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RFC 916 - Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol (RATP)


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Network Working Group                                            G. Finn
Request for Comments: 916                                            ISI
                                                            October 1984

             RELIABLE ASYNCHRONOUS TRANSFER PROTOCOL (RATP)

Status of This Memo

   This RFC suggests a proposed protocol for the ARPA-Internet
   community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

   This paper proposes and specifies a protocol which allows two
   programs to reliably communicate over a communication link.  It
   ensures that the data entering one end of the link if received
   arrives at the other end intact and unaltered.  The protocol, named
   RATP, is designed to operate over a full duplex point-to-point
   connection.  It contains some features which tailor it to the RS-232
   links now in common use.

Introduction

   We are witnessing today an explosive growth in the small or personal
   computer market.  Such inexpensive computers are not normally
   connected to a computer network.  They are most likely stand-alone
   devices.  But virtually all of them have an RS-232 interface.  They
   also usually have a modem.  This allows them to communicate over the
   telephone with any other similarly equipped computer.

   The telephone system is a pervasive network, but one of the
   characteristics of the telephone system is the unpredictable quality
   of the circuit.  The standard telephone circuit is designed for voice
   communication and not data communication.  Voice communication
   tolerates a much higher degree of 'noise' than does a data circuit,
   so a voice circuit is tolerant of a much higher level of noise than
   is a data circuit.  Thus it is not uncommon for a byte of data
   transferred over a telephone circuit to have noise inserted.  For the
   same reason it is also not uncommon to have spurious data bytes added
   to the data stream.

   The need for a method of reliably transferring data over an RS-232
   point-to-point link has become severe.  As the number of powerful
   personal computers grows, the need for them to communicate with one
   another grows as well.  The new markets and new services that these
   computers will eventually allow their users to access will rely
   heavily upon the telephone system.  Services like electronic mail,
   electronic banking, ordering merchandise from home with a personal
   computer, etc.  As the information revolution proceeds data itself
   will become a commodity.  All require accuracy of the data sent or
   received.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

1. Philosopy of Design

   Many tradeoffs were made in designing this protocol.  Decisions were
   made by above all ensuring reliability and then by favoring
   simplicity of implementation.  It is hoped that this protocol is
   simple enough to be implemented not only by small computers but also
   by stand alone devices incorporating microcomputers which accept
   commands over RS-232 lines.  Sophisticated but unnecessary features
   such as dynamic window management [TCP 81] were left out for
   simplicity's sake.  Having several packets outstanding at a time was
   eliminated for the same reason, and data queued to send when a
   connection is closed remotely is discarded.  This eliminates two
   states from the protocol implementation.

   The reader may ask why define this protocol at all, there are after
   all already RS-232 transport protocols in use.  This is true but some
   lack one or more features vitally important or are too complex.  See
   Appendix II for a brief survey.

      - A protocol which can only transfer data in one direction is
        unable to use a single RS-232 link for a full-duplex connection.
        As such it cannot act as a bridge between most computer
        networks.  Also it is not capable of supporting any applications
        requiring the two-way exchange of data.  In particular it is not
        a platform suitable for the creation of most higher level
        applications.  Unidirectional flow of data is sufficient for a
        weak implementation of file transfer but insufficient for remote
        terminal service, transaction oriented processing, etc.

      - Some of the existing RS-232 transport protocols allow the use of
        only fixed size packets or do not allow the receiver to place a
        limit on the sender's packets.  Where that block size is too
        large for the receiving end concentrator, that concentrator is
        likely to immediately invoke flow control.  This results in many
        dropped and damaged packets.  The receiver must be able to
        inform the sender at connection initiation what is the maximum
        packet size it is prepared to receive.

      - Some protocols have a number of features which may or may not be
        implemented at each site.  Examples are, several checksumming
        algorithms, differing data transmission restrictions, sometimes
        8-bit data, sometimes restricted ASCII subsets, etc.  The
        resulting requirement that all sites implement all the various
        features is rarely met.

   Finally, the size of this document may be imposing.  The document
   attempts to fully specify the behavior of the protocol.  A careful

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

   exposition of the protocol's behavior under all circumstances is
   necessary to answer any questions an implementor might have, to make
   it possible to verify the protocol, etc.  This size of this
   specification should not be taken as an indication of the difficulty
   of implementing it.

   1.1. The Host Environment

      This protocol is designed to operate on any point-to-point
      communication link capable of transmitting and receiving data.  It
      is not necessary that the link be asynchronous.  Because neither
      end of a connection has control over when the other decides to
      transmit, the link should be full duplex.  It is expected that in
      the vast majority of circumstances an asynchronous full-duplex
      RS-232 link will be used.

      In practice this protocol could reside anywhere from the RS-232
      driver software on a microcomputer in a concentrator all the way
      to the user software level.  Ideally it properly resides inside
      the host operating system or concentrator.  It should be an option
      associated with communication link which is selectable by the user
      program.  If reliable data transmission were of great importance
      then the software would choose the option.  Once the option were
      chosen the initial connection handshaking would begin.

      There are many cases where this protocol will not reside in a host
      operating system (initially this will always be so).  In addition
      there are many pieces of stand-alone equipment which accept
      commands over an RS-232 link.  A plotter is such an example.  To
      have a several hour plot ruined by noise on an unreliable data
      line is an all too often occurrence.  The sending and receiving
      sides of the protocol should be as simple as possible allowing
      applications software and stand alone devices to utilize the
      protocol with little penalty of time or space.

   1.2. Relation to Other Protocols

      The "layering" concept has become the accepted way of designing
      communications protocols.  Because this protocol will operate in a
      point-to-point environment it comprises both the datagram and
      reliable connection layers.  No multi-network capability is
      implied.  Where a link using this protocol bridges differing
      networks it is expected that other protocols like TCP will have
      their packets fragmented and encapsulated inside the packets of
      this protocol.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

2. Packet Specification

   RATP transmits data over a full-duplex communication link.  Data may
   be transmitted in both directions over the link.  A stream of data is
   communicated by being broken up into 8-bit pieces called octets.
   These octets are serially accumulated to form a packet.  The packet
   is the unit of data communicated over the link.  The protocol
   virtually guarantees that the data transmitted at one end, if
   received, arrives unaltered and intact at the other end.

   Within an octet all eight bits contain data.  All eight bits must be
   preserved by the link interface and associated device driver.  In
   many operating systems this is ensured by placing the connection into
   RAW or BINARY data mode.  During normal operation packets are
   transmitted and acknowledged one at a time over the link in each
   direction.  Each packet is composed of a HEADER followed by a DATA
   portion.  The DATA portion may be empty.

      NOTE: There are some older operating systems and devices which do
      not permit 8-bit communication over an RS-232 link.  Most of these
      allow restricted 7-bit communication.  RATP can automatically
      detect this situation during connection initiation and utilizes a
      special packing strategy when full 8-bit communication is not
      possible.  This is entirely transparent to any client software.
      See Appendix I for a discussion of this case.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

   2.1. Header Format

      Byte No.

             +-------------------------------+
             |                               |
         1   |          Synch Leader         | Hex 01
             |                               |
             +-------------------------------+
             | S | A | F | R | S | A | E | S |
         2   | Y | C | I | S | N | N | O | O | Control
             | N | K | N | T |   |   | R |   |
             +-------------------------------+
             |                               |
         3   |      Data length (0-255)      |
             |                               |
             +-------------------------------+
             |                               |
         4   |        Header Checksum        |
             |                               |
             +-------------------------------+

                       Header Portion of a Packet

      2.1.1. Synch Leader

         RS-232 provides a self-clocking communications medium.  The
         wires over which data flows are often placed in 'noisy'
         environments where the noise can appear as added unwanted data.
         For this reason the beginning of a packet is denoted by a one
         octet SYNCH pattern.  This allows the receiver to discard noise
         which appears on the connection prior to the reception of a
         packet.  The SYNCH pattern is defined to be the one octet hex
         01, the ASCII Start Of Header character <SOH>.

         The SYNCH pattern should ideally be unlikely to occur as the
         result of noise.  Differing modems, etc. have differing
         responses to noise so this is hard to achieve.  The pattern
         chosen is thought to be a good compromise since many modems
         manifest noise by setting the high order bits.  Situations will
         occur in which receiver is scanning for the beginning of a
         packet and a spurious SYNCH pattern is seen.  To detect
         situations of this type a header checksum is provided (see
         below).

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      2.1.2. Control Bits

         The first octet following the SYNCH pattern contains a 5-bit
         field of control flags and two 1-bit sequence number fields.
         The last bit is reserved and must be zero.

         2.1.2.1. SYN - Synchronize Flag

            Synchronize the connection.  No data may be sent in a packet
            which has the SYN flag set.

         2.1.2.2. ACK - Acknowledge Flag

            Acknowledge number is significant.  Data may accompany a
            packet which has this flag set as long as neither of SYN,
            RST, nor FIN are also set.  Once a connection has been
            established this is always set.

         2.1.2.3. RST - Reset Flag

            Reset the connection.  This is a method by which one end of
            a connection can reset the other when an anomalous condition
            is detected.  No data may be sent in a packet which has the
            RST flag set.

         2.1.2.4. FIN - Finishing Flag

            This indicates that no more data will be sent to the other
            end of the connection.  It also indicates that no more data
            will be accepted.  No data may be sent in a packet which has
            the FIN flag set.

         2.1.2.5. SN - Sequence Number

            The Sequence Number associated with this packet.

         2.1.2.6. AN - Acknowledge Number

            If the ACK control flag is set this is the next Sequence
            Number the sender of the packet is expecting to receive.

