1492
instead of the 1500 for ethernet (typical for ADSL for instance).

what happens if i send bigger packets for example by issuing a ping -s 2000
to C2s destination?

well the ping packet will be fragmented on C1. then on R1 the two fragments
will be GRE encapsulated and forwarded to G1. on G1 the bigger of the two
fragments (which is 1500 with GRE header) can't be forwarded since the MTU
to R2 is to small. hence G1 sends an ICMP UNREACHABLE NEED TO FRAG to R1
since that is the src of the offending packet. R1 now receives that icmp
and is supposed to lower the PMTU for the route to G1 so that the following
packets will fit.
that much for theory ...

what happens in the real life is .... nothing :(
the icmp is silently ignored by the router R1 (and yes: i have enabled the
pmtu discovery on R1 ... that is the default with linux 2.4.x).

i did some more investigation by looking at the code and discovered some

in icmp.c: icmp_unreach(...)
if pmtu discovery is enabled and icmp need to frag is received there will
be called the function ip_rt_frag_needed(...) which in turn tries to
determine the new mtu size.
it is doing this by trying to find the appropriate route for that packet
... but guess what: by putting some more debug output into the code i saw
that the function is unable to find any route for that packet ... is this
some issue with the multiple tables ???

as a workaround i added a temporary route to the main routing table and
then the route was found and the mtu was set correctly.

at the end of the icmp_unreach(...) function there will be called all
registered error handlers for the protocol mentioned in the icmp packet. in
my case that is the error routine for protocol 47 (gre encap) ->
ipgre_err(...) in ip_gre.c. this error routine is supposed to detect that
the mtu has to be lowered again since the GRE headers have to be stripped
off the mtu length ... but that does not happen in the code :(

any idea how that issue can be fixed?

any help will be much appreciated!

thanks and best regards,
-- matt.

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