User Datagram Protocol (UDP) – detailed explanation

Today we will explore the User Datagram Protocol. First, we will explain its purpose, and then we will see its history and how it was created. Finally, we will explore its applications and the differences between UDP and TCP/IP.

The purpose of the User Datagram Protocol 

UDP stands for User Datagram Protocol. It is a key component of the Internet protocol suite. It allows us to link various Internet services with minimal latency and loss tolerance.

The User Datagram Protocol speeds up communication by allowing data to be delivered before the recipient agrees. As a result, for time-sensitive communications such as DNS lookups, Voice over IP (VoIP), video, or audio transfers, User Datagram Protocol is the preferable technique.

Advantages and Disadvantages of UDP

History of User Datagram Protocol

UDP was first developed before the general population’s extensive Internet use. David P. Reed was the brains behind UDP, which he created in 1980. Reed was looking for a quick and straightforward way to connect between machines on a network that didn’t require the usage of standard protocols or resources. He achieved this by developing a fast communication format that compressed the message into a datagram and delivered it point to point. In addition, because of UDP’s secure nature, it was suitable for providing compressed proprietary documents.


UDP is a fundamental and quick protocol. However, these aren’t his sole benefits. Here are the rest of them:

  • UDP supports multicast if you need to broadcast data.
  • It’s ideal for the Domain Name System (DNS) because DNS queries and responses may all be carried on a single IP datagram, and DNS has to respond quickly to requests.
  • UDP is an excellent solution for voice-over-IP, real-time communication, and online gaming. UDP can be used by any application or process that can endure datagram loss. Conversely, the decision is determined by what is more important to you: quick speed or precision.

UDP versus TCP/IP

The following list compares TCP/IP with UDP:

  1. UDP is a connectionless protocol, whereas TCP/IP requires a connection. During TCP/IP communication, the communication channel’s two ends must always be linked. A UDP application generates a packet without initially checking to see if the receiver is ready to receive it and transmits it to the receiver’s address. The packet is lost if the receiving end is not prepared to accept it.
  2. TCP/IP is much slower than UDP. This is because there is no error checking, flow control, or assurance involved.
  3. UDP is a packet-oriented protocol, whereas TCP/IP is a stream-oriented protocol. This implies TCP/IP is thought of as a long stream of data traveling from one end of the connection to the other and a long stream of data flowing in the other direction. On the contrary, UDP is a packet-oriented protocol in which the data is divided into packets and sent to the other end by the application.
  4. TCP/IP includes a flow control mechanism that prevents multiple packets from being sent to the destination simultaneously. The User Datagram Protocol does not use this mechanism.


So you know that UDP is the way to go when it comes to high-speed data transmission. When it’s more or less appropriate will be determined by your priorities and the needs of your network.

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