SFSP (Secure Frame Separation Protocol) v1.0

Invented by Giovanni Blu Mitolo
Originally published: 24/11/2017, latest revision: 31/10/2018
Related work: https://github.com/gioblu/PJON/
Compliant implementations: PJON v10.0 and following
Released into the public domain

SFSP has been specified to obtain reliable frame separation using byte stuffing and xor based flag obfuscation. It is similar to SLIP and its variations, although uses a more cautious approach, appending at the end of the frame an END flag to exclude a set of vulnerabilities. Its overhead is 1.33 times higher if compared to SLIP's but it is more reliable thanks to the presence of the START flag. SFSP uses a xor based flag obfuscation method to avoid the occurrence of flags within a frame. Its procedure is lightweight and more efficient if compared with the flag transposition method used by SLIP that requires more memory and operations to be executed. The suggested sampling and transmission strategy is byte-by-byte. SFSP is designed to support fast on the fly encoding and decoding implementations with no need of additional buffers.

Frame transmission

Frame transmission starts with a START flag (decimal 149), followed by data bytes. When START, END (decimal 234) or ESC flag (decimal 76) occurs in data, it is prepended with an ESC flag and its value is xored with the ESC flag to avoid the presence of START, END or ESC flag in data. END is appended at the end of the frame.

START:  149 - 10010101 - 0x95 - •
END:    234 - 11101010 - 0xea - ê
ESC:    187 - 10111011 - 0xBB - »

           ______________________________
          |  DATA 1-65535 bytes          |
 _______  |______  _____  _______  ______|  _____
| START | | BYTE || ESC || BYTE  || BYTE | | END |
|-------| |------||-----||-------||------| |-----|
|  149  | |  23  || 76  ||149^ESC||  52  | | 234 |
|_______| |______||_____||_______||______| |_____|
                     |     |
                     |  2 START is xored with ESC
                     |
                  1 START or 149 is escaped

Receiver identifies the start of a frame when a START flag is received. If ESC flag occurs during reception, it is ignored and the next byte xored with ESC flag to get back its original value; any value out START, END or ESC flag causes the receiver to discard the frame and be ready to receive the next one nominally. The end of the frame is detected when an unescaped END flag is received.


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