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Data Communications and Networking

Socket Programming Part I: Preliminary

Reading: Appendix C - Sockets: A Programmers Introduction

Data and Computer Communications, 8th edition By William Stallings

Reference: Internetworking With TCP/IP, Volume III: Client-Server Programming And Applications, Windows Socket Version By Douglas E. Comer and David L. Stevens.

Learning Outcomes
Explain the principles of network programming Explain the client-server model Get familiar with WinSock APIs

Design and develop the client side of client-server network applications using socket programming

Client Server Model Concept of Socket Address Structures
Byte order

WinSock API Client Software Design


Client Server Model

TCP/IP allows two application programs to pass data back and forth
The applications can execute on the same machine or on different machines

How to organize the application programs?

Client-server paradigm is the most popular model
The communication applications are divided into two categories: client and server

Client-server paradigm uses the direction of initiation to categorize whether a program is a client or server.

Client Server Model (Cont.)

An application that initiates the communication is called a client
E.g., Web browser, FTP client, Telnet client, Email client The client contacts a server, sends a request, and awaits a response

An application that waits for incoming communication requests from clients is called a server
E.g., Web server, FTP server, Telnet server, SMTP server The server receives a clients request, performs the necessary computation, and returns the result to the client Remark: A server is usually designed to provide service to multiple clients
How ???

Client Server Model (Cont.)

Because the Web servers and Web browsers are designed based on HTTP, different Web browsers can communicate with all kinds of Web servers.

Client Programs: Web browsers

Time Service: An Example

Time service: based on Time Protocol (RFC868) The Time service sends back to the originating source the time in seconds since midnight on January first 1900 Can use TCP or UDP

Time protocol (when using UDP):

Server: Listen on port 37. Client: Send an empty datagram to port 37. Server: Receive the empty datagram. Server: Send a datagram containing the time as a 32 bit binary number. Client: Receive the time datagram.

Time Service: Server Program

#include <stdio.h> #include <stdlib.h> #include <time.h> #include <string.h> #include <stdarg.h> #include <winsock2.h> #define SA struct sockaddr #define MAXLINE 4096 #define S_PORT 37 #define WINEPOCH 2208988800 int main(int argc, char **argv) { WSADATA wsadata; struct sockaddr_in servaddr, cliaddr; char buff[MAXLINE]; time_t ticks; /* current time */ int n, len; SOCKET s; if (WSAStartup(MAKEWORD(2,2), &wsadata) != 0) errexit("WSAStartup failed\n"); /* Fill up the servaddr */ memset(&servaddr, 0, sizeof(servaddr)); servaddr.sin_family = AF_INET; servaddr.sin_addr.s_addr = INADDR_ANY; servaddr.sin_port = htons(S_PORT); s = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_DGRAM, 0); if (s == INVALID_SOCKET) errexit("cannot create socket: error number %d\n", WSAGetLastError()); /* Bind the servaddr to socket s */ if (bind(s, (SA *) &servaddr, sizeof(servaddr)) == SOCKET_ERROR) errexit("can't bind to port %d: error number %d\n", S_PORT, WSAGetLastError()); for ( ; ; ) { len = sizeof(SA); if (n = recvfrom(s, buff, sizeof(buff), 0, (SA *)&cliaddr, &len) == SOCKET_ERROR) errexit("recvfrom error: error number %d\n", WSAGetLastError()); time(&ticks); /* returns the number of seconds elapsed since midnight of January 1, 1970 */ ticks = htonl((u_long)(ticks + WINEPOCH)); sendto(s, (char *)&ticks, sizeof(ticks), 0, (SA *)&cliaddr, sizeof(cliaddr)); } /* end of for loop */ }

