From: Bernard Aboba [mailto:aboba(_at_)internaut(_dot_)com]
Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2006 4:46 PM
Subject: Re: The Emperor Has No Clothes: Is PANA actually useful?
I have reviewed the PANA framework document, the PANA protocol spec, and
the PANA/IPsec document. After reading all these documents, I still do
not understand why PANA is useful.
Just below you are acknowledging the need for EAP over IP. I don't
understand how you can still claim you don't understand why PANA is
The PANA framework document claims that it can be used along with IEEE
802.11i. However, IEEE 802.11 reviewed the document, and came to a
This is an inaccurate reading of the IEEE response (and you are the
liaison). You are aware that "virtual open-access AP" mode is OK. One of the
two alternatives we proposed had an issue, and the other one still holds.
The other potential scenario outlined by the framework document is use
along with IPsec. However, IKEv2 already supports EAP authentication, so
I don't understand why PANA would be used for that scenario instead of
You had commented on that earlier and I had explained it.
http://www1.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/pana/current/msg02234.html. If not
clear, please follow up from there (we don't need to go back to your
I do understand the potential need for EAP to be encapsulated over IP.
However, in practice PANA is more complex than EAP over UDP
(see draft-thomson-nacp-02.txt), which looks like it is on the road
to becoming the defacto standard for EAP encapsulation over IP.
De-facto? Could you please elaborate how it is becoming a de-facto standard?
Besides. Of course PANA is more complex than EAPoUDP. The latter (an
individual I-D) has very limited applicability. If it were to handle
mobility and wireless, it'll also grow in complexity. Just to get some sense
of it, compare 802.1X and 802.11r.
So from what I can tell, in each potential usage scenario PANA is
either not feasible, is more complex than an established alternative,
or has been rejected by the SDOs that have examined it.
Which SDOs? Please give us more detail.
Sam Hartman said:
Hi. Speaking as an individual, I'd like to make an explicit call for
members of the IETF community not involved in the PANA working group
to review draft-ietf-pana-framework. Please speak up if you have done
such a review or attempted such a review and been unsuccessful. Let
us know what you think PANA is intended to be useful for and whether
you think it is actually useful.
My strong hunch is that we've chartered work for some reason, and now
that the working group is nearing the end of its charter, we still
don't understand why we want this thing we've built and whether it's a
good idea. People aren't screaming not so much because they are happy
with results but because no one actually understands PANA.
I understand that there's a strong presumption that once chartered,
work is useful. I'd like to challenge this presumption enough to get
people to actually read the document. If people not involved in the
effort sit down, read the document and understand what it's all about,
my concern is satisfied. But if enough people try to read the
document, try to understand and fail, we're not done yet. We
certainly cannot have consensus to publish something we've tried and
failed to understand.
It's not just me. I've been trying to find people outside of PANA who
claim to understand the effort and what it's good for and why
link-layer solutions are not better. When the first discussion of
PANA hit the IESG, I asked other IESG members why PANA was a good idea
and what problem it solved. "Don't go there," was the advice I got
from the responsible AD.
At that time (a year and a half ago) there was no one on the IESG who
claimed to understand PANA or to think it was a good idea.
I'm fairly sure that with the possible exception of Jari (who is a
technical advisor to PANA), that's still true.
The security community has been trying to understand PANA. I've sent
multiple security reviewers at the PANA document.s They always come
back fundamentally confused about what PANA is trying to do or about
whether it is a good idea. They end up focusing on some detail or
another and asking for some minor part of the system to be fixed. But
I don't get the impression from the reviews they understand the
overall picture; explicit discussion of this also indicates that they
are not confident in their understanding nor do they know whether it
is a good idea.
We keep running back over the same ground, still confused and still
trying to muddle through to no real effect.
I've tried to understand it myself. I tried to understand in the BOF.
It was very clear to me leaving the original PANA BOF that something
was very confused. Every year or so since I've tried to go back and
figure out what I missed. Eventually though I've started wondering
whether the problem wasn't me, but was an actual lack of clarity.
So, folks can you please help us all out. Especially if the internet
area is not your primary focus, especially if you've never heard of
PANA before, take a look at the framework document and all their other
documents. Do you get it? Is it a good idea?
Thanks for your time.
P.S. Again, this is me speaking as an individual. At this late
stage, it would be entirely inappropriate for me to take actions as an
AD claiming that we didn't understand a problem without a strong
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