The TCP protocol operates on layer 4, the Transport layer of the OSI model.
In computer networking, the transport layer is a conceptual division of methods in the layered architecture of protocols in the network stack in the Internet protocol suite and the OSI model. The protocols of this layer provide end-to-end communication services for applications.: §1.1.3 It provides services such as connection-oriented communication, reliability, flow control, and multiplexing.
The details of implementation and semantics of the transport layer of the Internet protocol suite, which is the foundation of the Internet, and the OSI model of general networking are different. The protocols in use today in this layer for the Internet all originated in the development of TCP/IP. In the OSI model the transport layer is often referred to as Layer 4, or L4, while numbered layers are not used in TCP/IP.
The best-known transport protocol of the Internet protocol suite is the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). It is used for connection-oriented transmissions, whereas the connectionless User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is used for simpler messaging transmissions. TCP is the more complex protocol, due to its stateful design incorporating reliable transmission and data stream services. Together, TCP and UDP comprise essentially all traffic on the Internet and are the only protocols implemented in every major operating system. Additional transport layer protocols that have been defined and implemented include the Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP) and the Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP).