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4.2.1 Basic PAWS Algorithm Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
4.2.1 Basic PAWS Algorithm

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4.2.1 Basic PAWS Algorithm

4.2.1 Basic PAWS Algorithm

The PAWS algorithm requires the following processing to be performed on all incoming segments for a synchronized connection:

  1. If there is a Timestamps option in the arriving segment and SEG.TSval < TS.Recent and if TS.Recent is valid (see later discussion), then treat the arriving segment as not acceptable:

      Send an acknowledgement in reply as specified in RFC-793 page 69 and drop the segment.

      Note: it is necessary to send an ACK segment in order to retain TCP's mechanisms for detecting and recovering from half-open connections. For example, see Figure 10 of RFC-793.

  2. If the segment is outside the window, reject it (normal TCP processing)

  3. If an arriving segment satisfies: SEG.SEQ <= Last.ACK.sent (see Section 3.4), then record its timestamp in TS.Recent.

  4. If an arriving segment is in-sequence (i.e., at the left window edge), then accept it normally.

  5. Otherwise, treat the segment as a normal in-window, out- of-sequence TCP segment (e.g., queue it for later delivery to the user).

Steps 2, 4, and 5 are the normal TCP processing steps specified by RFC-793.

It is important to note that the timestamp is checked only when a segment first arrives at the receiver, regardless of whether it is in-sequence or it must be queued for later delivery. Consider the following example.

    Suppose the segment sequence: A.1, B.1, C.1, ..., Z.1 has been sent, where the letter indicates the sequence number and the digit represents the timestamp. Suppose also that segment B.1 has been lost. The timestamp in TS.TStamp is 1 (from A.1), so C.1, ..., Z.1 are considered acceptable and are queued. When B is retransmitted as segment B.2 (using the latest timestamp), it fills the hole and causes all the segments through Z to be acknowledged and passed to the user. The timestamps of the queued segments are *not* inspected again at this time, since they have already been accepted. When B.2 is accepted, TS.Stamp is set to 2.

This rule allows reasonable performance under loss. A full window of data is in transit at all times, and after a loss a full window less one packet will show up out-of-sequence to be queued at the receiver (e.g., up to ~2**30 bytes of data); the timestamp option must not result in discarding this data.

In certain unlikely circumstances, the algorithm of rules 1-4 could lead to discarding some segments unnecessarily, as shown in the following example:

    Suppose again that segments: A.1, B.1, C.1, ..., Z.1 have been sent in sequence and that segment B.1 has been lost. Furthermore, suppose delivery of some of C.1, ... Z.1 is delayed until AFTER the retransmission B.2 arrives at the receiver. These delayed segments will be discarded unnecessarily when they do arrive, since their timestamps are now out of date.

This case is very unlikely to occur. If the retransmission was triggered by a timeout, some of the segments C.1, ... Z.1 must have been delayed longer than the RTO time. This is presumably an unlikely event, or there would be many spurious timeouts and retransmissions. If B's retransmission was triggered by the "fast retransmit" algorithm, i.e., by duplicate ACKs, then the queued segments that caused these ACKs must have been received already.

Even if a segment were delayed past the RTO, the Fast Retransmit mechanism [Jacobson90c] will cause the delayed packets to be retransmitted at the same time as B.2, avoiding an extra RTT and therefore causing a very small performance penalty.

We know of no case with a significant probability of occurrence in which timestamps will cause performance degradation by unnecessarily discarding segments.


Next: 4.2.2 Timestamp Clock

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
4.2.1 Basic PAWS Algorithm

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