Erle Robotics Python Networking Gitbook Free

Connecting UDP Sockets

The remote UDP client in socket1.py uses a new call that we have not discussed before: the connect() socket operation. You can see easily enough what it does. Instead of having to use sendto() and an explicit UDP address every time we want to send something to the server, the connect() call lets the operating system know ahead of time which remote address to which we want to send packets, so that we can simply supply data to the send() call and not have to repeat the server address again. But connect() does something else important, which will not be obvious at all from reading the script of udp_remote.py. To approach this topic, let us return to udp_local.pyfile for a moment. You will recall that both its client and server use the loopback IP address and assume reliable delivery—the client will wait forever for a response. Try running the client in one window:

[email protected]:~/Python_files# python udp_local.py
Address before sending: ('0.0.0.0', 0)
Address after sending ('0.0.0.0', 52970)

The client is now waiting—perhaps forever—for a response in reply to the packet it has just sent to the localhost IP address at UDP port 1060. But what if we nefariously try sending it back a packet from a different server, instead? From another command prompt on the same system, try running Python and entering these commands—and for the port number, copy the integer that was just printed to the screen when you ran the UDP client:

>>> import socket
>>> s=socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_DGRAM)
>>> s.sendto('Fake reply',('127.0.0.1',52970))
10
>>>

In the client window appears:

The server ('127.0.0.1', 65320) says 'Fake reply'

It turns out that our first client accepts answers from anywhere. Even though the server is running on the localhost, and remote network connectivity is not even desirable, the client will even accept packets from another machine. If I bring up a Python prompt on another box and run the same two lines of code as just shown, then a waiting client can even see the remote IP address.

There are, then, two ways to write UDP clients that are careful about the return addresses of the packets arriving back:

  • You can use sendto() and direct each outgoing packet to a specific destination, and then use recvfrom() to receive the replies and carefully check the return address it gives you against the list of servers to which you have made outstanding requests.
  • You can connect() your socket right after creating it, and then simply use send() and recv(), and the operating system will filter out unwanted packets for you. This works only for speaking to one server at a time, because running connect() a second time on the same socket does not add a second destination address to your UDP socket. Instead, it wipes out the first address entirely, so that no further replies from the earlier address will be delivered to your program.