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Computer program for detecting viable TCP/IP port-based communications pathway between two endpoints

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000010356D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Nov-21
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2002-Nov-21
Document File: 4 page(s) / 100K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This article describes a program and method for testing TCP/IP connectivity between two computers through arbitrarily complex networks. It goes beyond the seminal "ping" by having two configurable endpoints to listen to and/or send data on arbitrary ports and report the success or failure of transmission.

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  Computer program for detecting viable TCP/IP port-based communications pathway between two endpoints

   Disclosed is a program that, when placed on each of two endpoints in a TCP/IP network, can detect if a viable pathway on an arbitrary TCP/IP port exists between them. Examples of cases where it is of use is where there is a firewall between two subnetworks exists and the presence or absence of connectivity needs to be verified.

Background:

The most common method of testing connectivity between two TCP/IP endpoints is the venerable 'ping' program. That program tests physical connectivity, but not TCP/IP port availability. Other methods include using specific programs like FTP or telnet, each of which can again be used to test physical connectivity to a remote endpoint. Each depends on a server available on the destination endpoint listening to a port; generally, that port is 21 for FTP and 23 for telnet. While it is possible to start FTP or telnet daemons on different ports so as to test connectivity, leaving programs that are capable of serving requests up and running on nonstandard ports (or up and running at all) may not be desirable as it may expose that endpoint to hacker attack.

This solution differs by offering an otherwise non-functional server listening on a configurable port that will not leave a machine vulnerable to hacker attack (except for denial-of-service, which is true of all TCP/IP port servers) because the server function only echoes the request back to the caller.

The Program:

The program acts as both a server and client; placed on each endpoint of a TCP/IP network, the client "side" of one end can test the communications pathway to the server "side" of the other. And vice...