Network Layer: Internet Protocol Study Notes

  • IPv4 is an unreliable connectionless protocol responsible for source-to-destination delivery.
  • Packets in the IPv4 layer are called datagrams. A datagram consists of a header (20 to 60 bytes) and data. The maximum length of a datagram is 65,535 bytes.
  • The MTU is the maximum number of bytes that a data link protocol can encapsulate. MTUs vary from protocol to protocol.
  • Fragmentation is the division of a datagram into smaller units to accommodate the MTU of a data link protocol.
  • The IPv4 datagram header consists of a fixed, 20-byte section and a variable options section with a maximum of 40 bytes.
  • The options section of the IPv4 header is used for network testing and debugging.
  • The six IPv4 options each have a specific function. They are as follows: filler between options for alignment purposes, padding, recording the route the datagram takes, selection of a mandatory route by the sender, selection of certain routers that must be visited, and recording of processing times at routers.
  • IPv6, the latest version of the Internet Protocol, has a 128-bit address space, a revised header format, new options, an allowance for extension, support for resource allocation, and increased security measures.
  • An IPv6 datagram is composed of a base header and a payload.
  • Extension headers add functionality to the IPv6 datagram.
  • Three strategies used to handle the transition from version 4 to version 6 are dual stack, tunneling, and header translation.



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