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TCP/IP Model

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  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 16 Jan, 2023
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Prerequisite – Layers of OSI Model The OSI Model we just looked at is just a reference/logical model. It was designed to describe the functions of the communication system by dividing the communication procedure into smaller and simpler components. But when we talk about the TCP/IP model, it was designed and developed by Department of Defense (DoD) in 1960s and is based on standard protocols. It stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The TCP/IP model is a concise version of the OSI model. It contains four layers, unlike seven layers in the OSI model. The layers are:

  1. Process/Application Layer
  2. Host-to-Host/Transport Layer
  3. Internet Layer
  4. Network Access/Link Layer

The diagrammatic comparison of the TCP/IP and OSI model is as follows : Difference between TCP/IP and OSI Model:

TCP refers to Transmission Control Protocol. OSI refers to Open Systems Interconnection.
TCP/IP has 4 layers. OSI has 7 layers.
TCP/IP is more reliable OSI is less reliable
TCP/IP does not have very strict boundaries. OSI has strict boundaries
TCP/IP follow a horizontal approach. OSI follows a vertical approach.
TCP/IP uses both session and presentation layer in the application layer itself. OSI uses different session and presentation layers.
TCP/IP developed protocols then model. OSI developed model then protocol.
Transport layer in TCP/IP does not provide assurance delivery of packets. In OSI model, transport layer provides assurance delivery of packets.
TCP/IP model network layer only provides connection less services. Connection less and connection oriented both services are provided by network layer in OSI model.
Protocols cannot be replaced easily in TCP/IP model. While in OSI model, Protocols are better covered and is easy to replace with the change in technology.

The first layer is the Process layer on the behalf of the sender and Network Access layer on the behalf of the receiver. During this article, we will be talking on the behalf of the receiver.

1. Network Access Layer –

This layer corresponds to the combination of Data Link Layer and Physical Layer of the OSI model. It looks out for hardware addressing and the protocols present in this layer allows for the physical transmission of data. We just talked about ARP being a protocol of Internet layer, but there is a conflict about declaring it as a protocol of Internet Layer or Network access layer. It is described as residing in layer 3, being encapsulated by layer 2 protocols.

The Network Access Layer is a layer in the OSI model that is responsible for establishing a connection between a device and the physical network. It is responsible for transmitting and receiving data over the physical medium of the network, such as a wire or wireless connection.

One common use case of the Network Access Layer is in networking devices, such as routers and switches. These devices use the Network Access Layer to establish connections with other devices on the network and transmit and receive data. For example, a router may use the Network Access Layer to establish a connection with a device on the network and then forward data packets to and from that device.

Another use case of the Network Access Layer is in communication devices, such as phones and laptops. These devices use the Network Access Layer to establish a connection with a wireless or wired network and transmit and receive data over that connection. For example, a phone may use the Network Access Layer to connect to a wireless network and send and receive phone calls and text messages.

2. Internet Layer –

This layer parallels the functions of OSI’s Network layer. It defines the protocols which are responsible for logical transmission of data over the entire network. The main protocols residing at this layer are :

  1. IP – stands for Internet Protocol and it is responsible for delivering packets from the source host to the destination host by looking at the IP addresses in the packet headers. IP has 2 versions: IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 is the one that most of the websites are using currently. But IPv6 is growing as the number of IPv4 addresses are limited in number when compared to the number of users.
  2. ICMP – stands for Internet Control Message Protocol. It is encapsulated within IP datagrams and is responsible for providing hosts with information about network problems.
  3. ARP – stands for Address Resolution Protocol. Its job is to find the hardware address of a host from a known IP address. ARP has several types: Reverse ARP, Proxy ARP, Gratuitous ARP and Inverse ARP.

The Internet Layer is a layer in the Internet Protocol (IP) suite, which is the set of protocols that define the Internet. The Internet Layer is responsible for routing packets of data from one device to another across a network. It does this by assigning each device a unique IP address, which is used to identify the device and determine the route that packets should take to reach it.