Time Service: Client Program

#include <stdio.h> #include <stdlib.h> #include <time.h> #include <string.h> #include <stdarg.h> #include <winsock2.h> #define SA struct sockaddr #define MAXLINE 4096 #define S_PORT 37 #define WINEPOCH 2208988800 int main(int argc, char **argv) { WSADATA wsadata; SOCKET s; int n, len; time_t now; struct sockaddr_in servaddr; /* Must initialize the socket DLL first */ if (WSAStartup(MAKEWORD(2,2), &wsadata) != 0) errexit("WSAStartup failed\n"); if (argc != 2) errexit("usage: daytimeudpcli <IPaddress>"); /* Create a socket, and check the return value */ if ( (s = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_DGRAM, 0)) == INVALID_SOCKET ) errexit("socket error: error number %d\n", WSAGetLastError()); memset(&servaddr, 0, sizeof(servaddr)); servaddr.sin_family = AF_INET; servaddr.sin_port = htons(S_PORT); if ( (servaddr.sin_addr.s_addr = inet_addr(argv[1])) == INADDR_NONE) errexit("inet_addr error: error number %d\n", WSAGetLastError()); sendto(s, NULL, 0, 0, (SA *)&servaddr, sizeof(servaddr)); len = sizeof(SA); n = recvfrom(s, (char *)&now, sizeof(now), 0, (SA *)&servaddr, &len); if (n == SOCKET_ERROR) errexit("recvfrom failed: error number %d\n", WSAGetLastError()); now = ntohl((u_long)now); now -= WINEPOCH; printf("%s", ctime(&now)); WSACleanup(); return 0; }

How to Write Network Applications?

TCP/IP is implemented inside the OS OS exports the TCP/IP functionalities through SOCKET APIs
API: Application Program Interface A set of functions

Programmers develop network applications by using SOCKET APIs To learn SOCKET programming
Learn some data structures Learn the socket APIs Learn multi-threading

Socket Abstraction
Socket is an interface between applications and the network services provided by OS An application sends and receives data through a socket


Socket Abstraction (Cont.)

Process B data data

Process A data




Socket Abstraction (Cont.)

Browser A Web Server Browser B




Browser C


History of Sockets
In early 1980s, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) funded a group at UC Berkeley to transport TCP/IP software to the UNIX operating system. As part of the project, the designers created an interface that applications use for network communication. The interface used an abstraction known as a socket, and the API became known as socket API. Many computer vendors adopted the Berkeley UNIX operating system, and the socket interface became very popular. Subsequently, Microsoft chose the socket interface as the primary network API for its operating systems, called WinSock.
Old version: Windows Sockets 1.1 Todays version: Windows Sockets 2 The important header file: winsock2.h

The socket interface has become a de facto standard throughout the computer industry.

Specifying a Protocol Interface

The designers at Berkeley wanted to accommodate multiple sets of communication protocols.
TCP/IP was not the only choice at that time!

They allowed for multiple families of protocols, with TCP/IP represented as a single family. E.g.,
Our focus

PF_INET6 or AF_INET6 (IPv6) PF_UNIX or AF_UNIX (Unix domain protocols) PF_IPX or AF_IPX (IPX protocols)


Socket Descriptors
To perform file I/O, we use a file descriptor. Similarly, to perform network I/O, we use a socket descriptor:
Each active socket is identified by its socket descriptor. The data type of a socket descriptor is SOCKET. Hack into the header file winsock2.h:
typedef u_int SOCKET; /* u_int is defined as unsigned int */

In UNIX systems, socket is just a special file, and socket descriptors are kept in the file descriptor table. The Windows operating system keeps a separate table of socket descriptors (named socket descriptor table, or SDT) for each process.

How to Create a Socket?

The socket API contains a function socket() that can be called to create a socket. E.g.:
#include <winsock2.h> SOCKET s; s = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_DGRAM, 0) ; The socket is not usable yet. We need to specify more information before using it for data transmission.


Types of Sockets
Under protocol family AF_INET
Stream socket
Uses TCP for connection-oriented reliable communication Identified by SOCK_STREAM s = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, 0) ;

Datagram socket
Uses UDP for connectionless communication Identified by SOCK_DGRAM s = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_DGRAM, 0) ;

RAW socket
Uses IP directly Identified by SOCK_RAW Advanced topic. Not covered by COMP2330.


System Data Structures for Sockets

When an application process calls socket(), the operating system allocates a new data structure to hold the information needed for communication, and fills in a new entry in the processs socket descriptor table (SDT) with a pointer to the data structure.
A process may use multiple sockets at the same time. The socket descriptor table is used to manage the sockets for this process. Different processes use different SDTs.

The internal data structure for a socket contains many fields, but the system leaves most of them unfilled. The application must make additional procedure calls to fill in the socket data structure before the socket can be used. The socket is used for data communication between two processes (which may locate at different machines). So the socket data structure should at least contain the address information, e.g., IP addresses, port numbers, etc.

