Friday, April 1, 2011

TCP Packet Mood

In these weeks I am working at the good old Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)  and I find it a very formative activity, despite the age of the protocol.

Among the several enhancements added to it during the last thirty years, this one is particularly interesting: the option to denote Packet Mood (RFC 5841), which was proposed exactly one year ago "in an attempt to anthropomorphize the bit streams on countless physical layer networks throughout the world" (put it shortly, it adds the capability to express feelings on a per-packet basis).

What makes this feature interesting (at least in my opinion) is that the authors of the RFC forecast the creation of "a new technical job class of network psychologists". Since I do like new jobs ;-), I decided to give my humble contribution, and to implement the Packet Mood option in my TCP.

From the first tests it seems to work fine, and fortunately I found out that Wireshark supports it too (thanks, guys!). You can see an example of an emotional TCP connection in the snapshot below (click on the thumbnail to enlarge)...

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... and download the pcap capture file by clicking here.

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