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MODEM PROTOCOL DOCUMENTATION


By Ward Christensen     1/1/82
_____________________________________________________________________

I will maintain a master copy of this.  Please pass on changes or
suggestions via CBBS/Chicago at (312) 545-8086, CBBS/CPMUG (312)
849-1132 or by voice at (312) 849-6279.

Last Revision: 6/18/85  By Henry C. Schmitt.
                        State Table Appendix.

Previous Revisions: 1/13/85 By John Byrns.
                            CRC Option Addendum.

                    8/9/82  By Ward Christensen.
                            Change ACK to 06H (from 05H).

This version of the document was downloaded from the CBBS/CPMUG on
6/13/85 and the addition of minor editorial changes were made by Henry
C. Schmitt.

Many people ask me for documentation on my modem protocol, i.e. the
one used in  the various modem programs in CPMUG, on volumes 6, 25,
40, 47... so here it is.  At the request of Rick Mallinak on behalf of
the guys at Standard Oil with IBM P.C.s, as well as several previous
requests, I finally decided to put my modem protocol into writing.  It
had been previously formally published only in the AMRAD newsletter.



Table of Contents

 1.  DEFINITIONS
 2.  TRANSMISSION MEDIUM LEVEL PROTOCOL
 3.  MESSAGE BLOCK LEVEL PROTOCOL
 4.  FILE LEVEL PROTOCOL
 5.  DATA FLOW EXAMPLE INCLUDING ERROR RECOVERY
 6.  PROGRAMMING TIPS.
 7.  OVERVIEW OF CRC OPTION
 8.  MESSAGE BLOCK LEVEL PROTOCOL, CRC MODE
 9.  CRC CALCULATION
10.  FILE LEVEL PROTOCOL, CHANGES FOR COMPATIBILITY
11.  DATA FLOW EXAMPLES WITH CRC OPTION

Appendix 1.  MODEM PROTOCOL STATE TABLE


 1.  DEFINITIONS.

<soh>     01H
<eot>     04H
<ack>     06H
<nak>     15H
<can>     18H
<C>       43H


 2.  TRANSMISSION MEDIUM LEVEL PROTOCOL

Asynchronous, 8 data bits, no parity, one stop bit.

The protocol imposes no restrictions on the contents of the data
being transmitted.  No control characters are looked for in the
128-byte data messages.  Absolutely any kind of data may be sent
- binary, ASCII, etc.  The protocol has not formally been adopted
to a 7-bit environment for the transmission of ASCII-only (or
unpacked-hex) data , although it could be simply by having both
ends agree to AND the protocol-dependent data with 7F hex before
validating it.  I specifically am referring to the checksum, and
the block numbers and their ones-complement.

Those wishing to maintain compatibility of the CP/M file
structure, i.e. to allow modemming ASCII files to or from CP/M
systems should follow this data format:

* ASCII tabs used (09H); tabs set every 8.
* Lines terminated by CR/LF (0DH 0AH)
* End-of-file indicated by ^Z, 1AH.  (one or more)
* Data is variable length, i.e. should be considered a
continuous stream of data bytes, broken into 128-byte
chunks purely for the purpose of transmission.
* A CP/M "peculiarity": If the data ends exactly on a
128-byte boundary, i.e. CR in 127, and LF in 128, a
subsequent sector containing the ^Z EOF character(s) is
optional, but is preferred.  Some utilities or user
programs still do not handle EOF without ^Zs.
* The last block sent is no different from others, i.e.
there is no "short block".


 3.  MESSAGE BLOCK LEVEL PROTOCOL

Each block of the transfer looks like:

<SOH><blk #><255-blk #><--128 data bytes--><cksum>

in which:

<SOH>       = 01 hex
<blk #>     = binary number, starts at 01 increments by 1,
and wraps 0FFH to 00H (not to 01)
<255-blk #> = blk # after going thru 8080 "CMA" instr, i.e.
each bit complemented in the 8-bit block
number.  Formally, this is the "ones
complement".
<cksum>     = the sum of the data bytes only.  Toss any
carry.


