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Next: Tuning the Transmission Protocol Up: UUCP Low-Level Protocols Previous: UUCP Low-Level Protocols

Protocol Overview

As UUCP is used over different types of connections, such as serial lines or TCP, or even X.25, specific low-level protocols are needed. In addition, several implementations of UUCP have introduced different protocols that do roughly the same thing.

Protocols can be divided into two categories: streaming and packet-oriented protocols. Protocols of the latter variety transfer a file as a whole, possibly computing a checksum over it. This is nearly free of any overhead, but requires a reliable connection, because any error will cause the whole file to be retransmitted. These protocols are commonly used over TCP connections, but are not suitable for use over telephone lines. Although modern modems do quite a good job at error correction, they are not perfect, nor is there any error detection between your computer and the modem.

On the other hand, packet protocols split up the file into several chunks of equal size. Each packet is sent and received separately, a checksum is computed, and an acknowledgement is returned to the sender. To make this more efficient, sliding-window protocols were invented, which allow for a limited number (a window) of outstanding acknoledgements at any time. This greatly reduces the amount of time uucico has to wait during a transmission. Still, the relatively large overhead compared to a streaming protocol make packet protocols inefficient for use over TCP.

The width of the data path also makes a difference. Sometimes, sending eight-bit characters over a serial connection is impossible, for instance if the connection goes through a stupid terminal server. In this case, characters with the eighth bit set have to be quoted on transmission. When you transmit eight-bit characters over a seven-bit connection, they have to be Under worst-case assumptions, this doubles the amount of data to be transmitted, although compression done by the hardware may compensate for this. Lines that can transmit arbitrary eight-bit characters are usually called eight-bit clean. This is the case for all TCP connections, as well as for most modem connections.

The following protocols are available with Taylor UUCP 1.04:

Next: Tuning the Transmission Protocol Up: UUCP Low-Level Protocols Previous: UUCP Low-Level Protocols

Andrew Anderson
Thu Mar 7 23:22:06 EST 1996