Network Working Group Wayne McCoy Request for Comments: 1008 June 1987 IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE FOR THE ISO TRANSPORT PROTOCOL Status of this Memo This RFC is being distributed to members of the Internet community in order to solicit comments on the Implementors Guide. While this document may not be directly relevant to the research problems of the Internet, it may be of some interest to a number of researchers and implementors. Distribution of this memo is unlimited. IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE FOR THE ISO TRANSPORT PROTOCOL 1 Interpretation of formal description. It is assumed that the reader is familiar with both the formal description technique, Estelle [ISO85a], and the transport protocol as described in IS 8073 [ISO84a] and in N3756 [ISO85b]. 1.1 General interpretation guide. The development of the formal description of the ISO Transport Protocol was guided by the three following assumptions. 1. A generality principle The formal description is intended to express all of the behavior that any implementation is to demonstrate, while not being bound to the way that any particular implementation would realize that behavior within its operating context. 2. Preservation of the deliberate nondeterminism of IS 8073 The text description in the IS 8073 contains deliberate expressions of nondeterminism and indeterminism in the behavior of the transport protocol for the sake of flexibility in application. (Nondeterminism in this context means that the order of execution for a set of actions that can be taken is not specified. Indeterminism means that the execution of a given action cannot be predicted on the basis of system state or the executions of other actions.)
3. Discipline in the usage of Estelle A given feature of Estelle was to be used only if the nature of the mechanism to be described strongly indicates its usage, or to adhere to the generality principle, or to retain the nondeterminism of IS 8073. Implementation efficiency was not a particular goal nor was there an attempt to directly correlate Estelle mechanisms and features to implementation mechanisms and features. Thus, the description does not represent optimal behavior for the implemented protocol. These assumptions imply that the formal description contains higher levels of abstraction than would be expected in a description for a particular operating environment. Such abstraction is essential, because of the diversity of networks and network elements by which implementation and design decisions are influenced. Even when operating environments are essentially identical, design choice and originality in solving a technical problem must be allowed. The same behavior may be expressed in many different ways. The goal in producing the transport formal description was to attempt to capture this equivalence. Some mechanisms of transport are not fully described or appear to be overly complicated because of the adherence to the generality principle. Resolution of these situations may require significant effort on the part of the implementor. Since the description does not represent optimal behavior for the implemented protocol, implementors should take the three assumptions above into account when using the description to implement the protocol. It may be advisable to adapt the standard description in such a way that: a. abstractions (such as modules, channels, spontaneous transitions and binding comments) are interpreted and realized as mechanisms appropriate to the operating environment and service requirements; b. modules, transitions, functions and procedures containing material irrelevant to the classes or options to be supported are reduced or eliminated as needed; and c. desired real-time behavior is accounted for. The use in the formal description of an Estelle feature (for instance, "process"), does not imply that an implementation must necessarily realize the feature by a synonymous feature of the operating context. Thus, a module declared to be a "process" in an Estelle description need not represent a real process as seen by a host operating system; "process" in Estelle refers to the
synchronization properties of a set of procedures (transitions). Realizations of Estelle features and mechanisms are dependent in an essential way upon the performance and service an implementation is to provide. Implementations for operational usage have much more stringent requirements for optimal behavior and robustness than do implementations used for simulated operation (e.g., correctness or conformance testing). It is thus important that an operational implementation realize the abstract features and mechanisms of a formal description in an efficient and effective manner. For operational usage, two useful criteria for interpretation of formal mechanisms are:  minimization of delays caused by the mechanism itself; e.g., --transit delay for a medium that realizes a channel --access delay or latency for channel medium --scheduling delay for timed transitions (spontaneous transitions with delay clause) --execution scheduling for modules using exported variables (delay in accessing variable)  minimization of the "handling" required by each invocation of the mechanism; e.g., --module execution scheduling and context switching --synchronization or protocols for realized channel --predicate evaluation for spontaneous transitions Spontaneous transitions represent nondeterminism and indeterminism, so that uniform realization of them in an implementation must be questioned as an implementation strategy. The time at which the action described by a spontaneous transition will actually take place cannot be specified because of one or more of the following situations: a. it is not known when, relative to any specific event defining the protocol (e.g., input network, input from user, timer
