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22.1 Introduction

This chapter is a collection of various topics that affect applications using UDP sockets. First is determining the destination address of a UDP datagram and the interface on which the datagram was received, because a socket bound to a UDP port and the wildcard address can receive unicast, broadcast, and multicast datagrams on any interface.

TCP is a byte-stream protocol and it uses a sliding window, so there is no such thing as a record boundary or allowing the sender to overrun the receiver with data. With UDP, however, each input operation corresponds to a UDP datagram (a record), so a problem arises of what happens when the received datagram is larger than the application's input buffer.

UDP is unreliable but there are applications where it makes sense to use UDP instead of TCP. We will discuss the factors affecting when UDP can be used instead of TCP. In these UDP applications, we must include some features to make up for UDP's unreliability: a timeout and retransmission, to handle lost datagrams, and sequence numbers, to match the replies to the requests. We develop a set of functions that we can call from our UDP applications to handle these details.

If the implementation does not support the IP_RECVDSTADDR socket option, then one way to determine the destination IP address of a UDP datagram is to bind all the interface addresses and use select.

Most UDP servers are iterative, but there are applications that exchange multiple UDP datagrams between the client and server requiring some form of concurrency. TFTP is the common example, and we will discuss how this is done, both with and without inetd.

The final topic is the per-packet information that can be specified as ancillary data for an IPv6 datagram: the source IP address, the sending interface, the outgoing hop limit, and the next-hop address. Similar information can be returned with an IPv6 datagram: the destination IP address, received interface, and received hop limit.

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