What Is the Difference Between TCP and IP?

Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol are part of the TCP/IP networking protocol for transmitting data between computers. TCP is responsible for packaging the data, while IP transmits the data across a physical connection.

The TCP/IP protocol relies on a series of steps, or layers, to prepare, transmit and receive data.The first of these is TCP, which receives data from various applications such as hypertext transfer protocol and file transfer protocol. TCP adds a header to the data, which includes source and destination ports, a sequence number, an acknowledgment number, and a check sum for error detection and correction. This header consists of 20 octets (an octet equals 8 bits) transmitted in 32-bit increments of four octets each. On the receiving end, TCP unpacks the data and sends it through the system to the application that is being used.

Internet protocol is responsible for transmitting data to the physical layer of the network. Like TCP, it adds a header to the data, or a string of 32 octets grouped in 32-bit increments called the IP address. Easily recognized by most computer users, this string of numbers identifies the device transmitting the information and is always rendered in decimal format. After the IP layer is complete, the information goes to the Network Access layer which then packages the data for final transmission.

TCP/IP is the world's oldest data transmission protocol. It was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense in the 1960s as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency's attempt to build a national packet transmission network.