expirations), the conditions enabling the transition will actually occur; b. even if the enabling conditions are ultimately deterministic, it is not practical to describe all the possible ways this could occur, given the different ways in which implementations will examine these conditions; and c. a particular implementation may not be concerned with the enabling conditions or will account for them in some other way; i.e., it is irrelevant when the action takes place, if ever. As an example of a), consider the situation when splitting over the network connection, in Class 4, in which all of the network connections to which the transport connection has been assigned have all disconnected, with the transport connection still in the OPEN state. There is no way to predict when this will happen, nor is there any specific event signalling its occurrence. When it does occur, the transport protocol machine may want to attempt to obtain a new network connection. As an example of b), consider that timers may be expressed succinctly in Estelle by transitions similar to the following: from A to B provided predicate delay( timer_interval ) begin (* action driven by timeout *) end; But there are operations for which the timer period may need to be very accurate (close to real time) and others in which some delay in executing the action can be tolerated. The implementor must determine the optimal behavior desired for each instance and use an appropriate mechanism to realize it, rather than using a uniform approach to implementing all spontaneous transitions. As an example of the situation in c), consider the closing of an unused network connection. If the network is such that the cost of letting the network connection remain open is small compared cost of opening it, then an implementation might not want to consider closing the network connection until, say, the weekend. Another implementation might decide to close the network connection within 30 msec after discovering that the connection is not busy. For still another implementation, this could be
meaningless because it operates over a connectionless network service. If a description has only a very few spontaneous transitions, then it may be relatively easy to implement them literally (i.e., to schedule and execute them as Estelle abstractly does) and not incur the overhead from examining all of the variables that occur in the enabling conditions. However, the number and complexity of the enabling conditions for spontaneous transitions in the transport description strongly suggests that an implementation which realizes spontaneous transitions literally will suffer badly from such overhead. 1.2 Guide to the formal description. So that implementors gain insight into interpretation of the mechanisms and features of the formal description of transport, the following paragraphs discuss the meanings of such mechanisms and features as intended by the editors of the formal description. 1.2.1 Transport Protocol Entity. 22.214.171.124 Structure. The diagram below shows the general structure of the Transport Protocol Entity (TPE) module, as given in the formal description. >From an abstract operational viewpoint, the transport protocol Machines (TPMs) and the Slaves operate as child processes of the the TPE process. Each TPM represents the endpoint actions of the protocol on a single transport connection. The Slave represents control of data output to the network. The internal operations of the TPMs and the Slave are discussed below in separate sections. This structure permits describing multiple connections, multiplexing and splitting on network connections, dynamic existence of endpoints and class negotiation. In the diagram, interaction points are denoted by the symbol "O", while (Estelle) channels joining these interaction points are denoted by
* * * The symbol "X" represents a logical association through variables, and the denotations <<<<<<< >>>>>>> V V V indicate the passage of data, in the direction of the symbol vertices, by way of these associations. The acronyms TSAP and NSAP denote Transport Service Access Point and Network Service Access Point, respectively. The structure of the TSAPs and NSAPs shown is discussed further on, in Parts 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52. |<-----------------TSAP---------------->| ----------O---------O---------O---------O---------O--------- | TPE * * * | | * * * | | ____O____ ____O____ ____O____ | | | | | | | | | | | TPM | | TPM | | TPM | | | | | | | | | | | |___X___| |__X_X__| |___X___| | | V V V V | | V multiplex V V V | | >>>>>>>> <<<<<<<<<<< V V | | V V split V V | | V V V V | | ---X---- ---X---- ---X---- | | |Slave | |Slave | |Slave | | | |__O___| |__O___| |__O___| | | V V V | | V V V | |-----------------O------------O--------O------------------| NSAP |<------>| NSAP
