Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week: TCP/IP Protocol within Windows XP Professional

by Jason Zandri

Jason Zandri's latest article in the Learning Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week series introduces the TCP/IP Protocol by providing a detailed overview of the default protocol in use for the Internet.

Welcome to this week's installment of Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 minutes a week, the 12th in this series. This article will cover the TCP/IP Protocol within Windows XP Professional.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol Overview

The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol is a network communication protocol that can be used as a communications protocol on private networks and is the default protocol in use on the internet. When you set up any system to have direct access to the Internet -- whether it is via dial-up or one of the high speed technologies in use today -- your system will need to utilize the TCP/IP protocol (whether it is a Windows-based system or not).

Also, if the given system needs to communicate to other TCP/IP systems on the local LAN or WAN, it will need to utilize the TCP/IP protocol as well.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - Indirectly connected computers, such as those on a LAN that connect to the internet via certain default gateways, certain types of routers, Proxy Servers, ISA Servers or other indirect means, do not necessarily need to use the TCP/IP protocol. They need only utilize the network protocol in use for their LAN, where that LAN protocol would communicate with the directly connecting mechanism, whether it be a default gateway, router, Proxy Server or other direct device. That directly connected device, however, would need to use the Internet's default protocol of TCP/IP.

TCP/IP is technically made up of two protocols. The upper layer, Transmission Control Protocol, on the sending system is responsible for breaking down the data into smaller packets to be transmitted over the network (local and internet), while the TCP layer on the receiving node reassembles the packets it receives back into the original data structure.

The lower layer, Internet Protocol, addresses each individual packet so that it gets delivered to the correct node. Each routing device on the network, be it a hardware router or a server system that is performing routing functions, will check the destination address to see where to forward the message.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - This is just a basic overview of TCP/IP and I didn't want to get too involved with it here within this article. There is bountiful information on TCP/IP all over the internet and before pouring through the RFCs I would first suggest you try these two Web resources -- TCP/IP Frequently Asked Questions or TCP/IP Protocol Suite - Questions & Answers.

This article was originally published on Jul 29, 2002
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