Cisco – Understanding Unicast Reverse Path Forwarding (URPF)

Understanding Unicast Reverse Path Forwarding

Unicast RPF Examples

Cisco IOS Devices

An important consideration for deployment is that Cisco Express Forwarding switching must be enabled for Unicast RPF to function. This command has been enabled by default as of IOS version 12.2. If it is not enabled, administrators can enable it with the following global configuration command: ip cef

Unicast RPF is enabled on a per-interface basis. The ip verify unicast source reachable-via rx command enables Unicast RPF in strict mode. To enable loose mode, administrators can use the any option to enforce the requirement that the source IP address for a packet must appear in the routing table. The allow-default option may be used with either the rx or any option to include IP addresses not specifically contained in the routing table. The allow-self-ping option should not be used because it could create a denial of service condition. An access list such as the one that follows may also be configured to specifically permit or deny a list of addresses through Unicast RPF:

interface FastEthernet 0/0
ip verify unicast source reachable-via {rx | any} [allow-default]
[allow-self-ping] [list]

roubleshooting Unicast RPF

Cisco IOS Devices

The show cef interface interface_name command can be used to show that Cisco Express Forwarding and Unicast RPF have been enabled on an interface. The following response is an example of output for this command.

router#show cef interface FastEthernet 0/0
FastEthernet0/0 is up (if_number 3)
Corresponding hwidb fast_if_number 3
Corresponding hwidb firstsw->if_number 3
Internet address is
ICMP redirects are always sent
Per packet load-sharing is disabled
IP unicast RPF check is enabled
Inbound access list is not set
Outbound access list is not set
Hardware idb is FastEthernet0/0
Fast switching type 1, interface type 18
IP CEF switching enabled
IP CEF Fast switching turbo vector
Input fast flags 0x0, Input fast flags2 0x0, Output fast flags 0x0, Output fast flags2 0x0
ifindex 1(1)
Slot 0 Slot unit 0 Unit 0 VC -1
Transmit limit accumulator 0x0 (0x0)
IP MTU 1500

Additional Information on Unicast RPF

Additional information about Unicast RPF is available at Unicast Reverse Path Forwarding Loose Mode and Unicast Reverse Path Forwarding Enhancements for the Internet Service Provider (PDF, 797K).

Two IETF Best Current Practices (BCPs) describe methods for limiting the risk and impact to the network and infrastructure from attacks using spoofed source addresses:

  • Network Ingress Filtering: Defeating Denial of Service Attacks which employ IP Source Address Spoofing (BCP38)
  • Ingress Filtering for Multihomed Networks (BCP84)



This entry was posted in Cisco and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s