What is a protocol?

What is a protocol?What is a protocol?

If you arrived here, this probably means that you have heard before of something called protocol. The first thing to know is that there are a bunch of protocols, not only one, and that every protocol has a bunch of rules inside him. Let’s take a real world example.

Knowing how to drive your car from one point to another is a form of making a complete action. Let’s take that driving for example. Things that we need to do in between entering the car and exiting the car one the other side of the city are nothing else that set of rules that we need to do for making the whole action.

If you know how to drive a car, you learned the protocol of driving. Where’s the break, where are the gears, where can I turn the lights on, how to throttle? Without all there little rules, we couldn’t drive the car, and with all that knowledge, every man is able drive every car in the world.

But is this enough to be able to drive from point A to point B? Not really. We have the protocol to drive the car, and that protocol can everyone use to drive the cars that they have, but what will happen when all this people come to the road together and meet, for example, on a crossroad. All of them will need some other bunch of rules to decide how needs to go first and pass the crossroad safely.

Knowing the traffic signs is the second protocol. And the story is not over but I will stop here. It is now clear that every system, the networking system too, needs all different sets of rules that form sets of protocols which give to the system the ability to function properly.

This is not the young driver’s school so we are going back to the networking and Internet.

You’ve heard of several protocols now and the story is going on to explain the protocols that make the Internet work

The most important protocols on today’s networks are TCP – the Transmission Control Protocol and the IP – Internet Protocol. Usually they work together and in the discussion we can see TCP/IP written like one protocol. These two protocols are in charge of defining rules for transporting packets through network, taking care of common language for these computers to understand each other.

One of the most common examples of Application Layer network protocol in the Internet story is HTTP – hypertext transfer protocol and is what we use to view Web sites through a browser. This is the reason for which we have the “http://” at the front of web page address.

On other side, if you wish to download something from the web page, you just need to click on the link and the computer will ask you where to save the file. This is the moment when computer is starting to use FTP – file transfer protocol to load the file from server to your computer hard disk.

Protocols like these and whole bunch other create the framework within which all devices must operate to be part of the Internet.

IP address is the unique name for every computer on the network. With computers named with IP address, every of them can easily find any other computer following the IP protocol.


  1. Nancy October 5, 2011
  2. Ezenwoko egwunwoko precious December 25, 2014
  3. Maha October 1, 2015

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