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Internet protocols: What are they, what are they for and what are all the ones that exist?

Internet protocols: What are they

The Internet is one of the best inventions in history, we all know that, but few are those who have begun to investigate in depth on this type of networks. The reality is that they are much more complex than can be seen with the naked eye .

An important element in the Internet and other computer networks are network protocols. These are what make it possible for communications within and between computer systems to occur in an orderly and error-free way , otherwise it would not be possible to transmit data through them.

In this article we will go deeper into the Internet protocols, those that make it possible for us to communicate without problems with people who are very far from us. When finished, you should be clear about how they interact and mainly how they work .

What is an Internet protocol and what is it used in computing ?

An Internet protocol is a type of network protocol that is used in online connections that connect computers worldwide. Among them the best known is the Internet protocol (IP) which is responsible for sending and receiving data , granting an IP address to each device on the network to easily identify its origin.


However, there are many more protocols within the Internet communication process. In fact, dozens of them are calculated that work together or as support for the main IP protocol , such as TCP, which is indispensable for confirming the information that flows through the entire network.


What are the main features that an Internet protocol should have?

A protocol is a standard or set of rules for the transmission and reception of data in a network. That is, it determines the way in which the information will travel throughout the network. This is not possible with a single protocol, but hundreds of them are needed to work together .

This set is known on the Internet as TCP / IP protocols, and all are characterized by aspects such as the following:

  • Direct / indirect: A protocol if it works within the same network and joins one point with another is considered direct, while if it joins two points within two different networks it will be indirect, since in this process other protocols will intervene.
  • Monolithic / structured: When we talk about monolithic we refer to a single layer protocol, being this in which all its functions occur , while in a structured one it will have an impact on several layers of the communication model.
  • Symmetric / asymmetric: A symmetric protocol is one that is used to communicate two users or teams with same permissions and functions within the network. An asymmetric one will be the one that communicates equipment with different functions and weights within the entire network. The latter is the most used on the Internet.
  • Normalized / non-standardized: A standardized protocol is one developed solely to perform a specific function that does not vary and does not need to be connected to a external agent This is fundamental in digital communications today.

In which layer of the OSI model do the different Internet protocols work?

Internet protocols remain oriented to operate in a structured environment with the ISO OSI model. This model is made up of 7 layers of different levels in which a fundamental action is executed to complete the communication of the entire network.

In this sense the family of TCP / IP protocols work at intermediate levels as they are:


  • Layer 2 : The second level layer, known as the data link level, is one of the most important because it is where the information is verified and then taken to the transport level In this layer, more than 100 protocols work together that are part of the TCP / IP family.
  • Layer 3: The network layer is where the domains of the IP protocol are, since it is in it where the data enters the network, and then they are taken to the transport level to be sent to their destination. Hundreds of other Internet protocols work on it, but the most important is undoubtedly the IP.
  • Layer 4: The transport level is where protocols such as TCP or data transmission. It is in it where the data packets of the network arrive with the indications of their destination, and it is also where they start their journey until the end of the model in the seventh layer.
  • Layer 5 : We close with the session layer that is in charge of keeping the sessions open while the delivery of the information is complete. In her other hundreds of protocols of the family TCP / IP work, being all of great importance.

In the presentation layer 6, some protocols of the TCP / IP family also work, but these are usually present in a way not as direct as the previous 4 , which is where all of the magic.

List of the 10 most important Internet protocols currently used


Now is the time to introduce yourself and clearly define the most important TCP / IP family protocols that you should know to understand how the Internet really works.

Next we will introduce you one by one with all its elements:


These are the two protocols that give the whole family a name. The first one is the TCP or transmission control protocol, it is responsible for providing reliability, that is, verifying the data that is sent over the Internet, while the second, IP or Internet protocol, is responsible for sending those data at your destination by providing a header to identify them.

Both one and the other are different protocols, which even inhabit different layers of the OSI model, but are so important to each other, that they are often called TCP / IP as if they were one because they work together and are needed.

