TCP/IP for Dummies

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Overview

If you have anything at all to do with a computer network, sooner or later you're going to come face to face with TCP/IP, the system of protocols that makes the Internet work and that LANs, WANs, and intranets need to follow for Internet connectivity. In TCP/IP For Dummies, authors Marshall Wilensky and Candace Leiden reveal the meanings behind all the acronyms and jargon in order to help you set up or modify your network, make decisions regarding security and firewalls, and even understand how all-important ...
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Overview

If you have anything at all to do with a computer network, sooner or later you're going to come face to face with TCP/IP, the system of protocols that makes the Internet work and that LANs, WANs, and intranets need to follow for Internet connectivity. In TCP/IP For Dummies, authors Marshall Wilensky and Candace Leiden reveal the meanings behind all the acronyms and jargon in order to help you set up or modify your network, make decisions regarding security and firewalls, and even understand how all-important hardware devices (such as modems, bridges, and routers) work with TCP/IP.

Find out the latest on TCP/IP, the Internet and Client Server with TCP/IP For Dummies, 2nd Ed.. This book has been completely updated to reflect changes with TCP/IP. It introduces users to the basics of TCP/IP and the Internet describing important "670496rds" users must know to use TCP/IP successfully. It describes new protocols, like HTTP, along with new interactive applications, enhanced security, collaborative workgroup applications, and more.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764504730
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/1999
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 7.41 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword

Introduction

About This Book
How to Use This Book
Who Are You?
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: Basics and Buzzwords -- Or, How to Impress People at Meetings
Part II: TCP/IP from Soup to Nuts to Dessert
Part III: TCP/IP Stew: A Little of This, a Pinch of That
Part IV: The Part of Tens
Icons Used in This Book
RFC (Request for Comments) Alerts
Where to Go from Here

Part I: Basics and Buzzwords -- Or, How to Impress People at Meetings

Chapter 1: TCP/IP and Internets, Intranets, and Extranets
Pronunciation Guide
Dear Emily Post: What's a Protocol?
The Protocol of Open Systems
What's a Transport?
What's the Internet? And Can Penguins Use It?
The Internet versus an internet
The Internet is
An internet is
Intranets and Extranets
An intranet is
An extranet is
Chapter 2: TCP/IP: Child of the Cold War
What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?
Evolution, Not Revolution
Birth of a protocol
The Internet begins a network revolution
GOSIP, GOSIP, GOSIP: Can we talk?
Who Owns TCP/IP?
Who Owns the Internet?
Do the backbone owners own the Internet?
Is the Internet free?
The TCP/IP Declaration of Independence
Dedicated to the proposition that all vendors are created equal
Dedicated to the proposition that all platforms are created equal
Dedicated to the proposition that all operating systems are created equal
Networks of the World, Unite
InterNIC
Internet Activities Board (IAB)
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG)
Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)
The Internet Society
Democracy at Work: RFCs, FYIs, and STDs
IPng, the Next Generation
Back to the future? Not!
The next big problem
Don't panic!
It Just Keeps Getting Better
Chapter 3: What You Need to Know about Networks
What Is a Network?
What kinds of devices can be on a network?
How does TCP/IP fit into the network?
What a Network Does for You (Oooh! Ahhh! More Stuff!)
What a Network Does to You (There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch)
How to make it work
Watch out for viruses!
Protocols and Packets and Humpty Dumpty's Fall off the Wall
All the King's horses and all the King's men...
...put Humpty Dumpty back together again (with the help of TCP/IP)
What Is a LAN?
How Ethernet works: would you send me a packet of pastrami?
With this ring...
Token ring versus Ethernet
Ethernet or token ring -- which one for TCP/IP?
What Is a WAN?
LAN versus WAN -- which one for TCP/IP?
Mother Goose Network Services, Inc.
TCP/IP services at work
Chapter 4: Client/Server, Buzzword of the Century (The 20th or the 21st?)
What Exactly Is Client/Server, Anyway?
What client/server is
What client/server isn't
The Server Part of Client/Server
File servers: From Timbuktu to Kalamazoo
Print servers: Closer to home
Compute servers: Both near and far
Web servers: Spun across the Internet
Web application servers: Collaboration across space and time
Commerce servers: May I please have your credit card information?
The Client Part of Client/Server
Thin clients
Browsers
Are You Being Served?
What Does All This Have to Do with TCP/IP?
Oh...Now I Get It!
Chapter 5: Luscious Layers
ISO OSI -- More Than a Palindrome?
The ImpOSIble Dream?
Taking a Modular Approach to Networking
The ISO OSI seven-layer cake
Layer 1: The physical layer
Layer 2: The data link layer
Layer 3: The network layer
Layer 4: The transport layer
Layer 5: The session layer
Layer 6: The presentation layer
Layer 7: The application layer
Fitting TCP/IP into the Seven-Layer Cake

