Terms used in this document

This document contains a few terms that may need more detailed explanations before you read them. This section will try to cover the most obvious ones and how I have chosen to use them within this document.

Connection - This is generally referred to in this document as a series of packets relating to each other. These packets refer to each other as an established kind of connection. A connection is in another word a series of exchanged packets. In TCP, this mainly means establishing a connection via the 3-way handshake, and then this is considered a connection until the release handshake.

DNAT - Destination Network Address Translation. DNAT refers to the technique of translating the Destination IP address of a packet, or to change it simply put. This is used together with SNAT to allow several hosts to share a single Internet routable IP address, and to still provide Server Services. This is normally done by assigning different ports with an Internet routable IP address, and then tell the Linux router where to send the traffic.

IPSEC - Internet Protocol Security is a protocol used to encrypt IPv4 packets and sending them securely over the Internet. For more information on IPSEC, look in the Other resources and links appendix for other resources on the topic.

Kernel space - This is more or less the opposite of User space. This implies the actions that take place within the kernel, and not outside of the kernel.

Packet - A singular unit sent over a network, containing a header and a data portion. For example, an IP packet or an TCP packet. In Request For Comments (RFC's) a packet isn't so generalized, instead IP packets are called datagrams, while TCP packets are called segments. I have chosen to call pretty much everything packets in this document for simplicity.

QoS - Quality of Service is a way of specifying how a packet should be handled and what kind of service quality it should receive while sending it. For more information on this topic, take a look in the TCP/IP repetition chapter as well as the Other resources and links appendix for external resources on the subject.

Segment - A TCP segment is pretty much the same as an packet, but a formalized word for a TCP packet.

Stream - This term refers to a connection that sends and receives packets that are related to each other in some fashion. Basically, I have used this term for any kind of connection that sends two or more packets in both directions. In TCP this may mean a connection that sends a SYN and then replies with an SYN/ACK, but it may also mean a connection that sends a SYN and then replies with an ICMP Host unreachable. In other words, I use this term very loosely.

SNAT - Source Network Address Translation. This refers to the techniques used to translate one source address to another in a packet. This is used to make it possible for several hosts to share a single Internet routable IP address, since there is currently a shortage of available IP addresses in IPv4 (IPv6 will solve this).

State - This term refers to which state the packet is in, either according to RFC 793 - Transmission Control Protocol or according to userside states used in Netfilter/iptables. Note that the used states internally, and externally, do not follow the RFC 793 specification fully. The main reason is that Netfilter has to make several assumptions about the connections and packets.

User space - With this term I mean everything and anything that takes place outside the kernel. For example, invoking iptables -h takes place outside the kernel, while iptables -A FORWARD -p tcp -j ACCEPT takes place (partially) within the kernel, since a new rule is added to the ruleset.

Userland - See User space.

VPN - Virtual Private Network is a technique used to create virtually private networks over non-private networks, such as the Internet. IPSEC is one technique used to create VPN connections. OpenVPN is another.