A protocol is a record of processes and events. In IT, protocols are needed for successful communication between servers and clients. They are agreements that regulate the exchange of data between two computers.
The protocol contains information important for data exchange. This includes the recipient and the sender, the type and length of the data packet and a checksum. The checksum is a measure that guarantees error-free transmission of the data. Some protocols also describe packet sequences for establishing and terminating a connection.
Protocols can also be referred to as network protocols. Examples of network protocols are Internet protocols or the protocols of the Apple Talk family. The most well-known Internet protocols include IP (Internet Protocol) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), which is used to regulate the exchange of data. IP is responsible for transporting and addressing data packets and TCP is responsible for regulating data exchange. The advantage of TCP/ IP is that it is almost platform-independent and runs independently of the respective operating system. The disadvantage is the splitting of the data packets, which means that sending the data takes more time. In addition, specialist knowledge is required for the configuration of these protocols. The individual protocols build on each other. In most cases TCP is based on the IP protocol. The protocols that are based on TCP include HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) for loading web pages and SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), which is responsible for transmitting emails. The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) regulates data transfer on the Internet and is also based on TCP. In the case of encrypted communication, the SSL protocol is required. The advantage of the SSL protocol is that any higher protocol can be implemented based on SSL, for example, encrypted websites can be loaded via HTTPS. HTTPS stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure” and enables a secure HTTP connection in the computer network. Other protocols based on TCP are POP3, RSH, IMAP4, DNS, SMB, SSH and also IRC.
Other protocol types
There are also a variety of protocols that do not necessarily belong to the group of network protocols. For example, the exchange of data between the CPU and RAM, or the exchange of data between peripheral devices (devices located outside the computer and connected via cable) is also regulated by protocols.
Tasks of protocols
The most important tasks of protocols include reliable and secure connection and disconnection between two computers, secure sending of data packets and ensuring error-free data transmission. In addition, protocols should prevent manipulation by third parties and reading by unauthorized persons.
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