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What is TCP/IP Model?

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What is TCP/IP Model?

The transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP) model finds its origins in the ARPANET reference model. The architecture[1] [2]  of TCP has evolved from studies in methods for connecting multiple packet-switched networks. The central aim of the TCP/IP model is to enable the sending of data packets to one application on a single computer. The TCP/IP model is an internet-capable set of protocols.

The TCP/IP model sets out how packets exchange information through the web. This set of communication protocols determines how data is to be broken, addressed, transferred, routed, and received for sharing. The server-client model is the communication model for this [3] [4] set.

The TCP/IP model describes how to construct communication lines for applications. It also manages to divide a message into packets before it is sent across and reassembled. IP outlines how packets are addressed and routed to make sure that the data reaches the right destination. The current internet architecture uses this network concept.

History of TCP/IP Model

At first, TCP was designed to meet the data communication needs of the US Department of Defense, also referred to as DoD. This finding began in the late 1960s when ARPA entered into a cooperation with US universities and industry research groups to design open standard protocols and establish multi-supplier networks. The initial host for most communication protocols created by ARPANET was Network Control Program (NCP.)

However, NCP has been unable to maintain the increasing traffic demand overtime. In 1974, ARPANET devised and built a new, more robust series of communication protocols based on TCP for communication in all areas. In the early version of this technology, there was only one core protocol called TCP. 

In 1975, a two-network TCP/IP test was conducted between Stanford and University
College London. In 1982, the United States DoD declared TCP/IP as the standard for all military computer networking. 

Why is TCP/IP Model important?

TCP/IP is unpatented and, as a result, is not controlled by any single company. The IP suite can thus be simply updated. It is interoperable with all operating systems and can interface with every other machine. The IP suite has complete computer hardware and internet compatibility.

TCP/IP is broadly accessible and enables the most efficient network path to be defined as a routable protocol. 

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TCP/IP Model Layers

Layers of TCP/IP model

The TCP/IP model has four layers:

Application Layer

The application layer is a combination of the application, presentation, and session layers. This layer is responsible for interaction between the user and the application. Here, data is formatted, converted, encrypted, decrypted, and set to the user. 

Protocols used by the application layer are:

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Transport Layer

The transport layer is responsible for end-to-end communication and provides error-free delivery of data. This layer can transport the data through a connection-oriented or connectionless layer.

The two protocols used in the transport layer are user datagram protocol (UDP) and TCP.

Network Layer

The network layer provides host addressing and chooses the best path to the destination network. This layer maintains the quality of service and offers connectionless end-to-end networking.

The protocols in the network layer are:

Physical Layer

The physical layer interacts with the top level of the TCP/IP model application. This layer is the nearest end-user TCP/IP layer. It means that the consumers can connect with other software apps.

The physical layer interacts with software applications to develop media platforms. Data is constantly beyond the boundaries of the TCP/IP model to be interpreted in the application. An application such as a data transfer, mail, remote login, etc., is an example of this layer.

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Advantages of TCP/IP Model

Disadvantages of TCP/IP Model

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OSI Model vs TCP/IP Model

The OSI model is a legitimate and conceptual design that illustrates the network connection used by systems open to interconnection and communication with other systems. The OSI model is logical and conceptual, defining networking that is utilized by systems that are open to communication and connectivity with other systems.

The OSI model also provides a logical network and efficiently depicts computer packet transport utilizing several layers of protocols.

The OSI model has seven layers:

The below table depicts the differences between OSI and TCP/IP models:

Different layers in both TCP/IP model and OSI model
  TCP/IP Model
OSI Model
Implementation model Reference model
It is a model around which internet is developed It is a theoretical model
It has only four layers It has seven layers
It follows the horizontal approach It follows the vertical approach
The protocol was developed before the model The model was developed before the protocol
It exclusively supports connectionless network layer communication It supports connection-free, connection-oriented network layer communication
It is loosely layered It is strictly layered
It was created by ARPANET It was developed by the International Standard Organization (ISO)
The transport layer guarantees the delivery of packets The transport layer does not guarantee the delivery of packets
The data link layer and physical layer are combined as a single host-to-network layer The data link layer and physical layer are separate layers


The central aim of TCP/IP was to enable the sending of data packets to one application on a single computer. At first, TCP was designed to meet the data communication needs of the US DoD. TCP/IP is non-relational and, consequently, no firm is controlled by it. This allows the IP suite to be updated easily. It is compatible and can interface with all other operating systems. The IP suite is also fully compatible with the computers and the internet.

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