Connectionless Service

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What Does Connectionless Service Mean?

A connectionless service is a concept in data communications used to transfer data at the transport layer (layer 4) of the OSI model. It describes the communication between two nodes or terminals in which data is sent from one node to the other without first ensuring that the destination is available and ready to receive the data. A session connection between the sender and the receiver is not required, the sender just starts sending the data. The message or datagram is sent without prior arrangement, which is less reliable but faster transaction than a connection-oriented service.

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User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a connectionless protocol, while Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a connection-oriented network protocol.

Techopedia Explains Connectionless Service

Connectionless service means that a terminal or node can send data packets to its destination without establishing a connection to the destination. This works because of error handling protocols, which allow for error correction like requesting retransmission. LANs are actually connectionless systems with each computer able to transmit data packets as soon as it can access the network.

The Internet is a large connectionless packet network in which all packet delivery is handled by Internet providers. TCP adds connection-oriented services in addition to IP when required. TCP can provide all the top level connection services required to ensure proper data delivery.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

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.