3. FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION 3.1. Header Format TCP segments are sent as internet datagrams. The Internet Protocol header carries several information fields, including the source and destination host addresses . A TCP header follows the internet header, supplying information specific to the TCP protocol. This division allows for the existence of host level protocols other than TCP. TCP Header Format 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Source Port | Destination Port | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Sequence Number | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Acknowledgment Number | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Data | |U|A|P|R|S|F| | | Offset| Reserved |R|C|S|S|Y|I| Window | | | |G|K|H|T|N|N| | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Checksum | Urgent Pointer | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Options | Padding | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | data | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ TCP Header Format Note that one tick mark represents one bit position. Figure 3. Source Port: 16 bits The source port number. Destination Port: 16 bits The destination port number.
Sequence Number: 32 bits The sequence number of the first data octet in this segment (except when SYN is present). If SYN is present the sequence number is the initial sequence number (ISN) and the first data octet is ISN+1. Acknowledgment Number: 32 bits If the ACK control bit is set this field contains the value of the next sequence number the sender of the segment is expecting to receive. Once a connection is established this is always sent. Data Offset: 4 bits The number of 32 bit words in the TCP Header. This indicates where the data begins. The TCP header (even one including options) is an integral number of 32 bits long. Reserved: 6 bits Reserved for future use. Must be zero. Control Bits: 6 bits (from left to right): URG: Urgent Pointer field significant ACK: Acknowledgment field significant PSH: Push Function RST: Reset the connection SYN: Synchronize sequence numbers FIN: No more data from sender Window: 16 bits The number of data octets beginning with the one indicated in the acknowledgment field which the sender of this segment is willing to accept. Checksum: 16 bits The checksum field is the 16 bit one's complement of the one's complement sum of all 16 bit words in the header and text. If a segment contains an odd number of header and text octets to be checksummed, the last octet is padded on the right with zeros to form a 16 bit word for checksum purposes. The pad is not transmitted as part of the segment. While computing the checksum, the checksum field itself is replaced with zeros. The checksum also covers a 96 bit pseudo header conceptually
prefixed to the TCP header. This pseudo header contains the Source Address, the Destination Address, the Protocol, and TCP length. This gives the TCP protection against misrouted segments. This information is carried in the Internet Protocol and is transferred across the TCP/Network interface in the arguments or results of calls by the TCP on the IP. +--------+--------+--------+--------+ | Source Address | +--------+--------+--------+--------+ | Destination Address | +--------+--------+--------+--------+ | zero | PTCL | TCP Length | +--------+--------+--------+--------+ The TCP Length is the TCP header length plus the data length in octets (this is not an explicitly transmitted quantity, but is computed), and it does not count the 12 octets of the pseudo header. Urgent Pointer: 16 bits This field communicates the current value of the urgent pointer as a positive offset from the sequence number in this segment. The urgent pointer points to the sequence number of the octet following the urgent data. This field is only be interpreted in segments with the URG control bit set. Options: variable Options may occupy space at the end of the TCP header and are a multiple of 8 bits in length. All options are included in the checksum. An option may begin on any octet boundary. There are two cases for the format of an option: Case 1: A single octet of option-kind. Case 2: An octet of option-kind, an octet of option-length, and the actual option-data octets. The option-length counts the two octets of option-kind and option-length as well as the option-data octets. Note that the list of options may be shorter than the data offset field might imply. The content of the header beyond the End-of-Option option must be header padding (i.e., zero). A TCP must implement all options.