System Data Structures for Sockets (Cont.)

Fig 5.2 from Comer. Conceptual operating system (Windows) data structures after five calls to socket() by a process. The system keeps a separate socket descriptor table for each process; threads in the process share the table.

C Review: Structure
C structures are collections of related variables under one name.
struct employee {
char firstname[20]; char lastname[20]; int age; float salary; };

typedef struct employee Employee;

Employee em; Employee *pEm; /* pointer to structure */ em.salary = 23456; /* dot operator */ pEm = &em; /* assign address of em to pEm */ pEm->salary += 1000; /* struct pointer operator */


memset() and memcpy()

memset(): set buffer to a specified character void *memset(void *dest, int c, size_t count);
dest : Pointer to destination. c : Character to set. count : Number of characters

memcpy(): copy characters between buffers void *memcpy(void *dest, const void *src, size_t count);
dest : New buffer. src : Buffer to copy from. count : Number of bytes to copy.


Addressing Issue
How to identify a communication?
Source IP Address, Source Port Number, Destination IP Address, Destination Port Number TCP or UDP

IPv4 address: 32-bit Port number: 16-bit

Better to have a data structure that contains the addressing information

To simplify the socket APIs Number of function parameters can be decreased

Specifying an Endpoint Address

When a socket is created, it doesnt contain address information of either local machine or the remote machine. Before an application uses a socket for sending/receiving data, it must specify one or both of these addresses for the socket.
This can simplify the APIs.

TCP/IP define a communication endpoint to consist of an IP address and a protocol port number.
when you create the socket, you already specified whether this socket is using TCP or UDP.

Several data structures are involved to represent the endpoint address

A general structure: struct sockaddr A specific structure for IPv4: struct sockaddr_in

Generic Address Structure

The socket system defines a generic endpoint address:
(address family, endpoint address in that family) The purpose is to provide a common interface for different kinds of protocol families
struct sockaddr { u_short sa_family; char sa_data[14]; }; /* address family */ /* up to 14 bytes of direct address */

Unfortunately, not all address families define endpoints that fit into the sockaddr structure! To keep program portable and maintainable, TCP/IP code should not use the sockaddr structure in declarations. Instead, another structure sockaddr_in should be used to represent a socket address in AF_INET family.

TCP/IP Endpoint Address

TCP/IP (IPv4) endpoint address is defined as: (AF_INET, 2-byte port number, 4-byte IP address, 8-byte zero).
struct sockaddr_in { short sin_family; u_short sin_port; struct in_addr sin_addr; char sin_zero[8]; }; /* type of address, always AF_INET */ /* protocol port number */ /* IP address */ /* unused */

The IP address is stored in structure sin_addr with type struct in_addr: struct in_addr { union { struct { u_char s_b1,s_b2,s_b3,s_b4; } S_un_b; struct { u_short s_w1,s_w2; } S_un_w; u_long S_addr; } S_un; #define s_addr S_un.S_addr };

The 32-bit IP address can be explained as 4 unsigned bytes, or 2 unsigned short, or an unsigned long. By using a union, you can manipulate the IP address conveniently.

sockaddr vs. sockaddr_in

struct sockaddr 2 bytes sa_family struct sockaddr_in

sin_port sin_addr

2 bytes

2 bytes
4 bytes

14 bytes



8 bytes

A pointer to a struct sockaddr_in can be cast to a pointer to a struct sockaddr and vice-versa.

An Example
To specify an endpoint address
#include <winsock2.h> struct sockaddr_in addr; addr.sin_family = AF_INET; addr.sin_port = htons(5678); addr.sin_addr.s_addr = htonl(2662729985);

There are several ways to specify an IP address:

Use a string Good! Use an integer Bad! 2662729985 Use DNS service Good!

Remark: 2662729985 = 10011110101101100000100100000001 1 182 158 9


Byte Ordering
Byte Ordering: Memory is organized in bytes. E.g, a 16-bit integer takes 2 consecutive bytes; a 32-bit integer takes 4 consecutive bytes. Different machines use different host bye orderings: little-endian: least significant byte located at lower memory E.g., Intel 80x86 big-endian: least significant byte located at higher memory E.g., Motorola 68000 These machines may communicate with one another over the network, and they may have different understandings on the same data. Not a problem for data type char

Chaos of Byte Order

Big-Endian Computer
Send out an integer 169283078

Little-Endian Computer
Receive an integer 68032266!


