Network Component  Version 7.17.0
MDK Middleware for IPv4 and IPv6 Networking
Troubleshooting a Network Application

Network library hierarchy

BSD sockets represent the Session layer in the OSI model. They are using the native TCP and UDP sockets of the Network library. The debug messages from the BSD module are very compact and provide as less information as possible. You can see how the BSD functions are called and their return values. Most of the time this is sufficient. If not, enable the underlying layers as well.

TCP, UDP sockets implement the TCP/UDP protocol, which is then used by BSD sockets. Their debug messages show the details of the TCP/UDP protocol in the communication stream. Information about error recovery, flow control and re-transmissions is displayed. In case the BSD socket communication fails, this can point to the underlying problem.

The IPv4, IPv6 network layer adds the concept of routing above the Data Link Layer. When data arrives at the network layer, the source and destination addresses are examined to determine if the data has reached the final destination. If this is true, the data is formatted into packets and delivered up to the TCP/UDP layer. The IP layer debug messages show details about IP addresses, routing and packet fragmentation and reassembly (if this is used in communication).

On the Ethernet, WiFi, PPP and SLIP layer, bits are packed into data frames and physical addressing is managed (for example using MAC addresses).

Network library hierarchy

Best practices

This section shows some of the best practices that are used by the developers of the network stack when troubleshooting communication issues. Following them should usually quickly help identifying the underlying problem of a non-working project.

The following assumes that you are using Event Recorder based debugging.

Check the Ethernet interface

Component Viewer shows you static information about the operation of a software component. In the ┬ÁVision debugger, go to Debug -> View -> Watch windows -> Network to see the status information of the network library:

Component Viewer for the Network library

This indicates the following:

Property Description
ETH interface Shows physical connection problems; Link-Up indicates a stable connection
IP Address Shows DHCP address assignment problems; for an unassigned IP address the entry reads

The Ethernet interface is operational when the link-up state is indicated and a DHCP address is assigned. When using a static IP address, DHCP assignment is skipped. Thus, only the link-up state is required.

If the DHCP client is enabled, but fails to receive an IP address from the DHCP server, use DHCP events to follow the DHCP assignment process and possibly identify the root-cause of the problem. Usually, DHCP assignment fails when the DHCP server is not available or is not operational in the local network.

Verify Socket Communication

Event Recorder shows the sequence of events for the connection. The following example shows the BSD event log of a successful communication:

10  13.11487039  NetBSD  SocketAllocated      sock=1  type=SOCK_STREAM
11  13.11487544  NetBSD  ConnectSocket        sock=1
12  13.14889442  NetBSD  CbfuncTcpEvent       sock=1  event=Established
13  13.14891358  NetBSD  ConnectStreamSuccess sock=1
14  18.14885683  NetBSD  Closesocket          sock=1

When the BSD socket is connected, the state of the underlying TCP socket is shown in the viewer as well:

This shows the remote IP address and port number, as well as the local port number, the value for the timeout timer and the active TCP socket options. This is valuable information in addition to the events shown in Event Recorder.

The following example shows the BSD event log in case a target cannot be reached:

3   7.41687549   NetBSD  SocketAllocated      sock=1  type=SOCK_STREAM
4   7.41688068   NetBSD  ConnectSocket        sock=1
5   22.41490458  NetBSD  CbfuncTcpEvent       sock=1  event=Aborted
6   22.41491838  NetBSD  ConnectStreamTimeout sock=1
7   27.41486937  NetBSD  Closesocket          sock=1

After a timeout, BSD connect fails with the log "ConnectStreamTimeout". From the timestamp records, you can observe that this happened 15 seconds later. During this time, a TCP module has made several retries to establish a connection with the remote host, but finally gave up.

Possible reasons for the connection to fail:

  1. a remote host is not reachable (either not running or switched off).
  2. a firewall blocks the outbound connection.
  3. a firewall blocks the inbound connection.
  4. a local port number used for communication is reserved for other means in the communication equipment (ie. modem/router). For example, the TCP port 49152 is sometimes reserved by the Internet provider for remote management of the communication device. In general, communication using reserved ports is not possible.

After a BSD connect() is called and before the function completes, many events are generated from the TCP socket, indicating how the TCP is performing the connect. Here is a log of successful connect with BSD and TCP events enabled:

6   13.41688149  NetBSD  ConnectSocket        sock=1
7   13.41688457  NetTCP  ConnectSocket        sock=1  loc_port=0
8   13.41688673  NetTCP  ShowNetAddressIp4    ip=  port=8883
9   13.41688979  NetTCP  ConnectLocalPortAssigned    loc_port=49152
10  13.41689299  NetTCP  ShowRttVariables     rto=4000  sa=0  sv=40
11  13.41689612  NetTCP  SendControl          sock=1
12  13.41690353  NetTCP  ShowFrameHeader      dport=8883  sport=49152  seq=0x1B35487F  ack=0x00000000  flags=0x02  win=4320  cksum=0x0000
13  13.45960305  NetTCP  ReceiveFrame         len=24  ver=IPv4
14  13.45960505  NetTCP  ShowFrameHeader      dport=49152  sport=8883  seq=0x22F3D202  ack=0x1B354880  flags=0x12  win=42780  cksum=0xF859
15  13.45961008  NetTCP  MappedToSocket       sock=1  state=SYN_SENT
16  13.45961235  NetTCP  ParseHeaderOptions   opt_len=4
17  13.45961427  NetTCP  OptionMss            mss=1380
18  13.45961622  NetTCP  ShowCongestionVariables     cwnd=4140  ssth=65535
19  13.45961786  NetTCP  ShowSendWindow       send_win=42780
20  13.45961948  NetTCP  NextState            state=ESTABLISHED
21  13.45962121  NetTCP  SendControl          sock=1
22  13.4596284   NetTCP  ShowFrameHeader      dport=8883  sport=49152  seq=0x1B354880  ack=0x22F3D203  flags=0x10  win=4320  cksum=0x0000
23  13.45964949  NetBSD  CbfuncTcpEvent       sock=1  event=Established
24  13.45966893  NetBSD  ConnectStreamSuccess sock=1

To trace all events that are relevant for the BSD connect, also enable IPv4 and ETH events. In this case, the number of generated events is much larger. Tracking the Event Recorder log becomes more difficult:

