IP is the network layer service implemented by the TCP/IP protocol suite.
IP was designed as a protocol with low overhead. It provides only the functions that are necessary to deliver a packet from a source to a destination over an interconnected system of networks. The protocol was not designed to track and manage the flow of packets. These functions, if required, are performed by other protocols in other layers.
The basic characteristics of IP are:
- Connectionless - No connection with the destination is established before sending data packets.
- Best Effort (unreliable) - Packet delivery is not guaranteed.
- Media Independent - Operation is independent of the medium carrying the data.