What are network protocols and what are they for? Find it out!
As a global and decentralized phenomenon, the mechanisms that allow the Internet to function must be standardized. This is because we are talking about machines of the most different types and brands that are interconnected in the 4 corners of the world and need to communicate quickly and in a simplified way.
In this scenario, network protocols come into play, which enables communication at the most diverse layers, both about the internet and closed networks, whether corporate or domestic. In this post, we will explain better what network protocols are and which types are most used for digital communication today. Check out!
What are network protocols?
We can define them as a set of guidelines that enable machines connected to a network to communicate with each other. If you can, for example, send messages, make requests to servers, download files, or perform any interactive action on the internet, you do so using some network protocol (even without knowing it).
The creation of these protocols aims to make the communication language among the millions of devices connected to the internet universal. Just imagine if each country, each manufacturer, or each software had its network protocol. Communication would be limited, and you would have to use extra software to carry out “translations”, which would clutter up communication and harm performance.
It’s very similar to what happens with spoken languages. For example, with Portuguese, we communicate with people from Portugal, Angola, and other Portuguese-speaking countries. However, if we learn English, we will likely talk to many more people from different parts of the world, in other words, English is the best “protocol” for those who want to exchange information internationally without needing a “translator”.
What are the key elements of network protocols?
Network protocols are structured into three key elements, which are:
- syntax — referring to the format of the data and how it will be presented, that is, it serves to define the function that each byte position has about the functionality of the message;
- semantics — is what gives meaning to the message, that is, the meaning of the syntactic set that is part of the protocol;
- timing — messages need to be exchanged in real-time, that is when designing protocols, it is necessary to define an acceptable speed for packet transmission.
What are the main types of network protocols?
Now that we understand what network protocols are and the main elements that form these structures, let’s find out which are the most used on the internet today. Follow along!
IP — Internet Protocol
IP is an acronym well known to those who use the internet regularly. It is the protocol that standardizes the way data will be sent to another device on the same network. It is responsible for addressing and sending TCP packets.
It is an acronym for Transmission Control Protocol, in Portuguese. TCP is responsible for dividing the data that will be sent into packet formats to the destination device, making the process standardized.
HTTP AND HTTPS
Another protocol well known even by the lay public who access the internet daily, HTTP — Hypertext Transfer Protocol — is present in the address bar of your browser and was created to standardize access to the WWW — World Wide Web, by Tim Berners-Lee, considered the father of the modern internet.
HTTPS is an evolution that follows the need to protect the ever-increasing volume of data with end-to-end security and encryption . It is associated with pages that present valid SSL security certificates. These certificates are almost mandatory for a website to run in the main browsers without displaying a security alert.
FTP — File Transfer Protocol — is best known among developers and website administrators . It is used to standardize file transfers over the internet, and is widely used to send file packages for creating websites and to their hosting server.
An important point to be highlighted about FTP is that this protocol only allows files to be sent and received. To read and decode the data, other software is required.
We had a small introduction to SSL — Secure Sockets Layer — in the HTTPS topic. What is this protocol about? It makes it possible to confirm the identity of the superior where the website is hosted, certifying its reliability.
The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a protocol for transferring simple e-mail in Portuguese, as its name suggests, makes it possible to send messages to the network, acting as a type of electronic mail router.
It stands for Internet Message Access Protocol or Internet Mail Access Protocol. It is through it that it is possible to manipulate boxes placed remotely as if they were local.
The Post Office Protocol, or Correios Protocol, is used to receive messages via email. The difference between POP and IMAP is that the first allows access to just one email box, while the second allows access to several.
Multipurpose, Internet Mail Extensions, or Multipurpose Extensions for Internet Messages, is a protocol that makes it possible to use e-mail for multimedia work.
We hope that, after reading this post, you have understood what network protocols are and their importance for standardizing the Internet as a global computer network. Knowledge of these protocols is extremely important for IT professionals who need to monitor these standards, after all, it is necessary to ensure the good performance of websites, in addition to the reliability and security of data.
For all of this, it is necessary to have a good environment for hosting and managing websites and web applications. To access this type of structure, look for a good provider, such as Namecheap, Hostinger, or Bluehost which offers the ideal environment for your project with some days free for you to test.
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