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What is Network Protocol? – Definition, Uses, Types and More

What is Network Protocol? – Definition, Uses, Types and More

Network Protocol Definition

A protocol is a term used to refer to the set of rules, rules, and guidelines that serve to guide action. Network, meanwhile, is a kind of structure or system that has a specific pattern.

The concept of a network protocol is used in the context of information technology to name the regulations and criteria. Criteria that determine how the various components of a specific interconnection system should communicate. It means that, through this protocol, network devices can exchange data.

In its purest form, a protocol defines the rules that dominate the syntax, semantics, and synchronization of communication. The contracts can be implemented by hardware, software, or a combination of both.

Network Protocol Uses

The protocols are communication rules that allow the flow of information between computers. Computers that handle different languages, for example, two computers connected in the same network but with different protocols could never communicate. For this, it is necessary that both “speak” the same language.

There is no single network protocol, and several protocols may co-exist in the same computer. Since a computer may belong to different networks.

This variety of protocols can pose a security risk. Each network protocol that is installed on a Windows system is available to all existing network adapters in the system. Namely, physical (network cards or modem) or logical (VPN adapters). If the network devices or protocols are not configured correctly, it gives unwanted access to the resources.

The protocol negotiated to carry out the communication between devices such as a computer convention means.

The promise is “How to send data between computers, how much data to send.”

You can’t communicate with each other only by physically connecting the computers with a LAN cable. But, you can use this protocol (accurately, IP, TCP, etc.) to communicate between computers.

Not only one protocol is used for communication between computers, but multiple protocols with different roles.

For example:

    • We use protocols such as IP, TCP, and HTTP to browse our current website. HTTP is used to view the screen of a website using a web browser.
    • TCP is used in the lower layer, and IP is used in the lower layer. A protocol group consisting of multiple protocols necessary for communication in a hierarchical structure is called a protocol stack.

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Types of protocols

There are many types of protocols. There are many protocol schemes. The most main Communication protocol at present is TCP/IP. TCP/IP is the most used Protocol in LAN, WAN, Internet, etc. TCP/IP does not use only TCP and IP when communicating.

Are many other protocols such as UDP, FTP, and Telnet, but they are collectively called TCP/IP.

If more than one protocol is needed, it is advisable to disable it on each of the network devices that will not use it.

The same pattern cuts not all data connections between computer systems. It is not the same to interconnect two computers in a home network than to connect a computer to the Internet. This also helps to form part of an astronomical union of machines and to send data to several recipients.

Similarly, the hierarchies of the participants also play a prominent role in communication. Which results in different network protocols for each of the forms of communication. Communication which differs from each other based on the following aspects and possible scenarios of interaction.


The network protocols are distinguished by the number of computers that can participate in the connection. If the data that is transmitted has only one recipient, this transfer is known as unicast.

If the exchange takes place between two or more systems then there is talk of multicast connections. And, if the sending of data packets involves all participants, it is called broadcasting. A type of relationship typical of radio and television broadcasting.

Data transmission mode

The direction in which the data circulates also allows us to differentiate the network protocols from each other. The contracts with simplex (sx) or unidirectional transfer only support unilateral communication. In this one computer works only as a transmitter and the other as a receiver.

And in, semi-duplex transmission (half-duplex, hdx) both computers exchange the roles of sender and receiver. But, not simultaneously and, finally, the full-duplex mode (full-duplex, fdx) allows data to be sent in both directions simultaneously.

Participants’ Hierarchy

Certain types of connections, such as the client-server model are based on clearly defined hierarchical structures. In this specific case several clients can initiate the relationship with a single server, which processes the requests. The different form of this asymmetric communication is the symmetric one, also called a peer-to-peer network. In this connection, all computers are on equal terms and can provide services and use them.

Communication synchronization

Data transmission can also be differentiated depending on whether the bits are synchronized between the sender and receiver (synchronous communication) or not (asynchronous communication).

Type of connection

Finally, network protocols divide into connection-oriented and non-connection-oriented. The former requires a relationship between the sender and receiver during transmission. And try to ensure that the packets arrive at their destination in a particular order.

The latter does not establish or interrupt a connection, so the packets sent contains much less additional information. Although, they can arrive in an arbitrary sequence to the recipient and are not sent again in case of a failed transmission.

Apart from technical considerations, the great diversity of existing network protocols also results from the fact that many manufacturers developed their protocols for their devices in the past.

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