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Lightweight protocol refers to any protocol that has a lesser and leaner payload when being used and transmitted over a network connection. It is simpler, faster and easier to manage than other communication protocols used on a local or wide area network.
Lightweight protocol typically provides the same or enhanced services as their heavier counterpart, but have a lighter footprint in various ways. Lightweight protocols code performs faster than standard protocols. They tend to have lesser overall size, leave out unessential data and might use a data compression technique to have a lighter effect on network communication. For example, TCP/IP protocol stack is considered lighter and much faster than the OSI protocol stack. Lightweight directory access protocols (LDAP), lightweight extensible authentication protocol (LEAP) and skinny call control protocol (SCCP) are some popular examples of lightweight protocols.