While the TCP reliability functions provide more robust communication between applications, they also incur additional overhead and possible delays in transmission. UDP (User Datagram Protocol) is an alternative communications protocol to Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) used primarily for establishing low-latency and loss-tolerating connections between applications on the internet.
There is a trade-off between the value of reliability and the burden it places on network resources. Adding overhead to ensure reliability for some applications could reduce the usefulness of the application and can even be detrimental. In such cases, UDP is a better transport protocol. UDP socket routines enable simple IP communication using the user datagram protocol (UDP).
UDP provides the basic functions for delivering data segments between the appropriate applications, with very little overhead and data checking. UDP is known as a best-effort delivery protocol. In the context of networking, best-effort delivery is referred to as unreliable because there is no acknowledgment that the data is received at the destination. With UDP, there are no transport layer processes that inform the sender of a successful delivery.
The result is that UDP can: Achieve higher throughput than TCP as long as the network drop rate are within limits that the application can handle. Deliver packets faster than TCP with less delay. Setup connections faster as there are no initial handshake to setup the connection. UDP is similar to placing a regular, non-registered, letter in the mail. The sender of the letter is not aware of the availability of the receiver to receive the letter. Nor is the post office responsible for tracking the letter or informing the sender if the letter does not arrive at the final destination.
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