IP (Internet Protocol)
The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol in
the Internet protocol suite for relaying datagrams across network
boundaries. Its routing function enables internetworking, and
essentially establishes the Internet.
IP, as the primary protocol in the Internet layer of the Internet
protocol suite, has the task of delivering packets from the source host
to the destination host solely based on the IP addresses in the packet
headers. For this purpose, IP defines packet structures that encapsulate
the data to be delivered. It also defines addressing methods that are
used to label the datagram with source and destination information.
Historically, IP was the connectionless datagram service in the original
Transmission Control Program introduced by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn in
1974; the other being the connection-oriented Transmission Control
Protocol (TCP). The Internet protocol suite is therefore often referred
to as TCP/IP.
The first major version of IP, Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4), is
the dominant protocol of the Internet. Its successor is Internet
Protocol Version 6 (IPv6).
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