Network Control Protocol

What Does Network Control Protocol Mean?

Network Control Protocol (NCP) was an early protocol implemented by ARPANET, the world’s first operational packet-switching network that later evolved into what became the Internet. NCP allowed users to access and use computers and devices at remote locations and to transmit files between computers. NCP provided the middle layer of the protocol stack, and enabled application services such as email and file transfer.


Whether the term is Network Control Protocol or Network Control Program is a matter of some debate, as both terms are used to refer to this ARPANET protocol.

NCP was replaced by TCP/IP in the 1980s.

Techopedia Explains Network Control Protocol

NCP connected processes running on different ARPANET computers. Protocols on the ARPANET in the physical layer, data link layer and network layer were implemented on separate interface massage processors. This meant that NCP acted much like a transport layer, as it defined the procedure for connecting two hosts.

The switch to TCP/IP in 1983 marked a major move toward the modern Internet. TCP/IP remains the standard protocol of online communication.


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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.