Windows Sockets in .NET framework

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The Winsock API was developed as an extension of the Berkeley Sockets API into the Windows environment, and Winsock is supported by all Windows systems Winsock's benefits include the following
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Porting of code already written for Berkeley Sockets is straightforward Windows systems easily integrate into TCP/IP networks, both IPv4 and the emerging IPv6 IPv6, among other features, allows for longer IP addresses, overcoming the 4-byte address limit of IPv4 Sockets can be used with Windows overlapped I/O ( 14), which, among other things, allows servers to scale when there is a large number of active clients Sockets can be treated as file HANDLEs for use with ReadFile, WriteFile, and, with some limitations, other Windows functions, just as UNIX allows sockets to be used as file descriptors This capability is convenient whenever there is a need to use asynchronous I/O and I/O completion ports ( 14) Extended, nonportable extensions are also available
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Winsock Initialization
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The Winsock API is supported by a DLL (WS2_32DLL) that can be accessed by linking WS2_32LIB with your program The DLL needs to be initialized with a nonstandard, Winsock-specific function, WSAStartup, which must be the first Winsock function a program calls WSACleanup should be called when the program no longer needs to use Winsock functionality Note: The prefix WSA denotes "Windows Sockets asynchronous " The asynchronous capabilities will not be used here because threads can and will be used where asynchronous operation is required WSAStartup and WSACleanup, while always required, may be the only nonstandard functions you will use A common practice is to use #ifdef statements to test the _WIN32 macro (normally defined at compile time by Visual C++) so that the WSA functions are called only if you are building on Windows This approach assumes, of course, that the rest of your code is platform-independent int WSAStartup ( WORD wVersionRequired, LPWSADATA lpWSAData);
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Parameters
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wVersionRequired indicates the highest version of the Winsock DLL that you need and can use Version 11 is generally adequate and ensures the widest possible Windows interoperability Nonetheless, Version 20 is available on all Windows systems, including 9x, and is used in the examples Version 11 is obsolete The return value is nonzero if the DLL cannot support the version you want The low byte of wVersionRequired specifies the major version; the high byte specifies the minor version The MAKEWORD macro is usually used; thus, MAKEWORD (2, 0) represents Version 20 lpWSAData points to a WSADATA structure that returns information on the configuration of the DLL, including the highest version available The Visual Studio on-line help shows how to interpret the results
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WSAGetLastError can be used to get the error, but GetLastError also works, as does the ReportError function developed in 2 When a program has completed or no longer needs to use sockets, it should call WSACleanup so that WS2_32DLL, the sockets DLL, can free resources allocated for this process
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Creating a Socket
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Once the Winsock DLL has been initialized, you can use the standard (ie, Berkeley Sockets) functions to create sockets and connect for client/server or peer-to-peer communication A Winsock SOCKET data type is analogous to the Windows HANDLE and can even be used with ReadFile and other Windows functions requiring a HANDLE The socket function is called in order to create (or open) a SOCKET and returns its value SOCKET socket (int af, int type, int protocol);
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Parameters
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The type SOCKET is actually defined as an int, so UNIX code will port without the necessity of using the Windows type definitions af denotes the address family, or protocol; use PF_INET (or AF_INET, which has the same value but is more properly used with the bind call) to designate IP (the Internet protocol component of TCP/IP) type specifies connection-oriented (SOCK_STREAM) or datagram communications (SOCK_DGRAM), slightly analogous to named pipes and mailslots, respectively protocol is unnecessary when af is AF_INET; use 0 socket returns INVALID_SOCKET on failure You can use Winsock with protocols other than TCP/IP by specifying different protocol values; we will use only TCP/IP socket, like all the other standard functions, does not use uppercase letters in the function name This is a departure from the Windows convention and is mandated by the need to conform to industry standards
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