UDP (User Datagram Protocol)

UDP (User Datagram Protocol) is an optional communications protocol to Transmission Control Protocol used mostly for establishing low-latency and loss tolerating connections between applications on the Internet. Both UDP and TCP are working together with IP and are sometimes referred to as UDP/IP or TCP/IP. Both protocols send short packets of data, called datagram.

UDP(User Datagram Protocol) Low Overhead vs Reliability

UDP(User Datagram Protocol) is a protocol that provides the basic transport layer functions. It sends the packets, with much lower bandwidth overhead and latency than TCP. UDP is not a connection-oriented protocol so it does not offer the sophisticated retransmission, flow control and sequencing mechanism for lost and out of order packets. So UDP is not providing a reliability like TCP.  But this does not mean that application that uses UDP are forever unreliable and substandard. It only means that these functions are not provided by the transport layer protocol and must be implemented in a different place if required.

user datagram protocol

Because of low overhead, UDP is the best protocol for network applications in which apparent latency is critical such as gaming, voice and video communications, which can bear some data loss without badly disturbing apparent quality. Like TCP, UDP does not establish a connection before sending data, it just starts sending data whenever required.

UDP Datagram Reassembly

UDP datagrams are received to the destination using different routes and therefore these datagrams arrive in the wrong order. The UDP does not follow sequence numbers just like TCP. It has no mechanism to reorder the datagrams into their transmission order.

So, the UDP reassembles the data in the same order that it was received and forwards it to the application. If the sequence is important to the application; the application should identify the right sequence number and determine how the data should be processed.

user datagram protocol

UDP(User Datagram Protocol) Server Processes and Requests

UDP-based server applications are also assigned well-known or registered port numbers just like TCP When these applications and processes are running on a server; they accept the data matched with the assigned port number. When UDP receives a datagram destined for one of these ports; it forwards the application data to the proper application based on its port number.

user datagram protocol

UDP(User Datagram Protocol) Client Processes

Communication between client and server will be initiated by a client application requesting a server process. The UDP client process selects a port number from the range of port numbers randomly. The destination port on the server is generally the well-known or registered port number assigned to the server process.

Once the client selects the source and destination ports; this selected pair of ports is used in the header of all datagrams. For returning the data from server to the client, the destination and source port in the datagram header are reversed.

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