10 Basic Types of Networking Protocols Explained to Kids

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In today’s world computer has become an integral part of business as well as personal activities. As technologies have evolved networking came into the picture and slowly from initial wired network technology we moved to wireless network technology

There are a vast variety of hardware devices and software available in the market that people can use for their needs. Different hardware and software communicate in different ways. That’s the reason why Network Protocols were designed.

In this article, we walk you through various types of protocols.

What is a Protocol?

The formal definition of a protocol is “a system of fixed rules and formal behaviour used at official meetings, usually between Governments”. In technical terms protocol means “a set of rules”. 

A communication protocol is a system of rules that allow two or more entities of a communications system to transmit information via any kind of variation of a physical quantity. The protocol defines the rules, syntax, semantics, and synchronization of communication and possible error recovery methods.

types of protocols
Set of Rules

Similar to the way that speaking the same language simplifies communication between two people, network protocols make it possible for devices to interact with each other because of predetermined rules built into devices’ hardware and software.

Who Defines Network Protocols?

Network protocols are typically created according to industry standards by various networking or information technology organizations.

Following are the groups that have defined and published different types of protocols:

  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
  • The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • The International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
  • The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

While network protocol models generally work in similar ways, each protocol is unique and operates in a specific way detailed by the organization that created it.

Basic Types of Protocols Explained to Kids

Following are the 10 basic types of protocols:

1. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

TCP is one of the most important in the list of types of protocols in the Internet Protocols suite. It is the most widely used protocol for data transmission in a communication network such as the Internet. 

TCP allows the transmission of information in both directions. This means that computer systems that communicate over TCP can send and receive data at the same time, similar to a telephone conversation. The protocol uses segments (packets) as the basic units of data transmission. 

The TCP software in the network protocol stack of the operating system is responsible for establishing and terminating the end-to-end connections as well as transferring data.

The TCP software is controlled by various network applications, such as web browsers or servers via specific interfaces. Each connection must always be identified by two clearly defined endpoints (client and server). It doesn’t matter which side assumes the client role and which assumes the server role. All that matters is that the TCP software is provided with a unique, ordered pair consisting of IP address and port (also referred to as “2-tuple” or “socket”) for each endpoint. This automated process of establishing a connection is called a “handshake”. Only once this handshake has been completed will one computer actually transfer data packets to the other.

2. Internet Protocol (IP)

IP is also one of the popular in the list of types of protocols. It is designed explicitly as an addressing protocol. It is mostly used with TCP. The IP addresses in packets help in routing them through different nodes in a network until it reaches the destination system. TCP/IP is the most popular protocol connecting the networks.

An IP address is the address of your network hardware. It helps in connecting your computer to other devices on your network and all over the world. An IP address is made up of numbers and periods (.). All devices that are connected to an Internet connection have a unique IP address which means there’s a need for billions of IP addresses.

Example of IP address:

3. User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

UDP is a substitute communication protocol in the list of different types of protocols to TCP implemented primarily for creating loss-tolerating and low-latency linking between different applications such as video playback or DNS lookups. It speeds up communications by not formally establishing a connection before data is transferred. This allows data to be transferred very quickly, but it can also cause packets to become lost in transit.

Like all other network protocols, UDP is a standardized method for transferring data between two computers in a network. Compared to other protocols, UDP accomplishes this process in a simple fashion: it sends packets directly to a target computer, without establishing a connection first, indicating the order of said packets, or checking whether they arrived as intended. UDP packets are referred to as datagrams.

UDP is faster but less reliable than TCP.

4. Post Office Protocol (POP)

POP is designed for receiving incoming E-mails. POP is ta standard mail protocol to receive emails from a remote server to a local E-mail client. POP allows you to download E-mail messages on your local computer and read them even when you are offline. When you use POP to connect to your E-mail account, messages are downloaded locally and removed from the E-mail server.

5. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

SMTP is another popular among the different types of protocols. SMTP is a part of the application layer of the TCP/IP protocol. Using a process called “store and forward”, SMTP moves your E-mail on and across networks. It works closely with Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) to send your communication to the right computer and E-mail inbox.

SMTP spells out and directs how your E-mail moves from your computer’s MTA to an MTA on another computer and even several computers. Using the “store and forward” feature, the message can move in steps from your computer to its destination. At each step, the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is doing its job. 

SMTP provides a set of codes that simplify the communication of E-mail messages between E-mail servers. When hen you send a message out, it’s turned into strings of text that are separated by the code words (or numbers) that identify the purpose of each section.

SMTP provides those codes and E-mail server software is designed to understand what they mean. As each message travels towards its destination, it sometimes passes through a number of computers as well as their individual MTAs. As it does, it’s briefly stored before it moves on to the next computer in the path. It’s similar to a letter going through different hands as it moves its way to the right mailbox.

6. File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP allows users to transfer files from one machine to another. Types of files may include program files, multimedia files, text files, document files, etc.

FTP is one of the oldest network protocols among the different types of protocols. The technology for transferring entire files has been used since 1974. The idea behind the protocol is to trigger downloads and uploads with commands. This allows you to transfer files from your device to the server and vice-versa. 

In this process, the file management systems are available to the user (provided by an operating system). Files can be placed in folders, which in turn be placed in other folders, giving rise to a hierarchical directory structure. 

FTP is often used to build websites. For example, HTML files can be transferred to the server using the FTP process. Moreover, website providers can make media files available for their visitors.

7. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

HTTP is designed for transferring a hypertext among two or more systems. HTML tags are used for creating links. These links may be in any form like text or images. HTTP is designed on Client-Server principles which allow a client system for establishing a connection with the server machine for making a request. The server acknowledges the request by the client and responds accordingly.

8. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

HTTPS is a standard protocol to secure communication among two computers one using the browser and the other fetching data from the webserver. HTTP is used for transferring data between the client browser (request) and the webserver (response) in the hypertext format, same in the case of HTTPS except that the transferring of data is done in an encrypted format. So it means that HTTPS thwarts hackers from interpretation or modification of data throughout the transfer of packets.

9. Telnet

Telnet is a set of rules designed for connecting one system with another. The connecting process here is referred to as a remote login. The system which requests for connection is the local computer and the system which accepts the connection is the remote computer.

10. Gopher

Gopher is a collection of rules implemented for searching, retrieving as well as displaying documents from isolated sites. Gopher also works on the client-server principle.

The Gopher Protocol was developed in the late 1980s to provide a mechanism for organizing documents for easy access by students and faculty at the University of Minnesota. The core principle that guided the development of the system was simplicity. Gopher is designed on the basis of a small number of core principles, that use a straightforward mechanism for passing information between client and server devices.

Conclusion: Though the protocols mentioned above might have some limitations regarding their efficiency and complexity, they still remain the most used ones in networking technologies.
Different types of protocols are designed and developed to properly build, maintain and secure information sharing through networks, leading most businesses and companies to rely on such a way of communication, and connecting people through the internet where they can share and receive knowledge and experience.

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