Some problems with the specification of the Military Standard Transmission Control Protocol (RFC0964)
Original Publication Date: 1985-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-14
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
D.P. Sidhu: AUTHOR [+1]
The purpose of this RFC is to provide helpful information on the Military Standard Transmission Control Protocol (MIL-STD-1778) so that one can obtain a reliable implementation of this protocol standard. This note points out three errors with this specification. This note also proposes solutions to these problems.
Network Working Group Deepinder P. Sidhu Request for Comments: 964 Thomas P. Blumer SDC - A Burroughs Company November 1985
SOME PROBLEMS WITH THE SPECIFICATION OF THE MILITARY STANDARD TRANSMISSION CONTROL PROTOCOL
STATUS OF THIS MEMO
The purpose of this RFC is to provide helpful information on the Military Standard Transmission Control Protocol (MIL-STD-1778) so that one can obtain a reliable implementation of this protocol standard. Distribution of this note is unlimited.
Reprinted from: Proc. Protocol Specification, Testing and Verification IV, (ed.) Y. Yemini, et al, North-Holland (1984).
This note points out three errors with the specification of the Military Standard Transmission Control Protocol (MIL-STD-1778, dated August 1983 [MILS83]). These results are based on an initial investigation of this protocol standard. The first problem is that data accompanying a SYN can not be accepted because of errors in the acceptance policy. The second problem is that no retransmission timer is set for a SYN packet, and therefore the SYN will not be retransmitted if it is lost. The third problem is that when the connection has been established, neither entity takes the proper steps to accept incoming data. This note also proposes solutions to these problems.
In recent years, much progress has been made in creating an integrated set of tools for developing reliable communication protocols. These tools provide assistance in the specification, verification, implementation and testing of protocols. Several protocols have been analyzed and developed using such tools.
In a recent paper, the authors discussed the verification of the connection management of NBS class 4 transport protocol (TP4). The verification was carried out with the help of a software tool we developed [BLUT82] [BLUT83] [SIDD83]. In spite of the very precise specification of this protocol, our analysis discovered several errors in the current specification of NBS TP4. These errors are incompleteness errors in the specification, that is, states where there is no transition for the reception of some input event. Our analysis did not find deadlocks, livelocks or any other problem in the connection management of TP4. In that paper, we proposed
Sidhu & Blumer [Page 1]
RFC 964 November 1985 Some Problems with MIL-STD TCP
solutions for all errors except for errors associated with 2 states whose satisfactory resolution may require redesigning parts of TP4. Modifications to TP4 specification are currently underway to solve the remaining incompleteness problems with 2 states. It is important to emphasize that we did not find any obvious error in the NBS specification of TP4.
The authors are currently working on the verification of connection management of the Military Standard Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). This analysis will be based on the published specification [MILS83] of TCP dated 12 August 1983.
While studying the MIL standard TCP specification in preparatio...