Windows 8 Network Protocols Explained

Network protocols function at the OSI model Layer 3 and Layer 4 and are responsible for transporting data across an internetwork. They are also responsible for reliable communication. By default, in Windows 8, both version 4 (IPv4) and version 6 (IPv6) TCP/IP is the only network protocol installed. A substantially important part of the Windows 8 setup is that you must have a strong understanding of TCP/IP and the configuration necessary for network communication.

Overview of TCP/IP

TCP/IP is the most commonly used network protocol. TCP/IP is a suite of protocols that have grown into the industry standard for network, internetwork, and Internet connectivity. The main protocols offering basic TCP/IP services include Internet Protocol (IP), Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), and Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP).


Benefits of Using TCP/IP

TCP/IP was accepted as an industry standard in the 1980s as a protocol suite and maintains to be the main internetworking protocol today. A default installation of Windows 8 will have both IPv4 and IPv6 installed by default.

Benefits of TCP/IP:

- TCP/IP is the most common protocol. It is supported by almost all network operating systems and is the required protocol for Internet access.

- For small and large networks, TCP/IP is very dependable and scalable.

- TCP/IP provides a connection at the transport layer and verifies that each data segment is received and passed to the application requiring the data by retransmitting lost information, thus providing data reliability.

- TCP/IP provides standard routing services for moving packets over interconnected network segments. When networks are divided into multiple subnetworks or subnets, this optimizes network traffic and eases network management.

- TCP/IP allows for data classification according to its importance (quality of service), thus allowing important time-sensitive streams of data to get preferential treatment, such as Voice over IP.

- Support is provided for connectivity across interconnected networks, independent of the operating systems used at the upper end of the OSI model or the physical components at the lower end of the OSI model.

- TCP/IP is designed to be fault tolerant. Assuming that there are alternate paths, TCP/IP is able to reroute packets if network links become unavailable.

- Protocol applications can provide services such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) for TCP/IP configuration and Domain Name System (DNS) for hostname-to-IP address resolution.

- Windows 8 continues to support Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA) used by small local connection–only networks without a DHCP server to allow Windows 8 to automatically assign an IP address to itself.

- Included in Windows 8 is support for NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NetBT). NetBIOS is a software specification used for identifying computer resources by name instead of IP address. We still use TCP/IP as the network protocol, so we map the NetBIOS name to an IP address.

- The inclusion of Alternate IP Configuration allows users to have a static and a DHCP-assigned IP address mapped to a single network adapter, which is used to support mobile users who roam between different network segments.

- IPv6 includes a much larger address space and incorporates many additional features of TCP/IP into a standardized protocol. This is important because if a vendor says they support TCP/IP, they only have to support the 1980s version and may not support additional features like the Internet protocol security features of IPSec. IPv6 as a standard includes these features and is thus a stronger network protocol.


Features of TCP/IP

One of the main features of TCP/IP is that it allows a common structure for network communications across a wide variety of various hardware and operating systems and a lot of applications, written in particular to configure and control it.

Several features of TCP/IP:

- TCP/IP connectivity tools allow access to a variety of hosts across a TCP/IP network. TCP/IP tools in Windows 8 include clients for HTTP, FTP, TFTP, Telnet, and fingers, among others. Server components for the tools are available.

- Inclusion of a SNMP agent that can be used to monitor performance and resource use of a TCP/IP host, server, or network hardware devices.

- TCP/IP management and diagnostic tools are provided for maintenance and diagnostic support. TCP/IP management and diagnostic commands include ipconfig, arp, ping, nbtstat, netsh, route, nslookup, tracert, and pathping.

- Support for TCP/IP network printing, allowing you to print to networked print devices.

- Logical and physical multihoming, allowing multiple IP addresses on a single computer for single or multiple network adapters. Multiple network adapters installed on a single computer are normally associated with routing for internetwork connectivity.

- Support for internal IP routing, which allows a Windows 8 computer to route packets between multiple network adapters installed in one machine.

- Support for virtual private networks, which allows you to transmit data securely across a public network via encapsulated and encrypted packets.


Using Deployment Options for TCP/IP Configurations

Windows 8 has four methods available for configuring TCP/IP:

- Static IP addressing

- Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

- Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA)

- Alternate IP configuration

Although DHCP is the most common method for configuring an IP address on the machines in a network, the other methods are used as well.

Windows 8 Network Connection Properties