TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) is a suite of networking protocols that computers use to communicate over the Internet as well as private IP networks. TCP/IP is a networking standard that defines rules for data exchange between computers and lets you access the Internet every time you need to send a message or receive some information from another host computer. TCP/IP protocol set is not the only possible way to connect networks, but when it comes to versatility and popularity among users, TCP/IP leaves its rivals far behind. Being completely platform independent, the universal TCP/IP family transfers information over the Internet regardless of the computer's’ architecture or operating system installed.
At its core, TCP/IP provides a reliable one-to-one communication between hosts, compiling data into packets and transporting them to the right destination.
One of the primary benefits of the TCP/IP protocol is a very high level of reliability, provided when transferring data. Even if a packet of information gets lost using one route, the protocol guarantees that it will reach its destination using another way. A significant advantage of TCP/IP is that most protocols of the suite are stateless, which means that information about session or each communication partner doesn’t need to be retained by the server, thus free network paths can be continuously used by everyone.
Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol are two main components of the TCP/IP protocol suite. TCP, a higher layer protocol, is basically responsible for taking a large message, assembling the data into packets, and transferring them from one location to another. When all the packets reach their destination, they are reassembled into the original message by TCP layer on the remote host.
Internet Protocol provides data addressing and routing between computers so that the messages sent over the Internet can reach the intended location.
As is known, TCP layer isn’t the highest one in TCP/IP model. The top layer of TCP/IP stack is Application Layer, allowing users to exchange data between applications, involved in communication system.
Let’s look closer at how TCP/IP works at this level. Using a web browser to view websites on your computer, you rely on Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the Application Layer protocol. By entering a URL into a web browser, you actually send an HTTP command to a web server, requesting it to transmit the required web page to your computer. The role of HTTP protocol here is to define which actions each part of the client-server communication should take in response to various HTTP commands.
Other Application Layer protocols, packaged together with TCP/IP, include File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Telnet (Telnet), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), and many others.
As it’s also possible to access the Internet via an analog phone modem, there are Remote Access Protocols responsible for this kind of network communication. Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) or Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) pack the data and then send it to the access provider's modem over the dial-up phone connection.
It’s worth noting that there are a number of other networking protocols, aimed at providing special services within TCP/IP protocol set. They include User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), the Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP), the Exterior Gateway Protocol (EGP) and more.
Connecting network devices over the Internet through TCP/IP, a dedicated software can provide users with a remote access to their USB and COM port devices. To be able to work with USB devices shared over Internet/LAN/WAN from your computer regardless of their physical location, you can use USB Network Gate.
For serial port devices Serial to Ethernet Connector can be used to share local real or virtual serial ports over the network (Internet or LAN), and access COM port devices remotely as if they were connected directly to your computer.