What Are Disadvantages of TCP/IP?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 27, 2020 3:48:11 PM ET

The disadvantages of TCP/IP, or Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, are its size and its speed. Because TCP/IP is built for wide-area networks, its size can be an issue in small networks with limited resources, explains USENIX. Because TCP/IP runs several layers concurrently, it can slow down network speeds.

In very small networks with legacy equipment and little bandwidth, using TCP/IP can cause performance issues with hardware and throughput. TCP/IP connects large networks over distance, so developers focused on reinforcing reliability during data transmission. For instance, TCP/IP runs checksums on data during transmission. In smaller networks and some intranets, this can cause machine lag due to demands on memory and eat up bandwidth.

In addition, TCP/IP runs in layers – network interface, Internet, host to host, application – that handle different kinds of tasks simultaneously, explains the Knowledge Systems Institute. Although it is configurable, TCP/IP may sacrifice speed to networking bells and whistles over a small network. While large networks need separate proctocols to handle intranet versus Internet traffic and have more bandwidth to accomplish these tasks, small networks may need only reliable saves to mass storage. Although doing so is less secure, using a smaller protocol that checksums data only at the beginning and ends of transmissions, for instance, improves network speed and conserves bandwidth.