Solution: Network Byte Order

Lets have some regulation!
Network byte order is defined as big-endian byte order Integers should be sent out in network byte order

The members sin_port and sin_addr in struct sockaddr_in should be in network byte order
sin_port: TCP or UDP port number, put into the TCP/UDP header sin_addr: IP address, put into the IP header

The member sin_family will not be sent out to the network. So it is not necessary to be in network byte order. If your application needs to transfer integers between two machines, you should transfer them into network byte order.
You dont know the type of CPU that executes your program!

Network Byte Order

When sending out an integer
Transfer it into network byte order by: u_short htons (u_short host_short); u_long htonl (u_long host_long); h: host n: network

After receiving an integer

Transfer it into (local) host byte order by: u_short ntohs (u_short network_short); u_long ntohl (u_long network_long);

s: short
l: long h-to-n-s h-to-n-l n-to-h-s

u_short: unsigned 16-bit integer u_long: unsigned 32-bit integer


WinSock API
Function Name

Initialize the socket library (Windows only)

WSAGetLastError socket connect

Terminate use of socket library (Windows only)

Retrieve the specific error code following an unsuccessful socket function call (Windows only) Create a socket used for network communication Connect to a remote peer (client)

bind listen accept

Terminate communication and remove the socket

Specify a local IP address and protocol port for a socket Place the socket in passive mode and set the number of incoming TCP connections the system will enqueue (server) Accept the next incoming connection (server)

WinSock API
Function Name

Acquire incoming data from a stream connection or the next incoming message (mainly for TCP)


Receive the next incoming datagram and record its source endpoint address (UDP)
Send outgoing data or a message (mainly for TCP)


Send an outgoing datagram to a specified endpoint address (UDP)

Wait until the first of a specified set of sockets becomes ready for I/O

inet_addr inet_ntoa gethostbyname

Terminate a TCP connection in one or both directions

Convert IP address in dotted decimal form to internal binary form Convert IP address from internal binary form to a text string Map a host name to an IP address

A TCP Client-Server Example

CLIENT SIDE SERVER SIDE WSAStartup() WSAStartup() socket() connect() send() recv() closesocket() WSACleanup() socket() Remark: The server runs forever. It waits for a new connection on the well-known port, accepts the connection, interacts with the client, and then closes the connection.

listen() accept() recv() send() closesocket()



A UDP Client-Server Example

UDP Client
WSAStartup() socket()
data (request)

UDP Server



process request

recvfrom() closesocket()

data (reply)




Comparison Between TCP and UDP

Common function calls
WSAStartup(), WSACleanup() socket(), closesocket() bind()

TCP is connection-oriented, UDP is connectionless
TCP applications use listen(), accept(), connect() to setup TCP connections

Data transfer
TCP applications use send() and recv() UDP applications use sendto() and recvfrom()

Programs using WinSock must call WSAStartup() before using sockets. It is needed because the operating system uses dynamically linked libraries (DLLs).
int WSAStartup ( WORD wVersionRequested, LPWSADATA lpWSAData ); wVersionRequested : The highest version of Windows Sockets support that the caller can use. The high order byte specifies the minor version (revision) number; the low-order byte specifies the major version number. lpWSAData : A pointer to the WSADATA data structure that is to receive details of the Windows Sockets implementation. WSAStartup() returns zero if successful.

Example code: WSADATA wsadata; int err; err = WSAStartup(MAKEWORD(2,2), &wsadata); if (err != 0) return;


Once an application finishes using and closing sockets, it calls WSACleanup() to deallocate all data structures and socket bindings. A program usually calls WSACleanup() only when it is completely finished and ready to exit.
int WSACleanup(void);

The return value is zero if the operation was successful. Otherwise, the value SOCKET_ERROR
is returned.


An application calls the WSAGetLastError function to retrieve the specific error code following an unsuccessful socket function call. An application should call WSAGetLastError immediately after a socket function returns an error indication.
So that you can know what the problem is.

Windows Sockets Error Codes
int WSAGetLastError(void); The return value indicates the error code for this thread's last Windows Sockets operation that failed.