The structuring principles of Estelle provide a formal means of expressing and enforcing certain synchronization properties between communicating processes. It must be stressed that the scheduling implied by Estelle descriptions need not and in some cases should not be implemented. The intent of the structure in the transport formal description is to state formally the synchronization of access tovariables shared by the transport entity and the transport connection endpoints and to permit expression of dynamic objects within the entity. In nearly all aspects of operation except these, it may be more efficient in some implementation environments to permit the TPE and the TPMs to run in parallel (the Estelle scheduling specifically excludes the parallel operation of the TPE and the TPMs). This is particularly true of internal management ("housekeeping") actions and those actions not directly related to communication between the TPE and the TPMs or instantiation of TPMs. Typical actions of this latter sort are: receipt of NSDUs from the network, integrity checking and decoding of TPDUs, and network connection management. Such actions could have been collected into other modules for scheduling closer to that of an implementation, but surely at the risk of further complicating the description. Consequently, the formal description structure should be understood as expressing relationships among actions and objects and not explicit implementation behavior. 184.108.40.206 Transport protocol entity operation. The details of the operation of the TPE from a conceptual point of view are given in the SYS section of the formal description. However, there are several further comments that can be made regarding the design of the TPE. The Estelle body for the TPE module has no state variable. This means that any transition of the TPE may be enabled and executed at any time. Choice of transition is determined primarily by priority. This suggests that the semantics of the TPE transitions is that of interrupt traps. The TPE handles only the T-CONNECT-request from the user and the TPM handle all other user input. All network events are handled by the TPE, in addition to resource management to the extent defined in the description. The TPE also manages all aspects of connection references, including reference freezing. The TPE does not explicitly manage the CPU resource for the TPMs, since this is implied by the Estelle scheduling across the module hierarchy. Instantiation of TPMs is also the responsibility of the TPE, as is TPM release when the transport connection is to be closed. Once a TPM is created, the TPE does not in general interfere with TPM's activities, with the following exceptions: the TPE may reduce credit to a Class 4 TPM without notice; the TPE may dissociate a Class 4 TPM from a network connection when splitting is being used. Communication between the TPE and the TPMs is through a set of exported variables owned by the TPMs, and through a channel which
passes TPDUs to be transmitted to the remote peer. This channel is not directly connected to any network connection, so each interaction on it carries a reference number indicating which network connection is to be used. Since the reference is only a reference, this permits usage of this mechanism when the network service is connectionless, as well. The mechanism provides flexibility for both splitting and multiplexing on network connections. One major function that the TPE performs for all its TPMs is that of initial processing of received TPDUs. First, a set of integrity checks is made to determine if each TPDU in an NSDU is decodable: a. PDU length indicators and their sums are checked against the NSDU length for consistency; b. TPDU types versus minimum header lengths for the types are checked, so that if the TPDU can be decoded, then proper association to TPMs can be made without any problem; c. TPDUs are searched for checksums and the local checksum is computed for any checksum found; and d. parameter codes in variable part of headers are checked where applicable. These integrity checks guarantee that an NSDU passing the check can be separated as necessary into TPDUs, these TPDUs can be associated to the transport connections or to the Slave as appropriate and they can be further decoded without error. The TPE next decodes the fixed part of the TPDU headers to determine the disposition of the TPDU. The Slave gets TPDUs that cannot be assigned to a TPM (spurious TPDU). New TPMs are created in response to CR TPDUs that correspond to a TSAP for this TPE. All management of NSAPs is done by the TPE. This consists of keeping track of all network connections, their service quality characteristics and their availability, informing the TPMs associated with these network connections. The TPE has no timer module as such. Timing is handled by using the DELAY feature of Estelle, since this feature captures the essence of timing without specifying how the actual timing is to be achieved within the operating environment. See Part 1.2.5 for more details. 1.2.2 Service Access Points. The service access points (SAP) of the transport entity are modeled using the Estelle channel/interaction point formalism. (Note: The
