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Networks

Saturday, September 25, 2004

What is IP?

Continuing with different protocols, here is the one which everyone of us should know about.. The basic Protocol of "World Wide Web".....

Internet Protocol


Internet Protocol (IP) is the central, unifying protocol in the TCP/IP suite. It provides the basic delivery mechanism for packets of data sent between all systems on an internet, regardless of whether the systems are in the same room or on opposite sides of the world. All other protocols in the TCP/IP suite depend on IP to carry out the fundamental function of moving packets across the internet.

In terms of the OSI networking model, IP provides a Connectionless Unacknowledged Network Service, which means that its attitude to data packets can be characterised as "send and forget". IP does not guarantee to actually deliver the data to the destination, nor does it guarantee that the data will be delivered undamaged, nor does it guarantee that data packets will be delivered to the destination in the order in which they were sent by the source, nor does it guarantee that only one copy of the data will be delivered to the destination.

Because it makes so few guarantees, IP is a very simple protocol. This means that it can be implemented fairly easily and can run on systems that have modest processing power and small amounts of memory. It also means that IP demands only minimal functionality from the underlying medium (the physical network that carries packets on behalf of IP) and can be deployed on a wide variety of networking technologies.

The no-promises type of service offered by IP is not directly useful to many applications. Applications usually depend on TCP or UDP to provide assurances of of data integrity and (in TCP's case) ordered and complete data delivery.

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