4.8 Summary Chapter 4

The Internetworking Protocol layer extends our network from a single hop (Link layer) to a series of hops that result in packets quickly and efficiently being routed from your computer to a destination IP address and back to your computer. The IP layer is designed to react and route around network outages and maintain near-ideal routing paths for packets moving between billions of computers without any kind of central routing clearinghouse.

Each router learns its position within the overall network, and by cooperating with its neighboring routers helps move packets effectively across the Internet.

The IP layer is not 100% reliable. Packets can be lost due to momentary outages or because the network is momentarily “confused” about the path that a packet needs to take across the network. Packets that your system sends later can find a quicker route through the network and arrive before packets that your system sent earlier.

It might seem tempting to design the IP layer so that it never loses packets and insures that packets arrive in order, but this would make it nearly impossible for the IP layer to handle the extreme complexities involved in connecting so many systems.

So instead of asking too much of the IP layer, we leave the problem of packet loss and packets that arrive out of order to our next layer up, the Transport layer.

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