[ News ] [ Paper Feed ] [ Issues ] [ Authors ] [ Archives ] [ Contact ]

..[ Phrack Magazine ]..
.:: TCP/IP: A Tutorial Part 1 of 2 ::.

Issues: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] [ 10 ] [ 11 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 15 ] [ 16 ] [ 17 ] [ 18 ] [ 19 ] [ 20 ] [ 21 ] [ 22 ] [ 23 ] [ 24 ] [ 25 ] [ 26 ] [ 27 ] [ 28 ] [ 29 ] [ 30 ] [ 31 ] [ 32 ] [ 33 ] [ 34 ] [ 35 ] [ 36 ] [ 37 ] [ 38 ] [ 39 ] [ 40 ] [ 41 ] [ 42 ] [ 43 ] [ 44 ] [ 45 ] [ 46 ] [ 47 ] [ 48 ] [ 49 ] [ 50 ] [ 51 ] [ 52 ] [ 53 ] [ 54 ] [ 55 ] [ 56 ] [ 57 ] [ 58 ] [ 59 ] [ 60 ] [ 61 ] [ 62 ] [ 63 ] [ 64 ] [ 65 ] [ 66 ] [ 67 ] [ 68 ] [ 69 ] [ 70 ]
Current issue : #33 | Release date : 1991-09-15 | Editor : Dispater
Introduction to Phrack 33Dispater & Knight Lightning
Phrack Profile of Shooting SharkCrimson Death & Shooting Shark
A Hacker's Guide to the InternetThe Gatsby
FEDIX On-Line Information ServiceFedix Upix
LATA Referance ListInfinite Loop
International Toll Free Code ListThe Trunk Terminator
Phreaking in GermanyNinja Master
TCP/IP: A Tutorial Part 1 of 2The Not
A REAL Functioning RED BOX SchematicJ.R. "Bob" Dobbs
Phrack World News Special Edition IV (CyberView 91)Bruce Sterling
PWN/Part01Crimson Death
Title : TCP/IP: A Tutorial Part 1 of 2
Author : The Not
                                ==Phrack Inc.==

                Volume Three, Issue Thirty-Three, File 8 of 13

                    A TCP/IP Tutorial : Behind The Internet
                                Part One of Two

                              September 12, 1991

                                  by The Not

Table of Contents

    1.  Introduction
    2.  TCP/IP Overview
    3.  Ethernet
    4.  ARP

1.  Introduction

   This tutorial contains only one view of the salient points of TCP/IP,
   and therefore it is the "bare bones" of TCP/IP technology.  It omits
   the history of development and funding, the business case for its
   use, and its future as compared to ISO OSI.  Indeed, a great deal of
   technical information is also omitted.  What remains is a minimum of
   information that must be understood by the professional working in a
   TCP/IP environment.  These professionals include the systems
   administrator, the systems programmer, and the network manager.

   This tutorial uses examples from the UNIX TCP/IP environment, however
   the main points apply across all implementations of TCP/IP.

   Note that the purpose of this memo is explanation, not definition.
   If any question arises about the correct specification of a protocol,
   please refer to the actual standards defining RFC.
   The next section is an overview of TCP/IP, followed by detailed
   descriptions of individual components.

2.  TCP/IP Overview

   The generic term "TCP/IP" usually means anything and everything
   related to the specific protocols of TCP and IP.  It can include
   other protocols, applications, and even the network medium.  A sample
   of these protocols are: UDP, ARP, and ICMP.  A sample of these
   applications are: TELNET, FTP, and rcp.  A more accurate term is
   "internet technology".  A network that uses internet technology is
   called an "internet".

