Connectionless Protocol

What Does Connectionless Protocol Mean?

A connectionless protocol is a form of data transmission in which an IT signal goes out automatically without determing whether the receiver is ready, or even whether a receiver exists. Connectionless protocol is an alternative to some conventional connection-based forms of data transmission, which often involve setting up dedicated handshaking or device connectivity checks.


Techopedia Explains Connectionless Protocol

On the Internet, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is an example of connection-based messaging. TCP is a conventional Internet protocol that orders the transmission of data "octets" between a given origin and destination. However, TCP is not the only option for directing Internet traffic. An alternative called User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a connectionless option that does not perform the same kinds of checks that TCP does in sending a message. Communications paradigms like Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) use UDP.

While connection-based protocols may work better for some systems, a connectionless protocol will often be adequate for data delivery. Experts point out that where a few dropped data packets are not noticed by receivers, UDP may be an acceptable protocol. UDP may also be favored because of the lower overhead associated with declining to implement handshakes and other connectivity protocols. Also, UDP and some other connectionless protocols can facilitate multi-casting to a variety of receivers.

One way to think about a connectionless protocol is as a kind of "open signal," such as those used in radio frequency transmissions. Connection-based protocols, on the other hand, may more closely resemble a cabled connection with a defined point of origin tethered to a particular destination.


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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…