Currently defined options include (kind indicated in octal): Kind Length Meaning ---- ------ ------- 0 - End of option list. 1 - No-Operation. 2 4 Maximum Segment Size. Specific Option Definitions End of Option List +--------+ |00000000| +--------+ Kind=0 This option code indicates the end of the option list. This might not coincide with the end of the TCP header according to the Data Offset field. This is used at the end of all options, not the end of each option, and need only be used if the end of the options would not otherwise coincide with the end of the TCP header. No-Operation +--------+ |00000001| +--------+ Kind=1 This option code may be used between options, for example, to align the beginning of a subsequent option on a word boundary. There is no guarantee that senders will use this option, so receivers must be prepared to process options even if they do not begin on a word boundary. Maximum Segment Size +--------+--------+---------+--------+ |00000010|00000100| max seg size | +--------+--------+---------+--------+ Kind=2 Length=4
Maximum Segment Size Option Data: 16 bits If this option is present, then it communicates the maximum receive segment size at the TCP which sends this segment. This field must only be sent in the initial connection request (i.e., in segments with the SYN control bit set). If this option is not used, any segment size is allowed. Padding: variable The TCP header padding is used to ensure that the TCP header ends and data begins on a 32 bit boundary. The padding is composed of zeros. 3.2. Terminology Before we can discuss very much about the operation of the TCP we need to introduce some detailed terminology. The maintenance of a TCP connection requires the remembering of several variables. We conceive of these variables being stored in a connection record called a Transmission Control Block or TCB. Among the variables stored in the TCB are the local and remote socket numbers, the security and precedence of the connection, pointers to the user's send and receive buffers, pointers to the retransmit queue and to the current segment. In addition several variables relating to the send and receive sequence numbers are stored in the TCB. Send Sequence Variables SND.UNA - send unacknowledged SND.NXT - send next SND.WND - send window SND.UP - send urgent pointer SND.WL1 - segment sequence number used for last window update SND.WL2 - segment acknowledgment number used for last window update ISS - initial send sequence number Receive Sequence Variables RCV.NXT - receive next RCV.WND - receive window RCV.UP - receive urgent pointer IRS - initial receive sequence number
The following diagrams may help to relate some of these variables to the sequence space. Send Sequence Space 1 2 3 4 ----------|----------|----------|---------- SND.UNA SND.NXT SND.UNA +SND.WND 1 - old sequence numbers which have been acknowledged 2 - sequence numbers of unacknowledged data 3 - sequence numbers allowed for new data transmission 4 - future sequence numbers which are not yet allowed Send Sequence Space Figure 4. The send window is the portion of the sequence space labeled 3 in figure 4. Receive Sequence Space 1 2 3 ----------|----------|---------- RCV.NXT RCV.NXT +RCV.WND 1 - old sequence numbers which have been acknowledged 2 - sequence numbers allowed for new reception 3 - future sequence numbers which are not yet allowed Receive Sequence Space Figure 5. The receive window is the portion of the sequence space labeled 2 in figure 5. There are also some variables used frequently in the discussion that take their values from the fields of the current segment.
Current Segment Variables SEG.SEQ - segment sequence number SEG.ACK - segment acknowledgment number SEG.LEN - segment length SEG.WND - segment window SEG.UP - segment urgent pointer SEG.PRC - segment precedence value A connection progresses through a series of states during its lifetime. The states are: LISTEN, SYN-SENT, SYN-RECEIVED, ESTABLISHED, FIN-WAIT-1, FIN-WAIT-2, CLOSE-WAIT, CLOSING, LAST-ACK, TIME-WAIT, and the fictional state CLOSED. CLOSED is fictional because it represents the state when there is no TCB, and therefore, no connection. Briefly the meanings of the states are: LISTEN - represents waiting for a connection request from any remote TCP and port. SYN-SENT - represents waiting for a matching connection request after having sent a connection request. SYN-RECEIVED - represents waiting for a confirming connection request acknowledgment after having both received and sent a connection request. ESTABLISHED - represents an open connection, data received can be delivered to the user. The normal state for the data transfer phase of the connection. FIN-WAIT-1 - represents waiting for a connection termination request from the remote TCP, or an acknowledgment of the connection termination request previously sent. FIN-WAIT-2 - represents waiting for a connection termination request from the remote TCP. CLOSE-WAIT - represents waiting for a connection termination request from the local user. CLOSING - represents waiting for a connection termination request acknowledgment from the remote TCP. LAST-ACK - represents waiting for an acknowledgment of the connection termination request previously sent to the remote TCP (which includes an acknowledgment of its connection termination request).
TIME-WAIT - represents waiting for enough time to pass to be sure the remote TCP received the acknowledgment of its connection termination request. CLOSED - represents no connection state at all. A TCP connection progresses from one state to another in response to events. The events are the user calls, OPEN, SEND, RECEIVE, CLOSE, ABORT, and STATUS; the incoming segments, particularly those containing the SYN, ACK, RST and FIN flags; and timeouts. The state diagram in figure 6 illustrates only state changes, together with the causing events and resulting actions, but addresses neither error conditions nor actions which are not connected with state changes. In a later section, more detail is offered with respect to the reaction of the TCP to events. NOTE BENE: this diagram is only a summary and must not be taken as the total specification.
+---------+ ---------\ active OPEN | CLOSED | \ ----------- +---------+<---------\ \ create TCB | ^ \ \ snd SYN passive OPEN | | CLOSE \ \ ------------ | | ---------- \ \ create TCB | | delete TCB \ \ V | \ \ +---------+ CLOSE | \ | LISTEN | ---------- | | +---------+ delete TCB | | rcv SYN | | SEND | | ----------- | | ------- | V +---------+ snd SYN,ACK / \ snd SYN +---------+ | |<----------------- ------------------>| | | SYN | rcv SYN | SYN | | RCVD |<-----------------------------------------------| SENT | | | snd ACK | | | |------------------ -------------------| | +---------+ rcv ACK of SYN \ / rcv SYN,ACK +---------+ | -------------- | | ----------- | x | | snd ACK | V V | CLOSE +---------+ | ------- | ESTAB | | snd FIN +---------+ | CLOSE | | rcv FIN V ------- | | ------- +---------+ snd FIN / \ snd ACK +---------+ | FIN |<----------------- ------------------>| CLOSE | | WAIT-1 |------------------ | WAIT | +---------+ rcv FIN \ +---------+ | rcv ACK of FIN ------- | CLOSE | | -------------- snd ACK | ------- | V x V snd FIN V +---------+ +---------+ +---------+ |FINWAIT-2| | CLOSING | | LAST-ACK| +---------+ +---------+ +---------+ | rcv ACK of FIN | rcv ACK of FIN | | rcv FIN -------------- | Timeout=2MSL -------------- | | ------- x V ------------ x V \ snd ACK +---------+delete TCB +---------+ ------------------------>|TIME WAIT|------------------>| CLOSED | +---------+ +---------+ TCP Connection State Diagram Figure 6.
3.3. Sequence Numbers A fundamental notion in the design is that every octet of data sent over a TCP connection has a sequence number. Since every octet is sequenced, each of them can be acknowledged. The acknowledgment mechanism employed is cumulative so that an acknowledgment of sequence number X indicates that all octets up to but not including X have been received. This mechanism allows for straight-forward duplicate detection in the presence of retransmission. Numbering of octets within a segment is that the first data octet immediately following the header is the lowest numbered, and the following octets are numbered consecutively. It is essential to remember that the actual sequence number space is finite, though very large. This space ranges from 0 to 2**32 - 1. Since the space is finite, all arithmetic dealing with sequence numbers must be performed modulo 2**32. This unsigned arithmetic preserves the relationship of sequence numbers as they cycle from 2**32 - 1 to 0 again. There are some subtleties to computer modulo arithmetic, so great care should be taken in programming the comparison of such values. The symbol "=<" means "less than or equal" (modulo 2**32). The typical kinds of sequence number comparisons which the TCP must perform include: (a) Determining that an acknowledgment refers to some sequence number sent but not yet acknowledged. (b) Determining that all sequence numbers occupied by a segment have been acknowledged (e.g., to remove the segment from a retransmission queue). (c) Determining that an incoming segment contains sequence numbers which are expected (i.e., that the segment "overlaps" the receive window).
