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4.2 The PAWS Mechanism Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
4.2 The PAWS Mechanism

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Next: 4.2.1 Basic PAWS Algorithm

4.2 The PAWS Mechanism

4.2 The PAWS Mechanism

PAWS uses the same TCP Timestamps option as the RTTM mechanism described earlier, and assumes that every received TCP segment (including data and ACK segments) contains a timestamp SEG.TSval whose values are monotone non-decreasing in time. The basic idea is that a segment can be discarded as an old duplicate if it is received with a timestamp SEG.TSval less than some timestamp recently received on this connection.

In both the PAWS and the RTTM mechanism, the "timestamps" are 32- bit unsigned integers in a modular 32-bit space. Thus, "less than" is defined the same way it is for TCP sequence numbers, and the same implementation techniques apply. If s and t are timestamp values, s < t if 0 < (t - s) < 2**31, computed in unsigned 32-bit arithmetic.

The choice of incoming timestamps to be saved for this comparison must guarantee a value that is monotone increasing. For example, we might save the timestamp from the segment that last advanced the left edge of the receive window, i.e., the most recent in- sequence segment. Instead, we choose the value TS.Recent introduced in Section 3.4 for the RTTM mechanism, since using a common value for both PAWS and RTTM simplifies the implementation of both. As Section 3.4 explained, TS.Recent differs from the timestamp from the last in-sequence segment only in the case of delayed ACKs, and therefore by less than one window. Either choice will therefore protect against sequence number wrap-around.

RTTM was specified in a symmetrical manner, so that TSval timestamps are carried in both data and ACK segments and are echoed in TSecr fields carried in returning ACK or data segments. PAWS submits all incoming segments to the same test, and therefore protects against duplicate ACK segments as well as data segments. (An alternative un-symmetric algorithm would protect against old duplicate ACKs: the sender of data would reject incoming ACK segments whose TSecr values were less than the TSecr saved from the last segment whose ACK field advanced the left edge of the send window. This algorithm was deemed to lack economy of mechanism and symmetry.)

TSval timestamps sent on {SYN} and {SYN,ACK} segments are used to initialize PAWS. PAWS protects against old duplicate non-SYN segments, and duplicate SYN segments received while there is a synchronized connection. Duplicate {SYN} and {SYN,ACK} segments received when there is no connection will be discarded by the normal 3-way handshake and sequence number checks of TCP.

It is recommended that RST segments NOT carry timestamps, and that RST segments be acceptable regardless of their timestamp. Old duplicate RST segments should be exceedingly unlikely, and their cleanup function should take precedence over timestamps.


Next: 4.2.1 Basic PAWS Algorithm

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
4.2 The PAWS Mechanism

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