Part II: TCP/IP from Soup to Nuts to Dessert

Chapter 6: Do You Have a Complete Set of TCP/IP Dinnerware?
The TCP/IP Protocol Suite
TCP/IP bowls you over
Protocol, application, or service?
The Protocols (And You Thought There Were Only Two!)
IP: Internet Protocol
TCP: Transmission Control Protocol
UDP: User Datagram Protocol
ARP: Address Resolution Protocol
RARP: Reverse Address Resolution Protocol
ICMP: Internet Control Message Protocol
FTP: File Transfer Protocol
TFTP: Trivial File Transfer Protocol
SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
POP3: Post Office Protocol, Version 3
IMAP4: Internet Message Access Protocol, Version 4
LDAP: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
NTP: Network Time Protocol
HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol
BOOTP: Boot Protocol
RIP, OSPF: Gateway (Router) Protocols
PPTP: Point to Point Tunneling Protocol
DHCP: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
SSL: Secure Sockets Layer
SET: Secure Electronic Transaction
And many, many more...
Chapter 7: E-Mail and Beyond -- Shipping and Handling Included
The Medium Is the Message (Sometimes)
POP3, IMAP4: You can't escape client/server, even in the spirit world
Casper, the friendly MTA
And Now -- On to the Restaurant at the End of the Network
The E-Mail Course at the TCP/IP Banquet
E-mail addresses: @ marks the spot
How can I find someone's e-mail address?
Who's more important, Bill Clinton or Bill Gates?
SMTP: The Meat and Potatoes
MIME Means a Lot More Than Marcel Marceau
How an SMTP Gateway Works
"Alias Smith and Jones"
Neat things you can do with mail aliases
Some boring e-mail examples
Is Your E-Mail Secure?
Don't let people eavesdrop on your mail
Make your mail an enigma and foil snoopers
Wall up your network to keep out shady characters
Usenet News: Sharing Info over Lunch at the Network Table
How to use newsgroups to learn more about TCP/IP
rn tin tin: The dog's breakfast the morning after the TCP/IP banquet
Don't like the commands? Use a Web browser and mouse your way through the newsgroup
Talking the Talk
Private line only
Internet Relay Chat (IRC): TCP/IP's version of CB radio
ET should have used Internet phone
How else can TCP/IP help you communicate over the Internet?
Chapter 8: Over There, Over There, Do Some Stuff, Do Some Stuff, Over There
The Crepe Place รท In Paris = TCP/IP?
Sharing Other People's Computers
You say you want me to steal a Harley?
You can't steal a moped
Why did the hungry user steal cycles? To get to the restaurant on the other side of the network
Using telnet or tn3270 to Borrow Processing Power
What you need to know before starting telnet
The great escape
The IBM mainframe connection
R you Ready foR moRe Remote log-ins?
Stealing Cycles with rsh, remsh
What? They Don't Trust You? No Problem: It's rexec to the Rescue
X Marks the GUI: The X Window System
Chapter 9: Share and Share Alike
Using FTP to Share Files across a Network
The FTP Blue Plate Special
Using FTP to Transfer Files
Beyond the Basics (Just a Little)
ASCII and ye shall receive
Shortcuts for multiple files
Looking at a file
Using Anonymous FTP to Get Good Stuff
How to use Anonymous FTP
Anonymous isn't ubiquitous
Watch out: That naked lady has no PG rating
Here's that dog-biscuit recipe we promised you
Smart FTP Tricks
FTP can squeeze you in
Beating the system with ftpmail
Using rcp (Yet Another Copy Command)
Using Web Browsers to Get Good Stuff
Chapter 10: Sharing Loaves and Fishes: NIS and NFS
Fishing for Information with NIS
Figuring out what kind of information you can get with NIS
Understanding why NIS is so popular on intranets
What's Domain Idea?
Master of your domain
The role of slave servers
The role of the clients
NIS in Action
Behind the scenes at OOPS
The OOPS problem
The OOPS solution
Okay, NIS Is Great -- Are There Pitfalls?
Configuration and administration
Performance
Security
NIS+ -- a fine kettle of fish
Using NFS to Share Fishes...er, Files
NFS = Nifty File Sharing
Why is NFS so great?
Your home away from home
What about NFS Performance?
NFS performance tips
Weighing performance against security
Getting in one another's way
Mixing and Matching -- there's interoperability and then there's interoperability
Automounting -- It Sounds Illegal
Mounting
NFS mounting
Now do I get to find out what the automounter is?
How about Some NFS Security Tips?
NIS and NFS Together
Are NIS and NFS Used on the Internet?
Chapter 11: Fishing in a Really Big Pond
Getting to Know DNS
DNS = Does Nifty Searches
Client/Server Again -- You Can't Get Away from It
Who's responsible?
Name servers and resolvers
DNS's pieces and parts
Another Definition of Domain: The Internet's Definition
Subdomains
The internationalization of the Internet
Fully qualified domain names
Servers, Authority, and Other Techie Stuff
Who's in charge here?
The primary is master of the domain
The secondary name servers
Caching servers
Servers, lies, and videotapes
DNS versus NIS
Finding Information about Domains and Name Servers
Don't believe everything you read about whois
Your fishing pole: nslookup
WINS (Windows Internet Name Service) -- Name Resolution According to Microsoft
Chapter 12: Feasting on Information
How Do Information Services Help Me?
What Are Hypertext and Hypermedia?
The World Wide Web (WWW)
Thanks, but I'm just looking
Mousing across the Web
The Web is a High-Calorie Feast
Reducing, the Web's Wait
Who's in Charge of the Web?
Using Archie to Search FTP Archives
Advice for Betty: Ways to talk to Archie
Archie on a platter
Using e-mail with Archie
Archie commands
Gophers Go-fer Internet Gold
How to start Gophering
Getting Gopher going
Gopher a WAIS Down the Internet

