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sctp (Internet Stream Control Transmission Protocol)


#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/socket.h>
#include <netinet/sctp.h>



The SCTP protocol provides reliable, flow-controlled, two-way transmission of data. It is a message oriented protocol and can support the SOCK_STREAM and SOCK_SEQPACKET abstractions. SCTP uses the standard Internet address format and, in addition, provides a per-host collection of "port addresses". Thus, each address is composed of an Internet address specifying the host and network, with a specific SCTP port on the host identifying the peer entity.

There are two models of programming in SCTP. The first uses the SOCK_STREAM abstraction. In this abstraction sockets utilizing the SCTP protocol are either "active" or "passive". Active sockets initiate connections to passive sockets. By default, SCTP sockets are created active; to create a passive socket, the listen system call must be used after binding the socket with the bind or sctp_bindx system calls. Only passive sockets may use the accept call to accept incoming connections. Only active sockets may use the connect call to initiate connections.

The other abstraction SOCK_SEQPACKET provides a "connectionless" mode of operation in that the user may send to an address (using any of the valid send calls that carry a socket address) and an association will be setup implicitly by the underlying SCTP transport stack. This abstraction is the only one capable of sending data on the third leg of the four-way handshake. A user must still call listen to allow the socket to accept connections. Calling listen however does not restrict the user from still initiating implicit connections to other peers.

The SCTP protocol directly supports multi-homing.So when binding a socket with the "wildcard" address INADDR_ANY, the SCTP stack will inform the peer about all of the local addresses that are deemed in scope of the peer. The peer will then possibly have multiple paths to reach the local host.

The SCTP transport protocol is also multi-streamed. Multi-streaming refers to the ability to send sub-ordered flows of messages. A user performs this by specifying a specific stream in one of the extended send calls such as the sctp_send function call. Sending messages on different streams will allow parallel delivery of data i.e., a message loss in stream 1 will not block the delivery of messages sent in stream 2.

The SCTP transport protocol also provides a unordered service as well. The unordered service allows a message to be sent and delivered with no regard to the ordering of any other message.


The INtime implementation of SCTP also supports the following FreeBSD extensions:

sctp partial reliability
This extension allows one to have message be skipped and not delivered based on some user specified parameters.
sctp dynamic addressing
This extension allows addresses to be added and deleted dynamically from an existing association.
sctp authentication
This extension allows the user to authenticate specific peer chunks (including data) to validate that the peer who sent the message is in fact the peer who setup the association. A shared key option is also provided for so that two stacks can pre-share keys.
packet drop
Some routers support a special satellite protocol that will report losses due to corruption. This allows retransmissions without subsequent loss in bandwidth utilization.
stream reset
This extension allows a user on either side to reset the stream sequence numbers used by any or all streams.


SCTP supports a number of socket options which can be set with setsockopt and tested with getsockopt or sctp_opt_info:

