teach-ict.com logo

THE education site for computer science and ICT

1. Network protocols

In general, the word 'protocol' means an agreed set of rules of how to do something.

Protocols for network communications, otherwise known as network protocols, ensure that all devices follow the same rules for exchanging data with one another. Without them, computers wouldn't understand any of the messages sent by other computers.

A good communication protocol should include the following details:

  • How to set up a connection
  • How to end a connection
  • How to start a message
  • How to end a message
  • How to deal with corrupted data
  • How to format the data being sent

With these rules in place, hardware makers are sure their devices will work on a network using that protocol. Software authors are confident that their networked applications will work


A network protocol is an agreed way of how to communicate over a network. A protocol is often made formal by setting up a world standard.