Here is an example of a use case for the Internet Layer:

Imagine that you are using a computer to send an email to a friend. When you click “send,” the email is broken down into smaller packets of data, which are then sent to the Internet Layer for routing. The Internet Layer assigns an IP address to each packet and uses routing tables to determine the best route for the packet to take to reach its destination. The packet is then forwarded to the next hop on its route until it reaches its destination. When all of the packets have been delivered, your friend’s computer can reassemble them into the original email message.

In this example, the Internet Layer plays a crucial role in delivering the email from your computer to your friend’s computer. It uses IP addresses and routing tables to determine the best route for the packets to take, and it ensures that the packets are delivered to the correct destination. Without the Internet Layer, it would not be possible to send data across the Internet.

3. Host-to-Host Layer –

This layer is analogous to the transport layer of the OSI model. It is responsible for end-to-end communication and error-free delivery of data. It shields the upper-layer applications from the complexities of data. The two main protocols present in this layer are :

  1. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) – It is known to provide reliable and error-free communication between end systems. It performs sequencing and segmentation of data. It also has acknowledgment feature and controls the flow of the data through flow control mechanism. It is a very effective protocol but has a lot of overhead due to such features. Increased overhead leads to increased cost.
  2. User Datagram Protocol (UDP) – On the other hand does not provide any such features. It is the go-to protocol if your application does not require reliable transport as it is very cost-effective. Unlike TCP, which is connection-oriented protocol, UDP is connectionless.
    1. HTTP and HTTPS – HTTP stands for Hypertext transfer protocol. It is used by the World Wide Web to manage communications between web browsers and servers. HTTPS stands for HTTP-Secure. It is a combination of HTTP with SSL(Secure Socket Layer). It is efficient in cases where the browser need to fill out forms, sign in, authenticate and carry out bank transactions.
    2. SSH – SSH stands for Secure Shell. It is a terminal emulations software similar to Telnet. The reason SSH is more preferred is because of its ability to maintain the encrypted connection. It sets up a secure session over a TCP/IP connection.
    3. NTP – NTP stands for Network Time Protocol. It is used to synchronize the clocks on our computer to one standard time source. It is very useful in situations like bank transactions. Assume the following situation without the presence of NTP. Suppose you carry out a transaction, where your computer reads the time at 2:30 PM while the server records it at 2:28 PM. The server can crash very badly if it’s out of sync.

The host-to-host layer is a layer in the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model that is responsible for providing communication between hosts (computers or other devices) on a network. It is also known as the transport layer.

Some common use cases for the host-to-host layer include:

  1. Reliable data transfer: The host-to-host layer ensures that data is transferred reliably between hosts by using techniques like error correction and flow control. For example, if a packet of data is lost during transmission, the host-to-host layer can request that the packet be retransmitted to ensure that all data is received correctly.
  2. Segmentation and reassembly: The host-to-host layer is responsible for breaking up large blocks of data into smaller segments that can be transmitted over the network, and then reassembling the data at the destination. This allows data to be transmitted more efficiently and helps to avoid overloading the network.
  3. Multiplexing and demultiplexing: The host-to-host layer is responsible for multiplexing data from multiple sources onto a single network connection, and then demultiplexing the data at the destination. This allows multiple devices to share the same network connection and helps to improve the utilization of the network.
  4. End-to-end communication: The host-to-host layer provides a connection-oriented service that allows hosts to communicate with each other end-to-end, without the need for intermediate devices to be involved in the communication.

For example, consider a network with two hosts, A and B. Host A wants to send a file to host B. The host-to-host layer in host A will break the file into smaller segments, add error correction and flow control information, and then transmit the segments over the network to host B. The host-to-host layer in host B will receive the segments, check for errors, and reassemble the file. Once the file has been transferred successfully, the host-to-host layer in host B will acknowledge receipt of the file to host A.

In this example, the host-to-host layer is responsible for providing a reliable connection between host A and host B, breaking the file into smaller segments, and reassembling the segments at the destination. It is also responsible for multiplexing and demultiplexing the data and providing end-to-end communication between the two hosts.

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