Nobody can deny how amazing the Internet is! But it’s the result of a lot of developments and smart creations. So every time it improves somehow, the reason is, a technology or group of technologies behind it have really achieved the next level.
What is TCP/IP?
TCP/IP is a combination of two protocols, the Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol. It is a set of rules that are crucial for everyone involves to communicate within and across networks.
TCP/IP determines how data is communicated by deciding the way they have to be chopped into different packets for being addressed, routed, transported, and delivered.
TCP is in charge of securing the data integrity during their trip that starts when they are sent and finishes when they are received in their proper destination. TCP functionality organizes data for preserving them while the communication client-server is on.
IP marks the formats and conditions for establishing the communication and the data packets exchanged between devices and applications on a network.
IP addresses and routes data packets originated in a source to deliver them to their right destination.
Besides, machines can’t connect to networks nor exchange data with other connected machines without having a unique IP address (IPv4 and IPv6) for being identified.
TCP/IP is a stateless suite. Therefore every request from a client is considered a new one since it’s not linked to previous requests. This is a way to make the paths on the network free for constant use.
How does it work?
TCP is a connection-oriented protocol. An active connection between the source and the receiver is a key requirement for fulfilling the process from the beginning (sent) to the end (delivery).
Once this requirement has complied, TCP chops into packets the message originated on the source. Then TCP gives a number to each of those packets to preserve the integrity of the whole message. Now, packets are ready to go to the network layer (IP) for being transported. The way to their destination will push them through different gateways, routers, and even different paths. Yes! All packets belonging to one message but, while separated, they can be routed differently. In the end, they have to arrive at the same spot.
Once this happens, TCP rebuilds the message, following the numerical order of all packets, to deliver it. And here, the process gets completed.
That is the ideal scenario, but packets can face problems during their trip. As a result, some of them can get lost, duplicated, or disordered. Fortunately, TCP’s functionality can sort out such problems. For instance, it can ask the missing packets to be sent again. Then, the message can be rebuilt correctly.
- Everybody can use it. It’s an open protocol.
- It’s not heavy. It doesn’t mean a strain that can affect your network or hardware.
- It supplies the IP addresses that machines need to be identified (security) and connected to.
- It allows the connection of different kinds of devices without problems.
- It supports communications across different networks.
- It doesn’t depend on the operating system for working.
- It allows scalability. You can add the extra networks you need.
- It supports different routing protocols.
- It has vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can use.
- It suits large networks, not PAN or LAN.
- It’s hard to replace the protocols included in the suite.
We usually admire only the tip of the iceberg, but the Internet wouldn’t be possible without the contribution of every part of its massive machinery. And TCP/IP is a key gear on that machinery!