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Protocols and Standards

In this tutorial, we will be covering the two most important and widely used terms: Protocols and Standards.


A protocol is basically a synonym for the rule. In Computer Networks, basically, communication occurs between entities in different systems. An entity is anything that is capable of sending or receiving information. Any two entities cannot simply send bitstreams to each other and expect to be understood.

The entities must need to agree on a protocol in order of occurrence of the communication.

A Protocol is a set of rules that mainly govern data communications. The protocol mainly defines what is communicated, how it is communicated, and when it is communicated.

Key elements of a Protocol

The key elements of a protocol are as given below:

  • Syntax
    This term mainly refers to the structure or format of the data which simply means the order in which data is presented. For example, A simple protocol might expect the first 8 bits of data to be the address of the sender, then the second 8 bits to be the address of the receiver, and then the rest of the stream to be the message itself.

  • Semantics
    This term mainly refers to the meaning of each section of bits. How does a particular pattern to be interpreted, and On the basis of interpretation what action is to be taken? For example, does an address identify the route to be taken or the final destination of the message?

  • Timing
    This term mainly refers to two characteristics: At what time the data should be sent and how fast data can be sent. For example, if a sender produces data at 100 Mbps but the receiver can process data at only 1 Mbps, the transmission will overload the receiver and there will be some data loss.


Standards are essential in creating and maintaining an open and creative market for the equipment manufacturers and they also guarantee the national and international interoperability of the data, telecommunication technology, and process.

Standards are mainly used to provide guidelines to manufacturers, vendors, government agencies, and also to other service providers in order to ensure the kind of interconnectivity that is necessary for today's marketplace and also in international communications.

Data communication standards mainly fall into two categories:-

  • de facto (which means "by fact"/ "by convention")
    Those standards have not been approved by an organized body but have been adopted as standards through widespread use. These types of standards are often established originally by the manufacturers who just seek to define the functionality of their new product or technology.

  • de jure (which means "by law" /"by regulation")
    de jure standards are those standards that have been legislated by an officially recognized body.

Standard Organizations

Standards are mainly developed through the cooperation of Standard creation committees, government regulatory agencies, and forums.

Some Standard Creation committees are :

  • International Organization of Standardization(ISO)

  • American National Standards Institute(ANSI)

  • Electronic Industries Association(EIA)

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers(IEEE)

About the author:
Aspiring Software developer working as a content writer. I like computer related subjects like Computer Networks, Operating system, CAO, Database, and I am also learning Python.