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In the real world, a handshake is a customary greeting between two people. Similarly, a computer handshake serves as a greeting between two computer systems. It is commonly used to initialize a network connection between two hosts.
A computer handshake may be completed between any two systems that communicate with each other on the same protocol. The two systems may be a client and server or simply two computers on a P2P network. The handshake confirms the identities of the connecting systems and allows additional communication to take place.
Handshaking over a network is commonly called a 3-Way Handshake or SYN-SYN-ACK. A successful handshake involves seven steps:
When a system initiates a handshake, there are three possible outcomes:
The third outcome listed above is the only the one in which the handshake is completed. If a handshake is successful, the two systems can begin communicating and transferring (data) over the established protocol. Examples of protocols that use handshaking include TCP, TLS, and SSL.
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