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Chapter 7. Configuring Network Connectivity > Understanding TCP/IP Basics

Understanding TCP/IP Basics

TCP/IP, the acronym that has become a de facto name for a network communications protocol, stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. TCP/IP has become so ubiquitous that many think of it, not just as a communications protocol, but as the only network communications protocol. Although not the only protocol out there (AppleTalk, covered later in this chapter, is one of the others), TCP/IP has proven flexible enough to support different types of data with a large range of requirements for delivery, timing, and reliability.

Basically, the TCP/IP protocol can be thought of as specifying the manner in which pieces of data should be transferred between two machines. This protocol includes the notion that the transmission of data can be broken down into a number of separate and abstract layers. Figure 7.1 shows the TCP/IP protocol stack, the conceptual breakdown of the protocol into layers. This is commonly referred to as the OSI (Open Systems Interconnect) model of networking. Because the functions of the layers are conceptually separate, the manner in which the function of any layer is accomplished does not matter, as long as it cooperates with the layers above and below it in the manner that each layer expects.


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