         2.1.2.7. EOR - End of Record

            This bit is provided as an aid for higher level protocols
            which may need to fragment their packets.  The Internet
            protocol for example often uses packets as large as 576
            octets.  A packet of such size would require fragmentation

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

            when transported using this protocol. The EOR bit if set
            provides information to the higher level that a record is
            terminated in this packet.  It is for information only and
            is the responsibility of the higher level to set/clear it
            when building packets to send.  The interface to the
            protocol must provide a method of reading/setting/clearing
            this bit.

         2.1.2.8. SO - Single Octet

            One application thought to be of special importance is
            single character transmission --- a user communicates from
            the keyboard of a personal computer to another computer over
            an unreliable link.  Since rapid interactive response is
            desirable it is expected that many of the characters typed
            will be transmitted individually.  To minimize the overhead
            of this special case the SO control flag is provided.

            The SO flag has no meaning if either the SYN, RST, or FIN
            flags are set.  Assume none of those flags are set, then if
            the SO flag is set it indicates that a single octet of data
            is contained in this packet. Since the amount of data is
            known to be one octet the LENGTH field is superfluous and
            itself contains the data octet.  The data portion of the
            packet is not transmitted.

            The SO flag removes the need to transmit the data portion of
            the packet in this special case.  Without the SO flag seven
            octets would be required of the packet, with it only four
            are needed and so transmission efficiency is improved by 40
            percent.  The header checksum protects the single octet of
            data.

      2.1.3. Length

         The second octet following the SYNCH pattern holds length
         information.  If the SYN bit is present this contains the
         maximum number of data octets the receiver is allowed to
         transmit in any single packet to the sender.  This quantity is
         called the MDL.  A sender may indicate his unwillingness to
         accept any data octets by specifying an MDL of zero.  In this
         case presumably all the data would be moving from the sender to
         the receiver.  Obviously if data is to be transmitted both
         sides of a connection cannot have an MDL of zero.

         If neither the SYN, RST, nor FIN flags are set this is an 8-bit
         field called LENGTH.  In this case if the SO flag bit is set

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

         then LENGTH contains a single octet of data.  Otherwise it
         contains the count of data octets in this packet.  From zero
         (0) to MDL octets of data may appear in a single packet.  MDL
         is limited to a maximum of 255.

      2.1.4. Header Checksum

         The header checksum algorithm is the 8-bit equivalent of the
         16-bit data checksum detailed below.  It is built and processed
         in an similar manner but is eight bits wide instead of sixteen.
         When sending the header checksum octet is initially cleared.
         An 8-bit sum of the control, length, and header checksum octets
         is formed employing end-around carry.  That sum is then
         complemented and stored in the header checksum octet.  Upon
         receipt the 8-bit end-around carry sum is formed of the same
         three octets.  If the sum is octal 377 the header is presumed
         to be valid.  In all other cases the header is assumed to be
         invalid.

         The reasons for providing this separate protection to the
         header are discussed in the chapter dealing with error
         handling.  The header checksum covers the control and data
         length octets.  It does not include the SYNCH pattern.

   2.2. Data Format

      The data portion of a packet immediately follows the header if the
      SO flag is not set and LENGTH > 0.  It consists of LENGTH data
      octets  immediately followed by two data checksum octets.  If
      present the data portion contains LENGTH+2 octets.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      Data Byte No.

                  +-------------------------------+
         1        |                               | High order \
                  +--                           --+             > Word
         2        |                               | Low order  /
                  +--                           --+
         .        |            Data               | High order \
                  +--                           --+             > Word
         .        |                               | Low order  /
                  +--                           --+
         LENGTH   |                               | High order \
                  +-------------------------------+             > Word
                  |   Imaginary padding octet 0   | Low order  /
                  +-------------------------------+
         LENGTH+1 |                               | High order \
                  +--       Data Checksum       --+             > Word
         LENGTH+2 |                               | Low order  /
                  +-------------------------------+

                        Data Portion of a Packet

      2.2.1. Data Checksum

         The last two octets of the data portion of a packet are a data
         checksum.  A 16-bit checksum is used by this protocol to detect
         incorrectly transmitted data.  This has shown itself to be a
         reliable method for detecting most categories of bit drop out
         and bit insertion.  While it does not guarantee the detection
         of all such errors the probability of such an error going
         undetected is on the order of 2**(-16).

         The checksum octets follow the data to enable the sender of a
         packet to compute the checksum while transmitting a packet and
         the receiver to compute the checksum while receiving the
         packet.  Thus neither must store the packet and then process
         the data for checksumming in a separate pass.

         Order of Transmission

            The order in which the 8-bit octets are assembled into
            16-bit words, which is the low order octet and which is the
            high, must be rigidly specified for the purpose of computing
            16-bit checksums.  We specify the big endian ordering in the
            diagram above [Cohen 81].

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

         Checksum Algorithm

            The checksum algorithm chosen is similar to that used by
            IP/TCP protocols [IP 81] [TCP 81].  This algorithm has shown
            itself to be both reliable and relatively easy to compute.
            The interested reader may refer to [TCP Checksum 78] for a
            more thorough discussion of its properties.

         The checksum algorithm is:

            SENDER

               The unsigned sum of the 16-bit words of the data portion
               of the packet is formed.  Any overflow is added into the
               lowest order bit.  This sum does not include the header
               portion of the packet.  For the purpose of building a
               packet for transmission the two octet checksum field is
               zero.  The sum formed is then bit complemented and
               inserted into the checksum field before transmission.

               If the total number of data octets is odd then the last
               octet is padded to the right (low order) with zeros to
               form a 16-bit word for checksum purposes.  This pad octet
               is not transmitted as part of the packet.

            RECEIVER

               The sum is computed as above but including the values
               received in the checksum field.  If the 16-bit sum is
               octal 177777 then the data is presumed to be valid.  In
               all other cases the data is presumed to be invalid.

         This unsigned 16-bit sum adds 16-bit quantities with any
         overflow bit added into the lowest order bit of the sum.  This
         is called 'end around carry'.  End around carry addition
         provides several properties: 1) It provides full commutivity of
         addition (summing in any order is equivalent), and 2) If you
         apply a given rotation to each quantity before addition and
         when the final total is formed apply the inverse rotation, then
         the result will be equivalent to any other rotation chosen.
         The latter property gives little endian machines like a PDP-11
         the go ahead to pick up 16-bit quantities and add them in byte
         swapped order.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

            The PDP-11 code to calculate the checksum is:

                     CLR R0         ; R0 will get the checksum
                                    ; R2 contains LENGTH count
               LOOP: ADD (R1)+,R0   ; Add the next 16-bit byte
                     ADC R0         ; Make any carry be end around
                     SOB R2,LOOP    ; Loop over entire packet
                     COM R0         ; Bit complement result

   2.3. Sequence Numbers

      Sequence numbers work with acknowledge numbers to inform the
      sender that his last data packet was received, and to inform the
      receiver of the sequence number of the next data packet it expects
      to see.  When the ACK flag is set in a packet the AN field
      contains the sequence number of the next data packet it expects
      from the sender.  The sender looks at the AN field and by
      implication knows that the packet he just sent should have had a
      sequence number of:

         <AN received-1 modulo 2>

      If it did have that number that packet is considered to have been
      acknowledged.

      Similarly, the receiver expects the next data packet it sees to
      have an SN field value equal to the AN field of the last
      acknowledge message it sent.  If this is not the case then the
      receiver assumes that it is receiving a duplicate of a data packet
      it earlier acknowledged.  This implies that the packet containing
      the acknowledgment did not arrive and therefor the packet that
      contained the acknowledgment should be retransmitted.  The
      duplicate data packet is discarded.

      The only packets which require acknowledgment are packets
      containing status flags (SYN, RST, FIN, or SO) or data.  A packet
      which contains only an acknowledgment, i.e. <AN=n><CTL=ACK>, does
      not require a response (it contains no status flags or data).

      Both the AN and SN fields are a single bit wide.  Since at most
      one packet is in the process of being sent/acknowledged in a
      particular direction at any one time a single bit is sufficient to
      provide a method of duplicate packet detection and removal of a
      packet from the retransmission queue.  The arithmetic to advance
      these numbers is modulo 2.  Thus when a data packet has been
      acknowledged the sender's next sequence number will be the current
      one, plus one modulo 2:

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

         <SN = SN + 1 modulo 2>

      The individual acknowledgment of each packet containing data can
      mislead one into thinking that side A of a connection cannot send
      data to side B until it receives a packet from B. That only then
      can it acknowledge B's packet and place in the acknowledging
      packet some data of its own.  This is not the case.

      As long as its last packet sent requiring a response has been
      acknowledged each side of a connection is free to send a data
      packet whenever it wishes.  Naturally, if one side is sending a
      data packet and it also must acknowledge receipt of a data packet
      from the other side, it is most efficient to combine both
      functions in a single packet.

   2.4. Maximum Packet Size

      The maximum packet size is:

         SYNCH + HEADER + Data Checksum + 255 = 261 octets

      There is therefor no need to allocate more than that amount of
      storage for any received packets.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

3. The Opening and Closing of a Connection

   3.1. Opening a Connection

      A "three-way handshake" is the procedure used to establish a
      connection.  It is normally initiated by one end of the connection
      and responded to by the other.  It will still work if both sides
      simultaneously initiate the procedure.  Experience has shown that
      this strategy of opening a connection reduces the probability of
      false connections to an acceptably low level.

      The simplest form of the three-way handshake is illustrated in the
      diagram below.  The time order is line by line from top to bottom
      with certain lines numbered for reference.  User events are placed
      in brackets as in [OPEN].  An arrow (-->) represents the direction
      of flow of a packet and an ellipsis (...) indicates a packet in
      transit.  Side A and side B are the two ends of the connection.
      An "XXX" indicates a packet which is lost or rejected.  The
      contents of the packet are shown on the center of each line.  The
      state of both connections is that caused by the departure or
      arrival of the packet represented on the line.  The contents of
      the data portion of a packet are left out for clarity.