The Windows Sockets socket() function creates a socket.
SOCKET socket ( int af, int type, int protocol ); af: An address family specification. type: A type specification for the new socket. The following are the only two type specifications supported for Windows Sockets 1.1: SOCK_STREAM and SOCK_DGRAM. In Windows Sockets 2, some new socket types are introduced. protocol: A particular protocol to be used with the socket that is specific to the indicated address family. Remark: we usually set it as 0.
If no error occurs, socket() returns a descriptor referencing the new socket. Otherwise, a value of INVALID_SOCKET is returned.

Example code:
SOCKET s; s = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, 0); if (s == INVALID_SOCKET) { printf(Error code: %d\n, WSAGetLastError()); return; }



Once a client or server finishes using a socket, it calls closesocket() to deallocate it. If only one process is using the socket, closesocket() immediately terminates the connection and deallocates the socket. If several processes share a socket, closesocket() decrements a reference count and deallocates the socket when the reference count reaches zero.

int closesocket (SOCKET s);

If no error occurs, closesocket() returns zero. Otherwise, a value of SOCKET_ERROR is returned.


Assigning Endpoint Address

At the server side:
#define S_PORT 13 struct sockaddr_in servaddr; memset(&servaddr, 0, sizeof(servaddr)); servaddr.sin_family = AF_INET; servaddr.sin_addr.s_addr = htonl(INADDR_ANY); servaddr.sin_port = htons(S_PORT);

At the client side:

#define S_PORT 13 struct sockaddr_in servaddr; memset(&servaddr, 0, sizeof(servaddr)); servaddr.sin_family = AF_INET; servaddr.sin_port = htons(S_PORT); servaddr.sin_addr.s_addr = inet_addr(argv[1]);

Remark: INADDR_ANY represents a wildcard address that matches any of the computers IP address. In winsock2.h: #define INADDR_ANY (u_long)0x00000000

Remark: inet_addr() takes an ASCII string that contains a dotted decimal address and returns the equivalent IP address in binary. argv[1] represents the first argument to the command.

The server doesnt know who will connect to it. It needs to define the local port number only.

The client must provide the IP address and port number of the server. 43

How to Get the Server Address?

The client software needs to know the servers address. You can:
Include the address into the source code
Not flexible. If the servers address is changed, you have to recompile your source code.

Require the user to identify the server when invoking the program
the most popular way


inet_addr(): Parsing an Address

The arguments are stored in character strings E.g., when user input an IP address, your program usually receives just a string. You need to transfer this string into an IP address data structure.
unsigned long inet_addr ( const char * cp ); If successful, inet_addr() returns an unsigned long that contains the IPv4 address in binary form using network byte order. Otherwise, inet_addr() returns INADDR_NONE to indicate that the argument does not contain a valid dotted decimal address.

Example code: void main (int argc, char * argv[]) { struct sockaddr_in servaddr; servaddr.sin_addr.s_addr = inet_addr(argv[1]); }

inet_ntoa(): Output an IP Address

char * inet_ntoa(struct in_addr in); The inet_ntoa() function takes an Internet address structure specified by the in parameter and returns an ASCII string representing the address in dot notation as in "a.b.c.d''. Good for output!
Example code: char *a; struct sockaddr_in servaddr; a = inet_ntoa(servaddr.sin_addr); printf(address is : %s\n, a);

Looking Up a Domain Name

Internet hosts can be identified by IP address or hostnames. The Domain Name Service (DNS) provides mapping between hostname and IP address

How can we use DNS service?

To enjoy DNS services, you must keep the IP address of a default DNS server (or more backups), configured by hand or by DHCP.
Check this out by command ipconfig /all.

Every time you need to map a domain name into its corresponding IP address, you call the function gethostbyname().
It will trigger the OS to contact the DNS server to obtain the IP address.