term "channel" in Estelle is a keyword that denotes a set of interactions which may be exchanged at interaction points [LIN85]. However, it is useful conceptually to think of "channel" as denoting a communication path that carries the interactions between modules.) The abstract service primitives for a SAP are interactions on channels entering and leaving the TPE. The transport user is considered to be at the end of the channel connected to the transport SAP (TSAP) and the network service provider is considered to be at the end of the channel connected to the network SAP (NSAP). An interaction put into a channel by some module can be considered to move instantaneously over the channel onto a queue at the other end. The sender of such an interaction no longer has access to the interaction once it has been put into the channel. The operation of the system modeled by the formal description has been designed with this semantics in mind, rather than the equivalent but much more abstract Estelle semantics. (In the Estelle semantics, each interaction point is considered to have associated with it an unbounded queue. The "attach" and "connect" primitives bind two interaction points, such that an action, implied by the keyword "out", at one interaction point causes a specified interaction to be placed onto the queue associated with the other interaction point.) The sections that follow discuss the TSAP and the NSAP and the way that these SAPs are described in the formal description. 220.127.116.11 Transport Service Access Point. The international transport standard allows for more than one TSAP to be associated with a transport entity, and multiple users may be associated with a given TSAP. A situation in which this is useful is when it is desirable to have a certain quality of service correlated with a given TSAP. For example, one TSAP could be reserved for applications requiring a high throughput, such as file transfer. The operation of transport connections associated with this TSAP could then be designed to favor throughput. Another TSAP might serve users requiring short response time, such as terminals. Still another TSAP could be reserved for encryption reasons. In order to provide a way of referencing users associated with TSAPs, the user access to transport in the formal description is through an array of Estelle interaction points. This array is indexed by a TSAP address (T_address) and a Transport Connection Endpoint Identifier (TCEP_id). Note that this dimensional object (TSAP) is considered simply to be a uniform set of abstract interfaces. The indices must be of (Pascal) ordinal type in Estelle. However, the actual address structure of TSAPs may not conform easily to such typing in an implementation. Consequently, the indices as they appear in the formal description should be viewed as an organizational mechanism rather than as an explicit way of associating objects in an operational setting. For example, actual TSAP addresses might be kept in some kind of table, with the table index being used to reference objects associated with the TSAP.
One particular issue concerned with realizing TSAPs is that of making known to the users the means of referencing the transport interface, i.e., somehow providing the T_addresses and TCEP_ids to the users. This issue is not considered in any detail by either IS 7498 [ISO84b] or IS 8073. Abstractly, the required reference is the T_address/TCEP_id pair. However, this gives no insight as to how the mechanism could work. Some approaches to this problem are discussed in Part 5. Another issue is that of flow control on the TSAP channels. Flow control is not part of the semantics for the Estelle channel, so the problem must be dealt with in another way. The formal description gives an abstract definition of interface flow control using Pascal and Estelle mechanisms. This abstraction resembles many actual schemes for flow control, but the realization of flow control will still be dependent on the way the interface is implemented. Part 3.2 discusses this in more detail. 18.104.22.168 Network Service Access Point. An NSAP may also have more than one network connection associated with it. For example, the virtual circuits of X.25 correspond with this notion. On the other hand, an NSAP may have no network connection associated with it, for example when the service at the NSAP is connectionless. This certainly will be the case when transport operates on a LAN or over IP. Consequently, although the syntactical appearance of the NSAP in the formal description is similar to that for the TSAP, the semantics are essentially distinct [NTI85]. Distinct NSAPs can correspond or not to physically distinct networks. Thus, one NSAP could access X.25 service, another might access an IEEE 802.3 LAN, while a third might access a satellite link. On the other hand, distinct NSAPs could correspond to different addresses on the same network, with no particular rationale other than facile management for the distinction. There are performance and system design issues that arise in considering how NSAPs should be managed in such situations. For example, if distinct NSAPs represent distinct networks, then a transport entity which must handle all resource management for the transport connections and operate these connections as well may have trouble keeping pace with data arriving concurrently from two LANs and a satellite link. It might be a better design solution to separate the management of the transport connection resources from that of the NSAP resources and inputs, or even to provide separate transport entities to handle some of the different network services, depending on the service quality to be maintained. It may be helpful to think of the (total) transport service as not necessarily being provided by a single monolithic entity--several distinct entities can reside at the transport layer on the same end-system.
