The data that flows on a connection may be thought of as a stream of octets. The sending user indicates in each SEND call whether the data in that call (and any preceeding calls) should be immediately pushed through to the receiving user by the setting of the PUSH flag.
A sending TCP is allowed to collect data from the sending user and to send that data in segments at its own convenience, until the push function is signaled, then it must send all unsent data. When a receiving TCP sees the PUSH flag, it must not wait for more data from the sending TCP before passing the data to the receiving process.
There is no necessary relationship between push functions and segment boundaries. The data in any particular segment may be the result of a single SEND call, in whole or part, or of multiple SEND calls.
The purpose of push function and the PUSH flag is to push data through from the sending user to the receiving user. It does not provide a record service.
There is a coupling between the push function and the use of buffers of data that cross the TCP/user interface. Each time a PUSH flag is associated with data placed into the receiving user’s buffer, the buffer is returned to the user for processing even if the buffer is not filled. If data arrives that fills the user’s buffer before a PUSH is seen, the data is passed to the user in buffer size units.
TCP also provides a means to communicate to the receiver of data that at some point further along in the data stream than the receiver is
currently reading there is urgent data. TCP does not attempt to define what the user specifically does upon being notified of pending urgent data, but the general notion is that the receiving process will take action to process the urgent data quickly.