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Types of Internet Protocols

  • Last Updated : 19 Oct, 2021

Internet Protocols are a set of rules that governs the communication and exchange of data over the internet. Both the sender and receiver should follow the same protocols in order to communicate the data. In order to understand it better, let’s take an example of a language. Any language has its own set of vocabulary and grammar which we need to know if we want to communicate in that language. Similarly, over the internet whenever we access a website or exchange some data with another device then these processes are governed by a set of rules called the internet protocols.

Working of internet protocol: The internet and many other data networks work by organizing data into small pieces called packets. Each large data sent between two network devices is divided into smaller packets by the underlying hardware and software. Each network protocol defines the rules for how its data packets must be organized in specific ways according to the protocols the network supports.  

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Why do we need protocols?

It may be that the sender and receiver of data are parts of different networks, located in different parts of the world having different data transfer rates. So, we need protocols to manage the flow control of data, access control of the link being shared in the communication channel. Suppose there is a sender X who has a data transmission rate of 10 Mbps. And, there is a receiver Y who has a data receiving rate of 5Mbps. Since the rate of receiving the data is slow so some data will be lost during transmission. In order to avoid this, the receiver Y needs to inform sender X about the speed mismatch so that the sender X can adjust its transmission rate. Similarly, the access control decides the node which will access the link shared in the communication channel at a particular instant of time. If not the transmitted data will collide if many computers send data simultaneously through the same link resulting in the corruption or loss of data.

Types of internet protocol

The Internet Protocols are of different types having different uses:-

1. TCP/IP(Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol): These are a set of standard rules that allows different types of computers to communicate with each other. The IP protocol ensures that each computer that is connected to the Internet is having a specific serial number called the IP address. TCP specifies how data is exchanged over the internet and how it should be broken into IP packets. It also makes sure that the packets have the information about the source of the message data, the destination of the message data, the sequence in which the message data should be re-assembled, and checks if the message has been sent correctly to the specific destination.

The functionality of TCP/IP is divided into 4 layers with each one having specific protocols:

  1. Application Layer: The application layer makes sure that the data from the sending end is received in a format that is acceptable and supported at the receiving end.
  2. Transport Layer: The transport layer is responsible for the smooth transmission of data from one end to the other. It is also responsible for reliable connectivity, error recovery, and flow control of the data.
  3. Internet Layer: This Internet Layer moves packets from source to destination by connecting independent networks.
  4. Network Access Layer: The Network Access Layer sees how a computer connects to a network.

2. SMTP(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): These protocols are important for sending and distributing outgoing emails. This protocol uses the header of the mail to get the email id of the receiver and enters the mail into the queue of outgoing mails. And as soon as, it delivers the mail to the receiving email id, it removes the email from the outgoing list.

3. PPP(Point to Point Protocol): It is a communication protocol that is used to create a direct connection between two communicating devices. This protocol defines the rules using which two devices will authenticate with each other and exchange information with each other. For example, A user connects his PC to the server of an Internet Service Provider also uses PPP. Similarly, for connecting two routers for direct communication it uses PPP.

4. FTP (File Transfer Protocol): This protocol is used for transferring files from one system to the other. This works on a client-server model. When a machine requests for file transfer from another machine, the FTO sets up a connection between the two and authenticates each other using their ID and Password. And, the desired file transfer takes place between the machines.

5. SFTP(Secure File Transfer Protocol): SFTP which is also known as SSH FTP refers to File Transfer Protocol (FTP) over Secure Shell (SSH) as it encrypts both commands and data while in transmission. SFTP acts as an extension to SSH and encrypts files and data then sends them over a secure shell data stream. This protocol is used to remotely connect to other systems while executing commands from the command line.

6. HTTP(HyperText Transfer Protocol): This protocol is used to transfer hypertexts over the internet and it is defined by the www(world wide web) for information transfer. This protocol defines how the information needs to be formatted and transmitted. And, it also defines the various actions the web browsers should take in response to the calls made to access a  particular web page. Whenever a user opens their web browser, the user will indirectly use HTTP as this is the protocol that is being used to share text, images, and other multimedia files on the World Wide Web. 

Note: Hypertext refers to the special format of the text that can contain links to other texts.   

7. HTTPS(HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure): HTTPS is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It is used for secure communication over a computer network with the SSL/TLS protocol for encryption and authentication. So, generally, a  website has an HTTP protocol but if the website is such that it receives some sensitive information such as credit card details, debit card details, OTP, etc then it requires an SSL certificate installed to make the website more secure. So, before entering any sensitive information on a website, we should check if the link is HTTPS or not. If it is not HTTPS then it may not be secure enough to enter sensitive information.

8. TELNET(Terminal Network): TELNET is a standard TCP/IP protocol used for virtual terminal service given by ISO. This enables one local machine to connect with another. The computer which is being connected is called a remote computer and which is connecting is called the local computer. TELNET operation lets us display anything being performed on the remote computer in the local computer. This operates on the client/server principle. The local computer uses the telnet client program whereas the remote computer uses the telnet server program.

9. POP3(Post Office Protocol 3): POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol version 3. It has two Message Access Agents (MAAs) where one is client MAA (Message Access Agent) and another is server MAA(Message Access Agent) for accessing the messages from the mailbox. This protocol helps us to retrieve and manage emails from the mailbox on the receiver mail server to the receiver’s computer. This is implied between the receiver and receiver mail server.

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