Reliable Data Protocol

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What Does Reliable Data Protocol Mean?

Reliable Data Protocol (RDP) is a reliable transport protocol intended for efficiently supporting the bulk data transfer of host monitoring and control applications, including loading/dumping and remote debugging.


RDP provides packet-based applications like remote loading and debugging with an effective, trusted data-transport service. The main objective of RDP is to remain effective in environments where there could be non-sequential message-segment delivery or prolonged transmission delays and loss.

Techopedia Explains Reliable Data Protocol

Even though RDP was mainly intended for remote loading and debugging applications, it may also suit other applications that demand reliable message services, for example, emails, transaction processing, file transfer, etc.

RDP has the ability to support a much simpler group of functions compared to TCP. For example, as opposed to TCP, RDP’s buffering, flow control and connection management techniques are simple and straightforward. The intention is a protocol with easy implementation, while efficiently serving an array of applications.

RDP fits perfectly into the layered Internet protocol environment. It offers an efficient message transport service for the application layer.

The key goals of RDP are as follows:

  • To present a full-duplex communications channel between the two ports of every transport connection
  • To efficiently transport every user message and to report a message delivery failure to the user in case the message transfer fails
  • To discover and eliminate any defective or duplicate segments. In order to fulfill this task, RDP employs a checksum and sequence number in every segment header.
  • To optionally offer sequenced segment delivery. Sequenced segment delivery should be described at the time a connection is made.
  • To acknowledge the segments acquired from a sequence, as they arrive. This results in the freeing up of resources on the sending side.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.