What is COMMUNICATIONS PROTOCOL? What does COMMUNICATIONS PROTOCOL mean? COMMUNICATIONS PROTOCOL meaning - COMMUNICATIONS PROTOCOL definition - COMMUNICATIONS PROTOCOL explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
In telecommunications, a communication protocol is a system of rules that allow two or more entities of a communications system to transmit information via any kind of variation of a physical quantity. These are the rules or standard that defines the syntax, semantics and synchronization of communication and possible error recovery methods. Protocols may be implemented by hardware, software, or a combination of both.
Communicating systems use well-defined formats (protocol) for exchanging various messages. Each message has an exact meaning intended to elicit a response from a range of possible responses pre-determined for that particular situation. The specified behavior is typically independent of how it is to be implemented. Communications protocols have to be agreed upon by the parties involved. To reach agreement, a protocol may be developed into a technical standard. A programming language describes the same for computations, so there is a close analogy between protocols and programming languages: protocols are to communications what programming languages are to computations.
Multiple protocols often describe different aspects of a single communication. A group of protocols designed to work together are known as a protocol suite; when implemented in software they are a protocol stack.
Most recent protocols are assigned by the IETF for Internet communications, and the IEEE, or the ISO organizations for other types. The ITU-T handles telecommunications protocols and formats for the PSTN. As the PSTN and Internet converge, the two sets of standards are also being driven towards convergence.
Despite their numbers, networking protocols show little variety, because all networking protocols use the same underlying principles and concepts, in the same way. So, the use of a general purpose programming language would yield a large number of applications only differing in the details. A suitably defined (dedicated) protocolling language would therefore have little syntax, perhaps just enough to specify some parameters or optional modes of operation, because its virtual machine would have incorporated all possible principles and concepts making the virtual machine itself a universal protocol. The protocolling language would have some syntax and a lot of semantics describing this universal protocol and would therefore in effect be a protocol, hardly differing from this universal networking protocol. In this (networking) context a protocol is a language.
The notion of a universal networking protocol provides a rationale for standardization of networking protocols; assuming the existence of a universal networking protocol, development of protocol standards using a consensus model (the agreement of a group of experts) might be a viable way to coordinate protocol design efforts.
Networking protocols operate in very heterogeneous environments consisting of very different network technologies and a (possibly) very rich set of applications, so a single universal protocol would be very hard to design and implement correctly. Instead, the IETF decided to reduce complexity by assuming a relatively simple network architecture allowing decomposition of the single universal networking protocol into two generic protocols, TCP and IP, and two classes of specific protocols, one dealing with the low-level network details and one dealing with the high-level details of common network applications (remote login, file transfer, email and web browsing). ISO choose a similar but more general path, allowing other network architectures, to standardize protocols.