The issues of NSAP management come primarily from connection-oriented network services. This is because a connectionless service is either available to all transport connections or it is available to none, representing infinite degrees of multiplexing and splitting. In the connection-oriented case, NSAP management is complicated by multiplexing, splitting, service quality considerations and the particular character of the network service. These issues are discussed further in Part 3.4.1. In the formal description, network connection management is carried out by means of a record associated with each possible connection and an array, associated with each TPM, each array member corresponding to a possible network connection. Since there is, on some network services, a very large number of possible network connections, it is clear that in an implementation these data structures may need to be made dynamic rather than static. The connection record, indexed by NSAP and NCEP_id, consists of a Slave module reference, virtual data connections to the TPMs to be associated with the network connection, a data connection (out) to the NSAP, and a data connection to the Slave. There is also a "state" variable for keeping track of the availability of the connection, variables for managing the Slave and an internal reference number to identify the connection to TPMs. A member of the network connection array associated with a TPM provides the TPM with status information on the network connection and input data (network) events and TPDUs). A considerable amount of management of the network connections is provided by the formal description, including splitting, multiplexing, service quality (when defined), interface flow control, and concatenation of TPDUs. This management is carried out solely by the transport entity, leaving the TPMs free to handle only the explicit transport connection issues. This management scheme is flexible enough that it can be simplified and adapted to handle the NSAP for a connectionless service. The principal issue for management of connectionless NSAPs is that of buffering, particularly if the data transmission rates are high, or there is a large number of transport connections being served. It may also be desirable for the transport entity to monitor the service it is getting from the network. This would entail, for example, periodically computing the mean transmission delays for adjusting timers or to exert backpressure on the transport connections if network access delay rises, indicating loading. (In the formal description, the Slave processor provides a simple form of output buffer management: when its queue exceeds a threshold, it shuts off data from the TPMs associated with it. Through primitive functions, the threshold is loosely correlated with network behavior. However, this mechanism is not intended to be a solution to this difficult performance problem.)
1.2.3 Transport Protocol Machine. Transport Protocol Machines (TPM) in the formal description are in six classes: General, Class 0, Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 and Class 4. Only the General, Class 2 and Class 4 TPMs are discussed here. The reason for this diversity is to facilitate describing class negotiations and to show clearly the actions of each class in the data transfer phase. The General TPM is instantiated when a connection request is received from a transport user or when a CR TPDU is received from a remote peer entity. This TPM is replaced by a class-specific TPM when the connect response is received from the responding user or when the CC TPDU is received from the responding peer entity. The General, Class 2 and Class 4 TPMs are discussed below in more detail. In an implementation, it probably will be prudent to merge the Class 2 and Class 4 operations with that of the General TPM, with new variables selecting the class-specific operation as necessary (see also Part 9.4 for information on obtaining Class 2 operation from a Class 4 implementation). This may simplify and improve the behavior of the implemented protocol overall. 22.214.171.124 General Transport Protocol Machine. Connection negotiation and establishment for all classes can be handled by the General Transport Protocol Machine. Some parts of the description of this TPM are sufficiently class dependent that they can safely be removed if that class is not implemented. Other parts are general and must be retained for proper operation of the TPM. The General TPM handles only connection establishment and negotiation, so that only CR, CC, DR and DC TPDUs are sent or received (the TPE prevents other kinds of TPDUs from reaching the General TPM). Since the General TPM is not instantiated until a T-CONNECT-request or a CR TPDU is received, the TPE creates a special internal connection to the module's TSAP interaction point to pass the T-CONNECT-request event to the TPM. This provides automaton completeness according to the specfication of the protocol. When the TPM is to be replaced by a class-specific TPM, the sent or received CC is copied to the new TPM so that negotiation information is not lost. In the IS 8073 state tables for the various classes, the majority of the behavioral information for the automaton is contained in the connection establishment phase. The editors of the formal description have retained most of the information contained in the state tables of IS 8073 in the description of the General TPM. 126.96.36.199 Class 2 Transport Protocol Machine. The formal description of the Class 2 TPM closely resembles that of