      Side A                                             Side B

      1. CLOSED                                          LISTEN

      2. [OPEN request]
          SYN-SENT ->   <SN=0><CTL=SYN><MDL=n>     ...

      3.                                           -->   SYN-RECEIVED
              ... <SN=0><AN=1><CTL=SYN,ACK><MDL=m> <--

      4. ESTABLISHED <--
              -->    <SN=1><AN=1><CTL=ACK><DATA>   ...

      5.                                           -->   ESTABLISHED

      In line 2 above the user at side A has requested that a connection
      be opened.  Side A then attempts to open a connection by sending a
      SYN packet to side B which is in the LISTEN state.  It specifies
      its initial sequence number, here zero.  It places in the LENGTH
      field of the header the largest number of data octets it can
      consume in any one packet (MDL).  The MDL is normally positive.
      The action of sending this packet places A in the SYN-SENT state.

      In line 3 side B has just received the SYN packet from A. This

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      places B in the SYN-RECEIVED state.  B now sends a SYN packet to A
      which acknowledges the SYN it just received from A. Note that the
      AN field indicates B is now expecting to hear SN=1, thus
      acknowledging the SYN packet from A which used SN=0.  B also
      specifies in the LENGTH field the largest number of data octets it
      is prepared to consume.

      Side A receives the SYN packet from B which acknowledges A's
      original SYN packet in line 4.  This places A in the ESTABLISHED
      state.  Side A can now be confident that B expects to receive more
      packets from A.

      A is now free to send B the first DATA packet.  In line 5 upon
      receipt of this packet side B is placed into the ESTABLISHED
      state.  DATA cannot be sent until the sender is in the ESTABLISHED
      state.  This is because the LENGTH field is used to specify the
      MDL when opening the connection.

   3.2. Recovering from a Simultaneous Active OPEN

      It is of course possible that both ends of a connection may choose
      to  perform an active OPEN simultaneously.  In this case neither
      end of the connection is in the LISTEN state, both send SYN
      packets.  A reliable bidirectional protocol must recover from this
      situation.  It should recover in such a manner that the connection
      is successfully initiated.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      Side A                                             Side B

      1. CLOSED                                          CLOSED

      2. [OPEN request]
         SYN-SENT -->  <SN=0><CTL=SYN><MDL=n>       ...

      3.     ...                                         [OPEN request]
                       <SN=0><CTL=SYN><MDL=m>       <--  SYN-SENT

      4.                                            -->  SYN-RECEIVED
             ...  <SN=0><AN=1><CTL=SYN,ACK><MDL=m>  <--

      5. (packet finally arrives)
         SYN-RECEIVED  <--  <SN=0><CTL=SYN><MDL=m>

             -->  <SN=0><AN=1><CTL=SYN,ACK><MDL=n>  -->  ESTABLISHED
              ...       <SN=1><AN=1><CTL=ACK>       <--

      6. (packet finally arrives)
         ESTABLISHED <-- <SN=0><AN=1><CTL=SYN,ACK><MDL=m>
                     -->   <SN=1><AN=1><CTL=ACK>    ...

      During simultaneous connection both  sides  of  the  connection
      cycle  from  the CLOSED state through SYN-SENT to SYN-RECEIVED,
      and finally to ESTABLISHED.

   3.3. Detecting a Half-Open Connection

      Any computer may crash after a connection has been established.
      After recovering from the crash it may attempt to open a new
      connection.  The other end must be able to detect this condition
      and treat it as an error.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      Side A                                             Side

      1. ESTABLISHED                                     ESTABLISHED

                -->   <SN=0><AN=1><CTL=ACK><DATA>  ...
                                                   -->
      (crashes)

      2.        XXX   <SN=1><AN=1><CTL=ACK><DATA>  <--

      3. (attempts to open new connection )
                -->    <SN=0><CTL=SYN><MDL=m>      -->
                ...  <SN=0><AN=1><CTL=RST,ACK>     <--   (abort)
                                                         CLOSED

      4.        <--
      (connection refused)
         CLOSED

   3.4. Closing a Connection

      Either side may choose to close an established connection.  This
      is accomplished by sending a packet with the FIN  control bit set.
      No  data may appear in a FIN packet.  The other end of the
      connection responds by shutting down its end of the connection and
      sending a FIN, ACK in response.

      Side A                                             Side B

      1. ESTABLISHED                                     ESTABLISHED

      2. [CLOSE request from user]
         FIN-WAIT  -->     <SN=0><AN=1><CTL=FIN>    ...

      3.                                            -->  LAST-ACK
                   ...   <SN=1><AN=1><CTL=FIN,ACK>  <--

      4. TIME-WAIT <--
                   -->     <SN=1><AN=0><CTL=ACK>    ...

      5.                                            -->  CLOSED

      6. (after 2*SRTT time passes)
         CLOSED

      In line 2 the user on side A of the fully opened connection has
      decided to close it down by issuing a CLOSE call.  No more data

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      will be accepted for sending.  If data remains unsent a message
      "Warning: Unsent data remains." is communicated to the user.  No
      more data will be received.  A packet containing a FIN but no data
      is constructed and sent.  Side A goes into the FIN-WAIT state.

      Side B sees the FIN sent and immediately builds a FIN, ACK packet
      in response.  It then goes into the LAST-ACK state.  The FIN, ACK
      packet is received by side A and an answering ACK is immediately
      sent.  Side A then goes to the TIME-WAIT state.  In line 5 side B
      receives the final acknowledgment of its FIN, ACK packet and goes
      to the CLOSED state.  In line 6 after waiting to be sure its last
      acknowledgment was received side A goes to the CLOSED state (SRTT
      is the Smoothed Round Trip Time and is defined in section 6.3.1).

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4. Packet Reception

   The act of receiving a packet is relatively straightforward.  There
   are a few points which deserve some discussion.  This chapter will
   discuss packet reception stage by stage in time order.

   Synch Detection

      The first stage in the reception of a packet is the discovery of a
      SYNCH pattern.  Octets are read continuously and discarded until
      the SYNCH pattern is seen.  Once SYNCH has been observed proceed
      to the Header Reception stage.

   Header Reception

      The remainder of the header is three octets in length.  No further
      processing can continue until the complete header has been read.
      Once read the header checksum test is performed.  If this test
      fails it is assumed that the current SYNCH pattern was the result
      of a data error.  Since the correct SYNCH may appear immediately
      after the current one, go back to the Synch Detection stage but
      treat the three octets of the header following the bad SYNCH as
      new input.

      If the header checksum test succeeds then proceed to the Data
      Reception stage.

   Data Reception

      A determination of the remaining length of the packet is made.  If
      either of the SYN, RST, SO, or FIN flags are set then legally the
      entire packet has already been read and it is considered to have
      'arrived'.  No data portion of a packet is present when one of
      those flags is set.  Otherwise the LENGTH field specifies the
      remaining amount of data to read.  In this case if the LENGTH
      field is zero then the packet contains no data portion and it is
      considered to have arrived.

      We now assume that a data portion is present and LENGTH was
      non-zero.  Counting the data checksum LENGTH+2 octets must now be
      read.  Once read the data checksum test is performed.  If this
      test fails the entire packet is discarded, return to the Synch
      Detection stage.  If the test succeeds then the packet is
      considered to have arrived.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

   Once arrived the packet is released to the upper level protocol
   software.  In a multiprocess implementation packet reception would
   now begin again at the Synch Detection stage.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

5. Functional Specification

   A convenient model for the discussion and implementation of protocols
   is that of a state machine.  A connection can be thought of as
   passing through a variety of states, with possible error conditions,
   from its inception until it is closed.  In such a model each state
   represents a known point in the history of a connection.  The
   connection passes from state to state in response to events.  These
   events are caused by user calls to the protocol interface (a request
   to open or close a connection, data to send, etc.), incoming packets,
   and timeouts.

   Information about a connection must be maintained at both ends of
   that connection.  Following the terminology of [TCP 81] the
   information necessary to the successful operation of a connection is
   called the Transmission Control Block or TCB.  The user requests to
   the protocol interface are OPEN, SEND, RECEIVE, ABORT, STATUS, and
   CLOSE.

   This chapter is broken up into three parts.  First a brief
   description of each protocol state will be presented.  Following this
   is a slightly more detailed look at the allowed transitions which
   occur between states.  Finally a detailed discussion of the behavior
   of each state is given.

   5.1. Protocol States

      The states used to describe this protocol are:

         LISTEN

            This state represents waiting for a connection from the
            other end of the link.

         SYN-SENT

            This represents waiting for a matching connection request
            after having sent a connection request.

         SYN-RECEIVED

            This represents waiting for a confirming connection request
            acknowledgment after having both received and sent a
            connection request.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

         ESTABLISHED

            This state represents a connection fully opened at both
            ends.  This is the normal state for data transfer.

         FIN-WAIT

            In this state one is waiting for a connection termination
            request from the other end of the connection and an
            acknowledgment of a termination request previously sent.

         LAST-ACK

            This end of the connection has seen and acknowledged a
            termination request from the other end.  This end has
            responded with a termination request of its own and is now
            expecting an acknowledgment of that request.

         CLOSING

            This represents waiting for an acknowledgment of a
            connection termination request.

         TIME-WAIT

            This represents waiting for enough time to pass to be sure
            that the other end of the connection received the
            acknowledgment of its termination request.

         CLOSED

            A fictional state which represents a completely terminated
            connection.  If either end of a connection is in this state
            it will neither send nor receive data or control packets.

