Demystifying network protocols: Rules for data communication

  • A network protocol governs data communication among devices, defining content, method, and timing, facilitating seamless interaction despite structural differences.
  • A network protocol is a set of rules facilitating data communication among diverse devices in a network, enabling seamless interaction despite differences in structure and internals.

A network protocol is a set of rules that governs data communication between various devices in a network. It determines the content, method, and time of communication, and allows connected devices to communicate with each other regardless of internal and structural differences. These protocols define the rules and conventions for transmitting and receiving data to ensure efficient and reliable data communication.

Also read: Internet routers, the central hub of networking devices

Also read: How to manage a network’s infrastructure?

How network protocols work?

A network protocol is a set of established rules that specify how to format, send and receive data so that computer network endpoints, including computers, servers, routers and virtual machines, can communicate despite differences in their underlying infrastructures, designs or standards.To successfully send and receive information, devices on both sides of a communication exchange must accept and follow protocol conventions. In networking, support for protocols can be built into the software, hardware or both.

Each packet traversing a network consists of binary data. In most computing protocols, a header is appended to the beginning of each network packet, containing details about the sender and the intended destination of the message. Some protocols may also include a footer at the end, providing supplementary information. These headers and footers are processed by network protocols as the data moves between devices, facilitating the identification of messages and ensuring seamless communication within the network.

Types of protocol in computer networks

1.Network communication

Communication protocols are very important for the operation of a network. These protocols formalise the rules and formats for data transmission. These protocols deal with syntax, semantics, error detection, synchronisation, and authentication. The following are some of the common network communication protocols:

Hypertext Transfer Protocol(HTTP)

Hypertext Transfer Protocol(HTTP)

Transmission Control Protocol(TCP)

User Datagram Protocol(UDP)

Border Gateway Protocol(BGP)

Address Resolution Protocol(ARP)

Internet Protocol(IP)

2.Network management

These protocols help describe the procedures and policies used to monitor, maintain, and manage computer networks. They also help communicate these requirements on the network to ensure stable communication. Such protocols play an important role in troubleshooting connectivity between hosts and clients. The following are some of the common network management protocols:

Internet Control Message Protocol(ICMP)

Simple Network Management Protocol(SNMP)


File Transfer Protocol(FTP)

Post Office Protocol(POP3)


3.Network security

These protocols ensure the security of data while it is transmitted over the network. They also determine how the network protects the data and prevents any unauthorised extraction or viewing of the data. Here are some common network security protocols:

Secure Socket Layer(SSL)

Hypertext Transfer Protocol(HTTPS)

Transport Layer Security(TLS)

4.Others protocols

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP)

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)

Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP)

Rout Access Protocol (RAP)

Point To Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP)

Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP)

Resource Location Protocol (RLP)


Sissy Li

Sissy Li, a news reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from Macau University of Technology and Science. Send tips to

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