TCP/IP from 20,000 feet

Published on November 4, 2021 at 7:44 am by LEW


TCP/IP and in some causes just IP are used quite a bit when talking about networks and the internet. It is in many cases assumed the reader is familiar with the acronym. I am adding this post just in case some people are not up to date on the protocol, so I have a reference when I mention the acronym. This will be a quick and abbreviated overview of the TCP/IP protocol.

The Acronym and a Short History

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), some times referred to as the Internet Protocol Suit, was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the late 1960’s. The first iteration, installed in 1969, was known as APRPANET. The migration of ARPANET to TCP/IP was completed in 1983. In 1989 TCP/IP was adopted by BSD UNIX, furthering its spread.

Non Technical Explanation

TCP/IP basically specifies a method of data transmission across a network, with end to end communication and data integrity checking.

TCP specifies a method of creating a commutations channel across the network. It also specifies how to break a message down into smaller segments for transmission, and reassembling the message at the other end.

IP specifies how to route the message across the network, ensuring correct delivery to the correct destination.

Other Protocols in the TCP/IP Suit

The following additional protocols are part of the TCP/IP Suit.


I have purposely stayed away form any technical explanations. This is a layman’s explanation, not intended to be technical. This post should give the reader a good overview of the TCP/IP protocol.

More in depth explanations of the various elements are subjects for other posts.

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