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Why is TCP/IP called a protocol stack?

by erwin


“TCP/IP” refers to two networking protocols, TCP, or Transmission Control Protocol, and IP, or Internet Protocol.  These two protocols are commonly used in computer and Internet networks and together are called “protocol stacks” because both are means of networking being implemented in a wide area.  When talking about the Internet, it literally involves a wide network of computers connected to each other from different terminals and server locations throughout the world.  One way to connect these computers is through a networking implementation called a protocol stack. For this very purpose, many of today’s computer networks implement the TCP/IP protocols, and this is considered a standard in the computer and networking industry.

The TCP/IP protocol stack is widely used today because it allows computer connectivity with specific rules and standards on how data is to be handled.  Through this combined protocol, the formatting of data is known at the source, and the means of transmitting or routing it to other areas is also recorded.  The TCP/IP standard protocol also secures how the data is viewed and displayed at its destination computer terminal.

In order for a TCP/IP protocol to work, all its abstraction layers must be present.  The Ethernet layer is in charge of the communication needs in the computer network.  The next layer involved is called the IP, or Internet layer, and this is responsible for the network connections between computers.  The transport layer, or the TCP layer, will then handle communications between hosts.  The last layer, called HTTP, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is the one that literally contains the instructions on how the data is to be handled.  In the case of Web pages, for example, HTTP ensures that the Internet browser is efficiently communicating with the Internet server.  With these multiple layers, the TCP/IP protocol is viewed as a stack of different standards put into one protocol suite.

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