Both protocols were presented by the United States Department of Defense in 1972, as a purely digital communication technology. Over the years it was commercialized and subsequently domesticated to the point that today the Internet is a basic service such as light or electricity . TCP and IP are the basis of all the Internet we know today.


The address resolution protocol or Adress Resolution Protocol in English is one of the most important in the Internet family. This is responsible for assigning an IP address to a motherboard or, what would be the same , to a computer within a network.

When a motherboard is manufactured, it is granted a 48-bit identification number that cannot be identified by the IP protocol. Therefore, another protocol was developed that may be able to grant an IP address to these devices, which would replace that serial within the network. In addition, ARP is also responsible for registering in a virtual memory all the physical and IP addresses that exist and to which device they belong or were assigned.


Hypertext Transfer Protocol or hypertext transmission protocol is a fairly simple protocol that follows the request-transmission logic of a client-server system. At the time he thought it would be used as a standard, but in the end TCP / IP took the throne .

This was developed to optimize the requests for access to the world wide web, and is requested in each transmission that is made within it. In addition, it names all the elements within a transmission, being the client making the request identified as the “Browser” or “Spider”. The information or resources also they are identified and given a uniform resource identifier, which would later be known as URL , one of the most important elements of digital navigation.


Internet message control protocol is its name in Spanish, and works as an assistant to the Internet protocol that identifies errors in the information and sends error messages to the user or server, such as if a This address is not available or if an application fails. In this sense it is very similar to TCP, with the difference that many times applications do not interact directly with it, so it is given the definition of subprotocol .


Simple Mail Transfer Protocol or simple mail transfer protocol is one of the few IP protocols that work in a different layer than the 4 mentioned in the previous section. This is responsible for exchanging data for text in emails between computers on the same network .

Like the previous protocols, it also follows the client-server model. A client can send to one or several receivers, making a request to the server. This request is written on ASIIC lines of maximum 1000 characters. The server will respond to it with a 3-digit identification number and a short line of text that serves as a description of it . The number is sent to another device within the network, while the text reaches the user so that he can read it. It is a simple and very effective process.


One of the most important protocols is that of file transfer, which makes it possible for us to send data and documents in a different format than text via the Internet. Like the others, it is also governed by the client-server model , allowing a user to upload or download files from the Internet, and then share them in the same way.

This is an essential protocol in networks operating under TCP / IP logic, determining the basics of loading and unloading graphic and sound elements to the network.


Secure Shell is a widely used protocol for remote access to devices within the same network. It is also used as a program that allows you to link two or more devices and enter from one of them to any of the others. This simple concept gives many facilities in the world of computing.

To begin, it allows us to copy data securely that is stored on a computer, without having to interact directly with it. In the same way you can also manage resources within the team, and make backup copies of them .


Secure network management protocol is the translation of your name in Spanish. This protocol is a fundamental element for programmers because it allows you to manage resources and optimize the operation of a network. It’s like a control panel for network administrators that gives you full control over it, to establish new regulations about it, as well as control and plan your growth . This is a very important protocol for the maintenance of the global Internet network.


Trivial file transfer protocol is its translation into Spanish. This is a simple protocol that is used for the transmission of data within the same local network , allowing a computer to share information with another to which it is linked. It uses UDP as a data transmission and verification protocol, which differs from its more complete version; FTP.

However, it is much lower than FTP, since it does not allow encryption of information or create lists to organize it. It is simply used as a read and write protocol on a remote server. However, it is an indispensable complement to the operation of TCP / IP.


We close with what is possibly the third or fourth most important protocol, the user datagrams protocol, or the user’s data packet protocol in Spanish. This is a transport protocol for packet data in a network even though no connection has been established in it. The latter is possible because it gives the datagram a header with enough information to be sent to its destination .

In this sense it looks a lot like TCP, and in fact it is often used as a replacement for it in certain functions that have to do with data transmission and verification.

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