IP Communication Protocols 101

Most everyday users of the Internet understand that it provides them with access to searchable information across a public web of data; but how does this information get populated and transmitted through search engines, email clients, web browsers and so on? Enter: IP communication protocols. 

May 25, 2017

Most everyday users of the Internet understand that it provides them with access to searchable information across a public web of data; but how does this information get populated and transmitted through search engines, email clients, web browsers and so on? Enter: IP communication protocols. Following, we’ll look at the types of IP protocols that are used to move information across the Internet, and the way in which they’ve helped modern-day communications to evolve.

Types of Communications Internet Protocols (IP)

In telecommunications, communication protocols are rules that determine the format and transmission of data. These protocols can be implemented via hardware devices, software or both. The most recent protocols are assigned by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for Internet communications, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T) for telecommunication protocols that run on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

The Internet Protocol (IP) is defined as the protocol for sending data from one computer to another across the Internet, with each computer having at least one IP address that identifies it from all other computers on the Internet. This protocol is used with other protocols within the IP suite, most notable of which include:

  • Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) – used for data transmission
  • User Datagram Protocol (UDP) – used by programs to send short datagram messages
  • Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) – messages used for diagnostic or error-generating purposes
  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) – application protocol that uses hyperlinks between nodes containing text
  • Post Office Protocol (POP) – used by local email clients to retrieve email from a remote server over TCP IP
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP) – protocol to transfer computer files from a server to a client and vice versa
  • Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) – a communication protocol used by email clients to retrieve messages from a mail server over TCP IP

IP Communication occurs as a connectionless protocol, meaning there is no static or continuous connection between endpoints along the communication route. Each unique packet that travels across the Internet is independent of the others and gets put in its proper order using TCP, a connection-oriented protocol that keeps track of putting the packets in the correct order or sequence.


TCP is one of the primary protocols of the Internet Protocol suite. It works with and complements IP, which is why the two are often paired together as TCP IP. TCP IP is the most widely used communications protocol. It prepares and forwards data packets across a network such as Ethernet. It was developed in the 1970s by the US Department of Defense and created by Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn. TCP IP is used as the standard for all local area and wide area networks (LANs and WANs).

Telecommunications Networks

Telecommunications networks use these Internet Protocols to transfer data back and forth between terminals. These networks consist of terminal nodes that are linked together to enable telecommunication between the terminals. The transmission links connect the nodes together using circuit switching, message switching or packet switching to pass the signal through the proper links and nodes so that it reaches the correct destination terminal. Each network terminal has its own unique address so that connections can easily be routed to the correct destination. This group of network addresses, or address spaces, contains a range of valid addresses located in system memory (physical or virtual) available for a program or process to use. Types of telecommunication networks can include: computer networks – LANs or WANs; the Internet; telephone networks and so on. 

Cisco IP Communications & Enterprise Communication

Simple telephone networks have evolved over the years into VoIP networks, and now VoIP networks are progressing into integrated communications services for enterprises. Enterprise communication is now handled by technologies that merge telephone and data networks. Unified Communications (UC) is the current foundation of mainstream enterprise communication, making it easier than ever for employees to connect, communicate and collaborate together.

Unified Communications, operating across the IP Communication protocol VoIP, integrate real-time network communication services like conferencing, instant messaging, presence, video and voice with services such as email, texting and voicemail. UC is also available through service providers as Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS). UCaaS provides great benefits to companies, like improved workplace collaboration resulting in enhanced efficiency. Organizations also have access to a wide variety of productivity apps and tools through a UCaaS services provider, which can integrate with other office software and services. UCaaS is very scalable and flexible, allowing enterprises to select only the products and services they require, at the quantity needed.

Cisco, a leading UCaaS provider in the telecommunications and networking industry, offers a comprehensive IP communications tool that provides a wide-range of communication options for enterprises. Cisco Webex Teams combines voice and video calling with enhanced features like call control, directory services and scheduling capabilities. It essentially acts as a continuous virtual environment where a user can switch between audio, video and web meetings, as well as from chat to content sharing and messaging. The hybrid version of Webex Teams joins with Intrado's VoiceMaxx CE – enterprise UCaaS including Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) – for a complete enterprise communications solution.

Enterprise users of Cisco Teams Hybrid are able to access anyone, almost anywhere, regardless of application or device they are using.  They can switch calls between cell phones and desk phones, schedule meetings through email clients, host Webex meetings and create Teams Rooms for all meeting attendees - so they can collaborate before and after meetings.  And corporate contacts are always reachable with an interface that syncs Active Directory to the cloud.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of Managed IP (Unified Communications)

Managed IP and Unified Communications help enterprises to reduce overall IT costs to businesses, greatly increasing the efficiency and productivity of its workforce. Capital expenditures are lowered, as fewer hardware devices are required in the onsite network infrastructure. Support costs drop, as less onsite support staff is required. Maintenance, repair, and upgrades are simply part of the service provider’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) and support contract. Managed IP and UCaaS also lower travel and general operational costs. The UC products and services offered by the provider allow collaboration to take place across offices and across the globe, even simulating face-to-face meetings or hallway conversations. The cost of security infiltrations are also reduced with managed IP and UCaaS, since continuous monitoring and filtering takes place on the organization’s network, with the latest and greatest security protocols and measures deployed.

Intrado can help grow your business through advanced managed IP communication products and services. Contact us today to see what our industry-leading UCaaS solutions can do to enhance communications in your enterprise today.

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