Published: 17/01/2022

User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

The User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is one of the core members of the Internet Protocol Suite, the set of network protocols used for the internet. With UDP, computer applications can send messages, in this case, referred to as datagrams, to other hosts on an Internet Protocol (IP) network without requiring prior communications to set up special transmission channels or data paths. UDP is sometimes called the Universal Datagram Protocol.

How it works

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is an alternative protocol to the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). Unlike TCP, UDP does not provide any confirmation that the data has been received at the other end or guarantee that it will get there. This means that UDP datagrams may arrive at their destination out of order, duplicate, or not at all while a TCP connection provides these assurances.

Contrary to TCP, which requires a significant amount of overhead in managing connections and reliability from checking that segments arrived in order and retransmitting missing ones, UDP transaction simply consists of a datagram that gets sent from one point to another. Because of this, UDP is often used for applications such as streaming media and online gaming where the speed of delivery is more important than reliable delivery or data integrity.

UDP is often used instead of TCP where speed and low overhead are key concerns. Some examples of UDP applications include streaming media, online games, DNS lookups, and data backups over the internet.

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