047 - What is Network Protocol

A protocol is a standard used to define a method of exchanging data over a computer network. protocol is the special set of rules that end points in a telecommunication connection use when they communicate. Protocols specify interactions between the communicating entities.

Network protocols are standards that allow computers to communicate. A protocol defines how computers identify one another on a network, the form that the data should take in transit, and how this information is processed once it reaches its final destination. Protocols also define procedures for handling lost or damaged transmissions or packets.

TCP/IP: for UNIX, Windows NT, Windows 95 and other platforms, IPX: for Novell NetWare, DECnet: for networking Digital Equipment Corp. computers, AppleTalk: for Macintosh computers, and NetBIOS/NetBEUI: for LAN Manager and Windows NT networks, are the main types of network protocols in use today.

Although each network protocol is different, they all share the same physical cabling. This common method of accessing the physical network allows multiple protocols to peacefully coexist over the network media, and allows the builder of a network to use common hardware for a variety of protocols. This concept is known as protocol independence.

Some Important Protocols

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) • The backbone protocol of the internet.
Internetwork Package Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange (IPX/SPX) • This is a standard protocol for Novell Network OS.
NetBIOS Extended User Interface (NetBEUI) • This is a Microsoft protocol that doesn't support routing to other networks.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) • Used to send and receive files from a remote host.
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) • Used for the web to send documents that are encoded in HTML.
Network File Services (NFS) • Allows network nodes or workstations to access files and drives as if they were their own.
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) • Used to send Email over a network.
Telnet - Used to connect to a host and emulate a terminal that the remote server can recognize.


The term TCP/IP is not limited just to these two protocols, however. Frequently, the term TCP/IP is used to refer to a group of protocols related to the TCP and IP protocols such as the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Terminal Emulation Protocol (TELNET), and so on.

TCP/IP Networks

TCP/IP-based networks play an increasingly important role in computer networks. Perhaps one reason for their appeal is that they are based on an open specification that is not controlled by any vendor.

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