What is IP (Internet Protocol) 

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I’ve noticed in life there are several things that we as a people don’t like to do. And one of these things is ask a question about something, whenever we feel many people know the answer. It’s strange, because there are some things in life that very few people actually understand, but no one is actually asking what it is.

Perhaps it’s because the answer to these questions won’t necessarily change how our lives work, they are unchanged by our lack or fullness of knowledge. However, one of these questions that I myself didn’t decide to seek out until recently is, what exactly is the IP in VoIP? Many people already know the answer to this question, and that is IP stands for Internet Protocol – but what is that? What does the Internet Protocol actually do?

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Internet Protocol. Image by assignmentpoint.com

Now, most of us know what the word protocol means. And for those of us who aren’t exactly aware of the meaning, it basically is a set of rules that govern a certain situation. Such as in, clocking into work when you show up in the morning, that’s morning protocol. Now that we know what that word means, and surely everyone knows what the word Internet means (if not, look at your screen and the words you’re reading, that’s provided through the Internet), but what does the phrase “Internet Protocol” mean?

Basically what the IP does is send packets of information to various network systems, and then transmits them back to various computers based on their IP addresses. How this is done is through IP Routing, this is the main function of the protocol. The IP Routing forwards various information to the various machines that, again, is based on the IP addresses.

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Using an IP along is not reliable enough to transmit information accurately, and most importantly wholly. Image by networkencyclopedia.com

However, using an IP along is not reliable enough to transmit information accurately, and most importantly wholly. It is known that when sending information using only an IP it will not get accurately transmitted, or parts of the information will be missing. This is why all IP works in conjuction with TCP, or Transmission Control Protocol. The main duty of TCP is to ensure that no packet of information is lost, duplicated, out of order or contains a delay in the transmission process.

How all of this works is that before information is sent out, a TCP goes into work before the IP. This is done by gathering all of the information into TCP packets and then after that, transferring them into IP packets. The basics of an IP Packet is a bunch of data which is gathered from the TCP and then sent to the its destination. Once the information is sent over the network and received by the intended party, the “packets” are then reassembled into the original information.

This process ensures that all of the information is reached at the same time, and more importantly, all together. As I stated earlier, all IP’s come with an IP Address. This is the part where most people get confused because it is known as the most mysterious part of IP. Everyone’s IP Address is completely unique to their various machine. Whether this machine is a computer, electronic device or even a phone, each of them has a unique IP address where the IP packets are sent.

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Image by blog.trustico.com

All IP Addresses are made of four parts that are separated by dots. An example would be 133.024.145.214 – all IP Addresses are made of these four segments and range from 0 to 255. Understanding the IP Address is a whole other article, but nonetheless, understand that this is an integral part of the IP as a whole.

It is very easy to become confused when dealing with Internet Protocol. Many of the standards don’t make much sense to average users, mainly because we haven’t been trained to understand how this all works. However, do know that without the IP our technological lives would be hindered dramatically.

If you look at how the IP works with the TCP and other properties, it truly is a baffling and wondrous thing. I hope that you have a better understanding about what the IP actually is, and always remember, things aren’t as simple as they may seem. Always ask questions, and always search out answers for your questions.

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