TCP or UDP, which one is better?

If you are related to networking or ever worked in some sort of IT-related things you must have heard of TCP and UDP, have you wondered TCP or UDP, which one is better?

Before seeing which one of these Internet Traffic protocols is better let’s see their individual use cases and the definition.

What is TCP?

If you ask about the full form, it’s Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). Basically, what happens is once the connection is established between the two devices data can be transmitted both ways. TCP guarantees that your data will reach to receiver. If there is some failure it will try again and again.

Also, TCP sends data in an ordered format, for example, if you send 1 first and 2 afterward, TCP will make sure that 1 will go before 2.

TCP is a perfect protocol for transferring Images and loading web pages and data files.

TCP is reliable and it has great stability, but the reliability comes at a cost and here the cost here is higher bandwidth usage. Yes, you heard correct, TCP is more bandwidth than its competitor.

What is UDP?

UDP translates to User Datagram Protocol is a simpler protocol. Since UDP is connectionless meaning It doesn’t need to maintain a connection like TCP so it will reduce bandwidth usage. What it will do is keep sending the data and it won’t worry if your data has reached or It won’t guarantee the order as well.

UDP isn’t good for sending images or viewing web pages. It’s not ideal for downloading as well. Mostly it’s used for real-time communications or the games where the order is not required most of the time.

Let us see the more differences

TCP

  1. It requires an established connection
  2. Able to sequence data.
  3. Guaranteed delivery
  4. Able to send data again if there is packet loss
  5. Slower than UDP
  6. Mostly used by HTTPS, HTTP, SMTP, POP, FTP, etc.

UDP

  1.  It doesn’t require an established connection.
  2. Unable to sequence data.
  3. Delivery not guaranteed
  4. Not able to send data again if there is packet loss.
  5. Faster than TCP
  6. Mostly used by DNS, streaming

How you can make sure which protocol is being used for your application.

It mostly depends on your code; you will have to write your code in such a way that you can define what protocol should be used for transmission. For example, if you are writing something in Python you can see the document here on how to define it.

Conclusion:

So, if you look at the initial question of TCP or UDP, which one is better? There is no straightforward answer. It depends on your needs, if you are writing an online game it will be best to use UDP or if you are writing a web application it would be best to use TCP for best results.

Just as you say every child is different, It’s the same with TCP and UDP.

Networking doesn’t end here, also see Dig Command Examples

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