A crash course in TCP/IP
At first glance, TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) may seem baffling. Many other protocols, such as NetBEUI and IPX/SPX, require no configuration. TCP/IP is different. Due to the seemingly endless number of options that you can configure within TCP/IP, many people become intimidated at first. In reality, however, TCP/IP isn't very difficult, but you have to gain some understanding of what you're configuring. So, I'm going to give you a crash course in TCP/IP. Although I won't be able to explore every feature in detail, I'll cover the important points. The IP address
The most basic element of TCP/IP is the IP address. The IP address is a number that's unique to each computer. If you know a computer's IP address, you can communicate with that computer from anywhere in the world. Since TCP/IP is the protocol that the Internet uses and since Internet servers are located all over the world, TCP/IP must be routable. Thus, when you try to access an IP address, your computer must be able to tell whether or not that IP address is located on your local network. If the desired address is located on your local network, you won't have a problem reaching it. If it isn't on your local network, TCP/IP must know which network the IP address is located on in order to reach the address. The network number represents the network that contains a given IP address. If you look through the various tabs of the TCP/IP properties sheet, you'll see that there's no field that allows you to specify the network number. Instead, the network number is part of the IP address. An IP address is composed of a network number and a computer number. Your computer can distinguish those two numbers because of something called the subnet mask. The subnet mask is located in a field directly below the IP address on the TCP/IP properties sheet. A simple subnet mask would be something like 255.255.0.0. The numbers that make up the subnet mask indicate which...
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