Class 4, in many respects. This is not accidental, in that: the conformance statement in IS 8073 links Class 2 with Class 4; and the editors of the formal description produced the Class 2 TPM description by copying the Class 4 TPM description and removing material on timers, checksums, and the like that is not part of the Class 2 operation. The suggestion of obtaining Class 2 operation from a Class 4 implementation, described in Part 9.4, is in fact based on this adaptation. One feature of Class 2 that does not appear in Class 4, however, is the option to not use end-to-end flow control. In this mode of operation, Class 2 is essentially Class 0 with multiplexing. In fact, the formal description of the Class 0 TPM was derived from Class 2 (in IS 8073, these two classes have essentially identical state tables). This implies that Class 0 operation could be obtained from Class 2 by not multiplexing, not sending DC TPDUs, electing not to use flow control and terminating the network connection when a DR TPDU is received (expedited data cannot be used if flow control is not used). When Class 2 is operated in this mode, a somewhat different procedure is used to handle data flow internal to the TPM than is used when end-to-end flow control is present. 188.8.131.52 Class 4 Transport Protocol Machine. Dynamic queues model the buffering of TPDUs in both the Class 4 and Class 2 TPMs. This provides a more general model of implementations than does the fixed array representation and is easier to describe. Also, the fixed array representation has semantics that, carried into an implementation, would produce inefficiency. Consequently, linked lists with queue management functions make up the TPDU storage description, despite the fact that pointers have a very implementation-like flavor. One of the queue management functions permits removing several TPDUs from the head of the send queue, to model the acknowledgement of several TPDUs at once, as specified in IS 8073. Each TPDU record in the queue carries the number of retransmissions tried, for timer control (not present in the Class 2 TPDU records). There are two states of the Class 4 TPM that do not appear in IS 8073. One of these was put in solely to facilitate obtaining credit in case no credit was granted for the CR or CC TPDU. The other state was put in to clarify operations when there is unacknowledged expedited data outstanding (Class 2 does not have this state). The timers used in the Class 4 TPM are discussed below, as is the description of end-to-end flow control. For simplicity in description, the editors of the formal description assumed that no queueing of expedited data would occur at the user interface of the receiving entity. The user has the capability to block the up-flow of expedited data until it is ready. This
assumption has several implications. First, an ED TPDU cannot be acknowledged until the user is ready to accept it. This is because the receipt of an EA TPDU would indicate to the sending peer that the receiver is ready to receive the next ED TPDU, which would not be true. Second, because of the way normal data flow is blocked by the sending of an ED TPDU, normal data flow ceases until the receiving user is ready for the ED TPDU. This suggests that the user interface should employ separate and noninterfering mechanisms for passing normal and expedited data to the user. Moreover, the mechanism for expedited data passage should be blocked only in dire operational conditions. This means that receipt of expedited data by the user should be a procedure (transition) that operates at nearly the highest priority in the user process. The alternative to describing the expedited data handling in this way would entail a scheme of properly synchronizing the queued ED TPDUs with the DT TPDUs received. This requires some intricate handling of DT and ED sequence numbers. While this alternative may be attractive for implementations, for clarity in the formal description it provides only unnecessary complication. The description of normal data TSDU processing is based on the assumption that the data the T-DATA-request refers to is potentially arbitrarily long. The semantic of the TSDU in this case is analogous to that of a file pointer, in the sense that any file pointer is a reference to a finite but arbitrarily large set of octet-strings. The formation of TPDUs from this string is analogous to reading the file in fixed-length segments--records or blocks, for example. The reassembly of TPDUs into a string is analogous to appending each TPDU to the tail of a file; the file is passed when the end-of-TSDU (end-of-file) is received. This scheme permits conceptual buffering of the entire TSDU in the receiver and avoids the question of whether or not received data can be passed to the user before the EOT is received. (The file pointer may refer to a file owned by the user, so that the question then becomes moot.) The encoding of TPDUs is completely described, using Pascal functions and some special data manipulation functions of Estelle (these are not normally part of Pascal). There is one encoding function corresponding to each TPDU type, rather than a single parameterized function that does all of them. This was done so that the separate structures of the individual types could be readily discerned, since the purpose of the functions is descriptive and not necessarily computational. The output of TPDUs from the TPM is guarded by an internal flow control flag. When the TPDU is first sent, this flag is ignored, since if the TPDU does not get through, a retransmission may take care of it. However, when a retransmission is tried, the flag is heeded and the TPDU is not sent, but the retransmission count is incremented. This guarantees that either the TPDU will eventually be sent or the connection will time out (this despite the fact that