Part III: TCP/IP Stew: A Little of This, a Pinch of That

Chapter 13: Nice Names and Agonizing Addresses
What Did You Say Your Computer's Name Was Again?
Getting to know you...
Uniquely yours...
What's the Local Hosts File?
The Many Faces of IP Addresses
Why bother with a number if the computer has a name?
What's in an IP address?
How Do I Get an IP Address?
The Four Sections of the IPv4 Address
Class A is for a few enormous networks
Class B is for lots of big networks
Class C is for the thousands of small networks
Class D is for multicasting
For Math Nerds Only: Biting Down on Bits and Bytes
Administering Subnets and Subnet Masks
Mask-erading subnets
Why do I have a mask if it's not Halloween?
Subnetting 101
Expanding with Supernets and Supernet Masks
A bit makes more than a bit of difference
Supernets: The bottom line
DHCP Gives Network Administrators Time to Rest
One administrator's nightmare is another's fantasy
Here's how it works -- it's client/server again
Oh no! My lease expired. Am I evicted?
Is the Internet Getting Low on Addresses?
Will the Internet Ever Run Out of Addresses?
Back to the Comfort Zone
Chapter 14: IPv6 -- IP on Steroids
If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It -- Well, Improve It Just a Little
Wow! 8 Sections in an IPv6 Address?
Why use hexadecimal?
There's good news and there's bad news
Shorthand For Non-Stenographers
The leading zero (0000) shortcut
The double colon (::) shortcut
The IPv4 coexistence shortcut
What about Subnet and Supernet Masks?
Special IPv6 Addresses
The unspecified address
The loopback address
Site-local addresses
Link-local addresses
Multicast addresses
Anycast addresses
IPv6 -- And the Using Is Easy
Checking out the network buffet with autodiscovery
Let someone else fill your platter -- use autoconfiguration
Autoregistration says "Let us serve you"
Other Delicious IPv6 Morsels
Security for all
Faster, better multimedia
Sharing the Planet -- IPv6 and IPv4 Can Coexist
Whew...You Made It!
Chapter 15: Is Anyone There?
Information, Please
Fingering Your Friends and Enemies
Fingering a user
Fingering a user who has projects and plans
Fingering the users on a host
TCP: The Cola Protocol?
Fun with finger
TCP: Tremor Control Protocol?
Spaced out
Knock, Knock -- Who's There?
w-ant to Know More?
rwho There, You Devil?
ruptime, Cousin of rwho
The World According to ARP
The nslookup Utility
The showmount Utility
Reach Out and Touch Something, with ping
ps, We Love You
Chapter 16: Network Files: Will Someone Please Set the Table?
Are the Files Already on the Table?
The Local Hosts File
How to maintain a hosts file
What's in the hosts file
Improving TCP/IP's digestion of the hosts file
The Trusted Hosts File
The Trusted Hosts Print File
Freddie's Nightmare: Your Personal Trust File
This is scary. Why would I ever want .rhosts?
Surprise! The curse of the network administrator lives
The Networks File
The Internet Daemon Configuration File
The Protocols File
The Services File
Dealing with the Devil
routed (here we go again)
named
More handy-dandy daemons
Chapter 17: Dialup TCP/IP
Serial for Breakfast
SLIP Your Way onto the Network
PPP (No, Not "The Bathroom Protocol," Silly!)
Using PPTP to Create VPNs (Virtual Private Networks)
In UUCP, the U Lies and the C Misleads
So what's UUCP good for?
The good, the bad, and the UUCP
Which Dialup Solution Is for You?
Dialup Security
Chapter 18: The Dreaded Hardware Chapter
Catering a Network Banquet
Are you in charge or did you just come to eat?
What does hardware have to do with it?
Keep Those Layers in Mind
Packets Chew through Network Layers
Modem Munchies
Satisfy Your Need for Speed with Other Things That People Call Modems
Cable me up
ISDN -- Immediate Surfing Down the Net?
Serve Your Guests with Terminal Servers
Multiple matchmaking, network style
Protocols? No problem
Stretching the Network Dinner Party into a Banquet
Could You Repeat Your Order, Please?
There's Ethernet and There's Fast Ethernet
Fast Ethernet
Gigabit Ethernet -- even faster
Do You Need Bridgework?
The Marx connection
Bridging the gaps
Bridge burps: How rude!
Rowter or Rooter? Doesn't Matter
How does routing work, anyway?
Routing protocols and operating software
Brouters -- Salad or Dessert?
Gateways: The Ultimate Interpreters
The Party's Over -- It's Decision Time
Chapter 19: Security: Will the Bad Guys Please Stand Up?
In the Good Old Days
What's Involved in Network Security?
Who's responsible for network security?
What's the worst that can happen?
The TCP/IP Banquet Is By Invitation Only
Tales from the crypt
The X-Files -- Tales of authentication
To catch a thief
Tunneling through the Internet
Be Aware of Security Pitfalls in Your Applications
Put limits on TFTP
Be careful of what's anonymous
Don't believe everything you read, part one: E-mail
Don't believe everything you read, part two: Usenet news
I trust only Johnny Carson and Walter Cronkite
NFS = No File Stealing!
Sweat the little things!
How Promiscuous Is Your Network Controller?
Credit Card Shopping on the World Wide Web
How does the S-HTTP (Secure HTTP) protocol help?
How does the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol help?
E-Commerce -- A Shopper's Dream?
Watch out, e-mail, FTP, and browsing!
What kind of business can you do over the Internet?
Commonly Held Myths about Network Security
Protecting Your Network
Can you protect the cables?
Can you detect an unauthorized host or device on your network?
Can you keep unauthorized users off your computers?
What Is a Firewall?
How a firewall works
Types of firewalls
Network management considerations when setting up a firewall
Approaching Secure Environments
Kerberos: Guardian or Fiend?
Playing at Casino Kerberos
Catch-22 at Casino Kerberos
We're CERTainly Interested in Security

