Unlocking the potential of raw sockets in networking

  • Sockets serve as software structures within network nodes, facilitating data transmission across the network.
  • Each socket is externally identified by a unique socket address, comprising the transport protocol, IP address, and port number, enabling communication with other hosts.

Network sockets are essential software structures within network nodes, facilitating data exchange between endpoints. Governed by the network architecture’s API, sockets enable the sending and receiving of data, identified externally by unique socket addresses.

What are network sockets?

In computer networking, a socket is a software structure within a network node, an endpoint used to send and receive data across the network. The structure and properties of a socket are defined by the network architecture’s application programming interface (API). Sockets are created only during the lifetime of the running application process. In this case, a socket is externally identified to other hosts by its socket address, which is a triplet of transport protocol, IP address, and port number.

Also read: What is the primary infrastructure that creates the internet?

Also read: The ultimate guide to iPhone EU chargers

3 types of sockets

1. Datagram Socket: This network type facilitates the transmission and reception of packets without establishing a connection. It operates akin to a mailbox, where posted letters (data) are gathered and delivered (transmitted) to a designated mailbox (receiving socket).

2.Stream Socket: In computer operating systems, a stream socket serves as a type of interprocess communication or network socket that offers a connection-oriented, sequential flow of data without distinct record boundaries. It includes well-defined mechanisms for creating and terminating connections, as well as error detection. Comparable to a telephone, a connection is established between two endpoints (phones), facilitating a conversation (data transfer).

3.Raw sockets: Raw sockets allow IP packets to be sent and received directly without the need for protocol-specific transport layer formats. When reading packets from a raw socket, headers are usually included. Automatically adding headers when transmitting packets is optional.Most socket application programming interfaces (APIs), such as those based on Berkeley sockets, support raw sockets. Windows XP implemented raw socket support when it was released in 2001, but Microsoft limited raw socket support to Winsock three years later for security reasons. Raw sockets are widely used in security-related applications such as Nmap.

Use cases

1. Web browing: web browsing involves your browser creating network sockets to connect with the web server, facilitating the exchange of data such as HTML pages and media content.

2. Email communication: Email communication relies on network sockets for your email client to connect to the email server, enabling the transfer of messages and attachments.

3. File transfers: Network sockets are vital for file transfers, ensuring efficient data packet exchange for accurate and swift transmission of files.

4. Instant messaging: Instant messaging platforms utilize network sockets for real-time communication by establishing connections between your device and the messaging server.

5. Video streaming: Smooth video streaming experiences rely on network sockets, as your device creates sockets to connect with video servers while watching content on streaming platforms.

6. Online gaming: In online gaming, network sockets are utilized to establish connections between players and game servers, facilitating seamless gameplay experiences.


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 s.li@btw.media.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *