A students asks this question:
When a packet is routed over a network, why can it lose some of its components? Like why/how can it become unreadable once it reaches its destination?
There are two horrible things that can happen to packets as they journey over a network.
- They can become corrupted
- They can be dropped
More common is for a packet to be dropped. If a packet is taking a very long time to get from one router to another router, then the router rules might simply drop the packet (same thing as killing the packet). You will please remember that in a stateful protocol like TCP we guarantee a packet has been delivered. The cool thing that IF a packet is all mangeled and corrupted, a protocol like TCP will send a special packet back to the sender saying "I did NOT receive the 18th packet" (for example).
A packet can be corrupted by:
- error in routing or transferring the packet
- deliberate hacker stupidness
- misconfiguration of a router or switch so it is NOT FOLLOWING the rules of a protocol or standard