Under most circumstances, SCTP sends data when it is presented; when outstanding data has not yet been acknowledged, it gathers small amounts of output to be sent in a single packet once an acknowledgement is received. For some clients, such as window systems that send a stream of mouse events which receive no replies, this packetization may cause significant delays.The boolean option SCTP_NODELAY defeats this algorithm.
This option returns specific information about an associations "Retransmission Time Out". It can also be used to change the default values.
This option returns specific information about the requested association.
This option allows you to get or set the default sending parameters when an association is implicitly setup. It allows you to change such things as the maximum number of streams allowed inbound and the number of streams requested of the peer.
For the one-to-many model (SOCK_SEQPACKET) associations are setup implicitly. This option allows the user to specify a default number of idle seconds to allow the association be maintained. After the idle timer (where no user message have been sent or have been received from the peer) the association will be gracefully closed. The default for this value is 0, or unlimited (i.e., no automatic close).
The dynamic address extension allows a peer to also request a particular address of its be made into the primary address. This option allows the caller to make such a request to a peer. Note that if the peer does not also support the dynamic address extension, this call will fail. Note the caller must provide a valid local address that the peer has been told about during association setup or dynamically.
This option allows the setting of the primary address that the caller wishes to send to. The caller provides the address of a peer that is to be made primary.
The dynamic address extension also allows a user to pass a 32 bit opaque value upon association setup. This option allows a user to set or get this value.
By default SCTP will fragment user messages into multiple pieces that will fit on the network and then later, upon reception, reassemble the pieces into a single user message.If this option is enabled instead, any send that exceeds the path maximum transfer unit (P-MTU) will fail and the message will NOT be sent.
This option will allow a user to set or get specific peer address parameters.
When a user does not use one of the extended send calls (e.g., sctp_sendmsg) a set of default values apply to each send. These values include things like the stream number to send to as well as the per-protocol id. This option lets a caller both get and set these values.If the user changes these default values, then these new values will be used as the default whenever no information is provided by the sender (i.e., the nonextended API is used).
SCTP has non-data events that it can communicate to its application. By default these are all disabled since they arrive in the data path with a special flag MSG_NOTIFICATION set upon the received message.This option lets a caller both get what events are current being received as well as set different events that they may be interested in receiving.
SCTP supports both IPV4 and IPV6. An association may span both IPV4 and IPV6 addresses since SCTP is multi-homed. By default, when opening an IPV6 socket, when data arrives on the socket from a peer's V4 address the V4 address will be presented with an address family of AF_INET. If this is undesirable, then this option can be enabled which will then convert all V4 addresses into mapped V6 representations.
By default SCTP chooses its message fragmentation point based upon the smallest P-MTU of the peer. This option lets the caller set it to a smaller value. Note that while the user can change this value, if the P-MTU is smaller than the value set by the user, then the P-MTU value will override any user setting.
This option lets the user both set and get the delayed ack time (in milliseconds) that SCTP is using. The default is 200 milliseconds.
SCTP at times may need to start delivery of a very large message before the entire message has arrived. By default SCTP waits until the incoming message is larger than one fourth of the receive buffer. This option allows the stacks value to be overridden with a smaller value.
SCTP at times will start partial delivery (as mentioned above). In the normal case successive reads will continue to return the rest of the message, blocking if needed, until all of that message is read. However this means other messages may have arrived and be ready for delivery and be blocked behind the message being partially delivered. If this option is enabled, when a partial delivery message has no more data to be received, then a subsequent read may return a different message that is ready for delivery. By default this option is off since the user must be using the extended API's to be able to tell the difference between messages (via the stream and stream sequence number).
By default only the dynamic addressing chunks are authenticated. This option lets a user request an additional chunk be authenticated as well. Note that successive calls to this option will work and continue to add more chunks that require authentication. Note that this option only effects future associations and not existing ones.
This option allows a user to specify a shared key that can be later used to authenticate a peer.
This option will let you get or set the list of HMAC algorithms used to authenticate peers. Note that the HMAC values are in priority order where the first HMAC identifier is the most preferred and the last is the least preferred.
This option allows you to make a key active for the generation of authentication information.Note that the peer must have the same key or else the data will be discarded.
This option allows you to delete an old key.
The sockets api document allows an extended send/receive information structure to be used.The extended structure includes additional fields related to the next message to be received (after the current receive completes) if such information is known.By default the system will not pass this information. This option allows the user to request this information.
By default when bound to all address and the system administrator has enables automatic dynamic addresses, the SCTP stack will automatically generate address changes into add and delete requests to any peers by setting this option to true. This option allows an endpoint to disable that behavior.
By default SCTP implements micro-burst control so that as the congestion window opens up no large burst of packets can be generated.The default burst limit is four. This option lets the user change this value.
Many sctp extended calls have a context field. The context field is a 32 bit opaque value that will be returned in send failures. This option lets the caller set the default context value to use when none is provided by the user.
By default, a single send is a complete message. SCTP generates an implied record boundary. If this option is enabled, then all sends are part of the same message until the user indicates an end of record with the special flag SCTP_EOR passed in the sctp_sndrcvinfo flags field. This effectively makes all sends part of the same message until the user specifies differently. This means that a caller must NOT change the stream number until after the SCTP_EOR is passed to SCTP else an error will be returned.
This option is a read only option that returns various status information about the specified association.
This read only option returns information about a peer address.
This read only option returns a list of the chunks the peer requires to be authenticated.
This read only option returns a list of the locally required chunks that must be authenticated.
This socket option is used to cause a stream sequence number or all stream sequence numbers to be reset. Note that the peer SCTP endpoint must also support the stream reset extension as well.

SCTP calls

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Bind or unbind an SCTP socket to a list of addresses. sctp_bindx
Connect an SCTP socket with multiple destination addresses. sctp_connectx
Release the memory returned from a previous call. sctp_freeladdrs
Return an association ID for a specified socket address. sctp_getassocid
Return a list of addresses to the caller. sctp_getladdrs
Get SCTP socket information. sctp_opt_info
Detach an association from a one-to-many socket to its on sd. sctp_peeloff
Receive a message from an SCTP socket. sctp_recvmsg
Send a message from an SCTP socket. sctp_send
Send a message from an SCTP socket. sctp_sendmsg
Send a message from an SCTP socket. sctp_sendmsgx
See Also