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   5.2. State Transitions

      This section describes events which cause the protocol to depart
      from its current state.  A brief mention of each state is
      accompanied by a list of departure events and to which state the
      protocol goes as a result of those events.  Departures due to the
      presence of a RST flag are not shown.

      5.2.1. LISTEN

         This is a request to listen for any connection from the other
         end of the link.  In this state, no packets are sent.  The
         connection may be thought of as half-open.  A STATUS request
         will return to the caller this information.

         Arrived at from the CLOSED state in response to a passive OPEN.
         In a passive OPEN no packets are sent, the interface is waiting
         for the initiation of a connection from the other end of the
         link.  Also this state can be reached in certain cases in
         response to an RST connection reset request.

         Departures

            - A CLOSE request is made by the user.  Delete the half-open
              TCB and go to the CLOSED state.

            - A packet arrives with the SYN flag set.  Retrieve the
              sender's MDL he placed into the LENGTH field.  Set AN to
              be received SN+1 modulo 2.  Build a response packet with
              SYN, ACK set.  Choose your MDL and place it into the
              LENGTH octet.  Choose your initial SN, place in AN.  Send
              this packet and go to the SYN-RECEIVED state.

      5.2.2. SYN-SENT

         Arrived at from the CLOSED state in response to a user's active
         OPEN request.

         Departures

            - A CLOSE request is made by the user.  Delete the TCB and
              go to the CLOSED state.

            - A packet arrives with the SYN flag set.  Retrieve the
              sender's MDL he placed into the LENGTH field.  Set AN to

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

              be received SN+1 modulo 2.  Build a response packet with
              ACK set, place in AN.  Send this packet and go to the
              SYN-RECEIVED state.

            - A packet arrives with the SYN, ACK flags set.  Retrieve
              the sender's MDL he placed into the LENGTH field.  Set AN
              to be received SN+1 modulo 2.  Build a response packet
              with ACK set.  Set SN to be SN+1 modulo 2, place SN and AN
              into the header.  Remembering the other end's MDL, build
              data portion of packet.  Send this packet and go to the
              ESTABLISHED state.

      5.2.3. SYN-RECEIVED

         Arrived at from the LISTEN and SYN-SENT states in response to
         an arriving SYN packet.

         Departures

            - A CLOSE request is made by the user.  Create a packet with
              FIN set.  Send it and go to the FIN-WAIT state.

            - A packet arrives with the ACK flag set.  This packet
              acknowledges a previous SYN packet.  Go to the ESTABLISHED
              state.  The TCB should now note the connection is fully
              opened.

            - A packet arrives with the FIN flag set.  The other end has
              decided to close the connection.  Create a packet with
              FIN, ACK set.  Send it and go to the LAST-ACK state.

      5.2.4. ESTABLISHED

         This state is the normal state for a connection.  Data packets
         may be exchanged in both directions (MDL allowing).  It is
         arrived at from the SYN-RECEIVED and SYN-SENT states in
         response to the completion of connection initiation.

         Departures

            - In response to a CLOSE request from the user.  Set AN to
              be most recently received SN+1 modulo 2.  Build a packet
              with FIN set.  Set SN to be SN+1 modulo 2, place SN and AN
              into the header and send the packet.  Go to the FIN-WAIT
              state.

            - A packet containing a FIN is received.  Set AN to be

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

              received SN+1 modulo 2.  Build a response packet with both
              FIN and ACK set.  Set SN to be SN+1 modulo 2, place SN and
              AN into the header.  No data portion is built.  Send this
              packet and go to the LAST-ACK state.

      5.2.5. FIN-WAIT

         Arrived at from either the SYN-RECEIVED state or from the
         ESTABLISHED state.  In both cases the user had requested a
         CLOSE of the connection and a packet with a FIN was sent.

         Departures

            - A FIN, ACK packet is received which acknowledges the FIN
              just sent.  Go to the TIME-WAIT state.

            - A FIN packet is received which indicates the other end of
              the connection has simultaneously decided to close.  Set
              AN=received SN+1 modulo 2, and SN=SN+1 modulo 2.  Send a
              response packet with the ACK set.  Go to the CLOSING
              state.

      5.2.6. LAST-ACK

         Arrived at from the ESTABLISHED and SYN-RECEIVED states.

         Departures

            - An ACK is received for the last packet sent which was a
              FIN.  Delete the TCB and go to the CLOSED state.

      5.2.7. CLOSING

         Arrived at from the FIN-WAIT state.

         Departures

            - An ACK is received for the last packet sent which was a
              FIN.  Go to the TIME-WAIT state.

      5.2.8. TIME-WAIT

         Arrived at from the FIN-WAIT and CLOSING states.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

         Departures

            - This states waits until 2*SRTT time has passed.  It then
              deletes the TCB associated with the connection and goes to
              the CLOSED state.

      5.2.9. CLOSED

         This state can be arrived at for a number of reasons: 1) while
         in the LISTEN state the user requests a CLOSE, 2) while in the
         SYN-SENT state the user requests a CLOSE, 3) while in the
         TIME-WAIT state the 2*SRTT time period has elapsed, and 4)
         while in the LAST-ACK state an arriving packet has an ACK of
         the previously sent FIN packet.

         In this state no data is read or sent over the link.  To leave
         this state requires an outside request to open a new
         connection.

         Departures

            - User requests an active OPEN.  Create a packet with SYN
              set.  Choose your MDL and place it into the LENGTH octet.
              Choose your initial SN.  AN is immaterial.  Send this
              packet and go to the SYN-SENT state.  The TCB for this
              connection is created.  The connection may be thought of
              as half-open.  A STATUS request will return to the caller
              this information.

            - User requests a passive OPEN.  The TCB for this connection
              is created.  The connection may be thought of as
              half-open.  A STATUS request will return to the caller
              this information.  Go to the LISTEN state.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

   5.3. State Behavior

      This section discusses in detail the behavior of each state in
      response to the arrival of a packet.  In what follows a packet is
      not considered to have arrived until it has passed a number of
      tests (see the chapter entitled: Packet Reception).

      The method chosen to describe state behavior is tabular.  Each
      state is listed opposite a sequence of named procedures to execute
      whenever a packet has arrived.

      STATE                BEHAVIOR
      =============+========================
      LISTEN       |  A
      -------------+------------------------
      SYN-SENT     |  B
      -------------+------------------------
      SYN-RECEIVED |  C1  D1  E  F1  H1
      -------------+------------------------
      ESTABLISHED  |  C2  D2  E  F2  H2  I1
      -------------+------------------------
      FIN-WAIT     |  C2  D2  E  F3  H3
      -------------+------------------------
      LAST-ACK     |  C2  D3  E  F3  H4
      -------------+------------------------
      CLOSING      |  C2  D3  E  F3  H5
      -------------+------------------------
      TIME-WAIT    |  D3  E  F3 H6
      -------------+------------------------
      CLOSED       |  G
      -------------+------------------------

      For example, in the ESTABLISHED state the arrival of a packet
      causes procedure C2 to be executed, then D2, then E, F2, H2, and
      finally I1.  Any procedure may terminate the processing which
      occurs or cause a state change.  Note that these procedures are
      executed in sequence, first C2, then D2, etc.  The time ordering
      cannot be mixed.

      The particular actions associated with each procedure are now
      described.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      A  --------------------------------------------------------

         This procedure details the behavior of the LISTEN state.  First
         check the packet for the RST flag.  If it is set then packet is
         discarded and ignored, return and continue the processing
         associated with this state.

         We assume now that the RST flag was not set.  Check the packet
         for the ACK flag.  If it is set we have an illegal condition
         since no connection has yet been opened.  Send a RST packet
         with the correct response SN value:

            <SN=received AN><CTL=RST>

         Return to the current state without any further processing.

         We assume now that neither the RST nor the ACK flags were set.
         Check the packet for a SYN flag.  If it is set then an attempt
         is being made to open a connection.  Create a TCB for this
         connection.  The sender has placed its MDL in the LENGTH field,
         also specified is the sender's initial SN value.  Retrieve and
         place them into the TCB.  Note that the presence of the SO flag
         is ignored since it has no meaning when either of the SYN, RST,
         or FIN flags are set.

         Send a SYN packet which acknowledges the SYN received.  Choose
         the initial SN value and the MDL for this end of the
         connection:

            <SN=0><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=SYN, ACK><LENGTH=MDL>

         and go to the SYN-RECEIVED state without any further
         processing.

         Any packet not satisfying the above tests is discarded and
         ignored.  Return to the current state without any further
         processing.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      B  --------------------------------------------------------

         This procedure represents the behavior of the SYN-SENT state
         and is entered when this end of the connection decides to
         execute an active OPEN.

         First, check the packet for the ACK flag.  If the ACK flag is
         set then check to see if the AN value was as expected.  If it
         was continue below.  Otherwise the AN value was unexpected.  If
         the RST flag was set then discard the packet and return to the
         current state without any further processing, else send a
         reset:

            <SN=received AN><CTL=RST>

         Discard the packet and return to the current state without any
         further processing.

         At this point either the ACK flag was set and the AN value was
         as expected or ACK was not set.  Second, check the RST flag.
         If the RST flag is set there are two cases:

            1. If the ACK flag is set then discard the packet, flush the
            retransmission queue, inform the user "Error: Connection
            refused", delete the TCB, and go to the CLOSED state without
            any further processing.

            2. If the ACK flag was not set then discard the packet and
            return to this state without any further processing.

         At this point we assume the packet contained an ACK which was
         Ok, or there was no ACK, and there was no RST.  Now check the
         packet for the SYN flag.  If the ACK flag was set then our SYN
         has been acknowledged.  Store MDL received in the TCB.  At this
         point we are technically in the ESTABLISHED state.  Send an
         acknowledgment packet and any initial data which is queued to
         send:

            <SN=received AN><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=ACK><DATA>

         Go to the ESTABLISHED state without any further processing.

