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B.2 Closing and Reopening a Connection Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
B.2 Closing and Reopening a Connection

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Prev: B.1 System Crash with Loss of State
Next: APPENDIX C: CHANGES FROM RFC-1072, RFC-1185

B.2 Closing and Reopening a Connection

B.2 Closing and Reopening a Connection

When a TCP connection is closed, a delay of 2*MSL in TIME-WAIT state ties up the socket pair for 4 minutes (see Section 3.5 of [Postel81]. Applications built upon TCP that close one connection and open a new one (e.g., an FTP data transfer connection using Stream mode) must choose a new socket pair each time. The TIME- WAIT delay serves two different purposes:

  1. Implement the full-duplex reliable close handshake of TCP.

    The proper time to delay the final close step is not really related to the MSL; it depends instead upon the RTO for the FIN segments and therefore upon the RTT of the path. (It could be argued that the side that is sending a FIN knows what degree of reliability it needs, and therefore it should be able to determine the length of the TIME-WAIT delay for the FIN's recipient. This could be accomplished with an appropriate TCP option in FIN segments.)

    Although there is no formal upper-bound on RTT, common network engineering practice makes an RTT greater than 1 minute very unlikely. Thus, the 4 minute delay in TIME-WAIT state works satisfactorily to provide a reliable full-duplex TCP close. Note again that this is independent of MSL enforcement and network speed.

    The TIME-WAIT state could cause an indirect performance problem if an application needed to repeatedly close one connection and open another at a very high frequency, since the number of available TCP ports on a host is less than 2**16. However, high network speeds are not the major contributor to this problem; the RTT is the limiting factor in how quickly connections can be opened and closed. Therefore, this problem will be no worse at high transfer speeds.

  2. Allow old duplicate segments to expire.

    To replace this function of TIME-WAIT state, a mechanism would have to operate across connections. PAWS is defined strictly within a single connection; the last timestamp is TS.Recent is kept in the connection control block, and discarded when a connection is closed.

    An additional mechanism could be added to the TCP, a per-host cache of the last timestamp received from any connection. This value could then be used in the PAWS mechanism to reject old duplicate segments from earlier incarnations of the connection, if the timestamp clock can be guaranteed to have ticked at least once since the old connection was open. This would require that the TIME-WAIT delay plus the RTT together must be at least one tick of the sender's timestamp clock. Such an extension is not part of the proposal of this RFC.

    Note that this is a variant on the mechanism proposed by Garlick, Rom, and Postel [Garlick77], which required each host to maintain connection records containing the highest sequence numbers on every connection. Using timestamps instead, it is only necessary to keep one quantity per remote host, regardless of the number of simultaneous connections to that host.


Next: APPENDIX C: CHANGES FROM RFC-1072, RFC-1185

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
B.2 Closing and Reopening a Connection

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