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What is a Communication Protocol?

Communication protocols are defined as a formal description for digital message formats as well as the rules that govern the exchange of information. These protocols are very important not just for their use in telecommunications but also in governing the exchange of messages in and between computer systems.

The entire composition or coverage of a communication protocol is quite broad because for the most part, includes the description of syntax, semantics, as well as the synchronization of analog as well as digital communications. Aside from those, communication protocols also intends to cover things like authentication, error detection, signaling, and correction.

Moreover, for every individual given the job to study and master this crucial piece of digital messaging and exchange of communications must be fully aware that communication protocols are to be implemented in both hardware and software. This literally suggests that there in fact are also strict requirements in the two aspects of computing systems. As a matter of fact, the absence of communication protocols means that computer networks can never exist. Today, there exist thousands of varying protocols being used both in analog and digital communications.
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But with all those technical terms, it’s no surprise that only a few individuals will be able to get a grasp on what communication protocols really mean and what their significance really is. The issue really as of now is how can these protocols be sufficiently explained in layman’s terms? First, you must understand that for a couple of communications devices to successfully exchange data, there is a need for them to agree on certain physical aspects or composition of that same data they intend to pass or transmit; and this is required in order to come up with a successful transmission. For a specific transmission to occur, a set of rules must be implemented and without them, no transmission is possible. These rules that define transmissions are now what we call as protocols.
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Down the line, the terms involved in communication protocols become more complex and technical. But first, you need to recognize the fact that there actually are so many different transmission properties that a protocol is designed to define. Perhaps the most common and familiar of these properties are that of error correction types, transmission speed, packet size, address mapping and formatting, acknowledgement processes, packet sequence controls, and others.

Once properties are defined, it’s time that you learn what the most popular existing protocols there are today. Well, most of them are acronyms that you probably have seen or heard somewhere, including that of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), TCP/IP, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), Post Office Protocol (POP3), and User Datagram Protocol (UDP).