Protocols, Lesson 1: Introduction to the Internet Protocol

Gegin to learn the basics of IP in this introduction.

Perhaps one of the most important and well known protocols is Internet Protocol, or IP. IP gives us the ability to uniquely identify each computer in a network or on the Internet.

When a computer is connected to a network or the Internet, it is assigned a unique IP address. If you're connecting to the Internet, chances are you're given an IP automatically by your ISP. If you're connecting to a LAN, then you're either given the IP automatically or you manually configure the workstation with an assigned IP.

I can't overemphasize the importance of fully understanding IP if you really want to know how network communications work. DNS, FTP, SNMP, SMTP, HTTP and a lot of other protocols and services rely heavily on IP in order to function correctly, so you can immediately see that IP is more than just an address on your workstation.

Now, because IP is a HUGE subject and it's impossible to cover in one or two pages, I decided to split it into a few different sections in order to make it easy to read and learn about.

Here is a summary of what's covered:

Binary and the Internet Protocol: Here we cover a few basic Binary concepts and get to see how Binary and IP fit together.

  • Lesson 2: Binary and the Internet Protocol

    Internet Protocol header: Find out how IP fits in the OSI model. This article also includes a detailed 3-D diagram of the IP header.

  • Lesson 3: The Internet Protocol header

    Internet Protocol classes: We explain the five different IP classes and analyze them in Binary. You'll also learn about the network ID and host ID in an IP address.

  • Lesson 4: Internet Protocol classes - Network and host ID

    Subnetting: This is one of the most important things you should know. You'll find a detailed explanation on how subnetting works, along with simple and complicated examples. You should be comfortable with the first three sections in order to understand this section.

  • Lesson 5: Introduction to subnetting
  • Lesson 6: IP subnetting - The basic concepts
  • Lesson 7: Subnet masks and their effect
  • Lesson 8: Subnetting analysis
  • Lesson 9: Subnet routing and communications
  • Lesson 10: Subnetting guidelines

    So, what are you waiting for? Click on any of the above lessons to discover and learn all about one of the most important protocols in the networking world!

    Return to the introduction or continue to Lesson 2: Binary and the Internet Protocol

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  • This was last published in October 2004

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