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- Created 2012-02-21
, breaking it into smaller pieces, so that packets may be formed that can pass through a link with a smaller
maximum transmission unit
(MTU) than the original datagram size.
RFC 791 describes the procedure for IP fragmentation, and transmission and reassembly of
datagrams. RFC 815 describes a simplified reassembly algorithm.
offset field along with
flags in the IP protocol header are used for fragmentation and reassembly of IP datagrams.
In a case where a
protocol data unit
(PDU) larger than the next hop's MTU, it has two options if the transport is
. Drop the PDU and send an
Internet Control Message Protocol
(ICMP) message which indicates the condition
Packet too Big
, or to fragment the IP packet and send it over the link with a smaller MTU.
hosts are required to determine the optimal
before sending packets; however, it is guaranteed that any IPv6 packet smaller than or equal to 1280 bytes must be deliverable without the need to use IPv6 fragmentation.
If a receiving host receives a fragmented IP packet, it has to reassemble the datagram and pass it to the higher protocol layer. Reassembly is intended to happen in the receiving host but in practice it may be done by an intermediate router, for example,
network address translation
need to re-assemble fragments in order to translate data streams, e.g. the FTP control protocol, as described in RFC 2993.
IP fragmentation can cause excessive retransmissions when fragments encounter
and reliable protocols such as TCP must retransmit all of the fragments in order to recover from the loss of a single fragment. Thus, senders typically use two approaches to decide the size of IP datagrams to send over the network. The first is for the sending host to send an IP datagram of size equal to the MTU of the first hop of the source destination pair. The second is to run the
path MTU discovery
algorithm, described in RFC 1191, to determine the path MTU between two IP hosts, so that IP fragmentation can be avoided.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 14 May), licensed under
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IP fragmentation attacks
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