2.1  Basic Structure

   To understand this technology you must first understand the following
   logical structure:

                     |    network applications  |
                     |                          |
                     |...  \ | /  ..  \ | /  ...|
                     |     -----      -----     |
                     |     |TCP|      |UDP|     |
                     |     -----      -----     |
                     |         \      /         |
                     |         --------         |
                     |         |  IP  |         |
                     |  -----  -*------         |
                     |  |ARP|   |               |
                     |  -----   |               |
                     |      \   |               |
                     |      ------              |
                     |      |ENET|              |
                     |      ---@--              |
             Ethernet Cable

                  Figure 1.  Basic TCP/IP Network Node

   This is the logical structure of the layered protocols inside a
   computer on an internet.  Each computer that can communicate using
   internet technology has such a logical structure.  It is this logical
   structure that determines the behavior of the computer on the
   internet.  The boxes represent processing of the data as it passes
   through the computer, and the lines connecting boxes show the path of
   data.  The horizontal line at the bottom represents the Ethernet
   cable; the "o" is the transceiver.  The "*" is the IP address and the
   "@" is the Ethernet address.  Understanding this logical structure is
   essential to understanding internet technology; it is referred to
   throughout this tutorial.

2.2  Terminology

   The name of a unit of data that flows through an internet is
   dependent upon where it exists in the protocol stack.  In summary: if
   it is on an Ethernet it is called an Ethernet frame; if it is between
   the Ethernet driver and the IP module it is called a IP packet; if it
   is between the IP module and the UDP module it is called a UDP
   datagram; if it is between the IP module and the TCP module it is
   called a TCP segment (more generally, a transport message); and if it
   is in a network application it is called a application message.

   These definitions are imperfect.  Actual definitions vary from one
   publication to the next.  More specific definitions can be found in
   RFC 1122, section 1.3.3.

   A driver is software that communicates directly with the network
   interface hardware.  A module is software that communicates with a
   driver, with network applications, or with another module.

   The terms driver, module, Ethernet frame, IP packet, UDP datagram,
   TCP message, and application message are used where appropriate
   throughout this tutorial.

2.3  Flow of Data

   Let's follow the data as it flows down through the protocol stack
   shown in Figure 1.  For an application that uses TCP (Transmission
   Control Protocol), data passes between the application and the TCP
   module.  For applications that use UDP (User Datagram Protocol), data
   passes between the application and the UDP module.  FTP (File
   Transfer Protocol) is a typical application that uses TCP.  Its
   protocol stack in this example is FTP/TCP/IP/ENET.  SNMP (Simple
   Network Management Protocol) is an application that uses UDP.  Its
   protocol stack in this example is SNMP/UDP/IP/ENET.

   The TCP module, UDP module, and the Ethernet driver are n-to-1
   multiplexers.  As multiplexers they switch many inputs to one output.
   They are also 1-to-n de-multiplexers.  As de-multiplexers they switch
   one input to many outputs according to the type field in the protocol

         1   2 3 ...   n                   1   2 3 ...   n
          \  |      /      |               \  | |      /       ^
           \ | |   /       |                \ | |     /        |
         -------------   flow              ----------------   flow
         |multiplexer|    of               |de-multiplexer|    of
         -------------   data              ----------------   data
              |            |                     |              |
              |            v                     |              |
              1                                  1

        Figure 2.  n-to-1 multiplexer and 1-to-n de-multiplexer

   If an Ethernet frame comes up into the Ethernet driver off the
   network, the packet can be passed upwards to either the ARP (Address
   Resolution Protocol) module or to the IP (Internet Protocol) module.
   The value of the type field in the Ethernet frame determines whether
   the Ethernet frame is passed to the ARP or the IP module.

   If an IP packet comes up into IP, the unit of data is passed upwards
   to either TCP or UDP, as determined by the value of the protocol
   field in the IP header.

   If the UDP datagram comes up into UDP, the application message is
   passed upwards to the network application based on the value of the
   port field in the UDP header.  If the TCP message comes up into TCP,
   the application message is passed upwards to the network application
   based on the value of the port field in the TCP header.

   The downwards multiplexing is simple to perform because from each
   starting point there is only the one downward path; each protocol
   module adds its header information so the packet can be de-
   multiplexed at the destination computer.

   Data passing out from the applications through either TCP or UDP
   converges on the IP module and is sent downwards through the lower
   network interface driver.

