Network Protocol and its Types
A protocol is a set of rules that governs the communications between computers on a network. These rules include guidelines that regulate the following characteristics of a network: access method, allowed physical topologies, types of cabling, and speed of data transfer. Protocols can be implemented either in hardware or software, or a mixture of both. Protocols also define procedures for handling lost or damaged transmissions or “packets.
Network protocols are standards that allow computers to communicate. A network 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.
Network protocols defines a language of rules and conventions for communication between network devices. Network protocols like HTTP, TCP/IP, and SMTP provide a foundation that much of the Internet is built on. Protocols like ARP and ICMP also co-exist with IP. These higher level protocols interact more closely with applications like Web browsers while lower-level protocols interact with network adapters and other computer hardware.
Network Protocol types:
The most common network protocols are:
Ethernet: The Ethernet protocol is by far the most widely used. Ethernet uses an access method called CSMA/CD. This is a system where each computer listens to the cable before sending anything through the network. The Ethernet protocol allows for linear bus, star, or tree topologies. Data can be transmitted over wireless access points, twisted pair, coaxial, or fiber optic cable at a speed of 10 Mbps up to 1000 Mbps.
Local Talk: Local Talk is a network protocol that was developed by Apple Computer, Inc. for Macintosh computers. The method used by Local Talk is called CSMA/CA. Local Talk adapters and special twisted pair cable can be used to connect a series of computers through the serial port. The Local Talk protocol allows for linear bus, star, or tree topologies using twisted pair cable.
Token Ring: In the Token Ring protocol the computers are connected so that the signal travels around the network from one computer to another in a logical ring. The Token Ring protocol requires a star-wired ring using twisted pair or fiber optic cable.
FDDI: Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) is a network protocol that is used primarily to interconnect two or more local area networks, often over large distances. The access method used by FDDI involves token-passing. FDDI uses a dual ring physical topology.
ATM: ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) is a network protocol that transmits data at a speed of 155 Mbps and higher. ATM works by transmitting all data in small packets of a fixed size; whereas, other protocols transfer variable length packets. ATM is most often used to interconnect two or more local area networks.
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.
A wide variety of network communication protocols exist, which are defined by many standard organizations worldwide and technology vendors over years of technology evolution and developments.
LAN and WAN protocols are also critical protocols in the network communications. LAN protocols suite is for the physical and data link layers communications over various LAN media such as Ethernet wires and wireless waves. WAN protocol suite is for the lowest three layers and defines communication over various wide-area media such as fiber optic and cable.
Network protocols are implemented in modern operating systems like Microsoft Windows for built-in services or daemons that implement support for some network protocols. Applications like Web browsers contain software libraries that support the high level protocols necessary for that application to function. For some lower level TCP/IP and routing protocols, support is implemented in directly hardware (silicon chipsets) for improved performance.
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