TCP vs IP protocol – How do they differ?

Would it be better to transfer data over the internet using a TCP protocol or a plain IP protocol system?

To understand the relationship between TCP and IP protocols, it is necessary to first go through the general four layers of the internet:

  1. The first layer is the application layer. This is the layer that the data sender interacts with directly such as the web browser, email application and audio or video streaming service
  2. The second layer is the TCP layer. This layer is dedicated to ensuring the presence of a reliable channel for the data that has been inputted through the application layer to be transported. It works by establishing a connection after which it allows a stream of data to be transferred within this connection in either direction. It is put in place to ensure that the data sent from one end of the wireless connection is carried through and arrives at the other end without omission or error and in a similar order to the way it was sent.
  3. The third layer is the Internet protocol (IP) layer. This is essentially the letter or post service as it deals with the user addresses. Each data packet has a destination address and return address, which is that of the sender.
  4. The bottom layer is the network that enables the wireless connection like Ethernet, Wi-Fi or internet bundles.

Why would they be compared to each other?

TCP would be comparable to IP in the situation where a user is weighing the option of sending his data with the aid of only the basic Internet protocols versus adding TCP into the data sending protocol, making it TCP/IP.

The difference between these approaches would be that IP will implement the addressing protocols of the data, before sending it out into the internet without any monitoring. This could lead to the loss of data in a way that it cannot be recovered, even by the sender or its arrival at the destination in a different order than as intended. The implication  of employing TCP when sending data over a wireless network using IP is that the user is guaranteed of error checking, the data arriving in the pre-determined order and recovery of the data if it does not reach its destination for any reason.


The best bet to ensure that your data arrives at its destination without getting distorted or lost, and in the same order as it was sent, would be to employ a TCP protocol system aside from your basic IP protocol.


What is TCP/IP?

The abbreviation TCP/IP is short for Transmission Control protocol over Internet protocol. It can be defined as a set of rules that are standardized and implemented in order to allow computers to communicate on a given wireless network system, like the internet.

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