Understanding IP, TCP, UDP protocols. Difference between TCP and UDP

Difference between TCP and UDP

In the networking field, you commonly heard about IP, TCP and UDP. These are popular protocols, plays a vital role in Internet communication. Here we are discussing brief about  Internet Protocol, What are the TCP and UDP protocols and difference between TCP and UDP, I hope this will cover all basics that you are looking for, Lets Start.

Internet Protocol:


In the field of computer networking, you will come across some essential terms that call for your deep understanding. ‘Internet protocol’ (normally denoted as IP), is one of those terms that you need to understand.

And, when you understand what Internet Protocol, then you will, in turn, understand what its uses are as well. This article will explain what the word Internet protocol means, in the simplest way possible.  


What is Internet Protocol (IP)?

To understand what Internet Protocol is, take an example of post office addresses that receive letters. When we send letters, we address the specific post office that will receive it.

This helps to ensure that information goes straight to the specific address which it is assigned to, with certain codes like 88-90200.

When it comes to the Internet, the same principle takes effect. So, in simple terms, Internet protocol can be defined as the specific code that is automatically assigned, or manually assigned, to a gadget in order to enable the receiving of packets.

It enables the specific message to get to the intended gadget and users. Each computer phone or network gadget has Internet protocols assigned to them so as to identify them from other devices.  


Uses of Internet Protocol

The following are the 5 main uses of Internet Protocol (IP);  

1.) Network Subnetting

An example of an IP address includes Specific IP can be broken down to form a web of IP addresses. For example, holds IP addresses between all the way to

All these IPs are known to be in one pool. When these IP addresses are broken down this way they can be used to divide networks into different rooms or areas using the ranges of IPs in each pool. This is called subnetting.  

2.) Routing

Networks can be converted to wireless connections through the use of networking devices known as routers. When this happens, the routers assign IP addresses to each gadget so as to identify them separately.

These gadgets are then able to access the Internet. Through the IP assigned, they can communicate to the other gadgets which are connected to the web through an IP address.  

3.) Classification of Networks

Networks are classified into three classes. These classes include; class A (, class B (, and class C ( This classification of networks based on IPs enables different numbers of IPs to be generated.

Class A is used in networking where there are a large number of computers and servers, while class B finds use where a medium number of computers and servers are.

Class c is used in small enterprises because the pools of IP addresses created are limited in number.  

4.) Addressing

A network gadget and its elements are identified uniquely using the Internet protocol(IP). These work under the main Internet protocol called a node.

The node which forms the mother IP creates a pool of IPs, which are then used to subdivide and assign a network to each gadget.

Most networking gadgets are uniquely identified by relying on an Internet protocol.

This unique name is achieved through addressing. Remember, the naming is usually in the form of codes.  

5.) Domains

Each website link is in the form of a human-readable language. Think of a website like netflix.com.

This website domain name is readable and understandable by humans.

However, the computer does not have this version and cannot understand this.

So what usually happens, so that the computers can understand and open the exact websites that we need, is that IPs come to play.

Each domain is linked with a certain IP address in order to translate it from human language to computer language.    

See alsoWhy We Need Protocols for Communication?


What are the TCP and UDP Protocols?

TCP and UDP difference


In computer networking, there are two main types of web traffic, also known as Internet protocol (IP) traffic. These are;

  • TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)
  • UDP (User Datagram Protocol)

There are different types of the protocol which function on top of Internet Protocol traffic, but TCP and UDP are the most commonly used.  

Both of these types of IP traffic function to send segments of data (packets) across the Internet.   The bits of data sent by both TCP and UCP are usually directed to a particular IP address.  

From the IP address of the computers, the packets can then be forwarded to the intermediary routers, and finally to their intended destinations.  

Despite their similarities, UDP and TCP have quite a number of differences.  

Their differences are what gives them different functions. Before we can consider what their differences are, let’s look into what each of the IP protocol is.  


TCP Protocol

TCP is an acronym for Transmission Control Protocol. The TCP protocol is connection-oriented. This means that; when you establish a connection using TCP, the packets can be sent over the Internet in a bidirectional way.

The transfer of data usually begins immediately after the connection has been established. When the data packets have been fully transferred, all the established virtual circuits are then closed, which in turn terminates the connection.  


UDP Protocol

UDP is an acronym for User Datagram Protocol. Unlike the TCP Protocol, UDP Protocol is simpler and connectionless. This is why multiple messages transmitted by UDP are usually sent in the form of packets in chunks.

When sending data using USD, the recipient is not given the chance to confirm receipt of all packets. The sender just continues to send the bits of data, whether they have been received or not.  


TCP vs UDP: Difference between TCP and UDP protocols

  The following are the 5 main differences between TCP and UDP;  

1.) Data Transfer Features

When it comes to the transfer of data, TCP protocol is more dedicated than UDP. TCP ensures that the streams of bytes are delivered from the server to the users, and vice versa, in an orderly and reliable manner.

On the other hand, UDP cannot actually be described as being dedicated, when it comes to end-to-end connections. Furthermore, using UDP does not allow to check whether the receiver is ready to receive data packets, which makes its communication unreliable.  

2.) Reliability

TCP is a more reliable type of Internet Protocol (IP) traffic. Its reliability is due to the Protocol’s ability to manage message acknowledge, as well as retransmit any lost data.

This ensures that no data is missed or lost in TCP. On the contrary, UDP does not include any aspects of time-out or acknowledge. UDP does not also retransmit data in cases where data parts are lost.

It simply has no means to confirm whether the receiver has received the transmitted communication, which makes it unreliable.  

3.) Ordering

Data packets being sent in TCP are transmitted in a sequence. This same sequence is also used to receive the transmissions.

When the bits of data arrive in a wrong order, TCP retransmits them, reorders and then ensures delivery of the application. As for UDP, the sequence used for data transmission is not usually the same sequence used to receive the transmissions.

This is why, in the case of UDP, it is impossible to predict the particular order in which the transmitted data bits will be received.  

4.) Connection

TCP is a heavy-weight type of connection. It requires 3 packets so as to make a socket connection.

Being a heavy-weight connection, TCP ensures the reliability of the protocol and also controls the congestion of traffic.

UDP is a lightweight type of connection, in the transport layer. Therefore, it neither tracks connections nor orders transmitted messages.  

5.) Method of Transfer

In the case of TCP, data is usually read as a byte stream, while the data transmissions are delivered to segment boundaries. On the other hand, UDP reads its messages as packets.

These packets are transmitted as individual packets. Upon arrival, they are then scrutinized to check their integrity.  


See alsoWhat is the difference between IPv4 and IPv6? : Internet Protocols  



Internet protocol is an important tool in networking. It also finds use in fields such as website browsing and understanding how domains work.

Having this knowledge is, therefore, very important because it can help you understand how the network works, and above all, you get the real definition in a simple language.

TCP is the protocol that is mostly used on the Internet. It is usually termed as TCP/IP, which means ‘TCP over IP.’ On the other hand, UDP Protocol is not as commonly used as TCP/IP.

However, UDP is the most ideal protocol for you to use when the speed of your network connection is desirable, or when you do not require correction of errors.  


See alsoWhat are the Internet of Things Protocols and Standards?


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