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Intro to Your Tech: Protocol

Intro to Your Tech: Protocol

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. File Transfer Protocol. Internet Message Access Protocol. Post Office Protocol. While it may not be outwardly apparent, we certainly rely on quite a few protocols in order to use our computers and more directly, the Internet, as we do. Today, we’ll introduce you to what a protocol actually is.

Simply Put, a Rule
As you read this, glance up to the address bar at the top of your screen. Chances are, you’ll see the website’s name, sure, and the fact that it’s on the world wide web, and at the very front, the protocol - the letters immediately before the colon-double backslash. These letters indicate how the information you’re reading on your display was sent from its source to your device.

For example, the two most familiar protocols are HTTP and HTTPS, Hypertext Transfer Protocol and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Both indicate that a hypertext page is used to transmit information from the source to a web surfer’s browser, but only HTTPS has added security against unwanted spying.

Why Use Protocols?
Think of it this way - two kids are playing catch, but while one throws a baseball, the other is ready to catch a Frisbee. Clearly, this approach isn’t going to work. The situation would be essentially the same if one computer sent information in 8-bit packets while the other was anticipating 16-bit packets.

In order to ensure that information reaches the recipient from the sender, protocols are used to determine beyond any doubt how that information is going to be ferried so that it will be successfully received.

Is This Important to the Average User?
Honestly, unless you are interested in programming or network administration, there isn’t much point in knowing about protocols beyond casual curiosity. After all, Microtechs is here to know these kinds of things about your technology so that we can more effectively manage it on your behalf. Give us a call at (415) 246-0101 to get started.

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