The TCP/IP Protocol System

Before looking at the elements of TCP/IP, it is best to begin with a brief review of the responsibilities of a protocol system.

A protocol system such as TCP/IP must be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Dividing messages into manageable chunks of data that will pass efficiently through the transmission medium.

  • Interfacing with the network adapter hardware.

  • Addressing: The sending computer must be capable of targeting data to a receiving computer. The receiving computer must be capable of recognizing a message that it is supposed to receive.

  • Routing data to the subnet of the destination computer, even if the source subnet and the destination subnet are dissimilar physical networks.

  • Performing error control, flow control, ...

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