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Method of Acknowledging, Reassembling and Transmitting Data Packets



Technical Challenge:

Connectionless networks decrease the likelihood that an entire message must be retransmitted, but increase the likelihood that some of the packets of a message must be retransmitted. Technological advancements continue to decrease the time it takes to transmit a packet over a network. Improvements in speed make it more feasible to transmit messages such as photographs, consisting of larger numbers of packets. With an increase in the number of packets being sent that must be reassembled into a message, a better packet acknowledgement scheme and message reassembly scheme is needed.


This method addresses reassembling, acknowledging, and transmitting data packets of a data stream by accounting for the received packets in groups rather than individually. The groups may be of data packets received or of gaps in the data packets received. Both groupings are more efficient ways of processing data packets. The method uses a counter to determine what data packet is expected next. After a data packet is received, its identification number is determined. Groups of received data packets or gaps in the data packets are then recorded. Message reassembly from packets is greatly aided by this record keeping. Acknowledgment packets sent to the sender are efficiently constructed by noting sequences of missing packets (gaps) rather than enumerating each individual missing packet. These steps are repeated for each additional data packet received.

Demonstration Capability:

Software can easily be installed on workstation.

Potential Commercial Application(s):

WAN data transport, QoS applications.

Patent Status:

Issued: United States Patent Number 6,957,374 (Updated)

Reference Number: 1253

If you are interested in exploring this technology further, please express your interest in writing to the:

National Security Agency
NSA Technology Transfer Program
9800 Savage Road, Suite 6541
Fort George G. Meade, Maryland 20755-6541


Date Posted: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Modified: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Reviewed: Jan 15 2009