In response to sending data the TCP will receive acknowledgments. The following comparisons are needed to process the acknowledgments. SND.UNA = oldest unacknowledged sequence number SND.NXT = next sequence number to be sent SEG.ACK = acknowledgment from the receiving TCP (next sequence number expected by the receiving TCP) SEG.SEQ = first sequence number of a segment SEG.LEN = the number of octets occupied by the data in the segment (counting SYN and FIN) SEG.SEQ+SEG.LEN-1 = last sequence number of a segment A new acknowledgment (called an "acceptable ack"), is one for which the inequality below holds: SND.UNA < SEG.ACK =< SND.NXT A segment on the retransmission queue is fully acknowledged if the sum of its sequence number and length is less or equal than the acknowledgment value in the incoming segment. When data is received the following comparisons are needed: RCV.NXT = next sequence number expected on an incoming segments, and is the left or lower edge of the receive window RCV.NXT+RCV.WND-1 = last sequence number expected on an incoming segment, and is the right or upper edge of the receive window SEG.SEQ = first sequence number occupied by the incoming segment SEG.SEQ+SEG.LEN-1 = last sequence number occupied by the incoming segment A segment is judged to occupy a portion of valid receive sequence space if RCV.NXT =< SEG.SEQ < RCV.NXT+RCV.WND or RCV.NXT =< SEG.SEQ+SEG.LEN-1 < RCV.NXT+RCV.WND
The first part of this test checks to see if the beginning of the segment falls in the window, the second part of the test checks to see if the end of the segment falls in the window; if the segment passes either part of the test it contains data in the window. Actually, it is a little more complicated than this. Due to zero windows and zero length segments, we have four cases for the acceptability of an incoming segment: Segment Receive Test Length Window ------- ------- ------------------------------------------- 0 0 SEG.SEQ = RCV.NXT 0 >0 RCV.NXT =< SEG.SEQ < RCV.NXT+RCV.WND >0 0 not acceptable >0 >0 RCV.NXT =< SEG.SEQ < RCV.NXT+RCV.WND or RCV.NXT =< SEG.SEQ+SEG.LEN-1 < RCV.NXT+RCV.WND Note that when the receive window is zero no segments should be acceptable except ACK segments. Thus, it is be possible for a TCP to maintain a zero receive window while transmitting data and receiving ACKs. However, even when the receive window is zero, a TCP must process the RST and URG fields of all incoming segments. We have taken advantage of the numbering scheme to protect certain control information as well. This is achieved by implicitly including some control flags in the sequence space so they can be retransmitted and acknowledged without confusion (i.e., one and only one copy of the control will be acted upon). Control information is not physically carried in the segment data space. Consequently, we must adopt rules for implicitly assigning sequence numbers to control. The SYN and FIN are the only controls requiring this protection, and these controls are used only at connection opening and closing. For sequence number purposes, the SYN is considered to occur before the first actual data octet of the segment in which it occurs, while the FIN is considered to occur after the last actual data octet in a segment in which it occurs. The segment length (SEG.LEN) includes both data and sequence space occupying controls. When a SYN is present then SEG.SEQ is the sequence number of the SYN.
Initial Sequence Number Selection The protocol places no restriction on a particular connection being used over and over again. A connection is defined by a pair of sockets. New instances of a connection will be referred to as incarnations of the connection. The problem that arises from this is -- "how does the TCP identify duplicate segments from previous incarnations of the connection?" This problem becomes apparent if the connection is being opened and closed in quick succession, or if the connection breaks with loss of memory and is then reestablished. To avoid confusion we must prevent segments from one incarnation of a connection from being used while the same sequence numbers may still be present in the network from an earlier incarnation. We want to assure this, even if a TCP crashes and loses all knowledge of the sequence numbers it has been using. When new connections are created, an initial sequence number (ISN) generator is employed which selects a new 32 bit ISN. The generator is bound to a (possibly fictitious) 32 bit clock whose low order bit is incremented roughly every 4 microseconds. Thus, the ISN cycles approximately every 4.55 hours. Since we assume that segments will stay in the network no more than the Maximum Segment Lifetime (MSL) and that the MSL is less than 4.55 hours we can reasonably assume that ISN's will be unique. For each connection there is a send sequence number and a receive sequence number. The initial send sequence number (ISS) is chosen by the data sending TCP, and the initial receive sequence number (IRS) is learned during the connection establishing procedure. For a connection to be established or initialized, the two TCPs must synchronize on each other's initial sequence numbers. This is done in an exchange of connection establishing segments carrying a control bit called "SYN" (for synchronize) and the initial sequence numbers. As a shorthand, segments carrying the SYN bit are also called "SYNs". Hence, the solution requires a suitable mechanism for picking an initial sequence number and a slightly involved handshake to exchange the ISN's. The synchronization requires each side to send it's own initial sequence number and to receive a confirmation of it in acknowledgment from the other side. Each side must also receive the other side's initial sequence number and send a confirming acknowledgment. 1) A --> B SYN my sequence number is X 2) A <-- B ACK your sequence number is X 3) A <-- B SYN my sequence number is Y 4) A --> B ACK your sequence number is Y
