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Network protocols are standards that allow computers to communicate. A protocol defines how computers identify one another on a network, the form that the data should take in transit, and how this information is processed once it reaches its final destination. Protocols also define procedures for handling lost or damaged transmissions or "packets." TCP/IP (for UNIX, Windows NT, Windows 95 and other platforms), IPX (for Novell NetWare), DECnet (for networking Digital Equipment Corp. computers), AppleTalk (for Macintosh computers), and NetBIOS/NetBEUI (for LAN Manager and Windows NT networks) are the main types of network protocols in use today.


This common method of accessing the physical network allows multiple protocols to peacefully coexist over the network media, and allows the builder of a network to use common hardware for a variety of protocols. This concept is known as "protocol independence,"

Important Protocols and their job

Some Important Protocols and their job:



Its Job



The backbone protocol of the internet. Popular also for intranets using the internet

Transmission Control Protocol/internet Protocol


The backbone protocol of the internet. Popular also for intranets using the internet

Internetwork Package Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange


This is a standard protocol for Novell Network Operating System

NetBIOS Extended User Interface


This is a Microsoft protocol that doesn't support routing to other networks

File Transfer Protocol


Used to send and receive files from a remote host

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol


Used for the web to send documents that are encoded in HTML.

Network File Services


Allows network nodes or workstations to access files and drives as if they were their own.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol


Used to send Email over a network



Used to connect to a host and emulate a terminal that the remote server can recognize

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