Communication Protocols

A protocol is a set of rules for a given situation, and this word has applications in many situations outside the computing world. With regard to computing, the term 'protocol' describes a set of rules computers must follow in order to communicate with one another.

Communication protocols control all forms of communication, whether it be sending a file to a printer, transmitting an e-mail from one server to the next or requesting a large file that is located on the other side of the planet.

Hundreds of protocols exist for the hundreds of different ways in which communication can take place. Most of these are obscure and hapen in the background without users ever knowing about them, but there are several that are more widely used than others. These are listed below.


Hypertext Transfer Protocol This is a protocol that controls the way in which hypertext (the language in which the worldwide web is essentially written) is transmitted. HTTP governs the transmission of multimedia content, including text, image, video and audio.



Simple Mail Transfer Protocol This protocol is responsible for the movement of e-mails from one server to another. It's use is limited, and it is generally used in conjunction with POP3 (see below) for people to receive as well as send e-mails.

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