TCP/IP: what are the internet rules?

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Internet Protocol (IP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) are the languages ​​used by computers to communicate with each other and they respect the rules of the Internet.

TCP/IP makes the Internet work much like a postal system. There is an address book containing the identity of each device over the network, and a set of standard envelopes to wrap the data. Envelopes should bear the sender’s address, recipient’s address and details of the information contained inside.

IP explains how the addressing system works, while TCP explains how to package and send data.

All computers get an IP address when they connect to the Internet, according to PC magazine, and they are all unique. You can find yours by typing “what is my IP” into Google. You will notice that it is not very human. It contains either four numbers between 0 and 255, separated by periods, or eight four-digit sequences separated by colons.

You may also notice that your IP address does not stay the same. At home, you get your IP address from your ISP, but when you’re on the road, it could be from the Wi-Fi you connected to at a coffee shop or from your company’s network, depending Business Intern.

How TCP/IP Works

To load a website, your machine needs to know the IP address of the web server that contains the data. It is also a long string of letters and numbers, and it can also change unexpectedly.

Luckily, there’s a second addressing system that helps guide your computer to the right place. Known as the Domain Name System, or DNS for short, it gives servers friendly names called domains, depending on Cloudy. Your web browser can search for them to know which IP address to use.

Your computer can then establish a connection to the server using a three-way handshake, depending on the CISSP Study Guide. First, it sends a message to the server asking if it’s ready to talk. It does this by sending an empty envelope with the word “synchronize?” written on the front.

If the server is ready, it writes “acknowledge” on a new envelope and sends it back. Finally, your computer completes the connection by sending a third envelope that also says “acknowledge receipt”.

devices connecting to the internet

Layers of rules connect your devices to the internet. (Image credit: Getty Images)

You are now ready to start exchanging data.

To do this, the server cuts the content of the website into small pieces and wraps each in its own envelope. Outside it writes its own IP address, your IP address and a sequence number, depending on Cloudy. This number tells your computer how to reassemble the parts.

When your computer receives one of the envelopes, it checks it and sends back a message saying “acknowledge receipt”. It means, “I received the data, and everything looks fine.”

If the server does not receive an acknowledgment after a set period of time, it assumes that the envelope has been lost or damaged and resends it, depending on Infrared technologies.

Once all the data is safe on your computer, all you have to do is close the connection. This involves another three-way handshake. A computer sends an envelope that says “finish.” The other returns: “acknowledge receipt”. The first responds with: “acknowledge receipt”, and the connection closes.

Additional Resources

For more information on how the Internet works, check out the many resources available at internet company and “Introduction to Networking: How the Internet Worksby Dr. Charles R Severance.

Bibliography

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