Internet Protocol (IP)
When information is sent across the network, the data is broken down into small packets. Each
packet is sent independently of one another. Each packet is encoded with IP information, such as the
IP address of the sender and receiver. IP packets can be routed over routers and gateways, devices
that connect a network with other networks.
IP communications is connectionless. When IP packets are sent, there is no guarantee that they
arrive at their destination in the proper sequence. That task can be performed by higher level
protocols and applications thereby allowing IP communications to be efficient.
Each node or device that will communicate directly onto the network requires an IP address.