Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
Protocol transparency is the ability of a device or application to work independent of the type of protocol used, and a device or application that can work as such is deemed protocol transparent. The user is not concerned with the intermediate operations needed to convert from one protocol to another. All these operations and inner workings are completely transparent to the users and are performed by protocol converters at the background.
The term transparency in computer science refers to something that is made invisible or hidden from the users. An application may require several background processes and operations that are necessary to make interaction possible between the various interfaces that it has to work with. In general, network transparency is achieved when a protocol is able to transmit data over a network in a manner that is invisible to the user.
The term protocol transparency refers to the ability of a device to execute its operations and functions without any dependence on the underlying communications protocol that is uses. Thus a device that is protocol transparent can work with a wide range of protocols, and the work and modules required to provide such compatibility and interoperability are unknown to the user, even if the underlying protocol changes.
Protocol transparency is essential for devices like media converters. For instance, the SFP-to-SFP (small form-factor pluggable) media converters used for converting to and from various fiber modes are protocol transparent so they can work with all types of network protocols. Several other types of media converters like IP-managed media converters, industrial media converters, managed media converter modules and many other network devices are also protocol transparent to allow interoperability and compatibility with all types of network protocols.
Protocol-transparent devices make the tasks of users easier and allow them to concentrate on the core functional tasks without having to deal with the complexities involved in adapting to the protocol being used.