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Internet Protocol Suite and Data Transmission

[Internet Protocol Suite - Elprocus]


Networking In The Digital Age 



- TCP/IP Protocol Stack

The Internet protocol suite is the conceptual model and set of communications protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP because the foundational protocols in the suite are the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP). The Internet protocol suite provides end-to-end data communication specifying how data should be packetized, addressed, transmitted, routed, and received.

This functionality is organized into four abstraction layers, which classify all related protocols according to the scope of networking involved. From lowest to highest, the layers are the link layer, containing communication methods for data that remains within a single network segment (link); the internet layer, providing internetworking between independent networks; the transport layer, handling host-to-host communication; and the application layer, providing process-to-process data exchange for applications.


- TCP/IP: Not the Most Secure Protocol

TCP/IP is the most commonly used protocol suite on the web—so common that most people don't even realize they're using it. Most computers come standard with TCP/IP built-in, so manual setup is not required. Just connect to your local wireless network and you're ready to go. However, while TCP/IP is the most common protocol, it is not the most secure.

Packets sent over TCP/IP are not private, which means they can be seen or intercepted. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to send private data and ensure that information is encrypted. One way to encrypt data shared over TCP/IP is through a virtual private network (VPN).


- TCP IP Transport Mechanism

The TCP/IP model has four layers: network access layer, Internet layer, transport layer, and application layer. These layers used together are a set of protocols. When a user sends information, the TCP/IP model passes data through these layers in a specific order, and then again in reverse order when receiving data.

When data moves from upper layer to lower layer of TCP/IP protocol stack, during an outgoing transmission, each layer includes a bundle of relevant information called "header" along with the actual data. The data package containing the header and the data from the upper layer then becomes the data that is repackaged at the next lower level with lower layer's header. Header is the supplemental data placed at the beginning of a block of data when it is transmitted. This supplemental data is used at the receiving side to extract the data from the encapsulated data packet. This packing of data at each layer is known as data encapsulation.


- Ethernet Data Transmission Mechanism

TCP and IP are independent computer network protocols. The difference between TCP and IP is their role in the data transmission process. IP gets the address from which data is sent. Once the IP address is found, TCP ensures accurate data delivery. Together they form the TCP/IP protocol suite. 

In other words, IP sorts the mail and TCP sends and receives the mail. Although these two protocols are often considered together, other protocols, such as UDP, can send data within an IP system without using TCP. But TCP requires an IP address to send data. This is another difference between IP and TCP.

if we want to send an IP packet (layer 3) out on an Ethernet network (layers 1 and 2), we need to send out an Ethernet packet (an Ethernet NIC or transceiver knows nothing about IP). The entire IP packet becomes the payload (data) of an Ethernet packet. Similarly, TCP and UDP, layers above IP, have their own headers, distinct from IP headers (they need a port number, for example). 

A TCP or UDP packet is likewise treated simply as data by the IP layer. This wrapping process is known as protocol encapsulation. Each layer of the networking stack can ignore the headers outside of its layer and treat anything from higher layers simply as part of the payload that needs to be sent.


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[Florida Bay, Florida - World Landscapes]

- TCP/IP and Global Internet Backbone

The Internet generates massive amounts of computer-to-computer traffic, and insuring all that traffic can be delivered anywhere in the world requires the aggregation of a vast array of high-speed networks collectively known as the Internet backbone. 

In computer networking, a backbone is a central conduit designed to transfer network traffic at high speeds. Backbones connect local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs) together. Network backbones are designed to maximize the reliability and performance of large-scale, long-distance data communications. The best-known network backbones are those used on the Internet. 

The Internet backbone is made up of many large networks which interconnect with each other. The individual core networks are privately owned by Tier 1 internet service providers (ISP), giant carriers whose networks are tied together. These providers include AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Sprint, etc..

By joining these long-haul networks together, Tier 1 ISPs create a single worldwide network that gives all of them access to the entire internet routing table so they can efficiently deliver traffic to its destination through a hierarchy of progressively more local ISPs. In addition to being physically connected, these backbone providers are held together by a shared network protocol, TCP/IP.

Internet exchange points (IXP) tie the backbone together. Backbone ISPs connect their networks at peering points, neutrally owned locations with high-speed switches and routers that move traffic among the peers. These are often owned by third parties, sometimes non-profits, that facilitate unifying the backbone.  

Participating Tier 1 ISPs help fund the IXPs, but don’t charge each other for transporting traffic from the other Tier 1 ISPs in a relationship known as settlement-free peering. Such agreements eliminate potential financial disputes that might have the result of slowing down internet performance.


 IP Convergence in the Telecom Industry

The use of Internet Protocol (IP)-based technologies is now a strategic element in the design, development and use of telecommunication networks. As IP technology is gradually replacing traditional technologies, the trend of a full IP network is irresistible. 

Enjoying the innate advantage of convergence with IP, Ethernet gradually goes beyond the applications within Local Area Networks (LAN) by virtue of its advantages such as better price-performance ratio per Mb bandwidth, simple management, flexible service loading, and low cost, and has become one of the leading networking technologies for Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs). 

On the one hand, the development of Ethernet technologies is reflected by the rate improvement from 10 Mb/s to 400 Gb/s; on the other hand, it is reflected by enhanced performance. New technologies for Quality of Service (QoS) guarantee, reliability and manageability are constantly emerging.

As the use of IP-based networks, including the Internet, continues to grow around the world, global dialogue on the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in the dissemination, innovation and use of these networks intensifies. 

The Internet and the applications it supports have become of crucial importance to the economic, social and political development of all countries, in particular developing countries, as the global community seeks to use the Internet and other ICTs as a way to help provide digital opportunities for all.


[More to come ...]


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