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The processes of transmitting and receiving packets on a given link can be controlled both in the software device driver for the network card , as well as on firmware or specialized chipsets. These perform data link functions such as adding a packet header to prepare it for transmission, then actually transmit the frame over a physical medium.

The link layer is also the layer where packets may be selected to be sent over a virtual private network or over other networking tunnels.

RFC - TCP/IP tutorial

In this scenario, the link layer data may be considered application data which traverses another instantiation of the IP stack for transmission or reception over another IP connection. Such a connection, or virtual link, may be established with a transport protocol or even an application scope protocol that serves as a tunnel in the link layer of the protocol stack.

The internet layer has the responsibility of sending packets across potentially multiple networks. Internetworking requires sending data from the source network to the destination network. This process is called routing. The internet layer is not only agnostic of data structures at the transport layer, but it also does not distinguish between operation of the various transport layer protocols. IP carries data for a variety of different upper layer protocols.

The internet layer provides an unreliable datagram transmission facility between hosts located on potentially different IP networks by forwarding the transport layer datagrams to an appropriate next-hop router for further relaying to its destination. With this functionality, the internet layer makes possible internetworking, the interworking of different IP networks, and it essentially establishes the Internet.

The Internet Protocol is the principal component of the internet layer, and it defines two addressing systems to identify network hosts' computers, and to locate them on the network. It uses a bit IP address and is therefore capable of identifying approximately four billion hosts. This limitation was eliminated in by the standardization of Internet Protocol version 6 IPv6 which uses bit addresses. IPv6 production implementations emerged in approximately The transport layer establishes basic data channels that applications use for task-specific data exchange.

Four Layers of TCP/IP

The layer establishes host-to-host connectivity, meaning it provides end-to-end message transfer services that are independent of the structure of user data and the logistics of exchanging information for any particular specific purpose and independent of the underlying network. The protocols in this layer may provide error control , segmentation , flow control , congestion control , and application addressing port numbers.

End-to-end message transmission or connecting applications at the transport layer can be categorized as either connection-oriented , implemented in TCP, or connectionless , implemented in UDP. For the purpose of providing process-specific transmission channels for applications, the layer establishes the concept of the network port. This is a numbered logical construct allocated specifically for each of the communication channels an application needs. For many types of services, these port numbers have been standardized so that client computers may address specific services of a server computer without the involvement of service announcements or directory services.


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Because IP provides only a best effort delivery , some transport layer protocols offer reliability. For example, the TCP is a connection-oriented protocol that addresses numerous reliability issues in providing a reliable byte stream :. It is message-stream-oriented—not byte-stream-oriented like TCP—and provides multiple streams multiplexed over a single connection.

TCP/IP Model (Internet Protocol Suite) - Network Fundamentals Part 6

It also provides multi-homing support, in which a connection end can be represented by multiple IP addresses representing multiple physical interfaces , such that if one fails, the connection is not interrupted. It was developed initially for telephony applications to transport SS7 over IP , but can also be used for other applications.

The User Datagram Protocol is a connectionless datagram protocol. Like IP, it is a best effort, "unreliable" protocol. Reliability is addressed through error detection using a weak checksum algorithm. Real-time Transport Protocol RTP is a datagram protocol that is designed for real-time data such as streaming audio and video. By convention certain well known ports are associated with specific applications.

The application layer includes the protocols used by most applications for providing user services or exchanging application data over the network connections established by the lower level protocols. This may include some basic network support services such as protocols for routing and host configuration. Such functions are the realm of libraries and application programming interfaces. Application layer protocols generally treat the transport layer and lower protocols as black boxes which provide a stable network connection across which to communicate, although the applications are usually aware of key qualities of the transport layer connection such as the end point IP addresses and port numbers.

Application layer protocols are often associated with particular client-server applications, and common services have well-known port numbers reserved by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority IANA. Clients connecting to a service usually use ephemeral ports , i. The transport layer and lower-level layers are unconcerned with the specifics of application layer protocols.

Routers and switches do not typically examine the encapsulated traffic, rather they just provide a conduit for it. However, some firewall and bandwidth throttling applications must interpret application data. It is also sometimes necessary for network address translator NAT traversal to consider the application payload.

User protocols are used for actual user applications.


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The following table shows various networking models. For this process to work, an IP address has two parts. The first part of an IP address is used as a network address, the last part as a host address. If you take the example Glossary Broadcast address -- An IP address with a host portion that is all ones. Internet -- The global collection of networks that are connected together and share a common range of IP addresses.

Network -- There are two uses of the term network in this article. One is a group of computers on a single physical network segment; the other is an IP network address range that is allocated by a system administrator. Network address -- An IP address with a host portion that is all zeros. Octet -- An 8-bit number, 4 of which comprise a bit IP address. They have a range of that correspond to the decimal values 0- Router -- A device that passes network traffic between different IP networks.