         If the SYN flag was set but the ACK was not set then the other
         end of the connection has executed an active open also.
         Acknowledge the SYN, choose your MDL, and send:

            <SN=0><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=SYN, ACK><LENGTH=MDL>

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

         Go to the SYN-RECEIVED state without any further processing.

         Any packet not satisfying the above tests is discarded and
         ignored.  Return to the current state without any further
         processing.

      C1 --------------------------------------------------------

         Examine the received SN field value.  If the SN value was
         expected then return and continue the processing associated
         with this state.

         We now assume the SN value was not what was expected.

         If either RST or FIN were set discard the packet and return to
         the current state without any further processing.

         If neither RST nor FIN flags were set it is assumed that this
         packet is a duplicate of one already received.  Send an ACK
         back:

            <SN=received AN><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=ACK>

         Discard the duplicate packet and return to the current state
         without any further processing.

      C2 --------------------------------------------------------

         Examine the received SN field value.  If the SN value was
         expected then return and continue the processing associated
         with this state.

         We now assume the SN value was not what was expected.

         If either RST or FIN were set discard the packet and return to
         the current state without any further processing.

         If SYN was set we assume that the other end crashed and has
         attempted to open a new connection.  We respond by sending a
         legal reset:

            <SN=received AN><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=RST, ACK>

         This will cause the other end, currently in the SYN-SENT state,
         to close.  Flush the retransmission queue, inform the user
         "Error: Connection reset", discard the packet, delete the TCB,
         and go to the CLOSED state without any further processing.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

         If neither RST, FIN, nor SYN flags were set it is assumed that
         this packet is a duplicate of one already received.  Send an
         ACK back:

            <SN=received AN><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=ACK>

         Discard the duplicate packet and return to the current state
         without any further processing.

      D1 --------------------------------------------------------

         The packet is examined for a RST flag.  If RST is not set then
         return and continue the processing associated with this state.

         RST is now assumed to have been set.  If the connection was
         originally initiated from the LISTEN state (it was passively
         opened) then flush the retransmission queue, discard the
         packet, and go to the LISTEN state without any further
         processing.

         If instead the connection was initiated actively (came from the
         SYN-SENT state) then flush the retransmission queue, inform the
         user "Error: Connection refused", discard the packet, delete
         the TCB, and go to the CLOSED state without any further
         processing.

      D2 --------------------------------------------------------

         The packet is examined for a RST flag.  If RST is not set then
         return and continue the processing associated with this state.

         RST is now assumed to have been set.  Any data remaining to be
         sent is flushed.  The retransmission queue is flushed, the user
         is informed "Error: Connection reset.", discard the packet,
         delete the TCB, and go to the CLOSED state without any further
         processing.

      D3 --------------------------------------------------------

         The packet is examined for a RST flag.  If RST is not set then
         return and continue the processing associated with this state.

         RST is now assumed to have been set.  Discard the packet,
         delete the TCB, and go to the CLOSED state without any further
         processing.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      E  --------------------------------------------------------

         Check the presence of the SYN flag.  If the SYN flag is not set
         then return and continue the processing associated with this
         state.

         We now assume that the SYN flag was set.  The presence of a SYN
         here is an error.  Flush the retransmission queue, send a legal
         RST packet.

            If the ACK flag was set then send:

               <SN=received AN><CTL=RST>

            If the ACK flag was not set then send:

               <SN=0><CTL=RST>

         The user should receive the message "Error: Connection reset.",
         then delete the TCB and go to the CLOSED state without any
         further processing.

      F1 --------------------------------------------------------

         Check the presence of the ACK flag.  If ACK is not set then
         discard the packet and return without any further processing.

         We now assume that the ACK flag was set.  If the AN field value
         was as expected then return and continue the processing
         associated with this state.

         We now assume that the ACK flag was set and that the AN field
         value was unexpected.  If the connection was originally
         initiated from the LISTEN state (it was passively opened) then
         flush the retransmission queue, discard the packet, and send a
         legal RST packet:

            <SN=received AN><CTL=RST>

         Then delete the TCB and go to the LISTEN state without any
         further processing.

         Otherwise the connection was initiated actively (came from the
         SYN-SENT state) then inform the user "Error: Connection
         refused", flush the retransmission queue, discard the packet,
         and send a legal RST packet:

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

            <SN=received AN><CTL=RST>

         Then delete the TCB and go to the CLOSED state without any
         further processing.

      F2 --------------------------------------------------------

         Check the presence of the ACK flag.  If ACK is not set then
         discard the packet and return without any further processing.

         We now assume that the ACK flag was set.  If the AN field value
         was as expected then flush the retransmission queue and inform
         the user with an "Ok" if a buffer has been entirely
         acknowledged.  Another packet containing data may now be sent.
         Return and continue the processing associated with this state.

         We now assume that the ACK flag was set and that the AN field
         value was unexpected.  This is assumed to indicate a duplicate
         acknowledgment.  It is ignored, return and continue the
         processing associated with this state.

      F3 --------------------------------------------------------

         Check the presence of the ACK flag.  If ACK is not set then
         discard the packet and return without any further processing.

         We now assume that the ACK flag was set.  If the AN field value
         was as expected then continue the processing associated with
         this state.

         We now assume that the ACK flag was set and that the AN field
         value was unexpected.  This is ignored, return and continue
         with the processing associated with this state.

      G  --------------------------------------------------------

         This procedure represents the behavior of the CLOSED state of a
         connection.  All incoming packets are discarded.  If the packet
         had the RST flag set take no action.  Otherwise it is necessary
         to build a RST packet.  Since this end is closed the other end
         of the connection has incorrect data about the state of the
         connection and should be so informed.

            If the ACK flag was set then send:

               <SN=received AN><CTL=RST>

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

            If the ACK flag was not set then send:

               <SN=0><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=RST, ACK>

         After sending the reset packet return to the current state
         without any further processing.

      H1 --------------------------------------------------------

         Our SYN has been acknowledged.  At this point we are
         technically in the ESTABLISHED state.  Send any initial data
         which is queued to send:

            <SN=received AN><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=ACK><DATA>

         Go to the ESTABLISHED state and execute procedure I1 to process
         any data which might be in this packet.

         Any packet not satisfying the above tests is discarded and
         ignored.  Return to the current state without any further
         processing.

      H2 --------------------------------------------------------

         Check the presence of the FIN flag.  If FIN is not set then
         continue the processing associated with this state.

         We now assume that the FIN flag was set.  This means the other
         end has decided to close the connection.  Flush the
         retransmission queue.  If any data remains to be sent then
         inform the user "Warning: Data left unsent."  The user must
         also be informed "Connection closing."  An acknowledgment for
         the FIN must be sent which also indicates this end is closing:

            <SN=received AN><AN=received SN + 1 modulo 2><CTL=FIN, ACK>

         Go to the LAST-ACK state without any further processing.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      H3 --------------------------------------------------------

         This state represents the final behavior of the FIN-WAIT state.

         If the packet did not contain a FIN we assume this packet is a
         duplicate and that the other end of the connection has not seen
         the FIN packet we sent earlier.  Rely upon retransmission of
         our earlier FIN packet to inform the other end of our desire to
         close.  Discard the packet and return without any further
         processing.

         At this point we have a packet which should contain a FIN.  By
         the rules of this protocol an ACK of a FIN requires a FIN, ACK
         in response and no data.  If the packet contains data we have
         detected an illegal condition.  Send a reset:
         <SN=received AN><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=RST, ACK>

         Discard the packet, flush the retransmission queue, inform the
         user "Error: Connection reset.", delete the TCB, and go to the
         CLOSED state without any further processing.

         We now assume that the FIN flag was set and no data was
         contained in the packet.  If the AN field value was expected
         then this packet acknowledges a previously sent FIN packet.
         The other end of the connection is then also assumed to be
         closing and expects an acknowledgment.  Send an acknowledgment
         of the FIN:

            <SN=received AN><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=ACK>

         Start the 2*SRTT timer associated with the TIME-WAIT state,
         discard the packet, and go to the TIME-WAIT state without any
         further processing.

         Otherwise the AN field value was unexpected.  This indicates a
         simultaneous closing by both sides of the connection.  Send an
         acknowledgment of the FIN:

            <SN=received AN><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=ACK>

         Discard the packet, and go to the CLOSING state without any
         further processing.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      H4 --------------------------------------------------------

         This state represents the final behavior of the LAST-ACK state.

         If the AN field value is expected then this ACK is in response
         to the FIN, ACK packet recently sent.  This is the final
         acknowledging message indicating both side's agreement to close
         the connection.  Discard the packet, flush all queues, delete
         the TCB, and go to the CLOSED state without any further
         processing.

         Otherwise the AN field value was unexpected.  Discard the
         packet and remain in the current state without any further
         processing.

      H5 --------------------------------------------------------

         This state represents the final behavior of the CLOSING state.

         If the AN field value was expected then this packet
         acknowledges the FIN packet recently sent.  This is the final
         acknowledging message indicating both side's agreement to close
         the connection.  Start the 2*SRTT timer associated with the
         TIME-WAIT state, discard the packet, and go to the TIME-WAIT
         state without any further processing.

         Otherwise the AN field value was unexpected.  Discard the
         packet and remain in the current state without any further
         processing.

      H6 --------------------------------------------------------

         This state represents the behavior of the TIME-WAIT state.
         Check the presence of the ACK flag.  If ACK is not set then
         discard the packet and return without any further processing.

         Check the presence of the FIN flag.  If FIN is not set then
         discard the packet and return without any further processing.

