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Understanding TCP Sequence and Acknowledgment Numbers - Packet Life

If you're reading this, odds are that you're already familiar with TCP's infamous "three-way handshake," or "SYN, SYN/ACK, ACK." Unfortunately, that's where TCP education ends for many networkers. Despite its age, TCP is a relatively complex protocol and well worth knowing intimately. This article aims to help you become more comfortable examining TCP sequence and acknowledgment numbers in the Wireshark packet analyzer.

Before we start, be sure to open the example capture in Wireshark and play along.

The example capture contains a single HTTP request to a web server, in which the client web browser requests a single image image file, and the server returns an HTTP/1.1 200 (OK) response which includes the file requested. You can right-click on any of the TCP packets within this capture and select Follow TCP Stream to open the raw contents of the TCP stream in a separate window for inspection. Traffic from the client is shown in red, and traffic from the server in blue.
Tags: ip tcp wireshark

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