   Although internet technology supports many different network media,
   Ethernet is used for all examples in this tutorial because it is the
   most common physical network used under IP.  The computer in Figure 1
   has a single Ethernet connection.  The 6-byte Ethernet address is
   unique for each interface on an Ethernet and is located at the lower
   interface of the Ethernet driver.

   The computer also has a 4-byte IP address.  This address is located
   at the lower interface to the IP module.  The IP address must be
   unique for an internet.

   A running computer always knows its own IP address and Ethernet

2.4  Two Network Interfaces

   If a computer is connected to 2 separate Ethernets it is as in Figure

                |    network applications  |
                |                          |
                |...  \ | /  ..  \ | /  ...|
                |     -----      -----     |
                |     |TCP|      |UDP|     |
                |     -----      -----     |
                |         \      /         |
                |         --------         |
                |         |  IP  |         |
                |  -----  -*----*-  -----  |
                |  |ARP|   |    |   |ARP|  |
                |  -----   |    |   -----  |
                |      \   |    |   /      |
                |      ------  ------      |
                |      |ENET|  |ENET|      |
                |      ---@--  ---@--      |
                          |       |
                          |    ---o---------------------------
                          |             Ethernet Cable 2
             Ethernet Cable 1

             Figure 3.  TCP/IP Network Node on 2 Ethernets

   Please note that this computer has 2 Ethernet addresses and 2 IP

   It is seen from this structure that for computers with more than one
   physical network interface, the IP module is both a n-to-m
   multiplexer and an m-to-n de-multiplexer.

         1   2 3 ...   n                   1   2 3 ...   n
          \  | |      /    |                \  | |      /       ^
           \ | |     /     |                 \ | |     /        |
         -------------   flow              ----------------   flow
         |multiplexer|    of               |de-multiplexer|    of
         -------------   data              ----------------   data
           / | |     \     |                 / | |     \        |
          /  | |      \    v                /  | |      \       |
         1   2 3 ...   m                   1   2 3 ...   m

        Figure 4.  n-to-m multiplexer and m-to-n de-multiplexer

   It performs this multiplexing in either direction to accommodate
   incoming and outgoing data.  An IP module with more than 1 network
   interface is more complex than our original example in that it can
   forward data onto the next network.  Data can arrive on any network
   interface and be sent out on any other.

                           TCP      UDP
                             \      /
                              \    /
                          |     IP     |
                          |            |
                          |    ---     |
                          |   /   \    |
                          |  /     v   |
                           /         \
                          /           \
                       data           data
                      comes in         goes out
                     here               here

            Figure 5.  Example of IP Forwarding a IP Packet

   The process of sending an IP packet out onto another network is
   called "forwarding" an IP packet.  A computer that has been dedicated
   to the task of forwarding IP packets is called an "IP-router".

   As you can see from the figure, the forwarded IP packet never touches
   the TCP and UDP modules on the IP-router.  Some IP-router
   implementations do not have a TCP or UDP module.

2.5  IP Creates a Single Logical Network

   The IP module is central to the success of internet technology.  Each
   module or driver adds its header to the message as the message passes
   down through the protocol stack.  Each module or driver strips the
   corresponding header from the message as the message climbs the
   protocol stack up towards the application.  The IP header contains
   the IP address, which builds a single logical network from multiple
   physical networks.  This interconnection of physical networks is the
   source of the name: internet.  A set of interconnected physical
   networks that limit the range of an IP packet is called an

2.6  Physical Network Independence

   IP hides the underlying network hardware from the network
   applications.  If you invent a new physical network, you can put it
   into service by implementing a new driver that connects to the
   internet underneath IP.  Thus, the network applications remain intact
   and are not vulnerable to changes in hardware technology.

2.7  Interoperability

   If two computers on an internet can communicate, they are said to
   "interoperate"; if an implementation of internet technology is good,
   it is said to have "interoperability".  Users of general-purpose
   computers benefit from the installation of an internet because of the
   interoperability in computers on the market.  Generally, when you buy
   a computer, it will interoperate.  If the computer does not have
   interoperability, and interoperability can not be added, it occupies
   a rare and special niche in the market.

