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The Network Layer: IP

Above the data-link layer is the network layer, which is concerned with delivering packets (data) from the source host to the destination host. This layer performs a variety of tasks, including:

  • breaking data into fragments small enough for transmission via the data-link layer (if necessary);

  • routing data across the internet; and

  • providing services to the transport layer.

In the TCP/IP protocol suite, the principal protocol in the network layer is IP. The version of IP that appeared in the 4.2BSD implementation was IP version 4 (IPv4). In the early 1990s, a revised version of IP was devised: IP version 6 (IPv6). The most notable difference between the two versions is that IPv4 identifies subnets and hosts using 32-bit addresses, while IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, thus providing a much larger range of addresses to be assigned to hosts. Although IPv4 is still the predominant version of IP in use on the Internet, in coming years, it should be supplanted by IPv6. Both IPv4 and IPv6 support the higher ....


  

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