TCP/IP Fundamentals for Microsoft Windows: Overview

Published: November 02, 2004 | Updated: January 05, 2007

This online book is a structured, introductory approach to the basic concepts and principles of the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocol suite, how the most important protocols function, and their basic configuration in the Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003 and Windows® XP operating systems. This book is primarily a discussion of concepts and principles to lay a conceptual foundation for the TCP/IP protocol suite. Unlike many other introductory TCP/IP texts, this book provides an integrated discussion of both Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

This book is not a discussion of TCP/IP planning, configuration, deployment, management, or application development. For a discussion of TCP/IP planning, configuration, deployment, and management, see the online Help for Windows Server 2003 and the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit. For a discussion of how to develop TCP/IP applications using Windows Sockets, see the Microsoft Developer Network.

This book provides an educational vehicle for the fundamentals of TCP/IP to either prepare you for a career in information technology or to augment your knowledge of TCP/IP-based networking in Microsoft Windows. This book is not intended to be a primer for computing or networking technology.

For an Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) version of this book that has been updated for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, click here.

On This Page

Who Should Read This Book
What Should You Know Before Reading this Book
Table of Contents

Who Should Read This Book

This book is written for the following audiences:

  • Information technology students

    This book can serve as a textbook for a comprehensive introductory TCP/IP course taught inside your organization or at an educational institution.

  • Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSEs)

    This book can be used as background information when preparing to take the courses and exams for an MCSE certification.

  • Microsoft Windows network administrators and general technical staff

    This includes anyone who is currently managing a Windows network and wants to gain additional technical knowledge about TCP/IP components and services and their basic configuration in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

What Should You Know Before Reading this Book

This book assumes a foundation of knowledge that includes basic computing and networking concepts. For example, basic computing knowledge includes binary and hexadecimal numbers, parts of a computer, the role of software and hardware, and so forth. Basic networking knowledge includes the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 802 model, Ethernet and 802.11 wireless LAN standards, parts of a network, and so forth.

This book also assumes familiarity with Windows, such as desktop navigation and knowledge of configuration facilities such as Control Panel, Microsoft Management Console snap-ins, and the command prompt.

Table of Contents

The following are the chapters of the TCP/IP Fundamentals for Microsoft Windows online book. You can also download an Adobe PDF version of this book, which has been updated for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Chapter 1: Introduction to TCP/IP

Introduces TCP/IP, both as an industry-standard protocol suite and as it is supported in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP.

Chapter 2: Architectural Overview of the TCP/IP Protocol Suite

Examines the TCP/IP protocol suite in greater detail, analyzes its four layers and the core protocols used within each layer, and discusses the two main application programming interfaces (APIs) that networking applications for the Windows operating systems use and the APIs’ naming schemes.

Chapter 3: Addressing

Describes the types of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, how they are expressed, and the different types of unicast addresses assigned to network node interfaces.

Chapter 4: Subnetting

Describes subnetting concepts and procedures for both IPv4 and IPv6 address prefixes to efficiently allocate and administer the unicast address spaces assigned and used on private intranets.

Chapter 5: IP Routing

Describes the details of IP routing when an IPv4 or IPv6 packet is forwarded from a source to a destination and discusses the basic concepts of routing tables, route determination processes, and routing infrastructure.

Chapter 6: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol

Describes how the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) automatically allocates unique IPv4 address configurations to DHCP client computers and how IPv6 hosts use address autoconfiguration.

Chapter 7: Host Name Resolution

Describes the various methods by which Windows-based computers resolve host names, such as, to their corresponding IP addresses.

Chapter 8: Domain Name System Overview

Describes the Domain Name System (DNS) and its use for private intranets and the Internet.

Chapter 9: Windows Support for DNS

Describes the details of the DNS Client service, provided with Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, and the DNS Server Service, provided with Windows Server 2003.

Chapter 10: TCP/IP End-to-End Delivery

Describes the end-to-end delivery processes for both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic and show how they are used for typical IPv4 and IPv6 traffic on an example network.

Chapter 11: NetBIOS Over TCP/IP

Describes the network basic input/output system (NetBIOS) over TCP/IP and its implementation in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP.

Chapter 12: Windows Internet Name Service Overview

Describes the use of Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) to resolve NetBIOS names on an IPv4 network.

Chapter 13: Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) and Packet Filtering

Describes the support for IPsec and IP packet filtering in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. IPsec provides cryptographic protection for IP packet payloads. Packet filtering determines which types of packets are permitted or dropped.

Chapter 14: Virtual Private Networking

Describes the virtual private network (VPN) technologies supported in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. You can use VPN connections to connect remote users to an intranet and remote offices to each other by leveraging the global connectivity of the Internet.

Chapter 15: IPv6 Transition Technologies

Describes the mechanisms that allow for a seamless transition from IPv4 to IPv6, including details on how the Intra-site Automatic Tunnel Addressing Protocol (ISATAP), 6to4, and Teredo transition technologies work.

Chapter 16: Troubleshooting TCP/IP

Describes the guidelines, tools, and techniques for troubleshooting IPv4-based and IPv6-based communications including basic connectivity, DNS name resolution, NetBIOS name resolution for IPv4 addresses, and TCP sessions.

Appendix A: IP Multicast

Describes the details of IP multicast for both IPv4 and IPv6 and its support in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. IP multicast is a one-to-many delivery mechanism that is useful for efficiently distributing data to interested listening hosts at arbitrary locations on a private network or on the Internet.

Appendix B: Simple Network Management Protocol

Describes the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and its support in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. SNMP is used in enterprise network environments to manage many types of network devices.

Appendix C: Computer Browser Service

Describes how the Computer Browser service on computers running Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 works. The Computer Browser service helps a Windows-based computer display the list of workgroups and domains and the servers within them in My Network Places on the Windows desktop.


Joseph Davies, Technical Writer, Microsoft Corporation

Anne Taussig, Technical Editor, Microsoft Corporation