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TCP & UDP Port Numbers



Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

TCP The most common transport layer protocol used on Ethernet and the Internet.

TCP is the connection-oriented protocol built on top of Internet Protocol (IP) and is nearly always seen in the combination TCP/IP (TCP over IP). It adds reliable communication and flow-control and provides full-duplex, process-to-process connections.

User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

The User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a TCP/IP standard defined in RFC 768.  UDP is used by some programs instead of TCP for fast, lightweight, unreliable transportation of data between TCP/IP hosts.  UDP provides a connectionless datagram service that offers best-effort delivery, which means that UDP does not guarantee delivery or verify sequencing for any datagrams. A source host that needs reliable communication must use either TCP or a program that provides its own sequencing and acknowledgment services.

In general, differences in how UDP and TCP deliver data are similar to the differences between a telephone call and a postcard. TCP works like a telephone call by verifying that the destination is available and ready to communicate. UDP works like a postcard—messages are small and delivery is likely, but not always assured.

UDP is typically used by programs that transmit small amounts of data at one time or have real-time requirements. In these situations, the low overhead and multicasting capabilities of UDP (for example, one datagram, many recipients) are better suited than TCP. 

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