IETF Transmission Control Protocol Specification
0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Source Port | Destination Port | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Sequence Number | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Acknowledgment Number | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Data | |C|E|U|A|P|R|S|F| | | Offset| Rsrvd |W|C|R|C|S|S|Y|I| Window | | | |R|E|G|K|H|T|N|N| | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Checksum | Urgent Pointer | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Options | Padding | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | data | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ TCP Header Format Note that one tick mark represents one bit position.
The source port number.
The destination port number.
The sequence number of the first data octet in this segment (except when SYN is present). If SYN is present the sequence number is the initial sequence number (ISN) and the first data octet is ISN+1.
If the ACK control bit is set this field contains the value of the next sequence number the sender of the segment is expecting to receive. Once a connection is established this is always sent.
The number of 32 bit words in the TCP Header. This indicates where the data begins. The TCP header (even one including options) is an integral number of 32 bits long.
Reserved for future use. Must be zero in generated segments and must be ignored in received segments, if corresponding future features are unimplemented by the sending or receiving host.
CWR: Congestion Window Reduced (see ) ECE: ECN-Echo (see ) URG: Urgent Pointer field significant ACK: Acknowledgment field significant PSH: Push Function (see Paragraph 5) RST: Reset the connection SYN: Synchronize sequence numbers FIN: No more data from sender
The number of data octets beginning with the one indicated in the acknowledgment field which the sender of this segment is willing to accept. The window size MUST be treated as an unsigned number, or else large window sizes will appear like negative windows and TCP will now work (MUST-1). It is RECOMMENDED that implementations will reserve 32-bit fields for the send and receive window sizes in the connection record and do all window computations with 32 bits (REC- 1).
The checksum field is the 16 bit one's complement of the one's complement sum of all 16 bit words in the header and text. If a segment contains an odd number of header and text octets to be checksummed, the last octet is padded on the right with zeros to form a 16 bit word for checksum purposes. The pad is not transmitted as part of the segment. While computing the checksum, the checksum field itself is replaced with zeros. The checksum also covers a pseudo header conceptually prefixed to the TCP header. The pseudo header is 96 bits for IPv4 and 320 bits for IPv6. For IPv4, this pseudo header contains the Source Address, the Destination Address, the Protocol, and TCP length. This gives the TCP protection against misrouted segments. This information is carried in IPv4 and is transferred across the TCP/ Network interface in the arguments or results of calls by the TCP on the IP. +--------+--------+--------+--------+ | Source Address | +--------+--------+--------+--------+ | Destination Address | +--------+--------+--------+--------+ | zero | PTCL | TCP Length | +--------+--------+--------+--------+ The TCP Length is the TCP header length plus the data length in octets (this is not an explicitly transmitted quantity, but is computed), and it does not count the 12 octets of the pseudo header. For IPv6, the pseudo header is contained in section 8.1 of RFC 2460 , and contains the IPv6 Source Address and Destination Address, an Upper Layer Packet Length (a 32-bit value otherwise equivalent to TCP Length in the IPv4 pseudo header), three bytes of zero- padding, and a Next Header value (differing from the IPv6 header value in the case of extension headers present in between IPv6 and TCP). The TCP checksum is never optional. The sender MUST generate it (MUST-2) and the receiver MUST check it (MUST-3).
This field communicates the current value of the urgent pointer as a positive offset from the sequence number in this segment. The urgent pointer points to the sequence number of the octet following the urgent data. This field is only be interpreted in segments with the URG control bit set.
Options may occupy space at the end of the TCP header and are a multiple of 8 bits in length. All options are included in the checksum. An option may begin on any octet boundary. There are two cases for the format of an option: Case 1: A single octet of option-kind. Case 2: An octet of option-kind, an octet of option-length, and the actual option-data octets. The option-length counts the two octets of option-kind and option- length as well as the option-data octets. Note that the list of options may be shorter than the data offset field might imply. The content of the header beyond the End-of- Option option must be header padding (i.e., zero). The list of all currently defined options is managed by IANA , and each option is defined in other RFCs, as indicated there. That set includes experimental options that can be extended to support multiple concurrent uses . A given TCP implementation can support any currently defined options, but the following options MUST be supported (MUST-4) (kind indicated in octal): Kind Length Meaning ---- ------ ------- 0 - End of option list. 1 - No-Operation. 2 4 Maximum Segment Size. A TCP MUST be able to receive a TCP option in any segment (MUST-5). A TCP MUST (MUST-6) ignore without error any TCP option it does not implement, assuming that the option has a length field (all TCP options except End of option list and No-Operation have length fields). TCP MUST be prepared to handle an illegal option length (e.g., zero) without crashing; a suggested procedure is to reset the connection and log the reason (MUST-7).