Part IV: The Part of Tens

Chapter 20: Ten Types of Networks That Use TCP/IP
Television
Daisy Chain
Ethernet
Token Ring
LAN
WAN
Wireless
Old Boy
Psychic Friends
Chapter 21: Ten RFCs Worth Tasting
You Need the Right Tool to Do the Job
The Hitchhiker's Guide
How Do I...?
What Is a...?
Who's in Charge?
What's in a Name? Plenty
How Do I Get Connected?
Are You Feeling Insecure?
Trust No One?
The Truth Is Out There
A View from Mars
Chapter 22: Ten RFCs about TCP/IP (The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon)
Planning the TCP/IP Banquet
The Full Place Setting
Nitty-Gritty TCP
Nitty-Gritty IP
Nouvelle Cuisine
The Basics: Plate, Spoon, and Fork
Can We Use Recyclable Paper Plates?
The Accessories That Make It Fun
How to Get Invited to All the Best Places
The Cookbook
Separate Tables: Advice for Subnetters
Hire a Caterer to Manage the Whole Meal
Chapter 23: Ten Frequently Asked Questions about TCP/IP and the Internet
What Software Do I Need to Get on the Internet?
Do I Need UNIX to Run TCP/IP?
Can I Use TCP/IP with Novell NetWare?
Can I Have a Web Server and Still Have Security?
How Can I Get a Browser?
Does the Web have a Card Catalog?
What's a Cookie?
What's a Robot?
What Is CGI?
Can I Catch a Virus by Looking at a Web Page?
What Is VRML?
What Is Java?
How Do I Get a Usenet News Feed?
Chapter 24: Ten Strange but Real TCP/IP Network Devices (No Kidding!)
Soda Machine
Toasters
Coffee Pot
Other Video Goodies
Refrigerator
Hot Tub
The Streets of Seattle
Weather Station
A Forum of Devices and People to Solve Your Problems
IBM PC
Chapter 25: Ten Network Connection Media
Thick Coaxial Cable (10Base5)
Thin Coaxial Cable (10Base2)
Twisted-Pair (10BaseT, UTP, STP)
More Twisted-Pair (Fast Ethernet, 100Base-TX)
Fiber-Optic Cable (Fast Ethernet, 100Base-FX)
Fiber-Optic Cable (FDDI)
Ham Radio
WebTV
Cable TV
Microwave
Laser
Satellite
Chapter 26: Ten Reasons to Use TCP/IP
You Want to Sell Your Wares on the Web
You Need E-Mail
You Live to Shop
You Want to Run Programs on Other People's Computers
You Want Someone to Play With
Sneakernet Is Wearing You Out
You Have Files to Procure
You Want to Gopher Broke
You Dream of Untangling the Web
You've Always Wanted to Hear a Free Rolling Stones Concert
Chapter 27: Ten Synonyms for the Internet
The Dull Names
The Net
Information Superhighway
Infobahn
The network of networks
Cyberspace
National Information Infrastructure (NII)
The Cute and Silly and Much More Fun
Galactic Information Infrastructure (GII)
The Outer Limits
A place where the info's hot...but the coffee's not
The home of the get-rich-quick scheme
The Twilight Zone
The thing your kids know more about than you ever will
Information Overload

Appendix: How to Get RFCs

The RFC Index
Understanding entries in the RFC Index
RFC name format
Using the Web to Get an RFC
Using FTP to Get an RFC

Glossary

Index

Book Registration Information

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First Chapter

Chapter 6
Do You Have a Complete Set of TCP/IP Dinnerware?

In This Chapter

  • Discovering most of what you need to know about protocols but were afraid to ask
  • Investigating how many protocols there are in TCP/IP and what they do
  • Receiving an update on TCP/IP's newest protocols

As you may have seen in Chapter 1, a protocol is the set of agreed-upon practices, policies, and procedures used for communication. In this book, we're concerned with TCP/IP as the protocol for communication between two or more computers. But TCP/IP is actually a large suite of pieces that work together.

