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Since TCP/IP is a protocol suite, it is most often discussed in terms of the protocols that comprise it. Each protocol resides in a particular layer of the TCP/IP architectural model we saw earlier in this section. Every TCP/IP protocol is charged with performing a certain subset of the total functionality required to implement a TCP/IP network or application. They work together to allow TCP/IP as a whole to operate.
First, a quick word on the word protocol. You will sometimes hear TCP/IP called just a protocol instead of a protocol suite. This is a simplification that while technically incorrect, is widely used. I believe it arises in large part due to Microsoft referring to protocol suites as protocols in their operating systems. I discuss this issue in more detail in a topic devoted to protocols in the networking fundamentals chapter.
As I mentioned earlier in this section, there are a few TCP/IP protocols that are usually called the core of the suite, because they are responsible for its basic operation. Which protocols to include in this category is a matter of some conjecture, but most people would definitely include here the main protocols at the internet and transport layers: the Internet Protocol (IP), Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP). These core protocols support many other protocols, to perform a variety of functions at each of the TCP/IP model layers. Still others enable user applications to function.
On the whole, there are many hundreds of TCP/IP protocols and applications, and I could not begin to cover each and every one in this Guide. I do include sections discussing several dozen of the protocols that I consider important for one reason or another. Full coverage of each of these protocols (to varying levels of detail) can be found in the other chapters of this Guide.
Below I have included a number of tables that provide a summary of each of the TCP/IP protocols discussed in this Guide. Each table covers one of the TCP/IP model layers, in order from lowest to highest, and I have provided links to the sections or topics where each is discussed. The organization of protocols in the TCP/IP suite can also be seen at a glance in Figure 21.
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