 4.  FILE LEVEL PROTOCOL


4A.  COMMON TO BOTH SENDER AND RECEIVER:

All errors are retried 10 times.  For versions running with
an operator (i.e. NOT with XMODEM), a message is typed after
10 errors asking the operator whether to "retry or quit".

Some versions of the protocol use <can>, ASCII ^X, to cancel
transmission.  This was never adopted as a standard, as
having a single "abort" character makes the transmission
susceptible to false termination due to an <ack> <nak> or
<soh> being corrupted into a <can> and cancelling
transmission.

The protocol may be considered "receiver driven", that is,
the sender need not automatically re-transmit, although it
does in the current implementations.


4B.  RECEIVE PROGRAM CONSIDERATIONS:

The receiver has a 10-second timeout.  It sends a <nak>
every time it times out.  The receiver's first timeout,
which sends a <nak>, signals the transmitter to start.
Optionally, the receiver could send a <nak> immediately, in
case the sender was ready.  This would save the initial 10
second timeout.  However, the receiver MUST continue to
timeout every 10 seconds in case the sender wasn't ready.

Once into a receiving a block, the receiver goes into a
one-second timeout for each character and the checksum.  If
the receiver wishes to <nak> a block for any reason (invalid
header, timeout receiving data), it must wait for the line
to clear.  See "programming tips" for ideas.

Synchronizing:  If a valid block number is received, it will
be:

1)  the expected one, in which case everything is fine; or
2)  a repeat of the previously received block.  This should
be considered OK, and only indicates that the receiver's
<ack> got glitched, and the sender re-transmitted;
3)  any other block number indicates a fatal loss of
synchronization, such as the rare case of the sender
getting a line-glitch that looked like an <ack>.  Abort
the transmission, sending a <can>


 4.  FILE LEVEL PROTOCOL (cont)


4C.  SENDING PROGRAM CONSIDERATIONS.

While waiting for transmission to begin, the sender has only
a single very long timeout, say one minute.  In the current
protocol, the sender has a 10 second timeout before
retrying.  I suggest NOT doing this, and letting the
protocol be completely receiver-driven.  This will be
compatible with existing programs.

When the sender has no more data, it sends an <eot>, and
awaits an <ack>, resending the <eot> if it doesn't get one.
Again, the protocol could be receiver-driven, with the
sender only having the high-level 1-minute timeout to abort.


 5.  DATA FLOW EXAMPLE INCLUDING ERROR RECOVERY

Here is a sample of the data flow, sendin' a 3-block message.  It
includes the two most common line hits - a garbaged block, and an
<ack> reply getting garbaged.  <xx> represents the checksum byte.

SENDER                                       RECEIVER
                                  times out after 10 seconds
                             <---            <nak>
<soh> 01 FE -data- <xx> --->
                             <---            <ack>
<soh> 02 FD -data- <xx> --->    (data gets line hit)
                             <---            <nak>
<soh> 02 FD -data- <xx> --->
                             <---            <ack>
<soh> 03 FC -data- xx   --->
        (ack gets garbaged)  <---            <ack>
<soh> 03 FC -data- xx   --->
                             <---            <ack>
<eot>                   --->
                             <---            <ack>


 6.  PROGRAMMING TIPS.

* The character-receive subroutine should be called with a
parameter specifying the number of seconds to wait.  The
receiver should first call it with a time of 10, then <nak> and
try again, 10 times.

  After receiving the <soh>, the receiver should call the
character receive subroutine with a 1-second timeout, for the
remainder of the message and the <cksum>.  Since they are sent
as a continuous stream, timing out of this implies a serious
like glitch that caused, say, 127 characters to be seen instead
of 128.


 6.  PROGRAMMING TIPS (cont)

* When the receiver wishes to <nak>, it should call a "PURGE"
subroutine, to wait for the line to clear.  Recall the sender
tosses any characters in its UART buffer immediately upon
completing sending a block, to ensure no glitches were
misinterpreted.

  The most common technique is for "PURGE" to call the character
receive subroutine, specifying a 1-second timeout, and looping
back to PURGE until a timeout occurs.  The <nak> is then sent,
ensuring the other end will see it.

