> how do you know you have received the full packet ? 

By definition, a packet is part of a protocol, whereby you have sent 
actual length information, fixed length information, or start and 
terminating characters (often CRLF).  

UDP/IP does send complete packets, by TCP/IP only ever sends a never 
ending stream.

I created a simple protocol recently using STX, ETX and EOF control 
characters, works nicely.  

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