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IP definition

The Internet Protocol (IP) is used in the TCP/IP set of protocols, which supports the Internet and many private networks. IP (layer 3) is responsible for delivering data, and TCP (layer 4) is responsible for keeping track of packets used to deliver it as well as providing other functions. IP provides a connectionless packet delivery service. Each packet that makes up a particular message is sent separately and may even traverse different networks on the way to the destination. Connection-oriented TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) reassembles packets in the correct order at the destination. IP was originally developed by the US Department of Defense (DoD) for internetworking computers and networks running different and/or proprietary protocols. As such, IP has an open architecture and easily interoperates with other protocols.