Types of Internet Protocols and How They Work

types of internet protocols

The internet is based on many different types of protocols, or sets of rules that allow computers around the world to communicate with each other. Not all protocols are equal. Some are more efficient than others and some are better suited for specialised tasks like streaming high-definition video while others are great tools for sharing files peer-to-peer. Different types of internet protocols are listed below.


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You’ve likely used HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) before when surfing the web (that’s what allows you to load web pages in your browser). HTTP servers “serve” these websites by sending data across the internet using IP packets, which include not only textual content but also any images, videos or other multimedia that make up your page visits. HTTP is one of the oldest internet protocols and it’s not the most efficient in terms of performance.


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TCP (TRAFFIC CONTROL PROTOCOL) FOR VOIP, VIDEOS AND GAMES While HTTP only facilitates the transfer of information across networks, TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) works on top of IP to add reliability, sequencing and congestion control to packet transfers over the internet. Network connections that require guaranteed delivery like voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP), videos or online games depend on TCP rather than HTTP for their transmission.


UDP (USER DATAGRAM PROTOCOL) FOR SPEED AND SECURITY If you’re looking for speed — UDP is your man. This connectionless protocol doesn’t guarantee delivery like TCP but it does offer very fast performance by eliminating setup wait times and the error-correction processes that bog down HTTP. UDP is especially useful for applications like IP telephony, streaming media, online gaming or even transferring files.


ICMP (INTERNET CONTROL MESSAGE PROTOCOL) FOR TRACING LOSS AND CONGESTION It might not be used for direct transfers of data like UDP, but ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) does help regulate traffic congestion with its “control” packets that bounce between computers on a network to check availability and estimate distances to machines. When you ping an IP address using Windows’ command prompt or Mac OS X’s Terminal, are sending out ICMP packets.

Alternative Protocols for Sharing Files and Communicating Peer-to-peer Of course, there’s always a risk when using alternative protocols like BitTorrent (BT) or Gnutella that you’ll connect to peers who share illegal content, but these networks do offer better speed and security than HTTP — not to mention the ability to find files not available with standard search engines. Popular BT clients include uTorrent and Vuze while the Phex and BearShare programs provide access to Gnutella


The Bitcoin protocol is a set of rules that define how the Bitcoin network operates. It includes the rules for transaction verification, participating in the network, block creation, and mining. The protocol also defines the format of data transmitted across the network.


SMTP (SIMPLE MAIL TRANSFER PROTOCOL) FOR SENDING EMAILS Email might not be as popular as it once was but it’s still one of the most commonly used internet applications. To send an email, your computer connects to an SMTP server (email server software like Microsoft Exchange or Postfix) using TCP port 25. From there, your message goes through a series of checks before being routed to the correct recipient’s mailbox.


Different types of internet protocols work in different ways, but they all have one common goal- to move data from one point to another. In order to make the best decision about which protocol will work for your needs, it’s important to understand how each type works. We’ve outlined the four main types of internet protocols here, so you can start making educated decisions about your business connectivity. Have you used a specific protocol in the past that has worked well for you?

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