         We now assume that the FIN flag was set.  This situation
         indicates that the last acknowledgment of the FIN packet sent
         by the other end of the connection did not arrive.  Resend the
         acknowledgment:

            <SN=received AN><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=ACK>

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         Restart the 2*SRTT timer, discard the packet, and remain in the
         current state without any further processing.

      I1 --------------------------------------------------------

         This represents that stage of processing in the ESTABLISHED
         state in which all the flag bits have been processed and only
         data may remain.  The packet is examined to see if it contains
         data.  If not the packet is now discarded, return to the
         current state without any further processing.

         We assume the packet contained data, that either the SO flag
         was set or LENGTH is positive.  That data is placed into the
         user's receive buffers.  As these become full the user should
         be informed "Receive buffer full."  An acknowledgment is sent:

            <SN=received AN><AN=received SN+1 modulo 2><CTL=ACK>

         If data is queued to send then it is most efficient to
         'piggyback' this acknowledgment on that data packet.

         The packet is now discarded, return to the ESTABLISHED state
         without any further processing.

   5.4. Timers

      There are three timers associated with this protocol.  Their
      purpose will now be briefly discussed as will the actions taken
      when a timer expires.  The particular nature these timeouts take
      and the methods by which they are set is the responsibility of the
      protocol implementation.

      5.4.1. User Timeout

         For practical implementation reasons it is desirable to have a
         user controllable timeout associated with the successful
         opening of a connection, successful acknowledgment of data, and
         successful closing of a connection.  Consider the situations in
         which a connection is so noisy that no data gets through, or a
         connection is physically cut.  Without an overriding timeout
         these situations would result in unbounded retransmissions.

         When this timeout expires the user is informed "Error:
         Connection aborted due to user timeout.", all queues are
         flushed, the TCB is deleted, and the CLOSED state is entered.

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      5.4.2. Retransmission Timeout

         This timer ensures that any packet sent for which the SN is
         significant is acknowledged.  When such a packet is sent it is
         placed in a retransmission queue and the retransmission timer
         is begun.  If an acknowledgment has not arrived within the
         timer's period then the packet is retransmitted and the timer
         is restarted.  If the acknowledgment does arrive in time then
         the timer is stopped and the packet is removed from the
         retransmission queue.  The next packet with a significant SN
         may now be sent.

         This timeout is expected to operate in conjunction with a
         counter which keeps track of the number of times a packet has
         been retransmitted.  Normally an upper limit is set on
         retransmissions.  If that limit is exceeded then the connection
         is aborted.  This event is similar to the user timeout.  The
         user is informed "Error: Connection aborted due to
         retransmission failure", all queues are flushed, the TCB is
         deleted, and the CLOSED state is entered.

      5.4.3. TIME-WAIT Timeout

         This timeout is used to catch any FIN packets which might be
         retransmitted from the other end of a connection in response to
         a dropped acknowledgment packet.  The timeout period should be
         at least as long as 2*SRTT.  After this timeout expires the
         other end of the connection is assumed to be closed, the TCB is
         deleted, and this end enters the CLOSED state also.

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6. Data Error Handling

   This chapter discusses in detail the types of data errors an
   established connection may encounter.  These are distinct from
   protocol errors discussed above.  In order of discussion these are:

      - Framing Errors

      - Missing SYNCH pattern

      - Unacknowledged packets

      - Bad packets

      - Duplicate packets

      - Outside flow control

      - Packets that are too large

      - Packets that are too small

   6.1. Framing Errors

      The RS-232 specification provides framing only for an individual
      octet.  Link level protocols for computer networking normally
      provide framing for each packet.  The SYNCH pattern provides a
      boundary for the beginning of a packet.  No similar pattern was
      chosen to mark the end and completely frame the packet.

      Any bit pattern can appear in the data portion of a packet.  For
      any particular pattern to reliably mark the end of a packet that
      terminating pattern cannot be allowed to appear in the data.  This
      is usually accomplished by the sender altering any occurrence of
      the terminating pattern in the data so that it is both no longer
      recognizable as that pattern and also restorable upon receipt.
      Both the sender and the receiver are required by this technique to
      examine all the data.  In the absence of a protocol chip to
      perform this function, it is a source of some overhead.

      6.1.1. Synthetic Framing

         In the absence of framing, the end of the packet must be
         synthetically determined.  The start of a packet is indicated
         by the SYNCH pattern.  The expected end of a packet can now
         only be determined by examining the LENGTH octet of the header.
         It is important to know whether or not the LENGTH data can be

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         trusted.  This is accomplished by employing a one octet header
         checksum to cover the first two octets following the SYNCH
         pattern.  If the header passes the checksum test and neither
         the SYN, FIN, RST, nor SO flag bits were set then LENGTH is
         trusted and the number of octets expected beyond the header is
         LENGTH+2. (For those packets in which any of the above flag
         bits are set the packet length is fixed and includes only a
         header portion.)

         If the header fails the checksum test we are in some
         difficulty.  The length is incorrect so it may be too small or
         too large.  To recover from this error do the following.
         Beginning immediately after the SYNCH pattern rescan looking
         for the next SYNCH pattern.  Throw away all octets until a
         SYNCH is seen and then attempt to reinterpret it as a packet.
         The sender's retransmission timeout guarantees that a new copy
         of the packet will be transmitted.  This ensures that in
         discarding the initial SYNCH pattern, the SYNCH pattern from
         the beginning of the retransmitted packet will eventually be
         seen.

      6.1.2. Costs of Synthetic Framing

         This framing strategy causes no overhead unless data errors
         occur in the packet.  This is presumed to be a low probability
         occurrence.  In addition it removes the overhead of both sender
         and receiver passing over the data to process any termination
         pattern which might appear in the data.

         The worst case behavior would require a packet header to fail
         its checksum, a new SYNCH pattern to appear in the next few
         octets, that header failing its checksum, etc., until the SYNCH
         pattern of the retransmitted packet were finally seen.
         Consistently bad behavior of this type indicates an extremely
         noisy communications link.

   6.2. Missing SYNCH Pattern

      Any valid packet must begin with the SYNCH pattern.  Any receiver
      must discard all input octets until the SYNCH pattern is seen.
      The data which immediately follows a SYNCH pattern is interpreted
      as a packet.  The header checksum test is applied, then LENGTH+2
      octets are read, the data checksum test is applied, etc.

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   6.3. Unacknowledged Packets

      If an ACK for a packet is not obtained within the retransmission
      timeout interval that packet is retransmitted.  Because
      significant variability in response can be expected from either
      end of a connection it is best to dynamically calculate the
      retransmission timeout interval.  An example of such a calculation
      is provided below.  The protocol will operate successfully,
      although not with as high an effective transmission rate, if a
      realistic upper bound time is used instead.

      A realistic upper bound time depends upon the packet size and line
      speed.  If the baud rate of the connection is 300 or above let B
      be the baud rate (for clarity assume it is the same in both
      directions), let L be the MDL of the receiver, let P be the packet
      processing time of the receiver.  Then an Upper Bound for the
      Reception Time (UBRT) is:

         UBRT = L/(B/10) seconds + P seconds

      and a realistic upper bound time is 2*UBRT seconds.

      6.3.1. Calculation of Retransmission Timeout Interval

         For the purpose of detecting retransmission time out the
         protocol must have access to a clock which provides at least
         single second resolution.  One technique for calculating the
         round trip time is:

            Measure the elapsed time between sending a packet with a
            particular SN and receiving an ACK with an AN which covers
            that SN.  The measured elapsed time is the Round Trip Time
            (RTT).  Next a Smoothed Round Trip Time (SRTT) is calculated
            as:

               SRTT = (ALPHA * SRTT) + ((1- ALPHA) * RTT)

            and based upon this you compute the Retransmission Time Out
            (RTO) as:

               RTO = min[UBOUND, max[LBOUND, (BETA * SRTT)]]

            where UBOUND is an upper bound on the timeout (e.g., 1
            minute), LBOUND is a lower bound on the timeout (e.g., 1
            second), ALPHA is a smoothing factor (e.g., .8 to .9), and
            BETA is a delay variance factor (e.g., 1.3 to 2.0).

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   6.4. Bad Packets

      A bad packet is received when it fails either the header or data
      checksum tests.  When this happens the sender will retransmit the
      packet after the retransmission timeout interval.

   6.5. Duplicate Packets

      A duplicate packet is a packet which passes the checksum tests but
      for which the SN received is significant but not the expected
      value.  This is normally caused when the sender did not get the
      ACK last sent by the receiver.  This situation is diagrammed
      below.

      Side A                                             Side B

      ESTABLISHED                                        ESTABLISHED

      1.      --> <SN=1><AN=0><CTL=ACK><DATA>       ...
                                                    -->

      2.      XXX <SN=0><AN=0><CTL=ACK><OTHER-DATA> <--

      3. (after SRTT)
              --> <SN=1><AN=0><CTL=ACK><DATA>       ...

      4.                                            -->
              ... <SN=0><AN=0><CTL=ACK><OTHER-DATA> <--

      5.      <--

      In line 2, B's packet was lost in transit, it may have failed its
      checksum tests when it reached A or its initial SYNCH pattern was
      smashed, etc..  In line 3 side A comes to the decision that its
      packet from line 1 was not received after SRTT time passes and
      retransmits that packet.

      In line 4 side B receives the packet.  It detects a duplicate
      because it already sent a packet acknowledging A's SN=1 (although
      that packet was lost).  B now discards the duplicate and
      immediately retransmits its last packet to A. Side A finally
      receives the retransmitted packet in line 5.

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   6.6. Outside Flow Control

      There are many large computer systems which make use of flow
      control to regulate their input side of an RS-232 link.  Flow
      control based upon two special characters such as <Ctrl-S> (ASCII
      DC3) and <Ctrl-Q> (ASCII DC1) is almost universally in use today.
      So it becomes important for the protocol to be able to either:

         (1) Recognize and obey the flow control of the host
             computer(s), or

         (2) Ignore the flow control but still guarantee reliable data
             reception.

      It is the latter approach which this protocol takes.  This
      decision was made because the number of differing flow control
      characters in use would make it difficult to obey them all.

         There is a particular type of flow control with which this
         protocol will not operate.  The ENQUIRE, ACKNOWLEDGE method of
         flow control requires that the receiver of an inquiry respond
         with an acknowledge before any more data will be sent to it.
         This type of flow control also usually prohibits unrestricted
         8-bit data transmission because the inquiry character is
         forbidden as a data byte.

      For the other class of flow control methods a proof is required
      that data may still be reliably transmitted and received if flow
      control is ignored.  For the purposes of this discussion assume
      <Ctrl-S> is sent when the receiving end of the connection wishes
      the sender to stop transmitting.  A <Ctrl-Q> is sent when the
      receiver wishes the sender to resume.  The choice of these
      particular two characters is arbitrary.  If the sender does not
      immediately cease transmission upon receipt of the <Ctrl-S>,
      characters may be discarded.  Since this protocol chooses to
      ignore the flow control characters any part of a packet may be
      discarded.

      More precisely stated consider X to be the receiver and Y to be
      the sender.  The packet sent is represented by the string abc
      where a, b, and c are data segments of unspecified size.  X may
      receive one of:

         1. abc
         2. ab
         3. ac
         4. bc

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      For case [1] the correct data is received and no special action
      need be taken.

      For cases [2], [3], and [4] we have a situation identical to data
      dropped during transmission.  This is handled by the same
      checksum, time-out and retransmission strategy already described.

      Assume Y is not now in the act of receiving a packet, then Y sees
      the two characters <Ctrl-S> and <Ctrl-Q> appear as input in that
      order.  Y is waiting for a message to appear and so expects to see
      a SYNCH pattern.  If the two characters "<Ctrl-S><Ctrl-Q>" are not
      part of a SYNCH pattern then they will be immediately discarded.
      If Y is receiving a packet then the <Ctrl-S> and <Ctrl-Q> are seen
      to be added noise characters and would be detected by the checksum
      tests.  The packet being received would require retransmission.

      The question of which character to pick for the SYNCH pattern is
      slightly muddied by the above observation.  To the author's
      knowledge <SOH> is rarely if ever picked for flow control.  This
      is part of the motivation in using it as the SYNCH pattern.

      How does one guarantee that any data will actually arrive
      successfully?  The initial choice of maximum data counts during
      connection establishment is very important.  Some knowledge of
      one's own operating system must be assumed.  If it is known for
      example, that streams of data in excess of a certain length will
      often trigger flow control at the connection baud rate, then the
      maximum data count should be chosen sufficiently lower that flow
      control rarely will be employed.  An intelligent choice of the
      maximum data count will guarantee that some packets will arrive
      without encountering flow control.

   6.7. Packets that are too Large

      Assume a packet arrives which passes its header checksum test but
      whose LENGTH is larger than the MDL of the receiver.  In such a
      case the sender has violated the protocol or a packet has a data
      error in the LENGTH octet and has passed the header checksum test.
      The latter is unlikely so that we assume the former.  The receiver
      will abort his connection.  The sender must inform the user
      "Error: Connection aborted due to MDL error", and go to the CLOSED
      state.

      When the MDL is exceeded the receiver will transmit a legal reset:

         <SN=received AN><CTL=RST>

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   6.8. Packets that are too Small

      Assume that a packet has passed its header checksum test but some
      of the data octets have been dropped by the link.  In such a case
      the receiver's routine which reads data and builds packets is
      expecting octets which do not arrive.  After SRTT the sender will
      retransmit this packet to the receiver.  The receiver will now
      have enough data to complete the packet.  Almost certainly however
      it will fail the data checksum test.  As with any bad packet the
      receiver will rescan from the octet immediately following the
      SYNCH pattern for the next SYNCH pattern.  In this manner the
      receiver will eventually see the SYNCH pattern of the
      retransmitted packet.

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I.  Inability to Transmit/Receive 8-bit Data

   There are some older operating systems and devices which do not
   permit 8-bit communication over an RS-232 link.  Most of these allow
   restricted 7-bit communication.  Where this is an unavoidable problem
   both ends of the connection must have a protocol layer beneath this
   protocol.  This lower layer will unpack packets it sends over the
   RS-232 link.  It will also repack packets it receives over the RS-232
   link.  RATP will automatically determine whether or not full 8-bit or
   restricted 7-bit communication is being used (see below).

   The strategy chosen for restricted 7-bit communication is called 4/8
   packing.  That is, each octet to be sent will be broken up into two
   4-bit nibbles.  The order of transmission is the high order four bits
   followed by the low order bits.  Each octet to be received will be
   repacked by the inverse function.  The high order nibble will be
   received first then the low order nibble.  These two nibbles will be
   reassembled into an octet.

   I.1.  Encoding for Transmission

      For those systems which are incapable of 8-bit data transmission
      over RS-232 links, there are operating systems which in addition
      place special restrictions on the non-printable ASCII characters.
      The encoding for 4/8 packing should restrict itself to
      transmitting data only in the printable 7-bit ASCII range.

   I.2.  Framing an Octet

      The seventh and highest order bit of a transmitted 7-bit ASCII
      byte is a flag used to indicate whether the high or low order
      nibble of an octet is contained in this character.  This flag bit
      if set implies that a new octet is being received and that this
      printable ASCII character contains the high order nibble of an
      octet in its four low order bits.  In addition it implies the next
      ASCII character received should not have its highest order bit
      set.

      This high order flag bit is set by adding the ASCII character "@"
      (octal 100) to a data byte.  Thus the first nibble of an octet is
      always transmitted with "@" added to its value.  The high order
      nibble will be transformed into the characters "@" through letter
      "O".

      The lower order nibble of an octet is transmitted with zero "0"
      added to its value.  The low order nibble will be transformed into

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      characters "0" through "?".  When receiving 4/8 packed data, any
      characters not within the range "0" through letter "O" are
      discarded.

      The octet whose octal value is 45 will be transmitted as two 7-bit
      printable ASCII characters:

                 +-------------+
      High order |1|0|0|0|1|0|0| First transmitted ("@" + data) = D
                 +-------------+
      Low order  |0|1|1|0|1|0|1| Second transmitted ("0" + data) = 5
                 +-------------+

      Since data bytes may be dropped or added at any time it is
      important to know always which portion of an octet is expected and
      to deliver only complete octets to the higher protocol level.  If
      a single 7-bit character were completely dropped without being
      noticed the data stream delivered to the higher level could be
      shifted by an odd multiple of four bits.  In the worst case this
      condition could remain indefinitely and the higher level would
      never receive an octet correctly.  In such a case no packets would
      be correctly received, leading to an unusable connection.

      To avoid this problem octets are assembled using a state machine
      driven by the presence of the high order flag bit.  The presence
      of that bit in the 7-bit printable character indicates the
      beginning of a new octet.  The two state machine which assembles
      octets is described below.  A byte received with the high order
      flag bit set is called "HIGH", the byte without "LOW".

         State 0

            [Start state] Read a byte from the legal restricted set.
            This is determined by seeing if the byte is in the legal
            range "@" to the letter "O".  If it was not discard the byte
            and return to this state.

            A HIGH byte was read.  Place the four low order bits of the
            byte into the four high order bits of the assembled octet
            and go to state 1.  Otherwise discard the byte and return to
            this state.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

         State 1

            Read a byte from the legal restricted set.  This is
            determined by seeing if the byte is in the legal range zero
            "0" to the letter "O".  If it was not discard the byte and
            return to this state.

            If a LOW byte was read subtract zero "0" from the byte
            placing the four low order bits of the result into the four
            low order bits of the assembled octet.  A full octet has now
            been assembled.  Pass the octet to the higher level and go
            to state 0.

            Otherwise a HIGH byte was read.  Place the four low order
            bits of the byte into the four high order bits of the
            assembled octet and return to this state.

      Utilizing this state machine to receive 4/8 packed data ensures
      that the data stream delivered to the higher level will not
      permanently remain shifted an odd multiple of four bits.  The
      restriction placed upon bytes read removes obviously bad data and
      in some cases would handle uncontrolled padding or blocking
      insertion.

   I.3.  Automatic Detection of 8-bit or 4/8 Packed Data

      It is an unavoidable problem that some machines cannot handle
      unrestricted 8-bit data.  Since this is given, it is desirable to
      be able to automatically detect whether unrestricted 8-bit or
      restricted 4/8 packing is being used to transmit data on a
      connection.  For the purposes of this discussion those machines
      capable of transmitting and receiving both unrestricted 8-bit and
      4/8 packed data are called smart.  Machines are called dumb if
      they can only transmit and receive 4/8 packed data.

      When initiating a connection there are four possible machine
      configurations and they are:

         1. A (smart) opens a connection to B (smart).

         2. A (dumb) opens a connection to B (smart).

         3. A (dumb) opens a connection to B (dumb).

         4. A (smart) opens a connection to B (dumb).

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      Each case is examined and extensions to the behavior for the
      LISTEN and SYN-SENT states are provided which allow both types of
      machines to initiate or receive a connection.

      Cases 1 and 2: LISTEN Behavior for a Smart Machine

         In these cases machine A initiates a connection to B who is
         assumed to be in the LISTEN state.  B must be able to passively
         detect whether 8-bit or 4/8 packing is being used and respond
         accordingly.  The method B uses relies upon the detection of a
         valid first packet.  In the LISTEN state B attempts to
         simultaneously treat the incoming data as if it were both
         unrestricted 8-bit and 4/8 packed.

