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TCP Internals

Posted on 1998-01-13
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Last Modified: 2013-12-26
Yes, it's really 400 points. And it's a tough one. :)

I need to know the general design of TCP internals. That is, what in general happens on the TCP level between calls to open and close a socket. How it sends IP datagrams. How it works with SYN / ACK packets etc.

In particular, I am interested in what else TCP is doing other than calling IP API. Allocating memory, obviously. Does it use timers? Other system calls? Interrupts?

There are no books available for me on this topic. So I look for a few pages of explanations. Thanks.
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Question by:simonff
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Expert Comment

by:yonat
ID: 1295913
First of all, get "Interneting with TCP/IP" by Stevens. All three volumes. TCP is in volume I, but all volumes are highly recommended.

As for what the TCP layer does:
1. Collects the "payload" parts of IP packets into a continuous buffer.
2. In order to do 1 above, re-orders any out-of-order IP packets.
3. In order to do 1 above, ensure that no IP packets are missing (usualy using a "moving window", and yes - timers).

For more info on implementing TCP stacks, see another book by Stevens, I think it's called "Unix Networking" or something like this.


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Author Comment

by:simonff
ID: 1295914
Thanks, Yonat. Unfortunately, as I said, I cannot get a hold of any books in time. Ordering them takes about a month here in Moscow, Russia.
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jhance earned 400 total points
ID: 1295915
Have you explored the resources at www.linux.org.  There is a lot of information about how the linux networking stuff works and you can also download complete source code to working tcp/ip protocol drivers.
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Author Comment

by:simonff
ID: 1295916
Thanks, but this information is all high-level, either just describing TCP and IP without delving into the implementation, or telling how to program with sockets.
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Expert Comment

by:yonat
ID: 1295917
Ah you want to program with sockets - go to www.sockets.com (It is MS Windows specific). They have lots of docus and sample programs.

BTW, the second Stevens book I mentioned is called "Unix Network Programming", and it is very recommended. I'm sure you can find these books in any university library.
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