2.8  After the Overview

   With the background set, we will answer the following questions:

   When sending out an IP packet, how is the destination Ethernet
   address determined?

   How does IP know which of multiple lower network interfaces to use
   when sending out an IP packet?

   How does a client on one computer reach the server on another?

   Why do both TCP and UDP exist, instead of just one or the other?

   What network applications are available?

   These will be explained, in turn, after an Ethernet refresher.

3.  Ethernet

   This section is a short review of Ethernet technology.

   An Ethernet frame contains the destination address, source address,
   type field, and data.

   An Ethernet address is 6 bytes.  Every device has its own Ethernet
   address and listens for Ethernet frames with that destination
   address.  All devices also listen for Ethernet frames with a wild-
   card destination address of "FF-FF-FF-FF-FF-FF" (in hexadecimal),
   called a "broadcast" address.

   Ethernet uses CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense and Multiple Access with
   Collision Detection).  CSMA/CD means that all devices communicate on
   a single medium, that only one can transmit at a time, and that they
   can all receive simultaneously.  If 2 devices try to transmit at the
   same instant, the transmit collision is detected, and both devices
   wait a random (but short) period before trying to transmit again.

3.1  A Human Analogy

   A good analogy of Ethernet technology is a group of people talking in
   a small, completely dark room.  In this analogy, the physical network
   medium is sound waves on air in the room instead of electrical
   signals on a coaxial cable.

   Each person can hear the words when another is talking (Carrier
   Sense).  Everyone in the room has equal capability to talk (Multiple
   Access), but none of them give lengthy speeches because they are
   polite.  If a person is impolite, he is asked to leave the room
   (i.e., thrown off the net).

   No one talks while another is speaking.  But if two people start
   speaking at the same instant, each of them know this because each
   hears something they haven't said (Collision Detection).  When these
   two people notice this condition, they wait for a moment, then one
   begins talking.  The other hears the talking and waits for the first
   to finish before beginning his own speech.

   Each person has an unique name (unique Ethernet address) to avoid
   confusion.  Every time one of them talks, he prefaces the message
   with the name of the person he is talking to and with his own name
   (Ethernet destination and source address, respectively), i.e., "Hello
   Jane, this is Jack, ..blah blah blah...".  If the sender wants to
   talk to everyone he might say "everyone" (broadcast address), i.e.,
   "Hello Everyone, this is Jack, ..blah blah blah...".

4.  ARP

   When sending out an IP packet, how is the destination Ethernet
   address determined?

   ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) is used to translate IP addresses
   to Ethernet addresses.  The translation is done only for outgoing IP
   packets, because this is when the IP header and the Ethernet header
   are created.

4.1  ARP Table for Address Translation

   The translation is performed with a table look-up.  The table, called
   the ARP table, is stored in memory and contains a row for each
   computer.  There is a column for IP address and a column for Ethernet
   address.  When translating an IP address to an Ethernet address, the
   table is searched for a matching IP address.  The following is a
   simplified ARP table:

                  |IP address       Ethernet address |
                  |        08-00-39-00-2F-C3|
                  |        08-00-5A-21-A7-22|
                  |        08-00-10-99-AC-54|
                      TABLE 1.  Example ARP Table

   The human convention when writing out the 4-byte IP address is each
   byte in decimal and separating bytes with a period.  When writing out
   the 6-byte Ethernet address, the conventions are each byte in
   hexadecimal and separating bytes with either a minus sign or a colon.

   The ARP table is necessary because the IP address and Ethernet
   address are selected independently; you can not use an algorithm to
   translate IP address to Ethernet address.  The IP address is selected
   by the network manager based on the location of the computer on the
   internet.  When the computer is moved to a different part of an
   internet, its IP address must be changed.  The Ethernet address is
   selected by the manufacturer based on the Ethernet address space
   licensed by the manufacturer.  When the Ethernet hardware interface
   board changes, the Ethernet address changes.