Sometimes one domain name are mapped to a list of IP addresses (e.g., for a cluster server). Instead of returning a single IP address, it will return a complicated data structure hostent which can store a list of IP addresses.
struct hostent { char * h_name; /* official host name */ char ** h_aliases; /* other aliases */ short h_addrtype; /* address type */ short h_length; /* length of each address in bytes */ char ** h_addr_list; /* list of addresses */ #define h_addr h_addr_list[0] }; struct hostent * gethostbyname( const char* name);
Example code: char* server =; 1. It will return a NULL pointer struct hostent *h; if error occurs. 2. The returned IP address is in network byte order. if ( h = gethostbyname(server) ) memcpy(&servaddr.sin_addr, h->h_addr, h->h_length); 48

Most client programs must look up the protocol port for the specific service they wish to invoke. To do so, the client invokes library function getservbyname() which takes two parameters: (1) a string that specifies the desired service; (2) a string that specifies the transport protocol being used (i.e., tcp or udp).
struct servent { char * s_name; char ** s_aliases; short s_port; char * s_proto; };

/* official service name */ /* other aliases */ /* port for this service */ /* protocol to use */

struct servent getservbyname ( const char * name, const char * proto );

Example code: struct servent *sptr; if ( sptr = getservbyname (smtp, tcp) ) { /* port number is now in sptr->s_port */ } else { /* error occurred handle it */ }

Another similar library function is getprotobyname(). Check it out by yourself.


When a socket is first created, it has no associated endpoint addresses. Function bind() can specify the local endpoint address for a socket.
Usually, a server calls bind() to specify the well-known port at which they will await connections. A client can skip bind() and let OS to decide.
int bind(SOCKET s, const struct sockaddr * addr, int addrlen); s: the socket descriptor addr: a pointer to the address assigned to the socket addrlen: the size (in bytes) of the real address structure

If no error occurs, bind() returns 0. Otherwise, it returns SOCKET_ERROR.

Example code:
SOCKET s; struct sockaddr_in servaddr; /* fill in the fields of servaddr */ if ( bind(s, (struct sockaddr*)&servaddr, sizeof(servaddr)) == SOCKET_ERROR ) { /* error handling */ }


Choosing Local Address

Local port number
A server operates at a well-known protocol port address, which all clients must know. In general, the client does not care which port it uses as long as the port has no conflict and the port is not assigned to a well-known service. For TCP connection, the local port is assigned by the OS during the call of connect() function.

Local IP address
Its trivial for most machines that has only one IP address. But for a machine with multiple IP addresses, it could be more complicated.

TCP client software usually leaves the local endpoint address unfilled, and allows TCP/IP module to select the correct local IP address and an unused local port number automatically.

Iterative TCP Server Algorithm

1. Create a socket and bind to the well-known address for the service being offered.
socket() and bind()

2. 3.

Place the socket in passive mode, making it ready for use by a server.

Accept the next connection request from the socket, and obtain a new socket for the connection.


Repeatedly receive a request from the client, formulate a response, and send a reply back to the client according to the application protocol.
recv() and send()


When finished with a particular client, close the connection and return to step 3 to accept a new connection.


TCP server calls listen() to place a socket in passive mode and makes it ready to accept incoming connections.
A socket in passive mode is used for acceptance of TCP connection request, not for data transfer.

To handle multiple clients for the server, listen() tells the operating system to queue the connection requests for the servers socket.
int listen(SOCKET s, int backlog); s: the socket descriptor backlog: the maximum length of the queue of pending connections

If no error occurs, listen() returns 0. Otherwise, it returns SOCKET_ERROR.

Example code: SOCKET listenfd, connfd; struct sockaddr_in servaddr; bind(listenfd, (struct sockaddr*)&servaddr, sizeof(servaddr)); if ( listen(listenfd, 10) == SOCKET_ERROR) { /* error handling */ }



After the server calls listen(), the server can then call accept() to extract the next incoming connection request from the listening queue. Function accept() creates a new socket for each new successful connection request, and returns the descriptor of the new socket to its caller. This new socket is used to transfer data.

SOCKET accept(SOCKET s, struct sockaddr * addr, int *addrlen);

s: the socket descriptor addr: an optional pointer to a buffer that receives the clients address addrlen: an optional pointer to an integer that contains the length of the clients address structure

Return value: If no error occurs, accept() returns the socket descriptor for the newly accepted socket. Otherwise, a value of INVALID_SOCKET is returned .

Example code: SOCKET listenfd, connfd; struct sockaddr_in cliaddr; int clilen; listenfd = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, 0); bind(listenfd, (struct sockaddr*)&servaddr, sizeof(servaddr)); listen(listenfd, 10); connfd = accept(listenfd, (struct sockaddr *)&cliaddr, &clilen);

Remark: listenfd is used to accept client connection request.

connfd is used for sending/receiving data.


