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Handling multiple distinct protocols through a single connection listener

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015068D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Sep-16
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 2 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

It is usually the case that to make a connection from a client to a server, using a port-based protocol such as TCP/IP, the connection is made to a specific port on the destination server, and it is pre-arranged that a server, capable of understanding the protocol used by the client, will be listening on that port to receive and interpret the protocol stream off the wire. This can cause administrative problems, since both parties must know in advance which application is listening on which port of the server. For "well known" applications, this is standardised by IANA port registration, so for example, it is expected that the service on port 80 of a server will be able to understand the HTTP protocol. However, for not-so-well-known applications, this can be more of a problem.

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Handling multiple distinct protocols through a single connection listener

It is usually the case that to make a connection from a client to a server, using a port-based protocol such as TCP/IP, the connection is made to a specific port on the destination server, and it is pre-arranged that a server, capable of understanding the protocol used by the client, will be listening on that port to receive and interpret the protocol stream off the wire. This can cause administrative problems, since both parties must know in advance which application is listening on which port of the server. For "well known" applications, this is standardised by IANA port registration, so for example, it is expected that the service on port 80 of a server will be able to understand the HTTP protocol. However, for not-so-well-known applications, this can be more of a problem.

     This disclosure provides a mechanism for a single server application to identify and interpret multiple protocols received through the same port. This means that for the class of applications supported by this mechanism, only a single port number needs to be known for any given server. Any client which talks any of the supported protocols of this service will be able to connect successfully to that port and have their protocols interpreted correctly. The invention relies on an identifiable "eye catcher" in the first few bytes of a protocol stream when a connection is first established. In, for example, the case of IBM's MQSeries* messaging product, this is "TSH" in either ASCII or EBCDIC. For HTTP, it would be one of "GET/POST/HEAD" (or a couple of other possibilities).

     The listener program contains a pre-configured table of these eye-catcher strings. When a new socket connection is received from a client o...