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Arp

ARP is a protocol for resolution of network layer addresses such as IP into link layer addresses (such as MAC addresses)

Tcp

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a transport layer protocol that provides a connection-oriented data stream service with guaranteed, in-order delivery.



Others

Example

If you are using linux check out netdiscover this uses arp i think arp is lower level than tcp udp and with java you can only create apps from tcp udp and above

from question  

Detect anyone connecting network

O do it correctly you need to keep a table locally and a timer and if you have never seen that ip address or the last time you saw it was more than a minute ago or whatever your timeout is then you need to arp for it to be able to respond;tcp is a much larger pain in the .. with udp you can do this kind of thing quite easily swap macs swap ip swap ports fill in the payload checksum if you want or not and send this kind of thing back

from question  

Do i need a gateway and subnet mask for an embedded system that does nothing other wait for incoming traffic?

It would appear from your question that the period of the tcp message is shorter than the arp refresh time

from question  

How to Reduce TCP delays caused by ARP flushes for MODBUS TCP

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