The basics of Internet Protocol (IP)

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The basics of Internet Protocol (IP)

Internet Protocol or IP as we all know is such a protocol, which is widely used for data communication across switched internetwork in the form of packets. Internet Protocol is also referred as TCP/IP that is Transmission Control Protocol or Internet Protocol. Internet Protocol is actually the primary protocol, used as the Internet Layer for “Internet Protocol Suit”. Its main task is to transfer the data in the form of small packets from source computer to destination computer by properly tracking their unique address on internet. Actually when a computer gets connected to internet, the server assigns a unique address to the PC, to distinguish it from other computers known as IP address. Thus, this IP address can be considered as the identity of the PC on connection with internet. The Internet Protocol takes this burden, by defining various addressing structures and methods, to ensure convenient data flow between interconnected PC’s over net.

IP Encapsulation

Data from upper layer is encapsulated in the form of small packets. According to this packet switching technique, circuit setups are not required before sending data from one host to another, which were not previously connected. Thus, Internet Protocol is connectionless encapsulated protocol as shown below.

IP Data Layer

IP Data Layer

Major services

The IP encapsulation property provides data abstraction. Thus, this protocol can be used in heterogeneous networks; connecting PC’s which may be a combination of ATM, FDDI, TOKEN RING, Ethernet card, or Wi-Fi. Each link layer has its own method of addressing specified by “Address Resolution Protocol”.

Intelligent Networking

While construction of network connection, the most important thing to be kept in mind is, Central monitoring and performance measurement of network, to track and maintain the proper working of the network. Thus, “End 2 End” concept has been introduced by this protocol. This reduces the complexity by placing the intelligence of the network at the end of the nodes while data transmission. If match is found then packets are transferred to that PC else the transmission continues until a match is found, thus reducing the space and time complexity of the networks.


However, due to intelligent networking the reliability of network connection reduces. Thus increases the chance of corruption in data, loss of data packets while transmission, duplicity while delivering and improper order of delivery of packets. However, the Internet Protocol Version 4 has come up with checksum technique taking place at routing nodes, thus increasing the reliability of the intelligent network.

IP routing and addressing description

The most complex part of INTERNET PROTOCOL is IP routing and addressing. Addressing determines how the destination computer becomes the assigned IP and in what way subs network IP addresses are grouped and divided together. Routing is done by the hosts with the help of inter-network routers by “Internal and External Gateway Protocols” as shown the diagram.

Thus we can say Internet Protocol is the most important determining element which defines the word “INTERNET”. The most common protocol used these days is IPv4; here 4 stands for version number four. Thus IP has given a new definition to the world of networking by setting up an intelligent, reliable and connectionless encapsulated networking system, to connect computers from every corner of the world.

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