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Part 5 - Network Protocols

A network protocol is a catalogue of rules and conventions for communication between various networking devices. All protocols for networking of computers utilize the prevalence of packet switching techniques to both send and receive messages in the form of packets.

These network protocols include various types of mechanisms for the devices to both identify and establish connecting with other devices on the network as well as formatting the process in which the data is packaged into messages that can then be sent or received.

Some protocols are known which support:

  • Message Acknowledgement
  • Data Compression

These protocols are designed basically for the purpose of establishing reliable and high performance network communication. Hundreds of protocols have been adapted into networking. Each of these protocols can be designed to support specific purposes and working environments. That is why; we can say that network protocols are highly adaptive in nature.

Let us have a look at some of the broad categories of protocols.

Internet Protocols

The Internet Protocol order consists of the most widely used network protocols till date. As they serve a united purpose, these network protocols are very much related to each other in the definition of rules. The most common of these Internet protocols is the Internet Protocol (IP). However there are various higher levels of protocols like HTTP, FTP, UDP and TCP. All these protocols unite with IP to cater to additional requirements and provide additional capabilities.

At the same time, lower level Internet Protocols can also unite with IP. Some examples are ARP and ICMP.

Higher level protocols primarily interact with the applications like web browsers and on the other hand the lower level protocols interact with adapters and various types of computer hardware.

Routing Protocols

The most common routing protocols include EIGRP, BGP and OSPF. These routing protocols are specially designed to serve the purpose of being coupled with network routers on the Internet.

Peer to Peer and Ad Hoc Wi-Fi Networks

Wi-Fi wireless networks support so-called ad hoc connections between devices. Ad hoc Wi-Fi networks are solely peer to peer compared to those implementing wireless routers as an intermediary device.

How Network Protocols Are Implemented

All modern operating systems have daemons, which are actually built-in services that are capable of implementing support for various network protocols. At the same time, web browsers support software libraries. These support all the high level protocols that are necessary for the application in question to function properly.

Support is implemented directly in the silicon chips (hardware) for an improved performance when the lower level protocols are required to be supported like TCP/IP or the routing protocols.