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TCP Message Formatting and Data Transfer
previous section described how two devices
using the Transmission Control Protocol establish a TCP connection,
as well as how that connection is managed and eventually terminated.
While connections are a key part of how TCP works, they are really a
means to the ultimate end of the protocol: sending data. Employing the
TCP sliding window mechanism, a special segment format and several features,
TCP devices are able to package and send data over the connection, enabling
applications to communicate.
In this section, I describe the actual
mechanism by which TCP messages are formatted and data is transferred
between devices. I begin with a look at the important TCP segment format,
which describes the fields in each TCP message and how they are used.
I provide a description of the method used to calculate the checksum
in TCP (as well as UDP) messages, and the reason why a special pseudo
header is used. I discuss the Maximum Segment Size (MSS) parameter
and its significance. I then talk about exactly how the sliding window
mechanism is used to transfer and acknowledge data. I conclude with
a description of two special data transfer features: the push
feature for immediate data transfer, and the urgent feature
for priority data transfer.
Background Information: This section assumes that you are already familiar with TCP concepts such as sequence numbers, segments, and the basics of the TCP sliding window mechanism. If you are not, Id strongly recommend reading the TCP fundamentals section before proceeding here.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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