* You may wish to add code recommended by John Mahr to your
character receive routine - to set an error flag if the UART
shows framing error, or overrun.  This will help catch a few
more glitches - the most common of which is a hit in the high
bits of the byte in two consecutive bytes.  The <cksum> comes
out OK since counting in 1-byte produces the same result of
adding 80H + 80H as with adding 00H + 00H.


 7.  OVERVIEW OF CRC OPTION

The CRC used in the Modem Protocol is an alternate form of block
check which provides more robust error detection than the
original checksum. Andrew S. Tanenbaum says in his book, Computer
Networks, that the CRC-CCITT used by the Modem Protocol will
detect all single and double bit errors, all errors with an odd
number of bits, all burst errors of length 16 or less, 99.997% of
17-bit error bursts, and 99.998% of 18-bit and longer bursts.

The changes to the Modem Protocol to replace the checksum with
the CRC are straight forward.  If that were all that we did we
would not be able to communicate between a program using the old
checksum protocol and one using the new CRC protocol.  An initial
handshake was added to solve this problem. The handshake allows a
receiving program with CRC capability to determine whether the
sending program supports the CRC option, and to switch it to CRC
mode if it does.  This handshake is designed so that it will work
properly with programs which implement only the original
protocol.  A description of this handshake is presented in
section 10.


 8.  MESSAGE BLOCK LEVEL PROTOCOL, CRC MODE

Each block of the transfer in CRC mode looks like:

<SOH><blk #><255-blk #><--128 data bytes--><CRC hi><CRC lo>

in which:

<SOH>       = 01 hex
<blk #>     = binary number, starts at 01 increments by 1,
and wraps 0FFH to 00H (not to 01)
<255-blk #> = ones complement of blk #.
<CRC hi>    = byte containing the 8 hi order coefficients of
the CRC.
<CRC lo>    = byte containing the 8 lo order coefficients of
the CRC.


 9.  CRC CALCULATION


9A.  FORMAL DEFINITION OF THE CRC CALCULATION

To calculate the 16 bit CRC the message bits are considered
to be the coefficients of a polynomial.  This message
polynomial is first multiplied by X^16 and then divided by
the generator polynomial (X^16 + X^12 + X^5 + 1) using
modulo two arithemetic.  The remainder left after the
division is the desired CRC.  Since a message block in the
Modem Protocol is 128 bytes or 1024 bits, the message
polynomial will be of order X^1023.  The hi order bit of the
first byte of the message block is the coefficient of X^1023
in the message polynomial.  The lo order bit of the last
byte of the message block is the coefficient of X^0 in the
message polynomial.


 9.  CRC CALCULATION (cont)


9B.  EXAMPLE OF CRC CALCULATION WRITTEN IN C

This function calculates the CRC used by the "Modem
Protocol".  The first argument is a pointer to the message
block.  The second argument is the number of bytes in the
message block.  The message block used by the Modem Protocol
contains 128 bytes.

The function return value is an integer which contains the
CRC.  The lo order 16 bits of this integer are the
coefficients of the CRC.  The lo order bit is the lo order
coefficient of the CRC.

int calcrc(ptr, count) char *ptr; int count; {

int crc, i;

crc = 0;
while(--count >= 0) {
crc = crc ^ (int)*ptr++ << 8;
for(i = 0; i < 8; ++i)
    if(crc & 0x8000)
        crc = crc << 1 ^ 0x1021;
    else
        crc = crc << 1;
}
return (crc & 0xFFFF);
}


10.  FILE LEVEL PROTOCOL, CHANGES FOR COMPATIBILITY


10A.  COMMON TO BOTH SENDER AND RECEIVER:

The only change to the File Level Protocol for the CRC
option is the initial handshake which is used to determine
if both the sending and the receiving programs support the
CRC mode.  All Modem Programs should support the checksum
mode for compatibility with older versions.

A receiving program that wishes to receive in CRC mode
implements the mode setting handshake by sending a <C> in
place of the initial <nak>.  If the sending program
supports CRC mode it will recognize the <C> and will set
itself into CRC mode, and respond by sending the first
block as if a <nak> had been received.  If the sending
program does not support CRC mode it will not respond to
the <C> at all.