Because steps 2 and 3 can be combined in a single message this is called the three way (or three message) handshake. A three way handshake is necessary because sequence numbers are not tied to a global clock in the network, and TCPs may have different mechanisms for picking the ISN's. The receiver of the first SYN has no way of knowing whether the segment was an old delayed one or not, unless it remembers the last sequence number used on the connection (which is not always possible), and so it must ask the sender to verify this SYN. The three way handshake and the advantages of a clock-driven scheme are discussed in . Knowing When to Keep Quiet To be sure that a TCP does not create a segment that carries a sequence number which may be duplicated by an old segment remaining in the network, the TCP must keep quiet for a maximum segment lifetime (MSL) before assigning any sequence numbers upon starting up or recovering from a crash in which memory of sequence numbers in use was lost. For this specification the MSL is taken to be 2 minutes. This is an engineering choice, and may be changed if experience indicates it is desirable to do so. Note that if a TCP is reinitialized in some sense, yet retains its memory of sequence numbers in use, then it need not wait at all; it must only be sure to use sequence numbers larger than those recently used. The TCP Quiet Time Concept This specification provides that hosts which "crash" without retaining any knowledge of the last sequence numbers transmitted on each active (i.e., not closed) connection shall delay emitting any TCP segments for at least the agreed Maximum Segment Lifetime (MSL) in the internet system of which the host is a part. In the paragraphs below, an explanation for this specification is given. TCP implementors may violate the "quiet time" restriction, but only at the risk of causing some old data to be accepted as new or new data rejected as old duplicated by some receivers in the internet system. TCPs consume sequence number space each time a segment is formed and entered into the network output queue at a source host. The duplicate detection and sequencing algorithm in the TCP protocol relies on the unique binding of segment data to sequence space to the extent that sequence numbers will not cycle through all 2**32 values before the segment data bound to those sequence numbers has been delivered and acknowledged by the receiver and all duplicate copies of the segments have "drained" from the internet. Without such an assumption, two distinct TCP segments could conceivably be
assigned the same or overlapping sequence numbers, causing confusion at the receiver as to which data is new and which is old. Remember that each segment is bound to as many consecutive sequence numbers as there are octets of data in the segment. Under normal conditions, TCPs keep track of the next sequence number to emit and the oldest awaiting acknowledgment so as to avoid mistakenly using a sequence number over before its first use has been acknowledged. This alone does not guarantee that old duplicate data is drained from the net, so the sequence space has been made very large to reduce the probability that a wandering duplicate will cause trouble upon arrival. At 2 megabits/sec. it takes 4.5 hours to use up 2**32 octets of sequence space. Since the maximum segment lifetime in the net is not likely to exceed a few tens of seconds, this is deemed ample protection for foreseeable nets, even if data rates escalate to l0's of megabits/sec. At 100 megabits/sec, the cycle time is 5.4 minutes which may be a little short, but still within reason. The basic duplicate detection and sequencing algorithm in TCP can be defeated, however, if a source TCP does not have any memory of the sequence numbers it last used on a given connection. For example, if the TCP were to start all connections with sequence number 0, then upon crashing and restarting, a TCP might re-form an earlier connection (possibly after half-open connection resolution) and emit packets with sequence numbers identical to or overlapping with packets still in the network which were emitted on an earlier incarnation of the same connection. In the absence of knowledge about the sequence numbers used on a particular connection, the TCP specification recommends that the source delay for MSL seconds before emitting segments on the connection, to allow time for segments from the earlier connection incarnation to drain from the system. Even hosts which can remember the time of day and used it to select initial sequence number values are not immune from this problem (i.e., even if time of day is used to select an initial sequence number for each new connection incarnation). Suppose, for example, that a connection is opened starting with sequence number S. Suppose that this connection is not used much and that eventually the initial sequence number function (ISN(t)) takes on a value equal to the sequence number, say S1, of the last segment sent by this TCP on a particular connection. Now suppose, at this instant, the host crashes, recovers, and establishes a new incarnation of the connection. The initial sequence number chosen is S1 = ISN(t) -- last used sequence number on old incarnation of connection! If the recovery occurs quickly enough, any old
