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What is TCP/IP?

The Internet protocol suite is the set of communications protocols used for the Internet and similar networks, and generally the most popular protocol stack for wide area networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP, because of its most important protocols: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), which were the first networking protocols defined in this standard. It is occasionally known as the DoD model due to the foundational influence of the ARPANET in the 1970s (operated by DARPA, an agency of the United States Department of Defense).

TCP/IP provides end-to-end connectivity specifying how data should be formatted, addressed, transmitted, routed and received at the destination. It has four abstraction layers, each with its own protocols.[1][2] From lowest to highest, the layers are:

  1. The link layer (commonly Ethernet) contains communication technologies for a local network.
  2. The internet layer (IP) connects local networks, thus establishing internetworking.
  3. The transport layer (TCP) handles host-to-host communication.
  4. The application layer (for example HTTP) contains all protocols for specific data communications services on a process-to-process level (for example how a web browser communicates with a web server).

The TCP/IP model and related protocols are maintained by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

TCP/IP model

Despite the very evident presence of the word Internet in the spelled-out version of TCP/IP, the set of protocols can be used for internal use as well. Company intranets utilize TCP/IP protocols in order to set up a network within the company's computer framework. No outside connection develops, but connections are made between the company's servers and/or mainframes and individual computers. This sort of connectivity mimics the connection functionality of TCP/IP as used for Internet connections.

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