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The TFTP protocol is a standard protocol with STD number 33. Its status is elective and it is described in RFC 1350 - The TFTP Protocol (Revision 2).
TCP/IP file transfer is a disk-to-disk data transfer, as opposed to, for example, the VM SENDFILE command, a function that is considered in the TCP/IP world as a mailing function, where you send out the data to someone's mailbox (reader in the case of VM).
TFTP is an extremely simple protocol to transfer files. It is implemented on the internet UDP layer (User Datagram Protocol) and lacks most of the features of FTP (see File Transfer Protocol (FTP)). The only thing it can do is read/write a file from/to a server.
Note: It has no provisions for user authentication: it is an unsecure protocol.
TFTP <hostname>takes you to the interactive prompt where you can enter subcommands:
Any transfer begins with a request to read or write a file. If the server grants the request, the connection is opened and the file is sent in blocks of 512 bytes (fixed length). Blocks of the file are numbered consecutively, starting at 1. Each data packet must be acknowledged by an acknowledgment packet before the next one can be sent. Termination of the transfer is assumed on a data packet of less than 512 bytes.
Almost all errors will cause termination of the connection (lack of reliability). If a packet gets lost in the network, a timeout will occur, after which a retransmission of the last packet (data or acknowledgment) will take place.
There was a serious bug, known as the Sorcerer's Apprentice Syndrome, in RFC 783. It may cause excessive retransmission by both sides in some network delay scenarios. It was documented in RFC 1123 and was corrected in RFC 1350. For details, please refer to the RFCs.
Only five types of packets exist:
Three modes of transfer are currently defined in RFC 1350:
The mode used is indicated in the Request for Read/Write packet (RRQ/WRQ).
TFTP is implemented in the IBM TCP/IP products for VM (client only), AIX/6000, AIX/ESA, OS/2 and DOS.
Both the TFTP client and server functions are available.
Note: The TFTP functions are usually disabled due to security requirements. This is especially the case in AIX/ESA. For more details, please refer to AIX/ESA Security Features User's Guide.
The tftpd server (daemon) is a subserver controlled by the inetd subsystem (also known as the super daemon).
The tftp and utftp client commands are available, but they are not recommended for use in a secure environment. The securetcpip command can be used to disable tftpd, tftp and utftp.
Because of the above-mentioned lack of authorization, there are two different ways to start the TFTP daemon (TFTPD) in an OS/2 machine (TEMP is used as an example: it could be another name):
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Transfer Protocol (FTP)