duplicates in the net bearing sequence numbers in the neighborhood of S1 may arrive and be treated as new packets by the receiver of the new incarnation of the connection. The problem is that the recovering host may not know for how long it crashed nor does it know whether there are still old duplicates in the system from earlier connection incarnations. One way to deal with this problem is to deliberately delay emitting segments for one MSL after recovery from a crash- this is the "quite time" specification. Hosts which prefer to avoid waiting are willing to risk possible confusion of old and new packets at a given destination may choose not to wait for the "quite time". Implementors may provide TCP users with the ability to select on a connection by connection basis whether to wait after a crash, or may informally implement the "quite time" for all connections. Obviously, even where a user selects to "wait," this is not necessary after the host has been "up" for at least MSL seconds. To summarize: every segment emitted occupies one or more sequence numbers in the sequence space, the numbers occupied by a segment are "busy" or "in use" until MSL seconds have passed, upon crashing a block of space-time is occupied by the octets of the last emitted segment, if a new connection is started too soon and uses any of the sequence numbers in the space-time footprint of the last segment of the previous connection incarnation, there is a potential sequence number overlap area which could cause confusion at the receiver. 3.4. Establishing a connection The "three-way handshake" is the procedure used to establish a connection. This procedure normally is initiated by one TCP and responded to by another TCP. The procedure also works if two TCP simultaneously initiate the procedure. When simultaneous attempt occurs, each TCP receives a "SYN" segment which carries no acknowledgment after it has sent a "SYN". Of course, the arrival of an old duplicate "SYN" segment can potentially make it appear, to the recipient, that a simultaneous connection initiation is in progress. Proper use of "reset" segments can disambiguate these cases. Several examples of connection initiation follow. Although these examples do not show connection synchronization using data-carrying segments, this is perfectly legitimate, so long as the receiving TCP doesn't deliver the data to the user until it is clear the data is valid (i.e., the data must be buffered at the receiver until the connection reaches the ESTABLISHED state). The three-way handshake reduces the possibility of false connections. It is the
implementation of a trade-off between memory and messages to provide information for this checking. The simplest three-way handshake is shown in figure 7 below. The figures should be interpreted in the following way. Each line is numbered for reference purposes. Right arrows (-->) indicate departure of a TCP segment from TCP A to TCP B, or arrival of a segment at B from A. Left arrows (<--), indicate the reverse. Ellipsis (...) indicates a segment which is still in the network (delayed). An "XXX" indicates a segment which is lost or rejected. Comments appear in parentheses. TCP states represent the state AFTER the departure or arrival of the segment (whose contents are shown in the center of each line). Segment contents are shown in abbreviated form, with sequence number, control flags, and ACK field. Other fields such as window, addresses, lengths, and text have been left out in the interest of clarity. TCP A TCP B 1. CLOSED LISTEN 2. SYN-SENT --> <SEQ=100><CTL=SYN> --> SYN-RECEIVED 3. ESTABLISHED <-- <SEQ=300><ACK=101><CTL=SYN,ACK> <-- SYN-RECEIVED 4. ESTABLISHED --> <SEQ=101><ACK=301><CTL=ACK> --> ESTABLISHED 5. ESTABLISHED --> <SEQ=101><ACK=301><CTL=ACK><DATA> --> ESTABLISHED Basic 3-Way Handshake for Connection Synchronization Figure 7. In line 2 of figure 7, TCP A begins by sending a SYN segment indicating that it will use sequence numbers starting with sequence number 100. In line 3, TCP B sends a SYN and acknowledges the SYN it received from TCP A. Note that the acknowledgment field indicates TCP B is now expecting to hear sequence 101, acknowledging the SYN which occupied sequence 100. At line 4, TCP A responds with an empty segment containing an ACK for TCP B's SYN; and in line 5, TCP A sends some data. Note that the sequence number of the segment in line 5 is the same as in line 4 because the ACK does not occupy sequence number space (if it did, we would wind up ACKing ACK's!).
Simultaneous initiation is only slightly more complex, as is shown in figure 8. Each TCP cycles from CLOSED to SYN-SENT to SYN-RECEIVED to ESTABLISHED. TCP A TCP B 1. CLOSED CLOSED 2. SYN-SENT --> <SEQ=100><CTL=SYN> ... 3. SYN-RECEIVED <-- <SEQ=300><CTL=SYN> <-- SYN-SENT 4. ... <SEQ=100><CTL=SYN> --> SYN-RECEIVED 5. SYN-RECEIVED --> <SEQ=100><ACK=301><CTL=SYN,ACK> ... 6. ESTABLISHED <-- <SEQ=300><ACK=101><CTL=SYN,ACK> <-- SYN-RECEIVED 7. ... <SEQ=101><ACK=301><CTL=ACK> --> ESTABLISHED Simultaneous Connection Synchronization Figure 8. The principle reason for the three-way handshake is to prevent old duplicate connection initiations from causing confusion. To deal with this, a special control message, reset, has been devised. If the receiving TCP is in a non-synchronized state (i.e., SYN-SENT, SYN-RECEIVED), it returns to LISTEN on receiving an acceptable reset. If the TCP is in one of the synchronized states (ESTABLISHED, FIN-WAIT-1, FIN-WAIT-2, CLOSE-WAIT, CLOSING, LAST-ACK, TIME-WAIT), it aborts the connection and informs its user. We discuss this latter case under "half-open" connections below.
