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What are different characteristics of TFTP protocol?

– Trivial file transfer protocol or the TFTP protocol is a quite simple FTP i.e., a file transfer protocol.
– This protocol has been designed for the purpose of transferring the boot files and configuration files among the machines present in a particular environment in an automated way.
– TFTP has got many limitations when compared to the FTP.
– Further, there is no provision for authentication facilities and users rarely use it for interaction.
– Another major characteristic of TFTP is that it can be implemented using only a small amount of memory because of extreme simplicity.
– This makes it particularly useful for tasks such as booting the systems like routers that do not have a data storage device in them.
– TFTP is an element of PXE (i.e., preboot execution environment) which is a network boot protocol.
– In the NVRAM/ ROM firmware of the network card of the host system TFTP is implemented.
– It is used by some network based installation systems for loading the basic kernel that would perform the actual installation.
– The TFTP has to provide session and transport support from its own.
– Each file is bound to have an independent exchange that is transferred via TFTP.
– Usually the transfer takes place in lock step i.e., one packet is in the transfer process at any given time.
– This introduces what is called ‘windowing’ that causes the TFTP protocol to produce low throughput over links with high latency.
– In earlier days, the computers that lacked a sufficient memory used TFTP protocol in order to obtain full FTP support.
– This protocol is available on broadband routers as well as the commercial routers.
– TFTP is sometimes used by some network administrators for upgrading the firmware of their routers.
– Other professional administrators use it as a distributor of software across networks of various corporations.
– OSS such as linux, Microsoft windows, mac OS etc. come with command line TFTP clients.

Characteristics of TFTP(Trivial file transfer protocol) Protocol

1. Lack of security: Because of this characteristic, TFTP becomes extremely dangerous to be used over the internet. Therefore its use is limited to more local and private networks.

Simplicity: This protocol has been designed in as simple way as possible for transferring the files. However, the implementation of this protocol is done on top of the UDP (user datagram protocol) via port 69.

Small: The protocol is quite small and this is what that makes is quite easy to be implemented. Because its size has been kept small, most of the FTP features have been eliminated from it. It can only read and write files to and from a server that is in some remote location. It does not have the ability to list the directories and authenticate the users.
UDP acts as a transport protocol for TFTP but it is not so necessary. The initiation of the data transfer starts at the port 69. However, the sender and the receiver have the freedom to choose the data transfer ports independently when the connection is initialized. The ports to be chosen are decided in the basis of the parameters of the networking stack.

Modes of transfer:TFTP offers three modes for data transfer:
– Netascii: This is nothing but the 8 – bit extension of the ascii character space that is 7 – bit.
– Mail
– Octet: In this mode, arbitrary 8 – bit bytes can be transferred and the two files (i.e., the sent file and the received file) are identical. This mode has been declared as obsolete.

The earlier versions of this protocol were actually badly designed and found to have serious flaws. However it was the first protocol to be implemented on a new type of host because of its simplicity.

Size: The original TFTP protocol has an extremely small size of 32 MB. Later in 1998 the limit was made 4 GB. It was because of the introduction of the RFC 2348 and the option negotiation. It also included the block – sized negotiation.

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