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Internet Protocol Version 4 (IP, IPv4)
Even though the name seems to imply
that it's the fourth iteration of the key Internet Protocol, version
4 of IP was the first that was widely used
in modern TCP/IP. IPv4, as it is sometimes called to differentiate
it from the newer IPv6,
is the Internet Protocol version in use on the Internet today, and an
implementation of the protocol is running on hundreds of millions of
computers. It provides the basic datagram delivery capabilities upon
which all of TCP/IP functions, and it has proven its quality in use
over a period of more than two decades.
In this section I provide extensive
detail on the operation of the current version of the Internet Protocol,
IPv4. There are four main subsections, which represent the four main
functions of IP. The first subsection provides a comprehensive discussion
of IP addressing. The second discusses how data is encoded and formatted
into IP datagrams for transmission. The third describes datagram size
issues and how fragmentation and reassembly are used to convey large
datagrams over networks designed to carry small frames. The last subsection
covers matters related to the delivery and routing of IP datagrams.
After the four main subsections I conclude our look at IPv4 with an
overview of IP multicasting, which is used for delivering a single datagram
to more than one recipient.
Related Information: As the title of this section implies, our coverage here is limited to IP version 4; version 6 is covered in its separate section, as are the IP-related protocols. That said, some of the principles here will also apply to IPv6, IP NAT, IPSec or Mobile IP in a limited manner. For simplicity, in this section I use the simpler designation IP rather than IPv4, except where the longer abbreviation is required for clarity.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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