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Date:   Tue, 22 Sep 2020 21:40:59 -0700
From:   Maciej Żenczykowski <>
To:     Maciej Żenczykowski <>,
        "David S . Miller" <>
Cc:     Linux Network Development Mailing List <>,
        Willem de Bruijn <>,
        Lorenzo Colitti <>,
        Sunmeet Gill <>,
        Vinay Paradkar <>,
        Tyler Wear <>,
        David Ahern <>
Subject: [PATCH] net/ipv4: always honour route mtu during forwarding

From: Maciej Żenczykowski <>

Documentation/networking/ip-sysctl.txt:46 says:
  ip_forward_use_pmtu - BOOLEAN
    By default we don't trust protocol path MTUs while forwarding
    because they could be easily forged and can lead to unwanted
    fragmentation by the router.
    You only need to enable this if you have user-space software
    which tries to discover path mtus by itself and depends on the
    kernel honoring this information. This is normally not the case.
    Default: 0 (disabled)
    Possible values:
    0 - disabled
    1 - enabled

Which makes it pretty clear that setting it to 1 is a potential
security/safety/DoS issue, and yet it is entirely reasonable to want
forwarded traffic to honour explicitly administrator configured
route mtus (instead of defaulting to device mtu).

Indeed, I can't think of a single reason why you wouldn't want to.
Since you configured a route mtu you probably know better...

It is pretty common to have a higher device mtu to allow receiving
large (jumbo) frames, while having some routes via that interface
(potentially including the default route to the internet) specify
a lower mtu.

Note that ipv6 forwarding uses device mtu unless the route is locked
(in which case it will use the route mtu).

This approach is not usable for IPv4 where an 'mtu lock' on a route
also has the side effect of disabling TCP path mtu discovery via
disabling the IPv4 DF (don't frag) bit on all outgoing frames.

I'm not aware of a way to lock a route from an IPv6 RA, so that also
potentially seems wrong.

Signed-off-by: Maciej Żenczykowski <>
Cc: Eric Dumazet <>
Cc: Willem de Bruijn <>
Cc: Lorenzo Colitti <>
Cc: Sunmeet Gill (Sunny) <>
Cc: Vinay Paradkar <>
Cc: Tyler Wear <>
Cc: David Ahern <>
 include/net/ip.h | 4 ++++
 1 file changed, 4 insertions(+)

diff --git a/include/net/ip.h b/include/net/ip.h
index b09c48d862cc..1262011d00b8 100644
--- a/include/net/ip.h
+++ b/include/net/ip.h
@@ -442,6 +442,10 @@ static inline unsigned int ip_dst_mtu_maybe_forward(const struct dst_entry *dst,
 		return dst_mtu(dst);
+	/* 'forwarding = true' case should always honour route mtu */
+	unsigned int mtu = dst_metric_raw(dst, RTAX_MTU);
+	if (mtu) return mtu;
 	return min(READ_ONCE(dst->dev->mtu), IP_MAX_MTU);

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