Specific Option Definitions
End of Option List +--------+ |00000000| +--------+ Kind=0 This option code indicates the end of the option list. This might not coincide with the end of the TCP header according to the Data Offset field. This is used at the end of all options, not the end of each option, and need only be used if the end of the options would not otherwise coincide with the end of the TCP header. No-Operation +--------+ |00000001| +--------+ Kind=1 This option code may be used between options, for example, to align the beginning of a subsequent option on a word boundary. There is no guarantee that senders will use this option, so receivers must be prepared to process options even if they do not begin on a word boundary. Maximum Segment Size (MSS) +--------+--------+---------+--------+ |00000010|00000100| max seg size | +--------+--------+---------+--------+ Kind=2 Length=4 Maximum Segment Size Option Data: 16 bits If this option is present, then it communicates the maximum receive segment size at the TCP which sends this segment. This value is limited by the IP reassembly limit. This field may be sent in the initial connection request (i.e., in segments with the SYN control bit set) and must not be sent in other segments. If this option is not used, any segment size is allowed. A more complete description of this option is in Section 3.7.1.
The TCP header padding is used to ensure that the TCP header ends and data begins on a 32 bit boundary. The padding is composed of zeros.
Before we can discuss very much about the operation of the TCP we
need to introduce some detailed terminology. The maintenance of a
TCP connection requires the remembering of several variables. We
conceive of these variables being stored in a connection record
called a Transmission Control Block or TCB. Among the variables
stored in the TCB are the local and remote socket numbers, the IP
security level and compartment of the connection, pointers to the
user’s send and receive buffers, pointers to the retransmit queue and
to the current segment. In addition several variables relating to
the send and receive sequence numbers are stored in the TCB.
Send Sequence Variables SND.UNA - send unacknowledged SND.NXT - send next SND.WND - send window SND.UP - send urgent pointer SND.WL1 - segment sequence number used for last window update SND.WL2 - segment acknowledgment number used for last window update ISS - initial send sequence number Receive Sequence Variables RCV.NXT - receive next RCV.WND - receive window RCV.UP - receive urgent pointer IRS - initial receive sequence number
The following diagrams may help to relate some of these variables to
the sequence space.
Send Sequence Space 1 2 3 4 ----------|----------|----------|---------- SND.UNA SND.NXT SND.UNA +SND.WND 1 - old sequence numbers which have been acknowledged 2 - sequence numbers of unacknowledged data 3 - sequence numbers allowed for new data transmission 4 - future sequence numbers which are not yet allowed Send Sequence Space Figure 2
The send window is the portion of the sequence space labeled 3 in
Receive Sequence Space 1 2 3 ----------|----------|---------- RCV.NXT RCV.NXT +RCV.WND 1 - old sequence numbers which have been acknowledged 2 - sequence numbers allowed for new reception 3 - future sequence numbers which are not yet allowed Receive Sequence Space Figure 3
The receive window is the portion of the sequence space labeled 2 in
Implementors MAY include “keep-alives” in their TCP implementations
(MAY-5), although this practice is not universally accepted. If
keep-alives are included, the application MUST be able to turn them
on or off for each TCP connection (MUST-24), and they MUST default to
Keep-alive packets MUST only be sent when no data or acknowledgement
packets have been received for the connection within an interval
(MUST-26). This interval MUST be configurable (MUST-27) and MUST
default to no less than two hours (MUST-28).
It is extremely important to remember that ACK segments that contain
no data are not reliably transmitted by TCP. Consequently, if a
keep-alive mechanism is implemented it MUST NOT interpret failure to
respond to any specific probe as a dead connection (MUST-29).
An implementation SHOULD send a keep-alive segment with no data
(SHLD-12); however, it MAY be configurable to send a keep-alive
segment containing one garbage octet (MAY-6), for compatibility with
erroneous TCP implementations.