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TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
In my description
of the Internet Protocol, I call it the
workhorse of the TCP/IP protocol suite. IP is, in fact,
the foundation upon which the other protocols of the suite are built.
Well, if IP is the workhorse, then the worker
that rides on that horse would have to be the TCP/IP Transmission
Control Protocol (TCP). Like horse and rider, TCP and IP form a
team that work together to make it possible for applications to easily
run over an internetwork.
TCP and IP share the marquee in the
name of the suite, and are very important complements to each other.
IP concerns itself with classic network-layer tasks such as addressing,
datagram packaging and routing, which provide basic internetworking
capabilities. TCP provides to applications a method of easily making
use of IP, while filling in the capabilities that IP lacks. It allows
TCP/IP devices to establish and manage connections and send data reliably,
and takes care of handling all the potential gotchas that
can occur during transmission so each application doesn't need to worry
about such matters. To applications, TCP could thus be considered almost
like a nice user interface to the fairly rudimentary capabilities
This section provides a comprehensive
description of the concepts, characteristics and functions of the Transmission
Control Protocol (TCP). TCP is a rather complex protocol that includes
a number of sophisticated functions to ensure that applications function
in the potentially difficult environment of a large internetwork. It's
also, as I said above, a very important part of the TCP/IP protocol
suite. For this reason, the section is rather large, and has been divided
into five subsections.
The first subsection provides an
overview of TCP, describing its history, what it does and how it works.
The second paints some important background information that is necessary
to understanding how TCP operates. This is done by explaining key concepts
such as streams and segments, sliding windows and TCP ports and connections.
The third subsection describes the process used by TCP to establish,
maintain and terminate sessions. The fourth describes TCP messages,
and how they are formatted and transferred. Finally, the last subsection
shows how TCP provides reliability and other important transport layer
functions to applications, such as flow control, retransmission of lost
data and congestion avoidance.
Background Information: Since TCP is built on top of IP, in describing TCP, I make the assumption that the reader has at least a basic familiarity with IP. If you have come to this section without first gaining an understanding of IP, I'd suggest reading that section first. Since it's large, reviewing the portion describing IP concepts will likely suffice for background.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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