the peer will never have received any TPDU to acknowledge). Checksum computations are done in the TPM rather than by the TPE, since the TPE must handle all classes. Also, if the TPMs can be made to truly run in parallel, the performance may be greatly enhanced. The decoding of received TPDUs is partially described in the Class 4 TPM description. Only the CR and CC TPDUs present any problems in decoding, and these are largely due to the nondeterministic order of parameters in the variable part of the TPDU headers and the locality-and class-dependent content of this variable part. Since contents of this variable part (except the TSAP-IDs) do not affect the association of the TPDU with a transport connection, the decoding of the variable part is not described in detail. Such a description would be very lengthy indeed because of all the possibilities and would not contribute measurably to understanding by the reader. 1.2.4 Network Slave. The primary functions of the Network Slave are to provide downward flow control in the TPE, to concatenate TPDUs into a single NSDU and to respond to the receipt of spurious TPDUs. The Slave has an internal queue on which it keeps TPDUs until the network is ready to accept them for transmission. The TPE is kept informed as to the length of queue, and the output of the TPMs is throttled if the length exceeds this some threshold. This threshold can be adjusted to meet current operating conditions. The Slave will concatenate the TPDUs in its queue if the option to concatenate is exercised and the conditions for concatenating are met. Concatenation is a TPE option, which may be exercised or not at any time. 1.2.5 Timers. In the formal description timers are all modeled using a spontaneous transition with delay, where the delay parameter is the timer period. To activate the timer, a timer identifier is placed into a set, thereby satisfying a predicate of the form provided timer_x in active_timers However, the transition code is not executed until the elapsed time ;from the placement of the identifier in the set is at least equal to the delay parameter. The editors of the formal description chose to model timers in this fashion because it provided a simply expressed description of timer behavior and eliminated having to consider how timing is done in a real system or to provide special timer modules and communication to them. It is thus recommended that implementors not follow the timer model closely in implementations, considering instead the simplest and most efficient means of timing permitted by the implementation environment. Implementors should
also note that the delay parameter is typed "integer" in the formal description. No scale conversion from actual time is expressed in the timer transition, so that this scale conversion must be considered when timers are realized. 184.108.40.206 Transport Protocol Entity timers. There is only one timer given in the formal description of the TPE--the reference timer. The reference timer was placed here ;so that it can be used by all classes and all connections, as needed. There is actually little justification for having a reference timer within the TPM--it wastes resources by holding the transport endpoint, even though the TPM is incapable of responding to any input. Consequently, the TPE is responsible for all aspects of reference management, including the timeouts. 220.127.116.11 Transport Protocol Machine timers. Class 2 transport does not have any timers that are required by IS 8073. However, the standard does recommend that an optional timer be used by Class 2 in certain cases to avoid deadlock. The formal description provides this timer, with comments to justify its usage. It is recommended that such a timer be provided for Class 2 operation. Class 4 transport has several timers for connection control, flow control and retransmissions of unacknowledged data. Each of these timers is discussed briefly below in terms of how they were related to the Class 4 operations in the formal description. Further discussion of these timers is given in Part 8. 18.104.22.168.1 Window timer. The window timer is used for transport connection control as well as providing timely updates of flow control credit information. One of these timers is provided in each TPM. It is reset each time an AK TPDU is sent, except during fast retransmission of AKs for flow control confirmation, when it is disabled. 22.214.171.124.2 Inactivity timer. The primary usage of the inactivity timer is to detect when the remote peer has ceased to send anything (including AK TPDUs). This timer is mandatory when operating over a connectionless network service, since there is no other way to determine whether or not the remote peer is still functioning. On a connection-oriented network service it has an additional usage since to some extent the continued existence of the network connection indicates that the peer host has not crashed. Because of splitting, it is useful to provide an inactivity timer on each network connection to which a TPM is assigned. In this manner, if a network connection is unused for some time, it can be released,
