The Physical Internet

The physical Internet is the "network of networks,'' a set of linked electronic networks-much like the telephone system-that computers worldwide use to communicate with each other. Computers transmit information across the Internet using several computer languages, known as protocols. The two most important protocols are IP (Internet protocol) and TCP (transmission control protocol). IP specifies a standard form of packets of data transmitted across the Internet through a network of intelligent routers. It is a globally agreed upon format where bytes in a packet of data specify the destination address, the source address, the lifetime of the packet, and many other pieces of bookkeeping information. TCP is a set of standards for how complex communications between machines are broken up into many packets at one end, and reassembled at the other end, with built in redundancy to cope intelligently with lost packets, duplicate packets, and automatic request for resending of packets.

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