What Are Network Protocols and Do We Use Them?

Most of the things we do nowadays are done through the help of the internet. The Internet is actually a plethora of devices connected via cable, wireless, satellite, optical and other technologies. That being said, the internet is actually a network of devices, a rather large one. Most networks need some sort of protocol to function properly. There are various types of networks, however, which immediately implies that there are different network protocols. Let us try to understand them and to see which ones we use most frequently.

Types of Network Protocols

Since there are different ways of networking devices, there are also corresponding protocols. You could divide protocols into three different groups, Security, Communication and Network Management.

Communication protocols are used daily, by most of us, without even realizing it. Whether Bluetooth, or the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), not to mention the Internet Protocol (IP), we use communication protocols daily. More recently, instant messaging protocols have become very popular.

Security protocols work almost all the time when we are browsing the internet. Encryption is one of the first that comes to mind, which are protocols that encrypt the data so that only select users can view it. There are also protocols which protect data during transfer and also authenticate entities and users, so that the right person receives the data, without anybody intercepting it.

Network management protocols can be anything from troubleshooting to connection. The first allows administrators to diagnose and remedy a connection issue from another computer, for example a network administrator or an ISP. Connection protocols are responsible for maintaining and establishing a variety of connections, from end-to-end to connections which can have many intermediaries. 

Do We Use Protocols?

Network protocols are used daily, most of the time without us knowing that we are using them. One of the first protocols that comes to mind is the HTTP protocol, or the HyperText Transfer Protocol. This protocol is activated every time we enter a website.

There is also a secure version of the protocol, called HTTPS, which encrypts data so that the visitor is safer when browsing a specific site. 

When we message people using our mobile phones and send something which we have called SMS for a long time, we are actually using the Short Message Service. This is a protocol responsible for short messages, or SMSs as we have come to know them.

Protocols are standardized and they help define how devices work and communicate with each other. This means that network protocols are used to a large extent.

Network protocols help define how devices work and communicate with one another. They are divided into groups, depending on which part of networking they serve. Network protocols are used all the time, as networking is always active.