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TCP/IP Guide by Charles M. Kozierok

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TCP Maximum Segment Size (MSS)

TCP segments are the messages that carry data between TCP devices. The Data field is where the actual data being transmitted is carried, and since the length of the Data field in TCP is variable, this raises an interesting question: How much data should we put into each segment? TCP accepts data as a constant stream from the applications that use it, which means that it must decide how many bytes to put into each message that it sends.

A primary determinant of how much data to send in a segment is the current status of the sliding window mechanism on the part of the receiver. When Device A receives a TCP segment from Device B, it examines the value of the Window field to know the limit on how much data Device B is ...

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