how-to block ads
Because a message is divided into a number of packets, each packet can, if necessary, be sent by a different route across the Internet. Packets can arrive in a different order than the order they were sent in. The Internet Protocol just delivers them. It's up to another protocol, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) to put them back in the right order.
IP is a connectionless protocol, which means that there is no continuing connection between the end points that are communicating. Each packet that travels through the Internet is treated as an independent unit of data without any relation to any other unit of data. (The reason the packets do get put in the right order is because of TCP, the connection-oriented protocol that keeps track of the packet sequence in a message.) In the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) communication model, IP is in layer 3, the Networking Layer.
The most widely used version of IP today is Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4). However, IP Version 6 (IPv6 ) is also beginning to be supported. IPv6 provides for much longer addresses and therefore for the possibility of many more Internet users. IPv6 includes the capabilities of IPv4 and any server that can support IPv6 packets can also support IPv4 packets.