The TCP/IP protocol suite is the basis for network communications on the Internet and includes several layers of protocols, each of which implements specific services and which, taken together, provide communication between application programs.
Two major styles of communication exist:
- best-effort datagram delivery through UDP and
- reliable, data-stream delivery through TCP.
Both TCP and UDP depend on IP for end-to-end message delivery through an internet.
To accommodate the widest possible variety of network hardware and computer systems, the protocols in the TCP/IP suite have parameters that can be configured. Some of these parameters are required for correct operation of the protocols while others enhance the performance of applications that use TCP/IP. Configuration of the most fundamental of these parameters, the IP address
, is crucial because incorrect assignment to one computer could affect the operation of other computers as well.