Sunday, August 11, 2013

TCP - Close wait simulation - Part 1

In this blog series i will try to explain how to simulate CLOSE_WAIT state of TCP in java . In order to do that as a prerequisite you have to understand the TCP. Therefore i refer to refer to "Computer Network" by Anrew Tanenbaum [1] in this first part of this series. In my next blog post i will simulated the behavior of the TCP using NS2 network simulation tool.Thereafter, I will be show simple code snippet  to demonstrate the CLOSE_WAIT.

So lets start with TCP.......


Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is designed to be a bidirectional, ordered, and reliable data transmission protocol between two end points (programs). In this context, the term reliable means that it will retransmit the packets if it gets lost in the middle. TCP guarantees the reliability by sending back Acknowledgment (ACK) packets back for a single or a range of packets received from the peer.

This goes same for the control signals such as termination request/response. RFC 793 defines the TIME-WAIT state to be as follows:

TIME-WAIT - represents waiting for enough time to pass to be sure the remote TCP received the acknowledgment of its connection termination request.

See the following TCP state diagram: 

alt text

TCP is a bidirectional communication protocol, so when the connection is established, there is not a difference between the client and the server. Also, either one can call quits, and both peers needs to agree on closing to fully close an established TCP connection.

Let's call the first one to call the quits as the active closer, and the other peer the passive closer. When the active closer sends FIN, the state goes to FIN-WAIT-1. Then it receives an ACK for the sent FIN and the state goes to FIN-WAIT-2. Once it receives FIN also from the passive closer, the active closer sends the ACK to the FIN and the state goes to TIME-WAIT. In case the passive closer did not received the ACK to the second FIN, it will retransmit the FIN packet.

RFC 793 sets the TIME-OUT to be twice the Maximum Segment Lifetime, or 2MSL. Since MSL, the maximum time a packet can wander around Internet, is set to 2 minutes, 2MSL is 4 minutes. Since there is no ACK to an ACK, the active closer can't do anything but to wait 4 minutes if it adheres to the TCP/IP protocol correctly, just in case the passive sender has not received the ACK to its FIN (theoretically).


[1]Tanenbaum, A. 1996. Computer networks. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall PTR.