TCP A TCP B 1. CLOSED LISTEN 2. SYN-SENT --> <SEQ=100><CTL=SYN> ... 3. (duplicate) ... <SEQ=90><CTL=SYN> --> SYN-RECEIVED 4. SYN-SENT <-- <SEQ=300><ACK=91><CTL=SYN,ACK> <-- SYN-RECEIVED 5. SYN-SENT --> <SEQ=91><CTL=RST> --> LISTEN 6. ... <SEQ=100><CTL=SYN> --> SYN-RECEIVED 7. SYN-SENT <-- <SEQ=400><ACK=101><CTL=SYN,ACK> <-- SYN-RECEIVED 8. ESTABLISHED --> <SEQ=101><ACK=401><CTL=ACK> --> ESTABLISHED Recovery from Old Duplicate SYN Figure 9. As a simple example of recovery from old duplicates, consider figure 9. At line 3, an old duplicate SYN arrives at TCP B. TCP B cannot tell that this is an old duplicate, so it responds normally (line 4). TCP A detects that the ACK field is incorrect and returns a RST (reset) with its SEQ field selected to make the segment believable. TCP B, on receiving the RST, returns to the LISTEN state. When the original SYN (pun intended) finally arrives at line 6, the synchronization proceeds normally. If the SYN at line 6 had arrived before the RST, a more complex exchange might have occurred with RST's sent in both directions. Half-Open Connections and Other Anomalies An established connection is said to be "half-open" if one of the TCPs has closed or aborted the connection at its end without the knowledge of the other, or if the two ends of the connection have become desynchronized owing to a crash that resulted in loss of memory. Such connections will automatically become reset if an attempt is made to send data in either direction. However, half-open connections are expected to be unusual, and the recovery procedure is mildly involved. If at site A the connection no longer exists, then an attempt by the
user at site B to send any data on it will result in the site B TCP receiving a reset control message. Such a message indicates to the site B TCP that something is wrong, and it is expected to abort the connection. Assume that two user processes A and B are communicating with one another when a crash occurs causing loss of memory to A's TCP. Depending on the operating system supporting A's TCP, it is likely that some error recovery mechanism exists. When the TCP is up again, A is likely to start again from the beginning or from a recovery point. As a result, A will probably try to OPEN the connection again or try to SEND on the connection it believes open. In the latter case, it receives the error message "connection not open" from the local (A's) TCP. In an attempt to establish the connection, A's TCP will send a segment containing SYN. This scenario leads to the example shown in figure 10. After TCP A crashes, the user attempts to re-open the connection. TCP B, in the meantime, thinks the connection is open. TCP A TCP B 1. (CRASH) (send 300,receive 100) 2. CLOSED ESTABLISHED 3. SYN-SENT --> <SEQ=400><CTL=SYN> --> (??) 4. (!!) <-- <SEQ=300><ACK=100><CTL=ACK> <-- ESTABLISHED 5. SYN-SENT --> <SEQ=100><CTL=RST> --> (Abort!!) 6. SYN-SENT CLOSED 7. SYN-SENT --> <SEQ=400><CTL=SYN> --> Half-Open Connection Discovery Figure 10. When the SYN arrives at line 3, TCP B, being in a synchronized state, and the incoming segment outside the window, responds with an acknowledgment indicating what sequence it next expects to hear (ACK 100). TCP A sees that this segment does not acknowledge anything it sent and, being unsynchronized, sends a reset (RST) because it has detected a half-open connection. TCP B aborts at line 5. TCP A will
continue to try to establish the connection; the problem is now reduced to the basic 3-way handshake of figure 7. An interesting alternative case occurs when TCP A crashes and TCP B tries to send data on what it thinks is a synchronized connection. This is illustrated in figure 11. In this case, the data arriving at TCP A from TCP B (line 2) is unacceptable because no such connection exists, so TCP A sends a RST. The RST is acceptable so TCP B processes it and aborts the connection. TCP A TCP B 1. (CRASH) (send 300,receive 100) 2. (??) <-- <SEQ=300><ACK=100><DATA=10><CTL=ACK> <-- ESTABLISHED 3. --> <SEQ=100><CTL=RST> --> (ABORT!!) Active Side Causes Half-Open Connection Discovery Figure 11. In figure 12, we find the two TCPs A and B with passive connections waiting for SYN. An old duplicate arriving at TCP B (line 2) stirs B into action. A SYN-ACK is returned (line 3) and causes TCP A to generate a RST (the ACK in line 3 is not acceptable). TCP B accepts the reset and returns to its passive LISTEN state. TCP A TCP B 1. LISTEN LISTEN 2. ... <SEQ=Z><CTL=SYN> --> SYN-RECEIVED 3. (??) <-- <SEQ=X><ACK=Z+1><CTL=SYN,ACK> <-- SYN-RECEIVED 4. --> <SEQ=Z+1><CTL=RST> --> (return to LISTEN!) 5. LISTEN LISTEN Old Duplicate SYN Initiates a Reset on two Passive Sockets Figure 12.
