Protocols and Standards
In computer networks, communication occurs between entities in different systems. An entity is anything capable of sending or receiving information.
A protocol is a set of rules that govern data communications. A protocol defines what is communicated, how it is communicated, and when it is communicated. The key elements of a protocol are syntax, semantics, and timing.
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The term syntax refers to the structure or format of the data, meaning the order in which they are presented. For example, a simple protocol might expect the first 8 bits of data to be the address of the sender, the second 8 bits to be the address of the receiver, and the rest of the stream to be the message itself.
The word semantics refers to the meaning of each section of bits. How is a particular pattern to be interpreted, and what action is to be taken based on that interpretation? For example, does an address identify the route to be taken or the final destination of the message?
The term timing refers to two characteristics: when data should be sent and how fast they 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 some data will be lost.
Standards are essential in creating and maintaining an open and competitive market for equipment manufacturers and in guaranteeing national and international interoperability of data and telecommunications technology and processes. Standards provide guidelines to manufacturers, vendors, government agencies, and other service providers to ensure the kind of interconnectivity necessary in today's marketplace and in international communications. Data communication standards fall into two categories: de facto (meaning "by fact" or "by convention") and de jure (meaning "by law" or "by regulation").
Standards that have not been approved by an organized body but have been adopted as standards through widespread use are de facto standards. De facto standards are often established originally by manufacturers who seek to define the functionality of a new product or technology.
Those standards that have been legislated by an officially recognized body are de jure standards.
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