The History, Function, Governance, and Value of the TCP/IP Standard
With the rapid development of computer technologies during the 60â€™s and 70â€™s, the need for communication protocols between heterogeneous computers with differing operating systems became increasingly apparent. Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn addressed this need by collaborating on a new protocol called the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). Eventually, the protocol was split into two separate protocols, TCP and the Internet Protocol (IP), and then developed into a suite of communications protocols known by the names of these two primary components. This paper explores the history, function, governance, value, and ...view middle of the document...
Because of its use and acceptance during the ARPANET years, TCP/IP has become the most widely used protocol stack for network communications and the de facto standard for connection to the Internet.
Function of the TCP/IP Standard
The TCP/IP standards are based on a four-layer model that corresponds with the seven-layer Open Systems Interconnection Reference (OSI) model developed by the International Standards Organization (ISO) to provide a blueprint for protocols to follow. Each layer in the TCP/IP model (application, transport, internet, and network access) includes conceptually similar functions that receive services from the layer below and provides services to the layer above.
From the source computer, data travels down the protocol stack from the top layer, encapsulating headers (and sometimes footers) at each layer. The flow of data starts at the application layer (which corresponds to the application, presentation, and session layers in the OSI model). TCP breaks the data into segments at the transport layer (corresponding with the OSI modelâ€™s transport layer) and adds a ten-field header. At the internet layer (corresponding with the OSI modelâ€™s network layer), IP and other related protocols, such as ICMP and IPSec, take care of addressing and routing the data to its destination, and an IP header is added. Finally, the packets (small chunks of data) are converted to electrical impulses at the network access layer (corresponding to OSIâ€™s data link and physical layers) and sent across the wire with the addition of frame headers and footers. At the receiving end, the data flow is reversed, with data moving from the bottom layer up, and any related headers and footers stripped from the data (de-encapsulated) at the appropriate layer until the same data that left the source computer is reassembled and arrives intact at the application layer of the receiving computer.
Governance of the TCP/IP Standard
What is the process of setting TCP/IP standards, and how is the process governed? It is important to remember that the Internet is a loosely organized collaboration of autonomous, interconnected networks supporting host-to-host communication through voluntary adherence to open protocols and procedures. The open nature of the TCP/IP protocols requires that the development process and standards documents are publicly accessible. Three primary organizations are now instrumental in moving the process forward:
â€¢ The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an open community of all interested network designers, vendors, researchers, and others who are concerned with Internet architecture, produces technical documents â€to influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet in such a way as to make the Internet work betterâ€ (RFC 3935, 2004, p. 1).
â€¢ The Internet Society (ISOC) was established in 1992 by a group of people with connections to IETF in order â€œto provide an institutional home and...