A variety of other cases are possible, all of which are accounted for by the following rules for RST generation and processing. Reset Generation As a general rule, reset (RST) must be sent whenever a segment arrives which apparently is not intended for the current connection. A reset must not be sent if it is not clear that this is the case. There are three groups of states: 1. If the connection does not exist (CLOSED) then a reset is sent in response to any incoming segment except another reset. In particular, SYNs addressed to a non-existent connection are rejected by this means. If the incoming segment has an ACK field, the reset takes its sequence number from the ACK field of the segment, otherwise the reset has sequence number zero and the ACK field is set to the sum of the sequence number and segment length of the incoming segment. The connection remains in the CLOSED state. 2. If the connection is in any non-synchronized state (LISTEN, SYN-SENT, SYN-RECEIVED), and the incoming segment acknowledges something not yet sent (the segment carries an unacceptable ACK), or if an incoming segment has a security level or compartment which does not exactly match the level and compartment requested for the connection, a reset is sent. If our SYN has not been acknowledged and the precedence level of the incoming segment is higher than the precedence level requested then either raise the local precedence level (if allowed by the user and the system) or send a reset; or if the precedence level of the incoming segment is lower than the precedence level requested then continue as if the precedence matched exactly (if the remote TCP cannot raise the precedence level to match ours this will be detected in the next segment it sends, and the connection will be terminated then). If our SYN has been acknowledged (perhaps in this incoming segment) the precedence level of the incoming segment must match the local precedence level exactly, if it does not a reset must be sent. If the incoming segment has an ACK field, the reset takes its sequence number from the ACK field of the segment, otherwise the reset has sequence number zero and the ACK field is set to the sum of the sequence number and segment length of the incoming segment. The connection remains in the same state.
3. If the connection is in a synchronized state (ESTABLISHED, FIN-WAIT-1, FIN-WAIT-2, CLOSE-WAIT, CLOSING, LAST-ACK, TIME-WAIT), any unacceptable segment (out of window sequence number or unacceptible acknowledgment number) must elicit only an empty acknowledgment segment containing the current send-sequence number and an acknowledgment indicating the next sequence number expected to be received, and the connection remains in the same state. If an incoming segment has a security level, or compartment, or precedence which does not exactly match the level, and compartment, and precedence requested for the connection,a reset is sent and connection goes to the CLOSED state. The reset takes its sequence number from the ACK field of the incoming segment. Reset Processing In all states except SYN-SENT, all reset (RST) segments are validated by checking their SEQ-fields. A reset is valid if its sequence number is in the window. In the SYN-SENT state (a RST received in response to an initial SYN), the RST is acceptable if the ACK field acknowledges the SYN. The receiver of a RST first validates it, then changes state. If the receiver was in the LISTEN state, it ignores it. If the receiver was in SYN-RECEIVED state and had previously been in the LISTEN state, then the receiver returns to the LISTEN state, otherwise the receiver aborts the connection and goes to the CLOSED state. If the receiver was in any other state, it aborts the connection and advises the user and goes to the CLOSED state.