The TCP/IP Protocol Suite

What's a suite, you ask? In a hotel, a suite is a collection of rooms that are treated as a single unit. Similarly, the TCP/IP suite is a collection of protocols, named after two of the original pieces, TCP and IP.

Now you might say, "A suite is too big. Can I just rent a room?" Nope. Sorry. The protocols in the TCP/IP suite move the data from one network layer to another and interact with one another. You can't really have a functional network with just one of the TCP/IP protocols.

In Chapter 5, we talk about layer cakes -- Figure 6-1 shows the TCP/IP five-layer cake with some of the protocols drawn on the layers. You don't need every protocol on the cake to run a network application, but you need at least a taste from each layer. So even though you may not use all the rooms in the suite, you definitely need more than one.

Getting the picture? Good, but this is as far as we're going in comparing TCP/IP to a hotel room. That's because you need to know that there's more to TCP/IP than just TCP and IP. To help you understand, we're going for an analogy that lets you compare all the pieces to something more familiar. Read on.

Many people try to compare the TCP/IP protocol to a Swiss Army knife, which has cutting blades of various sizes, a corkscrew, scissors, a nail file, and so on. The analogy works pretty well except for one thing. The really cool Swiss Army knives, with all those clever and handy pieces, are too big to have with you all the time. They'll poke a hole in your pocket!

So we have a different analogy for you. TCP/IP is like a complete set of dinnerware: plates, bowls, glasses, forks, spoons, and yes, even knives. And TCP/IP continues to expand, which means we can also include cups and saucers, wine glasses, the cream pitcher, finger bowls, and matching salt and pepper shakers. When we say complete, we mean complete! Okay, okay. We're getting carried away with the dinnerware idea, maybe. We suspect you probably eat off paper plates as often as we do. But TCP/IP doesn't know or care whether your plates are paper, stoneware, or bone china. A plate is a plate.

TCP/IP bowls you over

Many pieces of the TCP/IP suite function as protocols, applications, and services. In this and the next six chapters, as we talk about all the great things you can do with TCP/IP, we'll keep you well informed of whether you're using a TCP/IP protocol, a network service, or an application -- and highlight the places where the same name applies to one or more of these things.

To kick off the TCP/IP dinnerware analogy, imagine a large bowl. You can use that one bowl in various roles, in more than one room:

  • To mix a cake batter (a mixing bowl in the kitchen)
  • To hold Seinfeld-sized portions of your favorite cereal, or tonight's soup, or the cat's dinner (a serving bowl in the dining room)
  • To hold flowers (a vase in the living room)

TCP/IP's modular, layered design makes it easy to innovate and add new components. If you envision a new network service, as you go about designing the server and client applications, you can simultaneously design a new protocol to add to the TCP/IP suite. The protocol enables the server application to offer the service and lets the client application consume that service. This elegant simplicity is a key advantage of TCP/IP.

RFC Alert: If you create a new protocol/application/service combination for the Internet, be sure to follow the RFC (Request For Comments) process described in Chapter 2. Follow the instructions in the Appendix, and get a copy of RFC 1543, "Instructions to RFC Authors."

Protocol, application, or service?

In the fabric of a network, you find the protocol/application/service relationship so tightly woven together that it may be very difficult to distinguish the threads in the cloth. We use FTP as an example. FTP stands for file transfer protocol, but it's not only a protocol -- FTP is also a service and an application. (Don't worry about FTP itself at this point -- it's just an example. If you need to learn how to use FTP, check out Chapter 9.) In this section, we show you how the FTP service, application, and protocol work together to move files around the network.

  • FTP is a service for copying files. You connect to a remote computer offering this service, and you can "pull" and "push" files from or to that computer.
  • FTP is also an application for copying files. You run a client application on your local computer to contact the FTP server application on the remote computer. Your client application is usually called FTP, the file transfer program. The server application is often called FTPD, the file transfer protocol daemon. (The term daemon comes from UNIX. Think of friendly demons haunting the computer to act on your behalf.) You tell the client what you want to do -- pull or push files -- and it works with the server to copy the files.
  • Finally, FTP is a protocol for copying files. The client and server applications both use it for communication to ensure that the new copy of the file is, bit for bit and byte for byte, identical to the original.

FTP is three, three, three things at once -- application, service, and protocol. Suppose you need to copy a file from a remote computer. Without the application, your computer doesn't know that you want to copy. Without the service, you don't get a connection to the remote computer that has the files you need. Without the protocol, the client and server can't communicate.

Most of the time, you know from the context whether someone is referring to the service, the application, or the protocol. If you can't quite tell, maybe it doesn't really matter.

And now, on to the protocols!

The Protocols (And You Thought There Were Only Two!)

Hold on tight -- here come the pieces in the TCP/IP protocol suite, listed in no particular order.

IP: Internet Protocol

The Internet Protocol, IP, is responsible for basic network connectivity. IP is the plate in a basic place setting. When you're eating, you need a plate to hold your food. When you're networking, you need a place to put (send and receive) data -- that place is a network address.

The core of IP works with Internet addresses (you can find the details about these addresses in Chapters 13 and 14). Every computer on a TCP/IP network must have a numeric address. The IP on your computer understands how and where to send messages to these addresses.

