Packets are a stream of binary octets of data of some arbitrary length. It is typically used to describe chunks of data created by software, not by hardware. Internet Protocol (IP) creates packets. The term packet is NOT synonymous with the term frame even though many people make that mistake. Information that has been broken into packets is sometimes described as having been packetized.

Types of Packets

Internet Protocol is often described as transmitting packets. Most network layer protocols (OSI Model Layer 3) communicate using packets.

Contents of Packets

Packets contain a header which contains network layer protocol data and a payload which carries user data or data from upper layer protocols.

Packet Header

The packet header contains logical addressing information, such as the source and destination IP addresses, and the payload section contains data. It also contains information about the size of the packet, the network layer protocol's options. The header may also contain a checksum field that allows reliable network protocols to detect errors in the packet.

Packet Payload

The payload section of a packet contains data from upper layer protocols. The payload section of Internet Protocol packets contains TCP or UDP segments.

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