4.2  Typical Translation Scenario

   During normal operation a network application, such as TELNET, sends
   an application message to TCP, then TCP sends the corresponding TCP
   message to the IP module.  The destination IP address is known by the
   application, the TCP module, and the IP module.  At this point the IP
   packet has been constructed and is ready to be given to the Ethernet
   driver, but first the destination Ethernet address must be

   The ARP table is used to look-up the destination Ethernet address.

   4.3  ARP Request/Response Pair

   But how does the ARP table get filled in the first place?  The answer
   is that it is filled automatically by ARP on an "as-needed" basis.

   Two things happen when the ARP table can not be used to translate an

     1. An ARP request packet with a broadcast Ethernet address is sent
        out on the network to every computer.

     2. The outgoing IP packet is queued.

   Every computer's Ethernet interface receives the broadcast Ethernet
   frame.  Each Ethernet driver examines the Type field in the Ethernet
   frame and passes the ARP packet to the ARP module.  The ARP request
   packet says "If your IP address matches this target IP address, then
   please tell me your Ethernet address".  An ARP request packet looks
   something like this:

                |Sender IP Address        |
                |Sender Enet Address 08-00-39-00-2F-C3|
                |Target IP Address        |
                |Target Enet Address <blank>          |
                     TABLE 2.  Example ARP Request

   Each ARP module examines the IP address and if the Target IP address
   matches its own IP address, it sends a response directly to the
   source Ethernet address.  The ARP response packet says "Yes, that
   target IP address is mine, let me give you my Ethernet address".  An
   ARP response packet has the sender/target field contents swapped as
   compared to the request.  It looks something like this:

                |Sender IP Address        |
                |Sender Enet Address 08-00-28-00-38-A9|
                |Target IP Address        |
                |Target Enet Address 08-00-39-00-2F-C3|
                     TABLE 3.  Example ARP Response

   The response is received by the original sender computer.  The
   Ethernet driver looks at the Type field in the Ethernet frame then
   passes the ARP packet to the ARP module.  The ARP module examines the
   ARP packet and adds the sender's IP and Ethernet addresses to its ARP

   The updated table now looks like this:

                   |IP address     Ethernet address |
                   |      08-00-39-00-2F-C3|
                   |      08-00-28-00-38-A9|
                   |      08-00-5A-21-A7-22|
                   |      08-00-10-99-AC-54|
BLE 4.  ARP Table after Response

4.4  Scenario Continued

   The new translation has now been installed automatically in the
   table, just milli-seconds after it was needed.  As you remember from
   step 2 above, the outgoing IP packet was queued.  Next, the IP
   address to Ethernet address translation is performed by look-up in
   the ARP table then the Ethernet frame is transmitted on the Ethernet.
   Therefore, with the new steps 3, 4, and 5, the scenario for the
   sender computer is:

     1. An ARP request packet with a broadcast Ethernet address is sent
        out on the network to every computer.

     2. The outgoing IP packet is queued.

     3. The ARP response arrives with the IP-to-Ethernet address
        translation for the ARP table.

     4. For the queued IP packet, the ARP table is used to translate the
        IP address to the Ethernet address.

     5. The Ethernet frame is transmitted on the Ethernet.

   In summary, when the translation is missing from the ARP table, one
   IP packet is queued.  The translation data is quickly filled in with
   ARP request/response and the queued IP packet is transmitted.

   Each computer has a separate ARP table for each of its Ethernet
   interfaces.  If the target computer does not exist, there will be no
   ARP response and no entry in the ARP table.  IP will discard outgoing
   IP packets sent to that address.  The upper layer protocols can't
   tell the difference between a broken Ethernet and the absence of a
   computer with the target IP address.

   Some implementations of IP and ARP don't queue the IP packet while
   waiting for the ARP response.  Instead the IP packet is discarded and
   the recovery from the IP packet loss is left to the TCP module or the
   UDP network application.  This recovery is performed by time-out and
   retransmission.  The retransmitted message is successfully sent out
   onto the network because the first copy of the message has already
   caused the ARP table to be filled.
[ News ] [ Paper Feed ] [ Issues ] [ Authors ] [ Archives ] [ Contact ]
© Copyleft 1985-2021, Phrack Magazine.