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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  TCP/IP Lower-Layer (Interface, Internet and Transport) Protocols (OSI Layers 2, 3 and 4)
      9  TCP/IP Transport Layer Protocols
           9  Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP)
                9  TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

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TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
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TCP Overview, History and Standards
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TCP Overview, Functions and Characteristics

As I mentioned in the previous section overview, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a critically important part of the TCP/IP suite. It's also a fairly complicated protocol, with a lot of important concepts and mechanisms to understand. The old joke says the best way to eat an elephant is “one bite at a time”. Similarly here, we can best comprehend the operation of this complicated protocol by going slowly, starting with a high-level look at it, where it came from, and what it does in general terms.

In this section I begin our look at TCP with an introduction to the protocol. I first provide an overview and history of TCP, and describe the standards that define it. I then give a “bird's eye” view of TCP by describing it in two important ways. I illustrate what TCP actually does by listing its functions, and then explain how TCP works by describing its most important characteristics. This will give you a feel for what TCP is all about, and hopefully set the stage for the more complex technical discussions in subsequent sections.

Quick navigation to subsections and regular topics in this section



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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

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