Because of the rise in popularity of the Internet, TCP/IP is the most popular networking protocol suite of all time. There simply are an amazing amount of OSs and platforms that support TCP/IP.
Vint Cerf is largely credited with initially creating the protocol suite; over the last several decades, a varying cast of characters, under the aegis of the Internet Engineering Task Force, has done the engineering work to let TCP/IP handle the much larger Internet of today (many times larger than TCP/IP was originally designed to support).
TCP/IP is a family of several protocols, the most important of which are listed below:
Underneath IP, each individual physical network has a protocol which specifies how packets are carried from one interface to that network to another; there are also a number of different protocols, providing different services, running on top of IP.
IP is thus spoken of as being the 'waist' in the 'hour-glass' of TCP/IP; it is the one indispensable protocol that every node in the internet must understand and use.
Higher level protocols
The User Datagram Protocol is used to provide access to an un-reliable datagram service, for applications which don't need the complexity and overhead of TCP.
Lower level protocols
Address resolution protocol; it translates from an IP address to physical netowrk (e.g. Ethernet) addresses.
SLIP has been largely supplanted by the PPP protocol.
Point to point protocol.
Historical Systems Including TCP/IP
This list is far, far from exhaustive, and primarily meant for systems from the 1980s, before TCP/IP became universal on all but embedded systems.
The most popular implementation of TCP/IP came from the 4.3 BSD release: because of the BSD copyright, people were free to adapt the software to their own needs.
- BSD Unix from 4.2 onward.