10.  FILE LEVEL PROTOCOL, CHANGES FOR COMPATIBILITY (cont)


10A.  COMMON TO BOTH SENDER AND RECEIVER (cont)

After the receiver has sent the <C> it will wait up to 3
seconds for the <soh> that starts the first block.  If it
receives a <soh> within 3 seconds it will assume the sender
supports CRC mode and will proceed with the file exchange
in CRC mode.  If no <soh> is received within 3 seconds the
receiver will switch to checksum mode, send a <nak>, and
proceed in checksum mode.

If the receiver wishes to use checksum mode it should send
an initial <nak> and the sending program should respond to
the <nak> as defined in the original Modem Protocol.

After the mode has been set by the initial <C> or <nak> the
protocol follows the original Modem Protocol and is
identical whether the checksum or CRC is being used.


10B.  RECEIVE PROGRAM CONSIDERATIONS:

There are at least 4 things that can go wrong with the mode
setting handshake:

1.  the initial <C> can be garbled or lost.
2.  the initial <soh> can be garbled.
3.  the initial <C> can be changed to a <nak>.
4.  the initial <nak> from a receiver which wants to
receive in checksum can be changed to a <C>.

The first problem can be solved if the receiver sends a
second <C> after it times out the first time.  This process
can be repeated several times.  It must not be repeated a
too many times before sending a <nak> and switching to
checksum mode or a sending program without CRC support may
time out and abort.

Repeating the <C> will also fix the second problem if the
sending program cooperates by responding as if a <nak> were
received instead of ignoring the extra <C>.

It is possible to fix problems 3 and 4 but probably not
worth the trouble since they will occur very infrequently.
They could be fixed by switching modes in either the
sending or the receiving program after a large number of
successive <nak>s.  This solution would risk other problems
however.


10.  FILE LEVEL PROTOCOL, CHANGES FOR COMPATIBILITY (cont)


10C.  SENDING PROGRAM CONSIDERATIONS.

The sending program should start in the checksum mode.
This will insure compatibility with checksum only receiving
programs.  Anytime a <C> is received before the first <nak>
or <ack> the sending program should set itself into CRC
mode and respond as if a <nak> were received.

The sender should respond to additional <C>s as if they
were <nak>s until the first <ack> is received.  This will
assist the receiving program in determining the correct
mode when the <soh> is lost or garbled.  After the first
<ack> is received the sending program should ignore <C>s.


11.  DATA FLOW EXAMPLES WITH CRC OPTION


11A.  RECEIVER HAS CRC OPTION, SENDER DOESN'T

Here is a data flow example for the case where the receiver
requests transmission in the CRC mode but the sender does
not support the CRC option. This example also includes
various transmission errors.  <xx> represents the checksum
byte.

SENDER                                      RECEIVER
                             <---            <C>
                              times out after 3 seconds
                             <---            <nak>
<soh> 01 FE -data- <xx> --->
                             <---            <ack>
<soh> 02 FD -data- <xx> --->    (data gets line hit)
                             <---            <nak>
<soh> 02 FD -data- <xx> --->
                             <---            <ack>
<soh> 03 FC -data- <xx> --->
        (ack gets garbaged)  <---            <ack>
                             times out after 10 seconds
                             <---            <nak>
<soh> 03 FC -data- <xx> --->
                             <---            <ack>
<eot>                   --->
                             <---            <ack>


11.  DATA FLOW EXAMPLES WITH CRC OPTION (cont)


11B.  RECEIVER AND SENDER BOTH HAVE CRC OPTION

Here is a data flow example for the case where the receiver
requests transmission in the CRC mode and the sender
supports the CRC option.  This example also includes
various transmission errors.  <xxxx> represents the 2 CRC
bytes.

