User Datagram Protocol

What Does User Datagram Protocol Mean?

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is part of the Internet Protocol suite used by programs running on different computers on a network. UDP is used to send short messages called datagrams but overall, it is an unreliable, connectionless protocol. UDP is officially defined in RFC 768 and was formulated by David P. Reed.

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Techopedia Explains User Datagram Protocol

User datagram protocol is an open systems interconnection (OSI) transport layer protocol for client- server network applications. UDP uses a simple transmission model but does not employ handshaking dialogs for reliability, ordering and data integrity. The protocol assumes that error-checking and correction is not required, thus avoiding processing at the network interface level.

UDP is widely used in video conferencing and real-time computer games. The protocol permits individual packets to be dropped and UDP packets to be received in a different order than that in which they were sent, allowing for better performance.

UDP network traffic is organized in the form of datagrams, which comprise one message units. The first eight bytes of a datagram contain header information, while the remaining bytes contain message data. A UDP datagram header contains four fields of two bytes each:

  • Source port number
  • Destination port number
  • Datagram size
  • Checksum
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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…