IPv6 Allow rule for "LAN subnet" fails with large packets; ok with "Any"

  • i was testing Path MTU discovery packet sizes, and was pinging the pfSense machine over IPv6; finding the largest packet i could get away with.

    The largest IPv6 ICMP payload was 1452 bytes: ping -6 -l 1452 fe80::1:1 -t

    This makes sense because:

     1,452 bytes payload
    +    8 byte ICMP header
    +   40 byte IPv6 header
    = 1500 bytes

    And i can see the packets arrive at the pfSense machine using tcpdump on pfSense:

    IP6 fe80::95f6:1c87:6da5:c5fd > fe80::1:1: ICMP6, echo request, seq 915, length 1460
    IP6 fe80::1:1 > fe80::95f6:1c87:6da5:c5fd: ICMP6, echo reply, seq 915, length 1460

    Now i wanted to test pfSense's ability to send ICMPv6 Packet Too Big (Type 2) if the packet is too big, and i bumped up the ping payload size by one byte: ping -6 -l 1452 fe80::1:1 -t

    This will result in a IPv6 packet that is 1501 bytes long; too big. As expected, i did not get an ping response; but i didn't notice any Packet too big notifications. I used TcpDump on the client to see if i was receiving the required ICMP packets. I tried disabling the local firewall. I never saw them.

    I checked TcpDump on pfSense, to see if it was sending them. And there, paradoxically i was seeing two packets that made up the single ICMP echo request from the client:

    IP6 fe80::95f6:1c87:6da5:c5fd > fe80::1:1: frag (0|1448) ICMP6, echo request, seq 1034, length 1448
    IP6 fe80::95f6:1c87:6da5:c5fd > fe80::1:1: frag (1448|13)

    But i was not seeing any echo reply, nor was i seeing any ICMP Packet too big notification. I wondered if perhaps it was a firewall rule that was blocking Packet too big errors. But there couldn't be; i already had a rule:

    • Interface: LAN

    • TCP/IP Version: IPv6

    • Protocol: any

    • Source: LAN subnet

    For completeness, i tried changing the Source from LAN subnet to any:

    And suddenly, spontaneously (after applying the changes), my continuous pings that had been failing were suddenly getting valid ICMP echo responses:

    IP6 fe80::95f6:1c87:6da5:c5fd > fe80::1:1: frag (0|1448) ICMP6, echo request, seq 1156, length 1448
    IP6 fe80::95f6:1c87:6da5:c5fd > fe80::1:1: frag (1448|13)
    IP6 fe80::1:1 > fe80::95f6:1c87:6da5:c5fd: frag (0|1448) ICMP6, echo reply, seq 1156, length 1448

    My question contains a lot of setup; and what i was doing isn't really important. While i was confused (and still am) by Windows' decision to fragment IPv6 ICMP packets, the fact that it was fragmented shouldn't affect the pfSense firewall rule.

    How can changing the IPv6 Source option from LAN subnet to any make a difference? Why did it start working?

  • My guess is that "LAN subnet" does not include link-local addresses.

Log in to reply