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FTP Concepts and General Operation
The developers of the File Transfer
Protocol (FTP) had to balance the need for a rich set of functionality
with the desire for a protocol that was as simple and easy to implement
as possible. FTP is therefore not nearly as simple as its little
brother, the Trivial
File Transfer Protocol (TFTP), but given
what the protocol can do, it's much less complicated than one might
expect. The operation of the protocol can in fact be broken down into
a number of rather straight-forward elements that work together to establish
connections and pass commands and data.
In this section I describe the most
important concepts behind the File Transfer Protocol and explain its
operation in general terms. I begin with a discussion of the FTP communication
and operational model, which shows the internal components of the protocol
and how they communicate over the internetwork. I describe the process
by which FTP control connections are established, and how user authentication
is performed. I explain the two main methods of creating data connections
(normal and passive) and discuss the issues that pertain to when each
is used. I then describe how FTP communication works in general and
the various transmission modes. I conclude with a discussion of the
different options for data representation used for files sent with FTP.
Related Information: In this section I will make limited mention of commands used to communicate between an FTP client and server. The details of FTP commands can be found in a separate section.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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