What is TCP/IP and How Does it Work?-NIMLM

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TCP/IP Protocol


The problem initially faced by the founders of the Internet was that many different network topologies were in use. What would work to communicate with one network might not work with another network. The system needed a shared set of protocols, or agreed-upon rules, by which these different networks could all communicate with each other.

In 1982, the ARPAnet adopted TCP/IP as the standard set of rules for sending and receiving data across the network. Today, TCP/IP remains the key suite of protocols that enables the exchange of data over the Internet




It doesn’t matter what kind of system or device is connected to the Internet-it only matters that systems or devices connected to the Internet speak the same language when sending and receiving data over the Internet. That language, in the form of a set of common protocols, is TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), which was introduced in 1982. Thus was born a “network of networks,” or an internet.




How Does TCP/IP Work?

 TCP/IP actually comprises two different protocols:

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol):

Breaks the message down into smaller pieces, or packets, which makes the transmission of larger files or messages across the network more efficient. Each packet is individually labeled, identifying its origin, destination, and position within the file.

When the packets arrive at their destination, TCP checks the packets for errors, verifies that all the packets that belong to the file have arrived, and then reassembles them in the proper order to reconstitute the full file. If errors are found or a packet fails to arrive, a request is sent to the sender to resend the file.


IP (Internet Protocol):

At each node along the way, a device called a router reads a packet’s address and then, if the current node is not its destination, forwards it toward its destination.

Any system-whether a network gateway, a mainframe computer, a Web server delivering content over the Web, or your own personal computer you use to connect to the Internet uses TCP/IP to connect to and share information over the Internet 

Example of TCP/IP protocol

TCP has been compared with packing up the contents of your house and moving it across the country. The movers come in and pack everything up into boxes (or “packets”), which are then shipped across the country.

When they finally arrive at their destination, simply checking the shipment’s manifest shows whether all the packets have arrived, or whether any have been lost along the way. The movers then unpack the packets, which then become the contents and furniture of your new house.
This way of transferring data over a network is also called packet switching.

Breaking much less prone to bottlenecks.


1 The message is broken into multiple packets.

3 If a node is not the destination, the packet is forwarded to the next available node along the way to the destination.




When the packets all arrive at their destination, they can be reassembled be read. 

For TCP/IP, TCP(Transmission Control Protocol) defines the”packet,” and IP(Internet Protocol)does the “switching” that routes the packets to their destination.


 One of the main points to remember about TCP/IP is that the essence of what makes up the Internet is not the wire or the means of transmission, but the protocols that determine how information is sent, forwarded and received over the wire.

The Internet, in other words, is not the wires and connections (the hardware) that makes up the physical network, but rather the intelligence (or software) that directs and orders the traffic, or transmission stream, over the Internet. That directing and ordering intelligence TCP/IP.
Thus, many and varied systems can be connected to the Internet. The only thing that matters is that they all use the same set of protocols-TCP/IP-to communicate with each other. When you connect to the Internet, you are connected in exactly the same fashion as a whole network of computers that might be connected at your local university, through TCP/IP.

The standardization of TCP/IP as the common means for exchanging information across the network allowed the ARPAnet to grow and expand to eventually become the Internet we know today.

In 1986, the National Science Foundation (NSF) formed the NSFNet, which initially linked five supercomputing centers to form the first high-speed backbone, running at what was then a blazing speed of 56 KBps.
Unlike the ARPAnet, which linked together academic centers that were involved in defense research, the NSFNet opened up the network to the rest of the academic community, allowing anyone connected through a university to exchange information and ideas with anyone else who was also connected.
Soon afterward, the speed of the NSFNet backbone increased to 1.544 Mbps (called a “T1” connection). In 1990, the ARPAnet ended and was absorbed into the NSFNet. In the same year, the first commercial provider of dial-up access to the Internet, the World (, came online, with many other ISPs (Internet Service Providers) coming along shortly after. The NSFNet finally became the full Internet, to which anyone could connect, that we know today.

In 1991, the Internet Society was founded in response to the growing internationalization of the Internet and the need to consolidate responsibility for establishing Internet infrastructure standards.

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