Characteristics of IP – Connectionless, best effort and Media Independent

The IP address with the low overhead protocol is planned. It also provides the functions that required delivering a packet from a source to a destination over an interconnected network. The protocol doesn’t track and manage the flow of packets.


There is no connection established with the destination before sending data packets. It describes communication between two network endpoints where we can send a packet from one side to another without ensuring the availability of the recipient and ready to receive the data. If there are problems with the transmission, it may necessary to resend the data several times. It is theoretically comparable to sending a letter to someone without notifying the recipient in advance.

Connectionless data communications work on the principle where the initial exchange of control information not required to set up an end-to-end connection before packets forwarded. IP also does not need additional fields in the header to keep up an established connection. This process reduces the overhead of IP. But, with no pre-established end-to-end connection; senders are unaware whether destination devices are present and functional when sending packets; nor are they aware of the destination receives the packet; or if they are able to access and read the packet.

The Internet Protocol and User Datagram Protocol are connectionless protocols. These protocols generally described as stateless because the endpoints have no protocol-defined, way to remember where they are in a “conversation” of message exchanges. The alternative to the connectionless is connection-oriented protocols; which described as stateful because they can keep track of a conversation.

Best Efforts (Unreliable) – Data Delivery

IP address naturally unreliable because there is no packet delivery guarantee and assurance that all packets sent to the destination are, in fact, received. IP has unreliable data delivery. It’s mean that IP does not the ability to handle and recover from undelivered or corrupt packets. Because the IP header has no such information about the delivery location. IP header has also no information to inform the sender whether the packet successfully received at the destination. Packets received at the destination may be corrupted, out of sequence or not at all. IP also provides no capability for packet re-transmissions if errors occur.

If the destination received in out-of-order packets, or packets are missing, the upper layer helps to resolve the problem. Upper layer or application helps IP to work very efficiently. In the TCP/IP protocol suite, the reliability of data transmission is the role of the transport layer.

Media Independent

The operation is dependent on the medium (i.e., copper, fiber optic, or wireless) carrying the data and works all type of media that bring the data at lower layers of the OSI Model. Therefore, IP packets travel as electrical signals over copper cable, as optical signals over fiber, or wirelessly as radio signals.

The OSI data link layer is responsible for taking an IP packet and preparing it for transmission over the communications medium. The transmission of the IP packet has not limited to any particular medium. So the IP packet travels over any available transmission media.

The Protocol Data Unit (PDU) maximum size considered on each medium. This characteristic called MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit). The Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) is the part of the control communication between the data link layer and the network layer.

The data link layer passes the Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) value upwards to the network layer. The network layer then determines how large packets can be. When a packet is forwarding from one medium to another, sometimes, an intermediate device, split up a packet with a smaller Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU). This process is packet fragmentation.