TCP vs UDP: Best Comparison Between TCP and UDP Protocol

Are you looking forward to choosing the internet protocol and confused between TCP vs UDP?

Don’t you worry about that, as we’ve got the rundown? Scroll down the page and get updated with the list of differences to make a worthy choice.

No matter whether you are setting up a network for your business or personal use, selecting the rightmost internet protocol can make the difference.

In the world of IP traffic, one can either choose TCP or opt for UDP, depending on the system’s needs.

When it comes to UDP vs TCP features and functions, each brings its own set of advantages and challenges.

Let’s TechAmple will discuss the common differences between them and pick the option that works well with your requirements.

Here we go!!

What is TCP – Transmission Control Protocol?

Before jumping to TCP vs UDP, it is essential to know every aspect of these internet protocols. Let’s get started.

Transmission Control Protocol, commonly abbreviated as TCP, is a connection-oriented IP designed to offer reliable and end-to-end byte stream over an internetwork.

It comes with built-in systems to determine errors and guarantees that data packets will be delivered in the exact order sent it.

Once the connection has been established with Transmission Control Protocol, data will then transfer in two directions.

This communication standard mainly enables computing devices and application programs to exchange messages over the network.

TCP is one of the widely used protocols within digital network communications and ensures end-to-end data delivery.

It is the basic standard and is included within the criteria defined by IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force).

TCP is integrated with an extensive error-checking mechanism and thus provides flaw control and data acknowledgment.

How Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Works?

Several network applications mainly control TCP through specific interfaces.

You must always identify every connection with two clearly defined end-points, i.e., client and server.

It allows the transmission of information in both directions, and systems that communicate over the TCP can send and receive data simultaneously.

Transmission Control Protocol uses packets or segments as the basic unit of data transmission.

The TCP software in the network protocol stack is mainly responsible for establishing and terminating connections and data transfer.

What is UDP – User Datagram Protocol?

As the name implies, UDP is a datagram-oriented protocol and is mainly used for broadcast or multicast type of data transmission.

A datagram refers to a transfer unit associated with a packet-switched network.

The significant difference between TCP vs UDP is that UDP lacks an error-detection feature and throws all error-checking stuff out.

It is a connectionless protocol and transfers the data at a much faster rate. With UDP, there is no need to open the connection, maintain, and terminate the same.

It continuously sends data packets to the users without checking whether they are receiving them or not.

In addition to this, there is no sequencing of data, and the application layer usually maintains its order.

Also, the system that makes data transmission with UDP cannot re-transmit the information under any circumstance.

No three-way handshake is necessary while sending data packets with UDP.

How User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Work?

It is believed that UDP puts the message into the bottle and tosses it into the sea. It might or might not arrive.

This internet protocol mainly works by gathering data in a packet by adding its header information.

The data packet comprises the source and destination ports to communicate, checksum, and packet length.

These packets are encapsulated in an IP packet and send to their respective destinations.

It never assures that the data packet will arrive or not, and this is the significant difference between UDP vs TCP.

Difference Between TCP vs UDP

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)User Datagram Protocol (UDP)
It is a connection-oriented protocol

It is a connectionless protocol
It provides reliable data transmission and assures that the data packet will reach its destination.It just transmits the data in bulk and never guarantees whether it will get delivered or not.
TCP continuously transmits data in a particular sequence.
There is no sequencing of data in the User Datagram Protocol.
Re-transmission of data packets is possibleNo re-transmission of data is allowed
It is a heavy-weight protocolIt is light in weight
TCP is slower and less efficient than UDP UDP is faster and more efficient
Provides error-checking featureOffers no error-checking option
Its header size is around 20 bytesIts header size is only 8 bytes

Features of TCP and UDP

Before choosing and figuring out TCP vs UDP, it is essential to understand the same features. So let’s take a look.

Features of TCP:

  • This is a reliable protocol and ensures the reliable transmission of data packets from client to server.
  • It always sends data to the intended destination in the same order it was sent it. TCP offers flow control and quality of service.
  • It promotes end-to-end communication.
  • It is bi-directional and stream-oriented.
  • TCP supports bandwidth-oriented applications that can tolerate packet loss.

