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Internet Protocols (IP): Definition, Tasks, Functions, & Types

Last updated: Jun 20, 2024

Internet Protocols (IP)
Cover image: Illustration of internet protocols (IP).

What Is Internet Protocol?

Internet protocol is a set of requirements for addressing and routing data on the Internet. 

In general, this protocol, often called IP, is a method of sending data from one computer to another on an internet network. 

Each computer or host has at least one protocol address that is different from other computers. 

One of the core protocols that runs on top of the internet protocol is Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), which is why IP is also referred to as TCP/IP. However, TCP is not the only protocol that is part of IP.

So, what is the use of IP? This protocol is useful as an identity and additional rules to transfer data between two different servers easily.


How Do Internet Protocols Work?

This protocol works by dividing received or sent data, such as emails or web pages, into sections called data packets. 

Each packet contains the addresses of the sender and receiver. These addresses often referred to as IP addresses, identify specific systems so that data can be sent to the right address. 

IP addresses are generally assigned through Dynamic Host Configuration (DHCP) which works with an internet service provider. 

Back to how data packets get to the recipient, each packet is sent to a gateway computer. The gateway reads the address, finds the destination to which the packet was sent, and sends it. 

Since the data is sent in a number of packets, each packet can be sent to a different route across the internet network. 

The data packets may arrive in a different order, but then the packets can be sent back to the correct address by TCP.


Internet Protocol Functions

Apart from connecting two different servers so that they can communicate easily, internet protocols also have other functions, including:

  • Fragmentation: The process of dividing information into data packets characterized by a sequence of multiple PDUs (Protocol Data Units) with varying size limits. 
  • Encapsulation: Complementary information that is sent along with correction codes, addresses, and so on. Then, the data will be PDU-controlled and sent in a blog. 
  • Transmission Service: Provides services such as data communication, security, and prioritization. 
  • Connection Control: Connects the transistor to the receiver to send data and terminate communication. 
  • Reassembly: The process of returning a data packet from the receiver so that it becomes a complete package. 
  • Flow Control: Limits the amount of data sent through the stop-and-wait feature. 
  • Error Control: Monitors the data transmission process for errors. Problematic data packets will be discarded immediately.


Types of Internet Protocols

There are 11 types of internet protocols that you need to know, including:

1. Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

The first type of internet protocol is HTTP which is an internet protocol for data transfer on the World Wide Web (WWW), especially when creating websites. 

This protocol is responsible for translating messages so that they can be sent and responded to, either by the server or client. 


2. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

HTTPS is a more secure IP than HTTP, where this type protects the confidentiality of user data when they access a website. 


3. Domain Name System (DNS)

This type looks up computer names on networks that use TCP/IP. Generally, DNS is used in applications that are connected to the internet. 


4. File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP is a standard protocol that functions to transfer computer files between machines on the internet network. In addition, FTP also downloads and uploads computer files between clients and FTP servers. 


5. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

SMTP is commonly used to send marketing emails from clients to mail servers, send emails to local accounts, and broadcast emails between SMTP servers. 


6. Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

This protocol is based on client architecture and is used to allocate internet protocol addresses in a network. 

Since DHCP is standalone, other DHCP servers on the same network will not be replicated to other DHCP servers. 


7. User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

Another example of internet protocol is UDP which functions to support unreliable communication and communication that does not use connections between hosts on a network with TCP/IP. 


8. Secure Shell (SSH)

This type functions as a medium for remote data exchange between two or more computers more securely. The form of data exchange that generally occurs in SSH is sending or receiving files.


9. Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP)

This type serves to analyze the network on equipment connected to the internet network. 

If this protocol finds an error, such as the computer cannot be contacted or the unavailability of the requested service, ICMP will send an error message.


10. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) 

This type is known as a type of protocol with high-level encryption capabilities and a high level of security, especially for applications that require end-to-end encryption.


11. Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP)

The basic protocol in the process of retrieving and accessing email from the server. IMAP allows users to search, select, and delete email messages without exception.


Internet Protocol Tasks

Aside from the types and functions, you also need to know the tasks of internet protocols. Here are the tasks:

  • Sending error messages if there is an error. 
  • Negotiating various relationship characteristics. 
  • Starting and ending sessions.
  • Terminating a connection in an internet network.
  • Calculating and determining the protocol delivery path. 
  • Perform the handshake process.
  • Detect physical connections.
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