While IP can take care of addressing, it can't do everything to make sure that your data gets to where it's going correctly and in one piece. IP doesn't know or care when a packet gets lost and doesn't arrive. So you need some other protocols to ensure that no packets and data are lost and that the packets are in the right order.

All of this is true for both IP version 4 and the new version 6 (IPv6, originally called IPng). IPv6 is just bigger and better. So if IP is a plate, IPv6 is a serving platter.

TCP: Transmission Control Protocol

Once the food is on your plate, you need something to get it into your mouth without dropping it all over your lap. In your place setting, this is the spoon. Yeah, sure, you could use a fork, and some of you can probably even eat your peas from a knife without losing any, but a spoon is the most reliable implement for most foods. Try eating soup with a fork!

TCP, the Transmission Control Protocol, is our network spoon. No matter what kind of data you have, TCP makes sure that nothing is dropped. TCP uses IP to deliver packets to those upper-layer applications and provides a reliable stream of data among computers on the network. Error checking and sequence numbering are two of TCP's more important functions. Once a packet arrives at the correct IP address, TCP goes to work. On both the sending and receiving computers, it establishes a dialog to communicate about the data that is being transmitted. TCP is said to be "connection oriented" because it tells the network to resend lost data.

Theoretically, you can have TCP without IP. Some other network mechanism besides IP can deliver the data to an address, and TCP can still verify and sequence that data. But in practice, TCP is always used with IP.

UDP: User Datagram Protocol

As just mentioned, your TCP network spoon does the best job on that homemade cream of mushroom soup. In contrast, the User Datagram Protocol, UDP, is like your fork. You can do a pretty good job of cleaning your plate with a fork, and though it's not as reliable as TCP, UDP nevertheless gets a lot of data across the network.

UDP uses IP to deliver packets to upper-layer applications and provides a flow of data among computers. UDP provides neither error checking nor sequence numbering, although these features can be added by the application that has chosen to use UDP. This protocol is said to be "connectionless" because it does not provide for resending data in case of error.

NFS (Network File System), DNS (Domain Name System), and RPC (Remote Procedure Call) application programming interfaces use UDP. The protocols, applications, and services for NFS and DNS are discussed in detail in Chapters 10 and 11 respectively.

Figure 6-2 shows the relationship between IP, TCP, and UDP, and the applications at the upper layers. All the applications shown are provided with TCP/IP. If you write your own TCP/IP applications, you can draw those in on the picture, too.

You have to have connections -- or do you?

TCP/IP communicates among the layers in different ways. These methods are either connectionless or connection oriented.

Connection-oriented communication is reliable and pretty easy to understand. When two computers are communicating with each other, they "connect." Each understands what the other one is doing. The sending computer lets the receiving computer know that data is on the way. The recipient acknowledges receipt of the data (called ACKs for short) or denies receipt of the data (negatively acknowledges, or NACKs). This ACKing and NACKing is called handshaking.

Suppose you send a fax to your friend Ken in Tokyo. If you want to be sure he gets it, you might call and say, "I'm faxing you the baseball results now. Call me when you get it." Once the fax comes in and Ken checks it over to make sure it is readable, he calls you and says, "Thanks. I'm thrilled to hear that the Cubs won the World Series." That's connection-oriented communication.

But suppose you send the fax without first notifying your friend. And, for some reason, it never gets there. Ken doesn't know to expect anything, so he doesn't know that anything is lost. That's connectionless communication. When connectionless data is sent, the computers involved know nothing about each other or the data being sent. If you're on the receiving end, no one tells you that you're about to get anything. If you're sending data, no one bothers to mention whether or not they got it or if it was totally garbled.

With this in mind, you might wonder why any data communications would be done in connectionless mode. But there's a time and place for everything. First, communication is faster without the ACKs and NACKs. Second, not every network message needs to be as accurate as your e-mail. Finally, some applications do their own error checking and reliability processing, so they don't need the connection-oriented overhead of TCP.

ARP: Address Resolution Protocol

When all you know is the TCP/IP address of the remote computer, the Address Resolution Protocol, ARP, finds that computer's network interface card hardware address. ARP is like your salad plate. With its load of addresses for the devices on the network, ARP is closely allied with IP, the dinner plate. (See Chapter 13 for more on TCP/IP addresses.)

RARP: Reverse Address Resolution Protocol

When all you know is the network interface card (NIC) hardware address of a remote computer, the Reverse Address Resolution Protocol, RARP, finds the computer's TCP/IP address. RARP is your salad fork because it goes with your salad plate. We don't mean to suggest any relationship to the UDP dinner fork, however. Hey, there are places where we have to stretch the analogy a little, okay?

ICMP: Internet Control Message Protocol

The Internet Control Message Protocol, ICMP, reports problems and relays other network-specific information, such as an error status from some network device. IP detects the error and passes it to ICMP. A very common use of ICMP is the echo request generated by the Ping command. ICMP is like your crystal water glass, the one that "pings" so nicely when you accidentally hit it with the fork you're waving around to emphasize your point in that argument about the greenhouse effect.

