What Is TCP/IP and What Is Its Function?

TCP/IP is a set of data communication protocols that allow computers to connect to the Internet and private networks. Each protocol performs a different task and facilitates data exchange between various applications.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP for short, is divided into two protocols: the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) suite and the Internet Protocol (IP) suite. The TCP suite processes and handles data from applications, while the IP suite is designed to accommodate the transmission and receipt of application data across a network. The TCP/IP is a combination of four different layers: the application, transport, Internet and network access layers. Without TCP/IP, devices would be unable to connect to the Internet or share data.

According to Microsoft, the most widely known application layer protocols are those used for the exchange of user information. These include Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and Telnet. One of the main benefits of TCP/IP is that it accepts data of any size and chops it up into smaller, more manageable chunks called packets. A packet contains all the information a network needs to deliver it to its destination and then to acknowledge delivery, according to Cisco Press.