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TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The Protocols by W. Richard Stevens

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Chapter 21. TCP Timeout and Retransmission

Introduction

TCP provides a reliable transport layer. One of the ways it provides reliability is for each end to acknowledge the data it receives from the other end. But data segments and acknowledgments can get lost. TCP handles this by setting a timeout when it sends data, and if the data isn't acknowledged when the timeout expires, it retransmits the data. A critical element of any implementation is the timeout and retransmission strategy. How is the timeout interval determined, and how frequently does a retransmission occur?

We've already seen two examples of timeout and retransmission: (1) In the ICMP port unreachable example in Section 6.5 we saw the TFTP client using UDP employing a simple (and poor) ...

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