FTP: File Transfer Protocol

The File Transfer Protocol, FTP, is like your knife. Not a special steak knife or a little butter knife; just the regular dinner knife. It's FTP that helps you copy files between two computers. You use your FTP knife to either "pull" the files from the remote computer (known as downloading) or "push" them to the remote computer (known as uploading). As described earlier in this chapter, FTP is also the name of an application and a service, so we'll be looking at it again (and again).

Check out Chapter 9 for lots more on FTP.

TFTP: Trivial File Transfer Protocol

The Trivial File Transfer Protocol, TFTP, loads files down line from a TFTP server. Another use of TFTP is in Digital Equipment Corporation's remote installation service, where you install a computer's operating system from another computer's files via the TFTP protocol. This is called a network installation.

TFTP is your butter knife, a smaller version of the FTP dinner knife. You can see why we needed to be a little specific about your FTP knife.

SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, SMTP, is the protocol for Internet e-mail. It transfers e-mail messages among computers. The messages may go directly from the sender's computer to the recipient's, or the messages may proceed through intermediary computers in a process known as store and forward.

SMTP is like your wine goblet. Again, a disclaimer is in order: We don't mean to suggest any relationship to the ICMP water glass, which you managed to knock over anyway as that discussion heated up.

E-mail, of course, is one of the Big Four network applications (along with file transfer, signing on to remote computers, and Web browsing), and many vendors have their own mail protocols. SMTP is the mail transfer protocol for the Internet. UNIX mail understands SMTP, but other operating systems do not. When users of SMTP-ignorant computers need to get out to the outside world (in other words, get to the Internet), a special SMTP gateway must be established for that communication.

Chapter 7 tells you more about SMTP gateways and e-mail in general.

POP3: Post Office Protocol, Version 3

The latest version of the Post Office Protocol, POP3, provides basic client/server features that help you download your e-mail from a POP3 mail server to your computer. POP3 is like the corkscrew that helps you get the e-mail wine out of the bottle and into your wine goblet. If your computer has an SMTP connection to a neighboring computer, you don't need to use POP3.

POP3 was designed to allow home users to move their e-mail off their Internet Service Provider's (ISP's) computers and onto their own. You need a POP3 mail client to communicate with a POP3 mail server.

See Chapter 7 for more information about POP3 clients and servers.

IMAP4: Internet Message Access Protocol, Version 4

The latest version of the Internet Message Access Protocol (Version 4, Revision 1), IMAP4, provides sophisticated client/server capabilities that give you choices about how you handle your e-mail. IMAP4 provides a richer set of features than POP3. IMAP4 is like a fancy decanter that holds the wine better than the bottle does but still helps you get the e-mail wine into your wine goblet. If your computer has an SMTP connection to a neighboring computer, you don't need to use IMAP4. You still might choose to use IMAP4, however, because of its sparkling functionality. You need an IMAP4 client to communicate with an IMAP4 mail server.

POP3 and IMAP4 don't interoperate. You can't use a POP3 client with an IMAP4 server or an IMAP4 client with a POP3 server, but you can find clients and servers that speak both protocols.

LDAP: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol

LDAP (pronounced as L-dap, which rhymes with cap) is the way to look up information such as user names and e-mail addresses in an X.500-compatible directory service. Whew! That's a mouthful. Think of the directory service as a big set of white pages containing all of the information you might need. The problem is, there isn't just one set of white pages. Each organization has several.

LDAP helps applications get what they need from any or all sets of white pages. LDAP is like the condiment tray filled with pickles, olives, capers, relishes, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, each in its own separate compartment.

X.500, part of ISO OSI, had its own Directory Access Protocol (DAP), but neither X.500 or DAP became popular. LDAP capitalizes on the work done by X.500 and DAP's visionary designers.

NTP: Network Time Protocol

The time-of-day clocks that computers maintain are synchronized by the Network Time Protocol, NTP. Time-stamping is important in all sorts of applications, providing everything from document creation dates to network routing date/time information. NTP gets the time data from a time-server computer, which gets it from an official source, such as the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology. In continental Europe, ISO provides a time service used with banking transactions and stock transfers.

NTP is like your seafood fork. You know, the tiny one you use (or try to, anyway) to get the lobster meat out. NTP is a special-purpose tool, just right for the job it's made for.

HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol

The HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) transfers HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and other components from the servers on the World Wide Web to your browser client. (There's lots more about the World Wide Web in Chapter 12.)

HTTP is like a large pitcher filled with sangria -- a lot of delicious ingredients that are combined to make something even better. (Candace makes the world's best sangria; but in a sick twist of fate, she's become allergic to red wine.) The HTTP pitcher brings the various Web ingredients to you. It's similar to the wonders of e-mail brought to you by the SMTP wine goblet.

BOOTP: Boot Protocol

When you acquire a new computer, it needs an operating system. If the computer has no disks for storage, you can download the operating system into your computer's memory from another computer on the network. When you do, your diskless computer uses the Boot Protocol, BOOTP, to load its operating system (or other stand-alone application) via the network. Booting means loading the operating system.

