TCP Connection Establishment Sequence Number Synchronization and Parameter Exchange
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TCP Parameter Exchange
In addition to initial sequence numbers, SYN messages also are designed to convey important parameters about how the connection should operate. TCP includes a flexible scheme for carrying these parameters, in the form of a variable-length Options field in the TCP segment format that can be expanded to carry multiple parameters. Only a single parameter is defined in TCP 793 to be exchanged during connection setup: Maximum Segment Size (MSS). The significance of this parameter is explained in the TCP data transfer section.
Each device sends the other the MSS that it wants to use for the connection, if it wishes to use a non-default value. When receiving the SYN, the server records the MSS value that the client sent, and will never send a segment larger than that value to the client. The client does the same for the server. The client and server MSS values are independent, so a connection can be established where the client can receive larger segments than the server or vice-versa.
Later RFCs have defined additional parameters that may be exchanged during connection setup. Some of these include:
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