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Battle of the Network Protocols: TCP vs. UDP

Monday, March 31, 2008 in Technical Articles (Views: 3598)
I was asked a very interesting and point blank question. What is the difference between TCP and UDP protocols? So, why not blog today and celebrate the difference of the protocols?

TCP is a connection oriented protocol, whereas UDP is not. Connection oriented basically means that TCP is designed to error check and retransmit packets to make a complete data stream.

Some Advantages to TCP:

* Error Handling

* Recovery from Failure

* Flow Control

* Retransmission of lost packets

Some Disadvantages:

* Much higher overhead

* It is slower

* Larger protocol stack

It seems to all revolve around error checking and transmission control... Some programs you would use TCP for would be Web Browsing (Port 80), SSL Web Browsing (Port 443), FTP, and Telnet.

Some Advantages to UDP:

* Much less overhead

* Faster throughput

* Good for applications that stream or don't fragment data


* There is no guarantee data will actually get there

* No packet order

Some programs that would use UDP are DNS and SNMP. UDP is also good for streaming media from the internet.

The biggest difference in TCP and UDP is this:

TCP: Are you receiving all of this?

Answer: Slow down, so I can order all of these packets and find out.

UDP: Are you receiving all of this?

Answer: Who cares, just send it faster.

UDP also has another dubious distinction: Viruses (or Viruii to you snobs) or other types of Malware use it to distribute their binary code. Trojan Horses and other malware use UDP port 80 so they can mask their activities. Also, UDP is useful in Denial of Service (aka DOS) attacks.


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