If you do have disk storage on your new computer, you should install your own local operating system. Some vendors (Digital Equipment Corporation, for instance) let you perform a remote installation from another computer on the network. The remote installation copies all the operating system files to your computer's disk; from that point on, you can boot the operating system locally.

RIP, OSPF: Gateway (Router) Protocols

Under your network place settings is a tablecloth made of gateways and routers, which have various gateway and router protocols that allow them to exchange network topology and status information. Routing is the process of moving packets between networks. Here are the some of the most popular ones:

  • Routing Information Protocol (RIP)
  • Open Shortest Path First (OSPF)
  • Inter Domain Routing Protocol (something rescued from the OSI effort)

Chapter 18 has more information on the gateways, routers, and other hardware devices that use these protocols.

PPTP: Point to Point Tunneling Protocol

The Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) lets you create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on the public Internet. Using PPTP, you can have a secure link to your organization's network -- as if you were inside the building and on the LAN -- even though you're actually connected to the Internet via an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Your communication traffic can even be encrypted to ensure that no miscreants can see your data. You get all of the benefits of a global private network without any of the hassles of launching your own satellites, laying your own undersea cables, or working with any of the boring pieces from Chapter 3.

PPTP is like your napkin because it augments the tablecloth provided by the router protocols. The encryption is like an optional napkin ring.

DHCP: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol

We couldn't forget about you housekeeping haters out there when putting together the TCP/IP dinnerware. We knew you'd want a recyclable paper plate. DHCP, the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, is that paper plate. This protocol is a client/server solution for sharing numeric IP addresses. The DHCP paper plate (a DHCP server) maintains a pool of shared addresses -- and those addresses are recyclable. When a DHCP client computer wants to use a TCP/IP application, that client must first request an IP address from the DHCP server. The server checks the shared supply; if all the addresses are in use, the server notifies the client that it must wait until another client finishes its work and releases an IP address. If an address is available, the DHCP server sends a response to the client that contains the address.

This shared-supply approach makes sense in environments in which computers don't use TCP/IP applications all the time or in which there are not enough addresses available for all the computers that want them.

SSL: Secure Sockets Layer

SSL (the Secure Sockets Layer, version 2) provides security by allowing applications to encrypt data that goes from a client, such as a web browser, to the matching server. (Encrypting your data means converting to a secret code. Chapter 7 discusses encrypting your e-mail.) In other words, when you buy that Lamborghini over the Web, no one but the dealer can read your credit card number. SSL version 3 allows the server to authenticate that the client is who it says it is.

SSL is like the engraved invitation you must show at the front door before you are allowed to see your glorious dining table set with all this wondrous TCP/IP dinnerware. It's the way you convince the big brute of a bouncer to let you in.

SET: Secure Electronic Transaction

When the Web-based Lamborghini dealer checks with the bank to make sure your credit card is good, you don't want any Internet snoops to steal a peek at your credit card number. SET is the protocol that protects your credit card on the dealer's end of the sale.

And many, many more...

There are many more pieces of TCP/IP, and new ones are being developed this very minute! The ones described in this chapter are the most important, the most visible, and the most common. All of the protocols that use an IP address must be updated so that they understand the IPv6 address. Aren't you glad you're not a TCP/IP programmer? Here are some of the protocols that have undergone extensive updating:

  • RIP
  • OSPF
  • DHCP
  • ICMP

The changes in IPv6 also affect services such as DNS. You can read about the details in Chapter 14.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 16, 2010

    Good Book for People Who have a Mid-level Understanding (probably even beginners, too)

    I found the pace and depth just what I was looking for. The textbook I borrowed was going in too deep just on the topic of IP addresses, let alone the suite of protocols, services, etc. This book touches enough on most areas to start me on my way to other references that may go into certain things more deeply.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2003

    Good Intro

    They removed all the references to food on this edition; it is much better and great for a non-expert to master the basics, so one can have an intelligent conversation with network engineers. I know understand DHCP, masking, CIDR, telnet, and many other issues that were only acronynms before. It is NOT for a real network engineer, but for one who needs an overview, it's excellent. Keep to the 5th edition, avoid older verions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2001

    Review of TCP/IP for Dummies

    The authors' use of analogies was excessive and sometimes forced, which caused the reader to have to guess at what they were talking about (the food analogy went way too far, and chapter titles like 'Do some stuff over there' required me to read into the chapter before I could even guess that they were talking about Telnet and RLogin). If you want to learn how to use TCP/IP applications such as email, this might be a good start. If you want to get into the essence of TCP/IP, I would go somewhere else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2001

    If you really need to lean the basics....

    If you really need to learn the basics, then this book will more or less give you the nessessary lingo to undertand tcp/ip books that are more in depth and technical. The analogies, esp. the dinnerware, actually get's in the way of the learning. (if they had left the anagies to the main dinnerware, it might have worked, but it got to the point of talking about lobster forks and pitchers of wine) On a high note, which is a large part of why I bought the book, is that it comes with a CD with the entire collection of RFC's as of the date of publication. That alone is probably worth the price. It would take considerable time to download several thousand RFC's from the web. Anyway, I'm looking for a book on Cisco Routers, and I think I'll look someplace else. If it wasn't for the CD, I'd only give it a one star.

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    Posted August 5, 2010

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