Subnet Mask -- A bit number used to distinguish the network and host portions of an IP address. Subnet or Subnetwork -- A smaller network created by dividing a larger network into equal parts. Wide area network WAN -- A large network that is a collection of smaller networks separated by routers. The Internet is an example of a very large WAN.

Australia - English. Bosna i Hercegovina - Hrvatski. Canada - English. Crna Gora - Srpski. The session layer information can be transmitted inside the payload. This situation is even more noticeable if, for example, the presentation layer encrypts the data, and thus changes the whole content of the session-layer PDU. The representation can differ on different computers. For example, it deals with the problem of whether the highest bit is in the byte on the right or on the left.

By securing, we mean encrypting, ensuring data integrity, digital signing, and so forth. For example, the OSI Virtual Terminal protocol describes how data should be formatted as well as the dialogue used between the two ends of the connection. Each group of protocols has its definition of its own layers as well as the protocols used on these layers.


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IP is used for transmitting IP datagrams between remote computers. Each IP datagram header contains the destination address, which is the complete routing information used for delivering the IP datagram to its destination. Therefore, the network can only transmit each datagram individually. IP datagrams of one session can be transmitted through different paths and can thus be received by the destination in a different order than they were sent.

Each network interface on the large Internet network has one or more IP address that is unique worldwide. One network interface can have several IP addresses, but one IP address cannot be used by many network interfaces. The Internet is composed of individual networks that are interconnected via routers.

Routers are also referred to as gateways in old literature. TCP and UDP can also facilitate communication between processes running on the same computer, but this is not very interesting for our purposes. If some data TCP segments gets lost, the destination requests a retransmission of the lost data. UDP transports data using datagrams the delivery is not guaranteed. In other words, the source party sends the datagram without worrying about whether it has been received.

UDP is connectionless-oriented service. The port is used as the address. To understand the difference between an IP address and port number, think of it as a mailing address. The IP address corresponds to the address of a house, while the port tells you the name of the person that should receive the letter.

Similarly, ASN. There are many different application protocols. For practical purposes, they can be divided into two groups:. Especially with lower-layer protocols, we distinguish between the types of transmission that they facilitate, whether they provide connection-oriented or connection-less services, if the protocol uses virtual circuits, and so on. We also distinguish between synchronous, packet, and asynchronous transmission. If the source does not use the provided bandwidth it remains unused.

Synchronous transmission uses frames that are of fixed length and are transmitted at constant speeds. In synchronous transmission, the guaranteed bandwidth is established by dividing the transmitted frames into slots see Figure 1. One or more slots in any transmitted frame are reserved for a particular connection.

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Let's say that each frame has slot 1 reserved for our connection. Since the frames follow each other steadily in a network, our application has a guaranteed bandwidth consisting of the number of slot 1s that can be transmitted through the network in one second. The concept becomes even clearer if we draw several frames under each other, creating a 'super-frame' see Figure 1.

A slot can be used for making a phone call. Therefore, in theory, 32 calls are guaranteed at the same time although some slots are probably used for servicing. The Internet does not use synchronous transmission, i. Quality audio or video transmission on the Internet is usually achieved by over-dimensioning the transmission lines. Recently, there has been a steady increase in requests for audio and video transmission via the Internet, so more and more often we come across systems that guarantee bandwidth even on the Internet with the help of Quality of Service QoS.

In order for us to reach the expected results, however, all appliances on route from the source to the destination must support these services. From now onwards we will use the term packet to refer to 'packet', 'datagram', 'segment', 'protocol data unit'. Packets usually carry data of variable size. It is not possible to guarantee bandwidth, because the packets are of various lengths.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)

On the other hand, we can use the bandwidth more effectively because if one application does not transmit data, then other applications can use the bandwidth instead. This transmission type combines features of packet transmission with features of synchronous transmission. Similarly to synchronous transmission, in asynchronous transmission, the data are transmitted in packets that are rather small, but are all of the same size; these packets are called cells.

Similarly to packet transmission, data for one application one connection is transmitted in one cell. All cells have the same length; so if we guarantee that the nth cell will be available for a certain application a particular connection , the bandwidth will be guaranteed by this as well.

Additionally, it doesn't really matter if the application does not send the cell since a different application's cell might be sent instead. Some network protocols create virtual circuits in networks.

Following Rules for the Internet: TCP/IP Protocols

A virtual circuit is conducted through the network and all packets of a particular connection go via the circuit. If the circuit gets interrupted anywhere, then the connection is interrupted, a new circuit is established, and data transmission continues. All packets must go through this circuit. Each packet does not have to carry the globally unique address of the destination complete routing information in its header.