POSIX Sockets Enabling TCP keepalive at server side


Example

This is a client-server example. The process forks and runs client in the parent process and server in the child process:

  • client connects to server and waits until server exits;
  • server accepts connection from client, enables keepalive, and waits any signal.

Keepalive is configured using the following options described in socket(7) and tcp(7) man pages:

  • SO_KEEPALIVE - enables sending of keep-alive messages
  • TCP_KEEPIDLE- the time (in seconds) the connection needs to remain idle before TCP starts sending keepalive probes
  • TCP_KEEPINTVL - the time (in seconds) between individual keepalive probes
  • TCP_KEEPCNT - the maximum number of keepalive probes TCP should send before dropping the connection

Source code:

#include <unistd.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/socket.h>
#include <sys/signal.h>
#include <arpa/inet.h>
#include <netinet/in.h>
#include <netinet/tcp.h>

#define check(expr) if (!(expr)) { perror(#expr); kill(0, SIGTERM); }

void enable_keepalive(int sock) {
    int yes = 1;
    check(setsockopt(
        sock, SOL_SOCKET, SO_KEEPALIVE, &yes, sizeof(int)) != -1);

    int idle = 1;
    check(setsockopt(
        sock, IPPROTO_TCP, TCP_KEEPIDLE, &idle, sizeof(int)) != -1);

    int interval = 1;
    check(setsockopt(
        sock, IPPROTO_TCP, TCP_KEEPINTVL, &interval, sizeof(int)) != -1);

    int maxpkt = 10;
    check(setsockopt(
        sock, IPPROTO_TCP, TCP_KEEPCNT, &maxpkt, sizeof(int)) != -1);
}

int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    check(argc == 2);

    struct sockaddr_in addr;
    addr.sin_family = AF_INET;
    addr.sin_port = htons(12345);
    check(inet_pton(AF_INET, argv[1], &addr.sin_addr) != -1);

    int server = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, IPPROTO_TCP);
    check(server != -1);

    int yes = 1;
    check(setsockopt(server, SOL_SOCKET, SO_REUSEADDR, &yes, sizeof(int)) != -1);

    check(bind(server, (struct sockaddr*)&addr, sizeof(addr)) != -1);
    check(listen(server, 1) != -1);

    if (fork() == 0) {
        int client = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, IPPROTO_TCP);
        check(client != -1);
        check(connect(client, (struct sockaddr*)&addr, sizeof(addr)) != -1);
        printf("connected\n");
        pause();
    }
    else {
        int client = accept(server, NULL, NULL);
        check(client != -1);
        enable_keepalive(client);
        printf("accepted\n");
        wait(NULL);
    }

    return 0;
}

Keepalive packets may be monitored using tcpdump.

Example usage:

$ ./a.out 127.0.0.1 &
[1] 14010
connected
accepted

$ tcpdump -n -c4 -ilo port 12345
dropped privs to tcpdump
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on lo, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 262144 bytes
18:00:35.173892 IP 127.0.0.1.12345 > 127.0.0.1.60998: Flags [.], ack 510307430, win 342, options [nop,nop,TS val 389745775 ecr 389745675], length 0
18:00:35.173903 IP 127.0.0.1.60998 > 127.0.0.1.12345: Flags [.], ack 1, win 342, options [nop,nop,TS val 389745775 ecr 389745075], length 0
18:00:36.173886 IP 127.0.0.1.12345 > 127.0.0.1.60998: Flags [.], ack 1, win 342, options [nop,nop,TS val 389745875 ecr 389745775], length 0
18:00:36.173898 IP 127.0.0.1.60998 > 127.0.0.1.12345: Flags [.], ack 1, win 342, options [nop,nop,TS val 389745875 ecr 389745075], length 0
4 packets captured
8 packets received by filter
0 packets dropped by kernel