The TCP/IP Reference Model

TCP/IP Reference Model is a four-layered suite of communication protocols. It was developed by the DoD (Department of Defence) in the 1960s. It is named after the two main protocols that are used in the model, namely, TCP and IP. TCP stands for "Transmission Control Protocol" and IP stands for "Internet Protocol".

The four layers in the TCP/IP protocol suite are −

  1. Host-to- Network Layer −It is the lowest layer that is concerned with the physical transmission of data. TCP/IP does not specifically define any protocol here but supports all the standard protocols.
  2. Internet Layer −It defines the protocols for logical transmission of data over the network. The main protocol in this layer is Internet Protocol (IP) and it is supported by the protocols ICMP, IGMP, RARP, and ARP.
  3. Transport Layer − It is responsible for error-free end-to-end delivery of data. The protocols defined here are Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP).
  4. Application Layer − This is the topmost layer and defines the interface of host programs with the transport layer services. This layer includes all high-level protocols like Telnet, DNS, HTTP, FTP, SMTP, etc.
  5. The following diagram shows the layers and the protocols in each of the layers −

Updated on: 02-Sep-2023

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