I’m sure many of you out there have heard the term TCP/IP referenced from time to time. The fact is most people out there really don’t know what it means or how exactly it is used. TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol and is the basic communication protocol of the Internet.
TCP/IP is a two layer program that consists of the Transmission Control Protocol which manages the assembling of the message into smaller packets that are transmitted over the Internet and the Internet Protocol which handles the address portion of each packet so it arrives at the correct destination.
TCP/IP uses the client/server model in which a computer user (the client), makes requests and is provided a service from another computer (the server). An example of this model in action is the act of typing in a website address and then watching it appear in your browser.
As you can probably guess, this protocol is widely used on a daily basis by Internet users all around the world. All of the main high layer application protocols use TCP/IP to get to the Internet such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Telnet.
TCP/IP is not just used for the Internet, though. Most of your traditional computer networks in offices everywhere use this same model for communication. The computer at your desk in your office (the client) makes requests of another computer in the office (server) for things like mail and file storage. This protocol is even in use in your own home if you own a router or wireless router and connect multiple computers to one connection in your home.
As you can see this protocol is widely used by virtually everyone who uses a computer these days and most people out there have no idea what it is or how it works. Everyone hears these terms thrown about especially when tech people are troubleshooting problems with your network in your office or issues with your router and cable modem but have no idea what they are talking about. But now, you do and you can show off this new knowledge the next time you are talking to your favorite IT guy.