Connection to the Internet these days has become so easy and user-friendly that we tend to forget the technical aspects of things like page loads and file downloads. Such operations still take place, even though the average user doesn't give them a second thought.
One such overlooked set of operations is TCP/IP. This often used but little understood set of operations stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. TCP/IP is the combination of the two and describes the set of protocols that allows hosts to connect to the Internet. In actuality, TCP/IP is a combination of more than those two protocols, but the TCP and IP parts of TCP/IP are the main ones and the only ones to become part of the acronym that describes the operations involved.
TCP/IP doesn't just happen. It is an active process; a set of constant communications between private computers and Internet servers. When a computer attempts to log on to the Internet, that computer's TCP/IP operations send a series of signals to Internet servers looking for a connection. In nearly all cases, access is successful. Some exceptions would keep access from being granted, but these exceptions are rare.
The two layers of TCP/IP are defined by the separate spelled-out versions. Transmission Control Protocol is the top layer; the one that converts messages or files into data packets that are transmitted over the network connection to the destination computer and then reassembled into messages or files that can be read by the destination user. The lower layer of TCP/IP, Internet Protocol, provides the transmitting operation, configuring the connection's address so that the information gets to the right place. IP could function without TCP, although it would be idle, but the reverse is not possible.
Despite the very evident presence of the word Internet in the spelled-out version of TCP/IP, the set of protocols can be used for internal use as well. Company intranets utilize TCP/IP protocols in order to set up a network within the company's computer framework. No outside connection develops, but connections are made between the company's servers and/or mainframes and individual computers. This sort of connectivity mimics the connection functionality of TCP/IP as used for Internet connections.