What is TCP/IP reference model and how is it different from OSI reference model?

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TCP/IP Reference Model is a four-layered suite of communication protocols. It was developed by the DoD (Department of Defence) in the 1960s. It is named after the two main protocols that are used in the model, namely, TCP and IP. TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol and IP stands for Internet Protocol.

The four layers in the TCP/IP protocol suite are −

  • Host-to- Network Layer −It is the lowest layer that is concerned with the physical transmission of data. TCP/IP does not specifically define any protocol here but supports all the standard protocols.
  • Internet Layer −It defines the protocols for logical transmission of data over the network. The main protocol in this layer is Internet Protocol (IP) and it is supported by the protocols ICMP, IGMP, RARP, and ARP.
  • Transport Layer − It is responsible for error-free end-to-end delivery of data. The protocols defined here are Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP).
  • Application Layer − This is the topmost layer and defines the interface of host programs with the transport layer services. This layer includes all high-level protocols like Telnet, DNS, HTTP, FTP, SMTP, etc.

Following are the differences between OSI and TCP/IP Reference Model −

OSI TCP/IP
OSI represents Open System Interconnection. TCP/IP model represents the Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol.
OSI is a generic, protocol independent standard. It is acting as an interaction gateway between the network and the final-user. TCP/IP model depends on standard protocols about which the computer network has created. It is a connection protocol that assigns the network of hosts over the internet.
The OSI model was developed first, and then protocols were created to fit the network architecture’s needs. The protocols were created first and then built the TCP/IP model.
It provides quality services. It does not provide quality services.
The OSI model represents defines administration, interfaces and conventions. It describes clearly which layer provides services. It does not mention the services, interfaces, and protocols.
The protocols of the OSI model are better unseen and can be returned with another appropriate protocol quickly. The TCP/IP model protocols are not hidden, and we cannot fit a new protocol stack in it.
It is difficult as distinguished to TCP/IP. It is simpler than OSI.
It provides both connection and connectionless oriented transmission in the network layer; however, only connection-oriented transmission in the transport layer. It provides connectionless transmission in the network layer and supports connecting and connectionless-oriented transmission in the transport layer.
It uses a horizontal approach. It uses a vertical approach.
The smallest size of the OSI header is 5 bytes. The smallest size of the TCP/IP header is 20 bytes.
Protocols are unknown in the OSI model and are returned while the technology modifies. In TCP/IP, returning protocol is not difficult.
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