even though a TPM assigned to it continues to operate over other network connections. The formal description provides this capability in each TPM. 126.96.36.199.3 Network connection timer. This timer is an optional timer used to ensure that every network connection to which a TPM is assigned gets used periodically. This prevents the expiration of the peer entity's inactivity timer for a network connection. There is one timer for each network connection to which the TPM is assigned. If there is a DT or ED TPDU waiting to be sent, then it is chosen to be sent on the network connection. If no such TPDU is waiting, then an AK TPDU is sent. Thus, the NC timer serves somewhat the same purpose as the window timer, but is broader in scope. 188.8.131.52.4 Give-up timer. There is one give-up timer for a TPM which is set whenever the retransmission limit for any CR, CC, DT, ED or DR TPDU is reached. Upon expiration of this timer, the transport connection is closed. 184.108.40.206.5 Retransmission timers. Retransmission timers are provided for CR, CC, DT, ED and DR TPDUs. The formal description provides distinct timers for each of these TPDU types, for each TPM. However, this is for clarity in the description, and Part 8.2.5 presents arguments for other strategies to be used in implementations. Also, DT TPDUs with distinct sequence numbers are each provided with timers, as well. There is a primitive function which determines the range within the send window for which timers will be set. This has been done to express flexibility in the retransmission scheme. The flow control confirmation scheme specified in IS 8073 also provides for a "fast" retransmission timer to ensure the reception of an AK TPDU carrying window resynchronization after credit reduction or when opening a window that was previously closed. The formal description permits one such timer for a TPM. It is disabled after the peer entity has confirmed the window information. 220.127.116.11.6 Error transport protocol data unit timer. In IS 8073, there is a provision for an optional timeout to limit the wait for a response by the peer entity to an ER TPDU. When this timer expires, the transport connection is terminated. Each Class 2 or Class 4 TPM is provided with one of these timers in N3756. 1.2.6 End-to-end Flow Control. Flow control in the formal description has been written in such a way
as to permit flexibility in credit control schemes and acknowledgement strategies. 18.104.22.168 Credit control. The credit mechanism in the formal description provides for actual management of credit by the TPE. This is done through variables exported by the TPMs which indicate to the TPE when credit is needed and for the TPE to indicate when credit has been granted. In this manner, the TPE has control over the credit a TPM has. The mechanism allows for reduction in credit (Class 4 only) and the possibility of precipitous window closure. The mechanism does not preclude the use of credit granted by the user or other sources, since credit need is expressed as current credit being less than some threshold. Setting the threshold to zero permits these other schemes. An AK TPDU is sent each time credit is updated. The end-to-end flow control is also coupled to the interface flow control to the user. If the user has blocked the interface up-flow, then the TPM is prohibited from requesting more credit when the current window is used up. 22.214.171.124 Acknowledgement. The mechanism for acknowledging normal data provides flexibility sufficient to send an AK TPDU in response to every Nth DT TPDU received where N > 0 and N may be constant or dynamically determined. Each TPM is provided with this, independent of all other TPMs, so that acknowledgement strategy can be determined separately for each transport connection. The capability of altering the acknowledgement strategy is useful in operation over networks with varying error rates. 126.96.36.199 Sequencing of received data. It is not specified in IS 8073 what must be done with out-of-sequence but within-window DT TPDUs received, except that an AK TPDU with current window and sequence information be sent. There are performance reasons why such DT TPDUs should be held (cached): in particular, avoidance of retransmissions. However, this buffering scheme is complicated to implement and worse to describe formally without resorting to mechanisms too closely resembling implementation. Thus, the formal description mechanism discards such DT TPDUs and relies on retransmission to fill the gaps in the window sequence, for the sake of simplicity in the description. 1.2.7 Expedited data. The transmission of expedited data, as expressed by IS 8073, requires the blockage of normal data transmission until the acknowledgement is received. This is handled in the formal description by providing a
special state in which normal data transmission cannot take place. However, recent experiments with Class 4 transport over network services with high bandwidth, high transit delay and high error rates, undertaken by the NBS and COMSAT Laboratories, have shown that the protocol suffers a marked decline in its performance in such conditions. This situation has been presented to ISO, with the result that the the protocol will be modified to permit the sending of normal data already accepted by the transport entity from the user before the expedited data request but not yet put onto the network. When the modification is incorporated into IS 8073, the formal description will be appropriately aligned.