5 IP—The Internet Protocol


The Internet is not just one thing, it's a collection of things—of numerous communications networks that all speak the same digital language.

Jim Clark

IP is the most successful computer networking technology ever invented. A recent count shows more than 570 million host computers connect directly to the Internet.1 Every new desktop or laptop computer produced today comes equipped with a networking connection that supports IP.

After reading the basic descriptions of IP networking in this chapter, our discussions about IP video will be much easier to understand. This chapter discusses the basics of IP transport, explains the concept of a packet, and shows how IP fits into the overall scheme of data communications. ...

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