[whatwg] Websockets: dropped packets? (Jonathan Chetwynd)

Harald Alvestrand harald at alvestrand.no
Sun May 29 20:06:49 PDT 2011

On 03/31/11 14:53, Bob Gezelter wrote:
> Jonathan,
> The WebSocket protocol currently presumes TCP as the underlying 
> transport.
> TCP connections are an uninterrupted stream. If a packet is lost, the
> connection will be aborted.
> I do not believe that the TCP dependency is truly necessary or 
> beneficial.
> WADR, it would be far more appropriate to specify the needed 
> characteristics
> of the underlying transport. As an example, the earliest versions of MTP
> (RFC 772) -- the predecessor of SMTP have successfully taken this 
> approach
> to specification.
Just to chime in on an old thread here, since it was referenced in Ian's 
recent response:

After reading RFC 772, I believe you are presenting it falsely. It 
specifies a dependency on "either TCP or NCP", where NCP is the Arpanet 
protocol preceding IP (RFC 772 is from September 1980; NCP was turned 
off in the Arpanet on Jan 1, 1983).

RFC 821, SMTP, which was the first (and so far only) successful mail 
protocol on the Internet, did a little more separation, because it 
specified an explicit mapping on TCP/IP (RFC 821 appendix A), as well as 
mapping to other protocols. Later versions (RFC 2821, RFC 5321) simply 
said "see RFC 821 for alternative mappings", and only specified the 
TCP/IP mapping.

AFAIK, all other specifications that reference SMTP refer to the TCP 
mapping only, in many cases (ref RFC 1123) making requirements that only 
make sense for TCP, and it's the only one that's seen real deployment.

I believe the premise is false, so it should not be a surprise that I 
believe the conclusion is erroneous.
> In a recent posting to my blog, Ruminations, I suggested that the 
> WebSocket
> protocol specification be segregated into multiple RFCs, to separate the
> TCP-related implementation issues from the underlying protocol.
> - Bob
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