Internet Protocol

From ArticleWorld

The internet protocol is understood as a protocol using data packets to communicate data between a sender and a receiver across a packet-enabled internetwork.


The internet protocol requires two hosts the sender and the receiver. The data send through the internetwork is organised in datagrams or packets (the terms are equivalent). As a common note the IP setup or ”path” is not necessary if no connection is attempted between two hosts, only when a connection is attempted the IP comes into use.

Given the physical limitations of networks, the IP is unreliable for sending packets, the euphemism used is ”best effort”. If reliability becomes an important issue it is achieved using other upper level protocols carried along with the IP. The unreliability makes the IP rather simple to setup, but effort is made to lower this issue to an acceptable minimum, hence the euphemism. Routers used on internetworks act as forwarding devices for packets using layer2 networks to interconnect. The most important application of IP is its use in today’s public Internet. The version currently used is IPv4, it allows the existence of approximative 4 billion addresses, but even so these are running out due to negligent assignment in ranges, that’s why in the mid future it will be upgraded to IPv6 which offer with an extremely higher order of magnitude more addresses.

The routing in itself is the most complex and important part of the IP. It helps assigning IP addresses and than making decisions regarding connections based on these assignments.


There are many IP in use today. Depending on the type of layer they use here is an attempt to classify them:

  • Protocols used for specific applications: IRC, NNTP, POP3, SIP, SMTP, SNMP, SSH, TELNET, BitTorrent, DNS, FTP, HTTP, IMAP and many others.
  • Protocols used for transport of data: SCTP, TCP, IL, DCCP, RTP, UTP, RUTP and so on.
  • Protocols used by internet: IPv4 and IPv6
  • Protocols used to link: Ethernet, MPLS, Wi-Fi, PPP, Token ring and many others.