Last updated

EFTP was a very simple file transfer protocol developed as part of the PARC Universal Packet protocol suite at Xerox PARC in the late 1970s. It was the inspiration for the Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) in the TCP/IP suite. [1] [2]


As with its descendant, TFTP, it did not use the reliable byte stream protocol of the suite (Byte Stream Protocol in the case of PUP); rather, it ran directly on top of the basic internetwork layer. (An early version of EFTP ran on top of bare Ethernet packets.) Also, like TFTP, it was a simple lock-step protocol; there was only ever one packet outstanding at any time, and every packet received by either party caused one packet to be sent in reply (until the termination of the transfer). Unlike TFTP, it made no provisions for sending the file-name as part of transfers, so it could only be used either in places that didn't need a file name (as with spooling), or in conjunction with another protocol that provided the file-name (as in booting).

Since EFTP was so simple, it was easy to implement in a very small amount of memory, an important consideration at that time. It was used for booting Xerox Altos over the Ethernet, and also to send files to the print spoolers of laser printers.

Various expansions of the initialism EFTP have been given, including Easy File Transfer Protocol, Ether File Transfer Protocol, and Experimental File Transfer Protocol.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

AppleTalk is a discontinued proprietary suite of networking protocols developed by Apple Inc. for their Macintosh computers. AppleTalk includes a number of features that allow local area networks to be connected with no prior setup or the need for a centralized router or server of any sort. Connected AppleTalk-equipped systems automatically assign addresses, update the distributed namespace, and configure any required inter-networking routing.

Ethernet Computer networking technology

Ethernet is a family of wired computer networking technologies commonly used in local area networks (LAN), metropolitan area networks (MAN) and wide area networks (WAN). It was commercially introduced in 1980 and first standardized in 1983 as IEEE 802.3. Ethernet has since been refined to support higher bit rates, a greater number of nodes, and longer link distances, but retains much backward compatibility. Over time, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies such as Token Ring, FDDI and ARCNET.

Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) is the network layer protocol in the IPX/SPX protocol suite. IPX is derived from Xerox Network Systems' IDP. It also has the ability to act as a transport layer protocol.

The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is one of the main protocols of the Internet protocol suite. It originated in the initial network implementation in which it complemented the Internet Protocol (IP). Therefore, the entire suite is commonly referred to as TCP/IP. TCP provides reliable, ordered, and error-checked delivery of a stream of octets (bytes) between applications running on hosts communicating via an IP network. Major internet applications such as the World Wide Web, email, remote administration, and file transfer rely on TCP, which is part of the Transport Layer of the TCP/IP suite. SSL/TLS often runs on top of TCP.

In computer networking, the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is one of the core members of the Internet protocol suite. With UDP, computer applications can send messages, in this case referred to as datagrams, to other hosts on an Internet Protocol (IP) network. Prior communications are not required in order to set up communication channels or data paths.

Xerox Network Systems (XNS) is a computer networking protocol suite developed by Xerox within the Xerox Network Systems Architecture. It provided general purpose network communications, internetwork routing and packet delivery, and higher level functions such as a reliable stream, and remote procedure calls. XNS predated and influenced the development of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) networking model, and was very influential in local area networking designs during the 1980s.

The Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is a communication protocol used for discovering the link layer address, such as a MAC address, associated with a given internet layer address, typically an IPv4 address. This mapping is a critical function in the Internet protocol suite. ARP was defined in 1982 by RFC 826, which is Internet Standard STD 37.

Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) is a simple lockstep File Transfer Protocol which allows a client to get a file from or put a file onto a remote host. One of its primary uses is in the early stages of nodes booting from a local area network. TFTP has been used for this application because it is very simple to implement.

The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard communication protocol used for the transfer of computer files from a server to a client on a computer network. FTP is built on a client–server model architecture using separate control and data connections between the client and the server. FTP users may authenticate themselves with a clear-text sign-in protocol, normally in the form of a username and password, but can connect anonymously if the server is configured to allow it. For secure transmission that protects the username and password, and encrypts the content, FTP is often secured with SSL/TLS (FTPS) or replaced with SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).

Chaosnet is a local area network technology. It was first developed by Thomas Knight and Jack Holloway at MIT's AI Lab in 1975 and thereafter. It refers to two separate, but closely related, technologies. The more widespread was a set of computer communication packet-based protocols intended to connect the then-recently developed and very popular Lisp machines; the second was one of the earliest local area network (LAN) hardware implementations.

Xerox Alto Computer made by Xerox

The Xerox Alto was a computer designed from its inception to support an operating system based on a graphical user interface (GUI), later using the desktop metaphor. The first machines were introduced on 1 March 1973, a decade before mass-market GUI machines became available.

Xerox Star Early GUI-based computer workstation from Xerox

The Xerox Star workstation, officially named Xerox 8010 Information System, is the first commercial personal computer to incorporate technologies that have since become standard in personal computers, including a bitmapped display, a window-based graphical user interface, icons, folders, mouse (two-button), Ethernet networking, file servers, print servers, and e-mail.

Transport layer Layer in the OSI and TCP/IP models providing host-to-host communication services for applications

In computer networking, the transport layer is a conceptual division of methods in the layered architecture of protocols in the network stack in the Internet protocol suite and the OSI model. The protocols of this layer provide end-to-end communication services for applications. It provides services such as connection-oriented communication, reliability, flow control, and multiplexing.

Preboot Execution Environment Standard for booting from a server

In computing, the Preboot eXecution Environment, PXE specification describes a standardized client–server environment that boots a software assembly, retrieved from a network, on PXE-enabled clients. On the client side it requires only a PXE-capable network interface controller (NIC), and uses a small set of industry-standard network protocols such as DHCP and TFTP.

This article lists communication protocols that are designed for file transfer over a telecommunications network.

The PARC Universal Packet was one of the two earliest internetworking protocol suites; it was created by researchers at Xerox PARC in the mid-1970s. The entire suite provided routing and packet delivery, as well as higher level functions such as a reliable byte stream, along with numerous applications.

David Reeves Boggs was an American electrical and radio engineer who developed early prototypes of Internet protocols, file servers, gateways, network interface cards and, along with Robert Metcalfe and others, co-invented Ethernet, the most popular family of technologies for local area computer networks.

John F. Shoch is an American computer scientist and venture capitalist who made significant contributions to the development of computer networking while at Xerox PARC, in particular to the development of the PARC Universal Protocol (PUP), an important predecessor of TCP/IP.

The Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) is a computer networking communications protocol in the transport layer of the Internet protocol suite. Originally intended for Signaling System 7 (SS7) message transport in telecommunication, the protocol provides the message-oriented feature of the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), while ensuring reliable, in-sequence transport of messages with congestion control like the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). Unlike UDP and TCP, the protocol supports multihoming and redundant paths to increase resilience and reliability.


  1. Noel Chiappa (December 2, 2020). "UDP Length field". Internet-History@elists.isoc.org. Retrieved 2020-12-02. Shortly thereafter I did TFTP (which was simply a ripoff of EFTP) to give us a way to get bits into and out of the machine. It was the first serious application to use UDP...
  2. Karen R. Sollins (January 29, 1980). The TFTP Protocol. IEN 133. Retrieved 2020-12-02. The protocol was originally designed by Noel Chiappa ... the error mechanism was suggested by PARC's EFTP abort message.