Features of UDP:

  • UDP offers connectionless and unreliable services.
  • It never maintains the data connection and hence, provides no guarantee whether the data packet will reach or not.
  • It sends content in the bulk quantity.
  • UDP is much faster than TCP and is exceptionally light in weight.
  • It is ideal for data flowing in one direction.
  • UDP is the most straightforward transport layer communication protocol.

Applications of TCP and UDP

When it comes to TCP vs UDP, Applications or usage holds essential significance. Check out the applications of both protocols and determine what works best for you.

Applications of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP):

  • It is compatible with various routing protocols.
  • It is mainly used to establish a secure connection between a network and a computer device.
  • TCP is also used in peer-to-peer file sharing.
  • It is also used for Remote Desktop applications such as Microsoft Remote Desktop Client.
  • TCP sets the base for File Transfer Protocol, HTTP, SMTP, Telnet, and HTTPS.

Application of User Datagram Protocol (UDP):

Here are a few applications where UDP helps in transmitting the data.

  • Simple Network Management Protocol
  • Routing Information Protocol
  • Trivial File Transfer Protocol
  • Voice over IP (VoIP)
  • Real-time multiplayer games
  • It supports packet broadcasts for sending the same data packet to multiple users.
  • Time-sensitive applications extensively use UDP.

Advantages of TCP and UDP

Still skeptical about TCP vs UDP and wondering what to go for? Let’s check out their advantages here so that you can make the wise choice to cater to your needs.

Advantages of TCP:

  • The major advantage of using TCP over UDP is that it transmits the data packet securely and acknowledges when it reaches its destination. It guarantees that every bit of information will deliver to the destination, no matter what.
  • It features highly scalable client-server architecture and thus, maintains data safety to the maximum extent.
  • TCP operates independently, irrespective of the operating system.
  • It enables internetworking between organizations

Advantages of UDP:

  • UDP model enables multicast and broadcast data transmission.
  • It never confines the users with a connection-based communication model, precisely why it has low latency.
  • This internet protocol is light in weight and is more efficient when compared to TCP.
  • Its outstanding speed makes it beneficial for query-response protocols.

Disadvantages of TCP and UDP

Pros and cons always go hand in hand, and these internet protocols are no different. Before deciding between TCP vs UDP, it is essential to know about the disadvantages you’ll face with each option.

Take a look!!

Disadvantages of TCP:

  • It is relatively slow and is least efficient when compared to UDP.
  • The users cannot use this protocol for broadcasting or multicast transmission.
  • One of the major pitfalls of using the TCP model is that you cannot replace protocols over this network with ease.
  • It never comes with block boundaries, and you will have to create the same on your own.
  • You cannot terminate the connection until all data packets in motion are explicitly sent.

Disadvantages of UDP:

  • The ultimate shortcoming of using the UDP model is that it never confirms whether the data packet will reach the destination or not.
  • There is no sequencing in UDP, and thus the individual at the receiver end has no idea what exactly he is receiving.
  • It is likely to suffer from worse packet loss.
  • This never allows re-transmission of the data segments.

When to use TCP and UDP?

They are confused about TCP vs UDP and unsure what model to choose? If yes, then read on to find their applications and make a choice accordingly.

  • TCP is mainly used when reliability is important such as emails, web browsing, and file transfer protocols. However, UDP is an ideal choice for speed-oriented applications like online gaming, video conferencing, and live streaming.
  • TCP sockets can be implemented when the client and server want to send individual packets to each other, but an occasional delay is unacceptable. However, UDP comes with a separate application. One can opt for User Datagram protocol if reliability holds no significance and an occasion delay is acceptable.

The Final Word

This is all about TCP vs UDP. I hope you find it well!! Both TCP and UDP are excellent communication protocols but operate on different principles and concepts.

These internet protocols are integrated with other features and offer applications and benefits accordingly.

Determine what goes well with your needs and make an excellent selection.

Happy networking!!

Akshay Gundatwar
Akshay Gundatwar
A blogger by profession, I am passionate about gaming, technology, and SEO techniques. I love my work and enjoy my privacy. I make my pass time from watching Web series, gaming News, upcoming gadgets, and their specifications.

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