how MPTCP connection with more than one subflow closed? what would happen to MPTCP connection if a client decide to close one of the subflows? it would be very kind of you if you explain it step by step in details


1 Answer 1


The answer to your question is clearly explained in RFC 6824, TCP Extensions for Multipath Operation with Multiple Addresses:

2.6. Closing an MPTCP Connection

When Host A wants to inform Host B that it has no more data to send, it signals this "Data FIN" as part of the Data Sequence Signal (see above). It has the same semantics and behavior as a regular TCP FIN, but at the connection level. Once all the data on the MPTCP connection has been successfully received, then this message is acknowledged at the connection level with a DATA_ACK. Further details are in Section 3.3.3.

  Host A                                 Host B
  ------                                 ------
  [Data FIN]

                            <-           (MPTCP DATA_ACK)


3.3.3. Closing a Connection

In regular TCP, a FIN announces the receiver that the sender has no more data to send. In order to allow subflows to operate independently and to keep the appearance of TCP over the wire, a FIN in MPTCP only affects the subflow on which it is sent. This allows nodes to exercise considerable freedom over which paths are in use at any one time. The semantics of a FIN remain as for regular TCP; i.e., it is not until both sides have ACKed each other's FINs that the subflow is fully closed.

When an application calls close() on a socket, this indicates that it has no more data to send; for regular TCP, this would result in a FIN on the connection. For MPTCP, an equivalent mechanism is needed, and this is referred to as the DATA_FIN.

A DATA_FIN is an indication that the sender has no more data to send, and as such can be used to verify that all data has been successfully received. A DATA_FIN, as with the FIN on a regular TCP connection, is a unidirectional signal.

The DATA_FIN is signaled by setting the 'F' flag in the Data Sequence Signal option (Figure 9) to 1. A DATA_FIN occupies 1 octet (the final octet) of the connection-level sequence space. Note that the DATA_FIN is included in the Data-Level Length, but not at the subflow level: for example, a segment with DSN 80, and Data-Level Length 11, with DATA_FIN set, would map 10 octets from the subflow into data sequence space 80-89, the DATA_FIN is DSN 90; therefore, this segment including DATA_FIN would be acknowledged with a DATA_ACK of 91.

Note that when the DATA_FIN is not attached to a TCP segment containing data, the Data Sequence Signal MUST have a subflow sequence number of 0, a Data-Level Length of 1, and the data sequence number that corresponds with the DATA_FIN itself. The checksum in this case will only cover the pseudo-header.

A DATA_FIN has the semantics and behavior as a regular TCP FIN, but at the connection level. Notably, it is only DATA_ACKed once all data has been successfully received at the connection level. Note, therefore, that a DATA_FIN is decoupled from a subflow FIN. It is only permissible to combine these signals on one subflow if there is no data outstanding on other subflows. Otherwise, it may be necessary to retransmit data on different subflows. Essentially, a host MUST NOT close all functioning subflows unless it is safe to do so, i.e., until all outstanding data has been DATA_ACKed, or until the segment with the DATA_FIN flag set is the only outstanding segment.

Once a DATA_FIN has been acknowledged, all remaining subflows MUST be closed with standard FIN exchanges. Both hosts SHOULD send FINs on all subflows, as a courtesy to allow middleboxes to clean up state even if an individual subflow has failed. It is also encouraged to reduce the timeouts (Maximum Segment Life) on subflows at end hosts. In particular, any subflows where there is still outstanding data queued (which has been retransmitted on other subflows in order to get the DATA_FIN acknowledged) MAY be closed with a RST.

A connection is considered closed once both hosts' DATA_FINs have been acknowledged by DATA_ACKs.

As specified above, a standard TCP FIN on an individual subflow only shuts down the subflow on which it was sent. If all subflows have been closed with a FIN exchange, but no DATA_FIN has been received and acknowledged, the MPTCP connection is treated as closed only after a timeout. This implies that an implementation will have TIME_WAIT states at both the subflow and connection levels (see Appendix C). This permits "break-before-make" scenarios where connectivity is lost on all subflows before a new one can be re- established.

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