How does TCP work?

TCP definition

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a communication standard that software applications are using for exchanging data. It’s planed for efficiency, not speed. Data packets, in data transport, sometimes get lost or arrive out of order. TCP helps to guarantee every packet reaches its destination and if it’s needed to be rearranged. If a packet doesn’t reach its’ end in a certain timeframe, TCP will request re-transmission of the lost data. It manages the connection between the two applications. This happens during the entire exchange. The goal is to ensure that both parties send and receive everything wanted to be transmitted and verify that it is accurate. TCP is a prevalent protocol in network communications. 

How does it work?

Transmission Control Protocol works through a process that includes several steps. 

As mentioned earlier, TCP is connection-oriented. It has to ensure that the connection between source and destination is set and endured until the sending and receiving of messages is performed.

The first step. TCP arranges the connection required by a source and its goal. During this stage, there’s a connection, but there’s not data transmission yet. 

The second step. Here communication begins. TCP receives messages from the sender (server or application) and divided them into packets. 

Third step. TCP adjusts the chopped data with numbers to regulate all the packets and protect messages’ genuineness. 

Step Four. Now chopped and numbered, messages will proceed to the IP layer for transporting. They will be sent and re-sent by the many devices connected in the network (gateways, routers, etc.) till they arrive at their destination. All packets can travel following a diverse route, but they all have the same end destination. 

Step Five. At the moment they arrive, they start rebuilding. By the numbers accredited to every message’s packet, it arranges all packets together again. 

Step Six. When messages are formed, they are transferred to their recipient. 

When networks’ performance is affected, TCP can help. For example, affected packets, which got duplicated, disordered, or lost. The protocol can recognize the specific problem, request the lost data to be transmitted again, and reorganize the misplaced packets in the proper order.

The source gets informed about a failure, if messages still don’t get delivered.

Transmission Control Protocol is a solid standard and definitely a solution for the Internet to operate better and more precisely. 

What is TCP used for?

TCP is a primary component of daily Internet usage. When you’re browsing the web and opening a web page, the webserver uses the help of HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to transfer the file for the website to your device. HTTP depends on TCP to connect the server to your computer and secure that the file gets carried correctly over IP. For example, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) for sending and receiving email, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for peer-to-peer file sharing, also rely on TCP. 

When the correctness of the information transfer is more important than the speed, it is likely TCP to be in hand. It uses three-way handshakes to build the connection. It chops data to tinier packets and asks for re-transmission to secure accuracy. 

That extends the time for the data to transport from one application to another.

This prolonged latency restrains Internet usage. For example, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video gaming, and video streaming can’t benefit TCP. In these cases, high-level protocols will use the User Datagram Protocol, which is faster but less precise.