Volume 4: TCP/IP Networking Protocol

AUTHOR William F. Jolitz / Lynne Greer Jolitz
PAGES 525 pages
TYPE Hardcover
ISBN 1-57398-007-2
PUBLISHED Due Date Uncertain
PRICE To Be Announced

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  • Extensively describes methods of implementing an industrial strength TCP/IP protocol stack, from sockets through driver interfaces.
  • Covers TCP flow control, SAR, retransmission mechanisms, IP routing, and more.
  • Lengthy discussion of how to mitigate short message latency and long message transfer processor overhead.
  • Emphasizes requirements for high performance, scalable, modularly configurable networks.
  • Unix Review last year named Volume 1: The Basic Kernel a “Top 10 Book of the Year”.

About TCP/IP Networking Protocol Source Code Secrets

An operating system is more than just a set of simple running modules — it is a very complicated mechanism. In Volume III of this series, the authors discuss how the socket mechanism, acting as the conduit for information, functions analogously to the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system structure. Sockets can convey internal information from an application, the kernel, or even an urgent exceptional request as out-of-band data. However, sockets are also the intermediary through which networking protocols are used. Networking protocols such as TCP/IP are standardized message exchanges which are conveyed across a network. In their biological analogy, these protocols correspond to the neurotransmitters that “jump” a message across a dendritic junction. The chemical protocols to which they respond are similar in function and intent to the way computer systems intercommunicate, while the membranes that emit and receive such chemical messages, akin to their protocol implementations themselves, translate an intracell stimuli into another form with its controls and regulatory environment intact for exchange with another neuron intercellularly.

Network protocols transform applications messages and streams of information into a standardized message transport exchange that is now used by millons of computers, each using one of thousands of different implementations of software which operates in a fully interoperable manner. Within a protocol implementation, performance is meaningless if it doesn’t come hand in hand with interoperability. Nor is interoperability a fixed target itself, since more networking functionality (like the MBONE’s multicast messaging and advances in IP V6) continually expands the scope of interoperability.

TCP/IP Networking Protocol Source Code Secrets (Volume 4) examines the methods used in implementing an industrial strength TCP/IP protocol stack from the sockets through to the driver interfaces. The INTERNET Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) flow control, segmentation and reassembly (SAR), and retransmission mechanisms are used to transport streams of information from one socket endpoint on a source machine to its corresponding socket endpoint on another machine via the low-level INTERNET Protocol (IP). IP’s routing mechanism is the skill that navigates the enormously complex infrastructure of the INTERNET, as well as its adaptive mechanisms to allow standardized communication among millons of nodes with hundreds of different kinds of interconnect technologies.

Unlike other books on networking protocols, the authors aspire to place in the context of a working model not only how networking protocols are structured but also how they interact with other areas of the operating system. For performance and scalability, careful use of the kernel’s dynamic memory allocator (see Volume I, kern/malloc.c) and virtual memory system (see Volume II) can minimize short message latency and long message transfer processor overhead. The socket interfaces provide the means of accessing a protocol’s options from an network application (see Volume III). Finally, modular configuration (see Volume I, kern/config.c) allows multiple protocols to be added, removed, or replaced without disturbing the fabric of the operating system and its administrative functions.

About the Authors

William F. Jolitz and Lynne Greer Jolitz have been principals in a number of Silicon Valley start-ups and have written over 40 feature articles on operating system and network design for major computer magazines, including an unprecedented 17-part serialization of the 386BSD project for Dr. Dobb’s Journal. William was one of the original architects of Berkeley UNIX. Lynne has been involved in the 386BSD project since its inception and has worked with technical operating system and data center issues for over thirty years.