Internet Protocol

Details: Internet Protocol, or IP as it is often referred to as is used to communicate data across networks known as packet-switched internetworks. You may recognize “IP” from the term “TCP/IP.” TCP/IP is a collection of communications protocols, including Internet Protocol, used on the Internet and other types of networks. TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol. Together with Internet Protocol, TCP/IP has evolved to contain additional communications protocols which are categorized into the following four “layers”: Application, Transport, Internet, and Link.

The Internet Protocol falls under the Internet layer. Its job is to deliver “packets” of data from the source to destination host based on an address known as an IP address. The original IP address structure is now called IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version Six). IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses such as Over 4.2 billion IP addresses are possible. However, that limit is being reached, necessitating the introduction of IPv6 which uses 128-bit addresses and vastly expands the potential number of unique IP addresses.

Each networked computer has a unique IP address that identifies it. When you send and receive information over the Internet, the data is broken into packets and delivered to the assigned IP address. The Internet Protocol does the delivery while Transmission Control Protocol puts all the packets back together.

Associated Applications:

TCP/IP, IPv4, IPv6, Web browsers, email clients

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