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TCP/IP Transport Layer Protocol (TCP and UDP) Addressing: Ports and Sockets
Internet Protocol (IP) addresses
are the universally-used main form of addressing on a TCP/IP network.
addresses uniquely identify each network
interface, and as such, serve as the mechanism by which data is routed
to the correct network on the internetwork, and then the correct device
on that network. What some people don't realize, however, is that there
is an additional level of addressing that occurs at the transport layer
in TCP/IP, above that of the IP address. Both of the TCP/IP transport
protocols, TCP and UDP, use the concepts of ports and sockets
for virtual software addressing, to enable the function of many applications
simultaneously on an IP device.
In this section I describe the special
mechanism used for addressing in both TCP and UDP. I begin with a discussion
of TCP/IP application processes, including the client/server nature
of communication, which provides a background for explaining how ports
and sockets are used. I then give an overview of the concept of ports,
and how they enable the multiplexing of data over an IP address. I describe
the way that port numbers are categorized in ranges, and assigned to
server processes for common applications. I explain the concept of ephemeral
port numbers used for clients. I then discuss sockets and their use
for connection identification, including the means by which multiple
devices can talk to a single port on another device. I then provide
a summary table of the most common well-known and registered port numbers.
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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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