48  7.41688149   NetBSD  ConnectSocket         sock=1
49  7.41688458   NetTCP  ConnectSocket         sock=1  loc_port=0
50  7.41688674   NetTCP  ShowNetAddressIp4     ip=  port=8883
51  7.41688979   NetTCP  ConnectLocalPortAssigned    loc_port=49152
52  7.416893     NetTCP  ShowRttVariables      rto=4000  sa=0  sv=40
53  7.41689613   NetTCP  SendControl           sock=1
54  7.41690354   NetTCP  ShowFrameHeader       dport=8883  sport=49152  seq=0x00828ADD  ack=0x00000000  flags=0x02  win=4320  cksum=0x0000
55  7.41690848   NetIP4  SendFrame             proto=TCP  len=24
56  7.41691169   NetIP4  ShowFrameHeader       dst=  src=  proto=TCP  id=0x0002  frag=0x4000  len=44
57  7.41691642   NetETH  SendFrame             len=44  ver=IPv4
58  7.4169189    NetARP  CacheFind             ip=
59  7.41692122   NetARP  UsingGateway          gw=
60  7.41692342   NetARP  EntryFound            entry=1
61  7.4169255    NetETH  ShowFrameHeader       dst=C0-A0-BB-77-4F-B8  src=1E-30-6C-A2-45-5A  proto=IP4
62  7.41692896   NetETH  OutputLowLevel        len=58
63  7.4508298    NetETH  ReceiveFrame          len=60
64  7.45083195   NetETH  ShowFrameHeader       dst=1E-30-6C-A2-45-5A  src=C0-A0-BB-77-4F-B8  proto=IP4
65  7.45083569   NetIP4  ReceiveFrame          len=46
66  7.45083735   NetIP4  ShowFrameHeader       dst=  src=  proto=TCP  id=0x1AB4  frag=0x0000  len=44
67  7.45084473   NetTCP  ReceiveFrame          len=24  ver=IPv4
68  7.45084669   NetTCP  ShowFrameHeader       dport=49152  sport=8883  seq=0x3E8D5ACA  ack=0x00828ADE  flags=0x12  win=42780  cksum=0x2C4D
69  7.45085173   NetTCP  MappedToSocket        sock=1  state=SYN_SENT
70  7.45085574   NetTCP  ParseHeaderOptions    opt_len=4
71  7.45085765   NetTCP  OptionMss             mss=1380
72  7.45085961   NetTCP  ShowCongestionVariables     cwnd=4140  ssth=65535
73  7.45086124   NetTCP  ShowSendWindow        send_win=42780
74  7.45086286   NetTCP  NextState             state=ESTABLISHED
75  7.4508646    NetTCP  SendControl           sock=1
76  7.45087179   NetTCP  ShowFrameHeader       dport=8883  sport=49152  seq=0x00828ADE  ack=0x3E8D5ACB  flags=0x10  win=4320  cksum=0x0000
77  7.45087673   NetIP4  SendFrame             proto=TCP  len=20
78  7.45087994   NetIP4  ShowFrameHeader       dst=  src=  proto=TCP  id=0x0003  frag=0x4000  len=40
79  7.45088467   NetETH  SendFrame             len=40  ver=IPv4
80  7.45088715   NetARP  CacheFind             ip=
81  7.45088947   NetARP  UsingGateway          gw=
82  7.45089167   NetARP  EntryFound            entry=1
83  7.45089374   NetETH  ShowFrameHeader       dst=C0-A0-BB-77-4F-B8  src=1E-30-6C-A2-45-5A  proto=IP4
84  7.4508972    NetETH  OutputLowLevel        len=54
85  7.45090824   NetBSD  CbfuncTcpEvent        sock=1  event=Established
86  7.45092768   NetBSD  ConnectStreamSuccess  sock=1

This is what happens when the BSD connect() function is called:

  1. The TCP connect process is started.
  2. The current local port is 0. The system allocates port 49152 from the dynamic ports range for the local port.
  3. The TCP layer creates a TCP header and sends the control frame with a SYN flag set to the IPv4 network.
  4. The IPv4 network adds the IPv4 header with the source and destination IP address and sends the frame to the ETH interface.
  5. The ETH interface checks the ARP cache if the destination IP address has already been resolved, (the target IP address is not local, so the gateway is selected to forward the packet to).
  6. The MAC address of a gateway is resolved and the Ethernet frame is sent to the gateway.
  7. After a small delay, an Ethernet frame is received from the gateway (MAC=C0-A0-BB-77-4F-B8).
  8. The IPv4 network shows that it is originating from IP address; protocol is TCP.
  9. TCP shows the TCP header information and maps this frame to the existing TCP socket 1.
  10. As the control frame has the SYN+ACK flags set, TCP generates an ACK response and transits to ESTABLISHED state.
  11. The outgoing TCP ACK frame traverses IPv4 and ETH layers and is sent to the gateway.
  12. TCP also generates an event for the BSD socket 1, which is blocked and waiting to resume.
  13. BSD socket 1 resumes with an event "ConnectStreamSuccess" (this signals that the BSD socket 1 is now connected).

Verify Secure Communication

If the BSD socket has connected successfully to the IoT Cloud, but the TLS handshake has failed, no secure connection will be established. An established network connection is indicated with the NetBSD event "ConnectStreamSuccess" in the Event Recorder log.

Usually, Mbed TLS is used as the security layer for MDK-Middleware. To successfully debug the Mbed TLS security layer, read the related MbedTLS documentation.

Typical errors in the security layer are:

  • heap size too small and Mbed TLS cannot allocate enough memory for the requested operation.
  • thread stack size of the thread running Mbed TLS is too small and thus stack overflows are detected. This leads to sporadic crashes of the IoT application.
  • invalid credentials or security certificates are used so that the certificate verification fails during the TLS handshake.