The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is one of the core protocols of the Internet protocol suite (IP), and is so common that the entire suite is often called TCP/IP. TCP provides reliable, ordered, error-checked delivery of a stream of octets between programs running on computers connected to a local area network, intranet or the public Internet. It resides at the transport layer.
Applications that do not require the reliability of a TCP connection may instead use the connectionless User Datagram Protocol (UDP), which emphasizes low-overhead operation and reduced latency rather than error checking and delivery validation.
The Internet protocol suite is the networking model and a set of communications protocols used for the Internet and similar networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP, because its most important protocols, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), were the first networking protocols defined in this standard. It is occasionally known as the DoD model, because the development of the networking model was funded by DARPA, an agency of the United States Department of Defense.
TCP/IP provides end-to-end connectivity specifying how data should be formatted, addressed, transmitted, routed and received at the destination. This functionality has been organized into four abstraction layers which are used to sort all related protocols according to the scope of networking involved. From lowest to highest, the layers are the link layer, containing communication technologies for a single network segment (link), the internet layer, connecting independent networks, thus establishing internetworking, the transport layer handling process-to-process communication, and the application layer, which interfaces to the user and provides support services.