The tport module contains a generic transport interface used by SIP, RTSP, and HTTP protocols. It is an abstraction layer between a protocol stack and a transport protocol implementation. The interface is implemented via transport objects. The tag parameters for transport objects are defined in <sofia-sip/tport_tag.h>.
A transport object can be used in three roles. Master transport object represents all available transport. It is used to store stack and root interface as well as common data such as SigComp state handler. The primary transport objects represent available transports. The secondary transports represent actual transport connections.
A protocol stack first creates a master transport object and binds a number of primary transport objects (each representing a transport protocol such as UDP, TCP, TLS/TCP, SCTP, etc). The binding process creates a new primary transport object for each transport supported. If the protocol stack is used as a server, the binding process also creates the necessary server sockets and binds them to the specified server ports.
Secondary transport objects are created for each transport-level connection. The tport module takes care of automatically creating them and discarding them when they are no more used. The secondary transport objects are required to transmit messages when a connection-oriented transport protocol is used.
A secondary transport object can be created for two reasons. A server may accept a new connection from a client, or a client may connect to a server. When the connection belonging to a secondary transport has been established, the protocol stack can send or receive messages through it.
When the primary transport object is created with tport_tcreate(), the protocol stack must pass a tport_stack_class_t structure containing function pointers to the new transport object. These function pointers are used to
The transport protocols are bound to the primary transport objects with the method tport_tbind(). The protocol stack gives the desired server transport name (transport name is a structure containing a text-formatted socket address along with transport name) along with the list of transport protocols supported by the stack. The function tport_tbind() can be called multiple times, if, for example, the server port(s) used by transport protocol differ (for example, default TCP port for SIP is 5060, and default TLS port is 5061).
A secondary transport objects is created for each transport-level connection. The tport module takes care of automatically creating them, and discarding them when they are no more used. The secondary transport objects are required to transmit messages when a connection-oriented transport protocol is used.
A secondary transport can be created for two reasons. A server may accept a new connection from a client, or a client may connect to a server. When the connection belonging to a secondary transport has been established, the protocol stack can send or receive messages through it.
A transport can be connection-oriented (TCP, SCTP) or connectionless (UDP). A connection-oriented transport needs a connection to be established before messages can be sent. It can also send messages only to a single destination. For a connectionless transport, a destination address must always be given.
A connectionless transport can be used to send messages to several distinct destinations. The destination address must be given to the kernel whenever a message is sent using connectionless transport.
A connection-oriented transport can also be stream-based (TCP, SCTP) or packet-based (UDP, SCTP). A stream-based transport protocol takes care of ordering the data within a stream, a data chunk sent earlier is always delivered before chunks sent after it. A packet-based transport delivers data chunks independent of each other and does not maintain the relative order, for instance, if a data chunk is lost by the network and then retransmitted, application can receive it later than a data chunk that was sent after lost one but did not need any retransmissions.
Transport magic is a cookie, a piece of data specified by stack that can be associated with a transport (e.g., a Via header). The protocol stack can change the type of transport magic by defining the macro TP_MAGIC_T before including <sofia-sip/tport.h>.
A message can be sent by the tport_tsend() method. The method can be called either from the primary or from the secondary transport. If a secondary transport is needed to send the message, it is created and connected automatically.
The transport gets the data to be sent from the message object with msg_iovec() call. The transport tries to send all the data using one su_vsend() call. If the call would fail, for instance, because the send buffer is too short, the transport object would create a reference to the message and queue it in its own queue.
When a primary connectionless transport object or a secondary transport object receives new data, it allocates a new message object. The message object is created using the factory function tpac_alloc() provided by the protocl stack. The incoming data is passed to the message object, data is parsed and when a message is complete, it is passed to the application using the tpac_recv() function provided when the transport was created.
In order to destroy unused connections, each secondary transport object needs to know if there is a reference to it from the stack. A protocol stack creates a reference to a transport when it receives an incoming request and needs to send the response using the same transport, or when it expects a reply from the server coming on the connection used to send the request.
The protocol stack can mark requests as pending using tport_pend() function. The tport_pend() function associates a request message with a callback and a handle to a client object. When a transport error occurs, it is reported to the client object using the associated callback function.
When the stack receives a response to the request it has marked as pending, it calls tport_release(). The request can be still considered pending, if the response was a preliminary one. In this case, the still_pending argument is true. The function tport_release() is also called without response message, if the stack is no more interested in the response, for instance, after a timeout.
Each stream-based transport also supports send queue. The queue can be used either to queue messages during congestion, or to maintain the relative ordering of responses. Usually, queue is used implicitly for the first purpose, e.g., if a transport is busy sending a message it queues further messages when tport_tsend() is called.
Explicit queueing is needed when the protocol (like HTTP/1.1) requires that the relative order of responses is maintained. When the protocol stack receives a request, it queues an empty response message to the transport with tport_tqueue(). Such an empty response is marked as incomplete, not ready to send. When application responds to the request via tport_tqsend(), the transport object marks the message ready to send and, if there are no other queued responses before it, sends it.
Seeing message contents and network events is extremely useful when debugging protocols. There are environment variables that are used to activate message logging within tport module.