What is TCP/IP?
The internet uses a set of protocols called TCP/IP, which stands
for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. In a TCP/IP
network, messages are broken into small components called datagrams
that are then transmitted through various interlocking routes and
delivered to their destination computers. Once received, the datagrams
are reassembled into the original message. Datagrams are also referred
to as packets. Sending messages as small components has proved to
be far more reliable and faster than sending them as one large bulky
transmission. With small components, if one is lost or damaged,
only that component needs to be re-sent, whereas if any part of
a large transmission is corrupted or lost, the entire message has
to be re-sent.
On a TCP/IP network such as the Internet, each computer is given
a unique address called an IP address. The IP address is used to
identify and locate a particular host-a computer connected to the
network. An IP address consists of 4 segments, each pair separated
by a period. The segments consist of numbers that range from 0 to
255, with certain values reserved for special use. The IP address
is divided into two parts, one that identifies the network and the
other that identifies a particular host.
For example, an IP address breaks down in the following way.
192.168.187.4 - IP Address
192.168.187 - Network Identification
4 - Host Identification
An IP address is officially provided by the Network Information
Center (NIC) that administers the Internet. You can obtain your
own Internet address from the NIC, or if you are on a network already
connected to the Internet, your network administrator can assign
you one. If you are using an Internet service provider, the ISP
may obtain one for you or, each time you connect, may temporarily
assign one from a pool they have on hand.
All hosts on the Internet are identified by their IP addresses.
When you send a message to a host on the Internet, you must provide
its IP address. However, using a sequence of 4 numbers of an IP
address can be very difficult. They are hard to remember, and it's
easy to make mistakes when typing them. To make it easier to identify
a computer on the internet, the Domain Name Service (DNS) was implemented.
The DNS establishes a domain name address for each IP address. The
domain name address is a series of names separated by periods, eg.
www.btinternet.com. Whenever you use a domain name address, it is
automatically converted to an IP address that is then used to identify
that Internet host. The domain name address is far easier to use
than it's corresponding IP address.
A domain name address needs to be registered with the NIC so that
each computer on the Internet will have a unique name.
The conversion of domain addresses to IP addresses used to be performed
by each indivdual host. And for a few frequently used addresses
for which you know this can still be done. However, so many computers
are now connected to the internet that domain name conversion has
to be done by special servers known as domain name servers. A name
server holds a database of domain name addresses and their IP addresses.
If a name server does not have the address, then it may call on
other name servers to perform the conversion. Aprogram on your computer
called a resolver will obtain the IP address from a name server
and then use it in the application where you specified the domain
This was plagerised from " Linux The Complete Reference Third Edition"
by Richard Petersen. Published by Osborne.