SENDER                                        RECEIVER
                               <---            <C>
<soh> 01 FE -data- <xxxx> --->
                               <---            <ack>
<soh> 02 FD -data- <xxxx> --->    (data gets line hit)
                               <---            <nak>
<soh> 02 FD -data- <xxxx> --->
                               <---            <ack>
<soh> 03 FC -data- <xxxx> --->
        (ack gets garbaged)    <---            <ack>
                             times out after 10 seconds
                               <---            <nak>
<soh> 03 FC -data- <xxxx> --->
                               <---            <ack>
<eot>                     --->
                               <---            <ack>


Apendix 1.  MODEM PROTOCOL STATE TABLE


A1A.  CONSIDERATIONS

The Modem Protocol can be considered a group of states and
transitions. States represent certain actions taken by the
program and certain expected results for those actions.
The transitions are actions taken in reponse to a
particular result, actions which can result in another
state.

The state table shows the complete set of states for a
program with the CRC option.  Programs without this option
should ignore the <C> result in the Send-Init state and
also ignore the Rec-Init-CRC state.


Apendix 1.  MODEM PROTOCOL STATE TABLE (cont)


A1A.  CONSIDERATIONS (cont)


There is a minor difference between the Data Flow Examples
given by Ward Christensen and John Byrns.  This difference
is the reaction of the sender when the <ACK> to a block is
garbled (not lost).  In Ward's example the sender reacts by
retransmitting the current block.  In John's example the
garbled <ACK> is ignored and nothing happens until the
reciever has a timeout and sends a <NAK>.  The state table
uses the first method of reacting to a garbled <NAK>.  This
is the recommended method as the retransmission of a data
block, even at the lowest baud rates, takes considerably
less time than waiting for a timeout from the receiver.

In the State Table, n is the current block number
(therefore n-1 is, of course, the previous block number); r
is the retry counter and c is the CRC handshake retry
counter.  The actions n+, r+ and c+ are incrementing the
appropriate counter.  It should be noted that the action n+
will always cause r = 0 or, to put it another way, whenever
a block is successfully sent and recieved the retry counter
is reset.  When a r+ action causes r to reach the
threshold, an error is generated and the program is
aborted.

A Result in angle brackets (i.e. < >) is the reciept of
that character. A Result of "Block..." is the reciept of a
complete, valid data block. Results of Other and Timeout
are the reciept of any unlisted input (invalid or
incomplete blocks included) and the occurance of a timeout
in the character recieve routine, respectively.

This is because some installations (e.g. CompuServe) will
send an <EOT> to signal that the processor is too busy to
successfully transfer a file.


Apendix 1.  MODEM PROTOCOL STATE TABLE (cont)


A1B.  STATE TABLE

State
   Action on entry
      Result      Action on result                    Next State
Send-Init
   Set checksum mode, n = 0
      <NAK>       Get data for first block, n+        Send-Data
      <C>         Set CRC mode, get data
                  for first block, n+                 Send-Data
      Other       r+                                  Send-Init
      Timeout     Error                               Abort
Send-Data
   Send Block n
      <ACK>       Get data for next block, n+         Send-Data, or
                                                      Send-EOT, if EOF
      <NAK> or
      Other       r+                                  Send-Data
      Timeout     Error                               Abort
Send-EOT
   Send <EOT>
      <ACK>       --                                  Exit
      Other       r+                                  Send-EOT
      Timeout     Error                               Abort
Rec-Init-CRC
   Set CRC mode, Send <C>, n = 1
      Block n     Store data, send <ACK>, n+          Rec-Data
      <EOT>       Error                               Abort
      Other       r+                                  Rec-Init-CRC
      Timeout     c+                                  Rec-Init-CRC
      c+ threshold                                    Set checksum
                                                      mode,
                                                      r = 0
                                                      Rec-Init-Cksm
Rec-Init-Cksm
   Send <NAK>
      All         --                                  Rec-Data
Rec-Data
   --
      Block n     Store data, send <ACK>, n+          Rec-Data
      Block n-1   Send <ACK>, r+                      Rec-Data
      <EOT>       If n = 1, Error                     Abort
                  Else  Send <ACK>                    Exit
      Other or
      Timeout    Send <NAK>, r+                       Rec-Data
Abort
   Display error, clean up, abort program
Exit
   Clean up, exit program
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