Most of us know of TCP/IP as the glue that binds the Internet. But not as many can offer a cogent description of what it is and how it works. So what is TCP/IP, really?
TCP/IP is a means for networked computers to communicate with each other. It doesnâ„¢t matter whether they are part of the same network or are attached to separate networks. It doesnâ„¢t matter if one computer is a Cray and the other a Macintosh. TCP/IP is a platform-independent standard that bridges the gap between dissimilar computers, operating systems, and networks. Itâ„¢s the protocol that drives the global Internet, and it is to the Internet that TCP/IP owes much of its popularity.
Understanding TCP/IP is largely a matter of understanding a collection of arcane protocols that TCP/IP hosts use to exchange information. Letâ„¢s look at some of those protocols and see what makes TCP/IP tick