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TCP/IP Guide by Charles M. Kozierok

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ICMP Message Creation and Processing Conventions and Rules

In the overview of ICMP earlier in this chapter, I compared the relationship between IP and ICMP to that between an executive and an administrative assistant. One of the characteristics that many executives value in a good assistant is that the assistant does his work independently, without causing unnecessary disruption. A good assistant should save the executive time, not cost her time.

As the assistant to IP, ICMP must similarly help IP function without taking up too much of its resources. Here, the resource being conserved is not so much time as bandwidth. ICMP messages are important, but must be considered part of the overhead of running a network. They carry no user data, so each ...

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