In communication networks, protocols play a major role as a fundamental necessity enabling communication. But what is the real meaning of a protocol? What is the purpose of a networking protocol? Most people have a little idea about the importance of networking protocols in telecommunication.
How can you understand the job of a protocol? To have a brief idea about how a protocol works, consider the following example. Two persons are about to begin a verbal conversation. However, one person speaks Japanese and the other speaks Spanish. As a result, If one person does not know how to interpret the others vocals, there will be a communication barrier. Nevertheless, they can use a common language to transfer information between them. If both of them are familiar in a language like English, then the communication barrier can be avoided. Hence, a language is only a coding system to transfer information. If both parties are aware to decode and encode the information, then communication is possible.
Similarly, a networking protocol is a common standard to exchange information between different computer systems. You cannot expect every computer user in the world to use the same hardware or software platforms. Some may prefer Windows while others choose Linux as their favorite, and some may like Mac OS. Consequently, all these different environments should be able to communicate between each-other, especially in the means of Internet. All of them should be able to exchange messages using e-mail facility.
This is the point where networking protocols comes into use. E-mailing protocols such as POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3), SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), will allow these different environments to do the communication smoothly and comfortably. The capability to encode and decode the protocol is built into the operating system itself. To find out more facts about protocols and their usage, browse the Internet, which too is a network that runs on a popular protocol HTTP, (HyperText Transfer Protocol) which is used to display the webpage correctly in your browser.
There are hundreds of networking protocols defined to-date. Some of them may require additional hardware and software translation points to operate. This makes things a little bit complicated. How can a protocol be a standard if the hardware and software requirements disagree? Anyone can make a proprietary communication method and call it a protocol? Probably not. Organization for International Standards (ISO) has defined a layered set of rules to be followed when introducing any networking protocol. The standard is well known as the Open System Interconnection (OSI) architecture model. It describes a set of seven layers where each layer has its own propose in the means of electronic communication. To discover more information, visit www.osi.org.
Most of the services you are enjoying currently over communication networks are the capacities of communication protocols. They allow you to surf the net, chat with your friends, and at the end of the day, play online games!