DEFINITION
State, Stateful, Stateful Inspection

Network protocols maintain certain data, called state information, at each end of a network connection between two hosts. State information is necessary to implement the features of a protocol, such as guaranteed packet delivery, data sequencing, flow control, and transaction or session IDs. Some of the protocol state information is sent in each packet while each protocol is being used. For example, a web browser connected to a web server uses HTTP and supporting TCP/IP protocols. Each protocol layer maintains state information in the packets it sends and receives. Routers inspect the state information in each packet to verify that it is current and valid for every protocol it contains. This is called stateful inspection and is designed to create a powerful barrier to certain types of computer security threats.

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