How IP Technology Works 

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Internet Protocol (IP) is a system of rules that are used to govern both internet and local computer networks. IP technology is nearly always used simultaneously with Transport Control Protocol (TCP), the rules that govern the sending of data over networks. This union of protocols is referred to by network administrators as TCP/IP.

In this article we are going to discuss TCP/IP with a little depth, hopefully clarifying this important technology. We will also take what we have discussed, and see how it applies to one of the most important modern network applications, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). Packetworks are experts in all things network related. Click here to contact Packetworks today.



What are Packets?

TCP/IP technology uses units called "packets" to transfer information between two network addresses. Each packet can only hold a maximum of 64KB of information, which means that a large number of packets are required to transfer any significant amount of information. For comparison, a modern video game can be around 6.4GB, 1,000,000 times the size of a single packet.

Packets are this size to prevent issues with data loss. If a packet gets lost in transit, resending a 64KB packet does not take much time.

The following list is what is contained in every IP packet:

  • Version (IPv6 or v6) (4 bits)

  • Length of Header (4 bits)

  • Type of Service (QoS) (8 bits)

  • Length of Packet (16 bits)

  • Identification tag (16 bits) - This is used to help reassemble the packet from only several fragments if the data were to degrade in transit.

  • Fragmented flag (3 bits) - This flag specifies whether or not the packet can be fragmented.

  • Fragment offset (13 bits) - This identifies which fragment the packet is attached to.

  • Time to live (TTL) (8 bits) - This is a number that indicates how many router passes the packet can make before it terminates. This is done in order to put a limit on how long a packet remains on the network in order to reduce network congestion.

  • Protocol (TCP, UDP…) (8 bits)

  • Header checksum (16 bits) - This is used for error detection and correction during packet transmission.

  • Source of IP address (32 bits)

  • Destination IP address (32 bits)

  • Data (64 KB, which is 512,000 bits) - This is the actual data that will make up the file that is being downloaded.

The main use of IP technology is the support of different and unique network addresses. Networks can use version 4 IP (IPv4), which features a 32 bit address length, or version 6 IP (IPv6), which features an 128 bit address length. These different IP versions are essentially just a way of dealing with network sizes. As the Internet and other networks mature, more addresses are needed in order to track all of the users and devices present on it.

How Does Voice Over IP (VOIP) Work?

VOIP takes the existing technologies found in IP, TCP and other protocols and uses them to stream audio data over a network. VOIP can be used to stream audio data between any two IP addresses. Essentially, if you are on a fast enough local network or internet connection, your can use VOIP.

VOIP represents a coming together of internet and audio technologies into a simple system that is highly efficient at making calls over long distances.


IP technology is a complicated combination of networking technologies and innovations that have been developed over the past several decades. It has become the new standard for network communications globally.



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