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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.
A segment is the unit of end-to-end transmission in the TCP protocol. In general discussion about transmitting information from one node to another, the term "packet" is used loosely to refer to a piece of data. However, the specific packet of data formed by TCP in the transport layer is called a "segment."
When an application needs to send information to another network-attached computer, it forms a message. The message is passed to TCP (assuming a reliable protocol is needed; otherwise, it is sent to UDP), where it is encapsulated into a segment. The segment is sent to IP where it is encapsulated into a datagram. The datagram is sent to the data link layer where it is encapsulated into frames. See "Network Architecture" for more information about this process. Also see "TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)."
Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.