To understand the function of the PSH flag, we first need to understand how TCP buffers data. TCP operates at layer four of the OSI model; it presents to upper layers a simple socket which can be read from and written to, masking the complexities of packet-based communications. To allow applications to read from and write to this socket at any time, buffers are implemented on both sides of a TCP connection in both directions.

The diagram below shows how data is buffered by the sender before sending, and by the receiver upon reception.


Buffers allow for more efficient transfer of data when sending more than one maximum segment size (MSS) worth of data (for example, transferring a large file). However, large buffers do more harm than good when dealing with real-time applications which require that data be transmitted as quickly as possible. Consider what would happen to a Telnet session, for instance, if TCP waited until there was enough data to fill a packet before it would send one: You would have to type over a thousand characters before the first packet would make it to the remote device. Not very useful.

This is where the PSH flag comes in. The socket that TCP makes available at the session level can be written to by the application with the option of “pushing” data out immediately, rather than waiting for additional data to enter the buffer. When this happens, the PSH flag in the outgoing TCP packet is set to 1 (on). Upon receiving a packet with the PSH flag set, the other side of the connection knows to immediately forward the segment up to the application. To summarize, TCP’s push capability accomplishes two things:

The sending application informs TCP that data should be sent immediately.
发送端 : TCP将数据包置上PUSH标志时,表示这个数据应该被立即发送,而不要等待额外的数据。
The PSH flag in the TCP header informs the receiving host that the data should be pushed up to the receiving application immediately.
接收端 : 接收端接受到带有PUSH标志的数据时,应该接接受缓存中收到的所有数据(包含当前带PUSH标示的数据包)应该立即提交到应用层。


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