Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In early days, I "googled" looking for a detailed guide/manual on How TCP/IP works; specially data flow; By example, What happens when I type "" in web browser and it's receive's home page?.

The searches results I founded doesn't work for me; because not completely answer my question.

I found these web pages interesting:

Also, I found the excellent EventHelix diagrams:

Following the examples above, I think TCP/IP works as follow:

  1. Web Browser take the URL (, prepare HTTP message properly (maybe a GET request). Web browser needs to know's IP address, so query DNS via UDP to translate to IP address. If DNS cache found's IP address then send response, otherwise look for an authoritative translate. Last, Browser delivery this message plus destination IP address to TCP layer.
  2. TCP receive message, decide if fragment is necessary, prepare TCP headers and dispatch segments to IP layer.
  3. IP receive segments, verify if destination IP address is lookup network, local network or remote network, query routing table to obtain gateway IP address, use ARP to find MAC address of gateway IP address, fragment segments if necessary, prepare IP headers and dispatch packets to Data-Link Layer.
  4. And so on...

The above is far away to being complete and correct.

Where I can find further and complete information about How TCP/IP data flow works? Any help will be greatly appreciated.

share|improve this question

closed as not a real question by slhck, random Aug 25 '11 at 21:32

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

If you want to see exactly what is going on, get wireshark and watch. Also take a look at the RFCs, they describe everything in excruciating detail. – Zoredache Aug 25 '11 at 21:12
@slhck, random: It's very easy to say: "ambigous, vague, incomplete, overly broad or rhetorical". Explains why this post is so? – rjlara Aug 26 '11 at 0:33
Probably because you basically asked 'how does the internet work'. This isn't a general topic board. Maybe if you rephrased the first part to 'how does a TCP/IP connection get setup and closed' might be good. But there are literally dozens of technologies required to make the browser loading ''; work. – polynomial Aug 26 '11 at 0:37
@Polynomial: Thank you very much for your response. Your answer clarify me about my wrong question. I'll be more specific when I re-post my question. Thanks again. – rjlara Aug 26 '11 at 0:51
Several excellent podcasts on this page for how the internet works, episode 25 and – Moab Aug 26 '11 at 1:51

The book "TCP/IP Illustrated, Vol. 1: The Protocols" and other books in that series are considered by most people to be the best reference on the topic.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .