Network protocols are a set of rules and conventions to be followed and implemented in data communications by electronic devices (computers, cell phones) through computer networks.

In this article I present a general concept of network protocols, also known as communication protocols, within the scope of computational communication networks.

The context is demonstrated in a video lesson on my YouTube channel, in the “Concepts in 2 minutes” series

Network Protocols - overview#

In the domain of computer networks, a protocol is a set of objective specifications that computers understand.

Technically, it is a set of standard rules that characterize the format, synchronization, sequence and also the detection of errors and failures in packet switching, that is, in the transmission of information between computers.

Thus, two or more devices, to communicate in a network, have to speak the same language, that is, to use the same protocol.

The basis of communication between devices is called a message. The exchange of messages being the action of communicating according to the purpose of each protocol.

There are protocols for the most diverse services, such as: file transfer (FTP), sending and receiving emails (SMTP), internet browsing (HTTP), among many others.

Network Protocol properties#

Although network communication protocols may vary greatly, depending on the purpose or degree of sophistication, in general, their properties are as follows:

  • Detect the underlying physical connection (wired or wireless) or if there is another terminal or node.
  • They perform handhaking or communication establishment before the starting messages exchanging on channel.
  • Negotiation of different connection characteristics.
  • Definition of how a message starts and ends.
  • Procedures for formatting the message.
  • How to treat corrupted or incorrectly formatted messages.

    • How to detect and treat connection loss.
    • Session and / or connection end.
    • Define the strategies for security.