Server: Two Kinds of Sockets

Client Process Server Process

Client Process

Listening socket Server Process

data data


A new socket returned by accept()



Server: Two Kinds of Sockets

Browser A Web Server Browser B




A single listening socket is used by the server to accept incoming connection requests.

Browser C

TCP Client Algorithm



Find the IP address and protocol port number of the server with which communication is desired; Allocate a socket;

Specify that the connection needs an arbitrary, unused protocol port on the local machine, and allow TCP to choose one;
A side-effect of connect() connect() send() and recv() closesocket()

5. 6.

Connect the socket to the server;

Communicate with the server using the application-level protocol; Close the connection.


A client calls connect() to establish an active connection to a remote server.
int connect (SOCKET s, struct sockaddr * addr, int addrlen); s: the socket descriptor addr: a pointer to the servers address addrlen: the length of the servers address structure If no error occurs, connect() returns 0. Otherwise, it returns SOCKET_ERROR.

Example code: Remark: SOCKET s; servaddr is declared as type struct struct sockaddr_in servaddr; sockaddr_in. It is cast into type struct sockaddr s = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, 0); when calling connect(). /* fill in the structure servaddr */ if ( connect(s, (struct sockaddr *)&servaddr, sizeof(servaddr)) == SOCKET_ERROR ) { /* error handling */ } 59

TCP Communications
When TCP is used, TCP module uses a sending buffer and a receiving buffer for reliable data transmission.
These buffers are inside the OS kernel and different from your application memory buffer!

For sending out data, send() is used.

Usually when send() returns, all the data have been put into the send buffer. We can assume that these data will be successfully delivered eventually.

For receiving data, recv() is used.

But when recv() returns, the number of received bytes could be different from what you expect (i.e., different from what the other side has sent). You must be careful when using recv(). You need to check how many bytes of data have been actually received and then decide what to do next.


TCP: Sending Data

For a TCP connection (SOCK_STREAM), both client and server call send() to send data and recv() to receive data.
int send(SOCKET s, const char * buf, int len, int flags); s: the socket descriptor buf: a pointer to the message to be sent out len: the length of the message in bytes flags: can be 0 or MSG_OOB or MSG_DONTROUTE Remark: Each TCP socket has a send buffer in the OS. When we call send(), the OS copies all the data from the application buffer to the socket send buffer. And the TCP module in the OS kernel will handle the data transfer on the background. 1. If the send buffer has enough room, send() will return just after the data copying. 2. If the send buffer has no enough room, send() will block itself until all the data are copied into the send buffer.

If no error occurs, send() returns the total number of bytes sent. Otherwise, a value of SOCKET_ERROR is returned.

TCP: Receiving Data

int recv(SOCKET s, char * buff, int len, int flags); s: the socket descriptor buf: a pointer to the buffer to receive incoming data len: the size of the buffer flags: can be 0 or MSG_OOB or MSG_PEEK Each TCP socket also has a receive buffer in the OS to hold received data until it is read by the application (by calling the recv() function). So before calling recv(), an application buffer must be allocated by the user to store the incoming data. Function recv() will copy the incoming data from the OS kernel to the application buffer. 1. If no data has arrived, recv() will block until data arrives; 2. If the incoming data can fit into the application buffer, recv() extracts all the data and returns the number of bytes received; 3. If the incoming data cannot fit into the application buffer, recv() only extracts enough to fill the buffer. It may be necessary to call recv() several times in order to receive the entire message.

4. If the other side closed the socket, recv() will return 0.


TCP allows reliable data transmission between two processes
Data are regarded as byte stream. There is no data boundary.

The receiver doesnt know how much data to receive. The number of bytes returned by recv() cannot be known in advance.
Multiple calls of recv() is a common practice. But you dont know how many times to call recv()! Solutions?

Example 1: If Length is Known

In this example, we assume the sender will send 20000 bytes to the receiver. But the receiving application may receive data in small chunks.

/* receiver code */ #define BLEN 20000 char buf[BLEN]; int n, c=0; for (n = 0; n < BLEN; n += c) { c = recv(s, &buf[n], BLEN-n, 0); }



n += c

Question: in reality, how can the client know the length of the incoming data, i.e., 20000 bytes?