         The incoming data is in effect fed to two different receiving
         algorithms.  The detection of a valid header will occur to one
         of these algorithms before the other.  If the first valid
         header was read assuming unrestricted 8-bit data then any
         resulting connection is assumed to use unrestricted 8-bit data
         for the life of the connection.  If the first valid header
         assumed 4/8 packing then the resulting connection is assumed to
         use 4/8 packing for the life of the connection.  In the case of
         the detection of illegal condition in the LISTEN state the
         protocol will reply with a RST packet in kind.

      Case 3: LISTEN Behavior for a Dumb Machine

         In this case machine B is the recipient of a connection request
         and is capable of handling only 4/8 packed data.  The LISTEN
         behavior for machine B assumes that all connections are 4/8
         packed.  It never deals with unrestricted 8-bit data.  As a
         result it will refuse to open a connection request from a smart
         machine (see case 4 below).

      Case 4: SYN-SENT Behavior for a Smart Machine

         In this case machine A attempts to open a connection to machine
         B. However, A has no knowledge of B's capabilities.  A will
         send its connection request assuming B is smart using
         unrestricted 8-bit transmission.  It will await a reply
         assuming the response will be unrestricted 8-bit also.  If B is
         in fact dumb it will not return a SYN-ACK because of the
         restriction imposed by case 3 above.  If no connection is made
         with B using 8-bit data the entire connection initiation is
         restarted assuming B is dumb, 4/8 packing is used and the
         response is assumed to be 4/8 packed as well.

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         The cost of this approach is a longer time to determine whether
         or not it is possible to open a connection to B. It is twice as
         long.  The advantages of being able to automatically adjust to
         either unrestricted 8-bit or 4/8 packed data out weigh this
         disadvantage.  RATP will not exhibit the schizophrenic behavior
         of many other asynchronous protocols when dealing with both
         classes of machines.

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Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

II.  A Brief Survey of Some Asynchronous Link Protocols

   II.1.  DDCMP

      DDCMP, Copyright (c) 1978 Digital Equipment Corporation [DDCMP
      78], is a reliable point-to-point and multi-point transmission
      protocol is used by many of that manufacturer's computers.  DDCMP
      does provide reliable asynchronous two way data transmission.

      Some of the decisions taken in the design of DDCMP reflect its
      orientation toward multi-point data links.  This leads to headers
      which are substantially longer than needed for two way
      point-to-point communications.

      DDCMP allows as many as 255 outstanding unacknowledged messages.
      DDCMP does specifically mention that a particular end of a
      connection may choose to limit the send queue to one outstanding
      unacknowledged message.  It also allows sending a stream of
      outstanding unacknowledged packets.  Unless all RS-232
      implementations of DDCMP were limited to a single outstanding
      packet, the collision with existing flow control restrictions
      could lead to very low thruput. (DDCMP is assumed to have control
      over the link driver.  Dealing with various differing flow control
      mechanisms is not a consideration.)

      DDCMP uses a CRC polynomial for data protection which is difficult
      to calculate for many machines without special hardware [TCP
      Checksum 78].  Many Digital Equipment computers have such
      hardware.

      DDCMP does not provide the receiver with the ability to restrict
      incoming packet size.  It is true that all the higher level
      protocols built on top of DDCMP could separately negotiate packet
      size.  But this burden would then be moved away from the link
      level where it properly resides.

      Generally, a full implementation of DDCMP is too complex for
      consideration.  If one were to implement 'part' of the protocol
      then issues of compatibility with already existing implementations
      on other computers are raised.

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   II.2.  MODEM Protocol

      This is a protocol in common use amongst microcomputers.  The
      description here comes from

         MODEM/XMODEM Protocol Explained by Kelly Smith, CP/M-Net
         "SYSOP" January 8,1980

         .... Data is sent in 128-byte sequentially numbered blocks,
         with a single checksum byte appended to the end of each block.
         As the receiving computer acquires the incoming data, it
         performs its own checksum and upon each completion of a block,
         it compares its checksum result with that of the sending
         computers.  If the receiving computer matches the checksum of
         the sending computer, it transmits an ACK (ASCII code protocol
         character for ACKNOWLEDGE (06 Hex, Control-F)) back to the
         sending computer.  The ACK therefore means "all's well on this
         end, send some more...".

         The sending computer will transmit an "initial NAK" (ASCII
         protocol character for NEGATIVE ACKNOWLEDGE (15 Hex,
         Control-U))...or, "that wasn't quite right, please send again".
         Due to the asynchronous nature of the initial "hook-up" between
         the two computers, the receiving computer will "time-out"
         looking for data, and send the NAK as the "cue" for the sending
         computer to begin transmission.  The sending computer knows
         that the receiving computer will "time-out", and uses this fact
         to "get in sync"...  The sending computer responds to the
         "initial NAK" with a SOH (ASCII code protocol character for
         START OF HEADING (01 Hex, Control-A)), sends the first block
         number, sends the 1's complement of the block number, sends 128
         bytes of 8 bit data, and finally a checksum, where the checksum
         is calculated by summing the SOH, the block number, the block
         number 1's complement, and the 128 bytes of data.

         Receiving Computer:

            ---/NAK/------------------------/ACK/------------------
                15H                          06H

         Sending Computer:

            ---/SOH/BLK#/BLK#/DATA/CSUM/---/SOH/BLK#/BLK#/DATA/etc.
                01H 01H  FEH  8bit 8bit     01H 02H  FDH  8bit ....

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         This process continues, with the next 128 bytes.  If the block
         was ACK'ed by the receiving computer, and then the next
         sequential block number and its 1's complement, etc. ....

      As can be seen from this partial description the MODEM protocol is
      unidirectional, data can only pass from the sender to the receiver
      in a stream.  In order for data to flow simultaneously in the
      other direction another connection over another RS-232 line would
      be required.

      In addition this protocol is restricted to a fixed 128 octet
      packet size.  Many front-end concentrators are unable to service
      such large incoming packets.  It has been observed many times that
      the concentrator of a busy DECsystem-20 can invoke flow control on
      input at 1200 baud for packets as small as 64 characters.

   II.3.  KERMIT System

      The KERMIT system, Copyright (c) 1981 Columbia University, is a
      file transfer environment developed recently.  It has
      implementations which run on DECsystem-20, IBM 370 VM/CMS, 8080
      CP/M based systems, and the IBM PC among others.

      KERMIT combines both the reliable transfer and file transfer into
      a single package.  Extension to other applications and higher
      level protocols would be possible but the boundary between the
      reliable transfer and application layers is very indistinct.  It
      violates the layering design strategy the Internet employs.

      There is a limitation of transmission to the restricted printable
      ASCII set for certain computers but not for others.  This leads to
      confusion.  KERMIT allows both restricted ASCII and 8-bit
      transmission.

      The KERMIT protocol does have a method of setting MDL at
      connection initiation.  It is limited to a smaller maximum packet
      size, 96 as opposed to 261 octets.  Kermit originally used a
      checksumming algorithm limited to six bits.  This is considered to
      provide too low a level of error detection capability for data
      packets.  Kermit now allows two other checksumming algorithms in
      addition to the original.  There must be a negotiation between
      sender and receiver regarding which algorithm to use.

      The KERMIT protocol does not appear to make provision for both
      sides of a connection attempting an active open simultaneously.
      One side must be an initial "sending Kermit" and the other a
      "receiving Kermit".  The code published as a KERMIT implementation

RFC 916                                                     October 1984
Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

      guide cannot recover from simultaneous active opens, it
      immediately ABORTs.  This reflects a bias towards unidirectional
      data flow.

      The KERMIT packet type (similar to RATP control flags) specifies
      whether an ACK/NAK is contained in the packet, or data, etc.
      These are mutually exclusive and piggybacking an ACK on a data
      packet is not possible.  This can be a source of overhead.  In
      addition KERMIT restricts the sender to a single outstanding
      unacknowledged packet as does RATP.  It allocates an entire byte
      to the sequence number which is unnecessary.

      On the subject of error recovery, the size of a packet is
      contained in the second byte of the packet and is not protected by
      a header checksum.  If the length field was in error due to noise
      on the link, it could be longer than the correct packet size.  The
      code published as the KERMIT implementation guide relies upon the
      detection of the <SOH> character anywhere in a packet to indicate
      the beginning of a packet header.  It re-SYNCHs using this
      technique.  This is only possible if binary data in a packet is
      quoted.  If full eight bit data is transmitted it does not appear
      that the KERMIT protocol rescans for a new MARK (SYNCH) character
      within the bad packet data just consumed.  It will under these
      circumstances throw away the retransmitted packet or portions
      thereof.  Re-SYNCHing under such conditions is problematical.

RFC 916                                                     October 1984
Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol

REFERENCES

   [Cohen 81]

      Cohen, D. On Holy Wars and a Plea for Peace. IEEE Computer,
      October, 1981.

   [DDCMP 78]

      DDCMP AA-D599A-TC edition, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1978.
      Version 4.0.

   [IP 81]

      Postel, J. DOD Standard Internet Protocol [RFC-791] Defense
      Advanced Research Projects Agency, 1981.

   [TCP 81]

      Postel, J. Transmission Control Protocol [RFC-793] Defense
      Advanced Research Projects Agency, 1981.

   [TCP Checksum 78]

      Plummer, W. W. TCP Checksum Function Design. Technical Report,
      Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc., 1978.

EDITORS NOTES

   This memo was prepared in essentially this form in June 1983, and set
   aside.  Distribution at this time is prompted by the the "Thinwire"
   proposal described in RFC-914.

   --jon postel

 

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