Bundle Protocol

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What Does Bundle Protocol Mean?

Bundle protocol is an experimental disruption-tolerant networking (DTN) protocol designed for unstable communications networks. It groups data blocks into bundles and transmits them using a store-and-forward technique.


Bundle protocols connect multiple subnets into a single network. They provide a custody-based retransmission service and store data for long periods. The signal retransmitter guarantees packet delivery. As such, they can easily cope with Internet connectivity issues such as bandwidth delays and breakups.

Bundle protocol is specified as RFC5050.

Techopedia Explains Bundle Protocol

Bundle protocol is an experimental protocol produced within the Internet Research Task Force Delay Tolerant Networking Research Group and represents the consensus of active contributors to this group. When bundle protocols are used on the Internet, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard protocols for congestion control and security are used. Bundle protocols make use of native protocols for communication on the Internet. The interface between an internetwork protocol suite and common bundle protocol is referred to as the convergence layer adapter.

Bundle protocols came into the picture in 2007 when efforts were made to provide a shared framework for algorithm and application development in disruption-tolerant networking. The protocol defines a series of contiguous data blocks as bundles, where each bundle has enough semantic information to permit applications to make progress. Bundles are generally routed in a store-and-forward manner between participating nodes over network transport technologies. These layers carrying bundles across local networks are called bundle convergence layers. Bundle architecture operates as overlay networks and provides new naming architectures based on end-point identifiers and coarse-grained service offerings.

The protocols that use bundling leverage the application layer to send bundles across networks. Due to the store-and-forward nature of DTN, the routing solution benefits from exposure to application layer information. Bundle protocols accumulate application data into bundles, which are sent across a heterogeneous network configuration associated with a high-level service guarantee. This guarantee is specified by the application level including bulk, expedited and normal markings.

The capabilities of bundle protocols include:

  • Custody-based retransmission
  • Late binding of network endpoint identifiers to a constituent Internet address
  • Ability to take advantage of scheduled, predicted and opportunistic connectivity
  • Ability to interoperate with intermittent connectivity

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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.