Example 2: Connection Closed by Your Peer

In this example, we assume the sender will send some bytes (no more than 20000) to the receiver and then close the socket. The receiver will keep on receiving data until the recv() returns 0.
/* receiver code */ #define BLEN 20000 char buf[BLEN]; char *bptr; int n, buflen; bptr = buf; buflen = BLEN; n = recv(s, bptr, buflen, 0); while ((n != SOCKET_ERROR) && (n != 0)) { bptr += n; buflen -= n; n = recv(s, bptr, buflen, 0); }


n bptr bptr


Example 3: A General Solution Data Encapsulation

The sender sends length + data to the receiver.
Usually it is enough to use a 32-bit integer for length Remember to use Network Byte Order for the integer!

The receiver extracts length, then allocates memory, then receives the data (see Example 1).
/* sender code */ SOCKET sock; int len, m; char *buf; len = 20000; buf = malloc(len); /* fill the buf by your data */ m = htonl(len); send(sock, &m, sizeof(m), 0); send(sock, buf, len, 0); /* receiver code */ SOCKET sock; int i, c, n, len; char *buf, *ptr; ptr = &n; len = sizeof(n); for (i = 0; i < len; i += c) c = recv(sock, &ptr[i], len-i, 0); len = ntohl(n); buf = malloc(len); for (i = 0; i < len; i += c) c = recv(sock, &buf[i], len-i, 0);


UDP Client Algorithm

1. 2. 3. Find the IP address and protocol port number of the server with which communication is desired; Allocate a socket; Specify that the communication needs an arbitrary, unused protocol port on the local machine, and allow UDP to choose one; Specify the server to which messages must be sent; Communicate with the server using the application-level protocol;
This usually involves sending requests and awaiting replies

4. 5.


Close the socket.


UDP: Sending / Receiving Data

For connectionless service, i.e., UDP (SOCK_DGRAM), sendto() and recvfrom() are normally used for data transfer.
int sendto(SOCKET s, const char * buff, int buflen, int flags, const struct sockaddr * to, int tolen) sendto() requires the destination endpoint address as an argument. Why send() doesnt? sendto() returns the number of bytes sent if successful, and SOCKET_ERROR to indicate that an error has occurred. int recvfrom(SOCKET s, char * buff, int buflen, int flags, struct sockaddr * from, int * fromlen) recvfrom() extracts the next message that arrives at a socket and records the senders address.

recvfrom() returns the number of bytes in the message if successful, and SOCKET_ERROR to indicate that an error has occurred.
The receiver doesnt know who will send him data. Any machine can send data to this receiver if it knows the receivers IP and UDP port.

Please study the example codes on Page 7 and 8.


Connected UDP
UDP is connectionless.
When call sendto() and recvfrom(), the peers address is included or returned as a parameter. An unconnected UDP socket can receive packets from any machine.

Somehow, there is a connected UDP socket

You can call connect() to store the destinations address in the OS kernel at the beginning We can no longer specify the destinations address We can call send() to send a message and recv() to receive a response. Each call to recv() returns one complete message. Connected UDP socket is still UDP. The only difference with unconnected UDP socket is the including of destination address information. With this information, the OS will help you to filter out the messages from unknown peers.


More about UDP Programming

Reliability issue
A client must implement reliability through timeout and retransmission, if reliability is desired. Even if your application doesnt require reliability, it is important to use timeout control because recvfrom() will block forever if the expected incoming packet is lost.

Flow control issue

UDP module has no flow control (but TCP has). A high performance PC can send out tens of thousands of packets per second with a 100Mbps Ethernet. But a very slow PC may be swallowed by so huge UDP traffic! If the slow PCs CPU is too busy, the UDP receive buffer will be accumulated to full and the new incoming UDP packets will be dropped.


More References
Learn by practicing!
Some example codes are available on the course web site. Use WireShark to learn basic socket programming debugging skills. Start with some toy programs. Finish the course project individually.

Douglas E. Comer and David L. Stevens, Internetworking with TCP/IP, Volume III: client-server programming and applications, 1997, Prentice-Hall. W. Richard Stevens, Bill Fenner, and Andrew M. Rudoff, UNIX Network Programming, Volume I: The Sockets Networking API, 3rd Edition, 2004, Addison-Wesley. Winsock Programming FAQ: