TCP vs UDP: Understanding the Difference and Comparison

There are two different types of Internet Protocol (IP) traffic. TCP is connection-oriented -- after a link established, data can route bidirectional. UDP is a more straightforward, connectionless online protocol. In this article, we will learn about the differences of TCP vs UDP in-depth.

TCP intended to supply a rich set of the applications that need those functionalities. While the principal aim of UDP is to provide some layer four (4) functions but in a simple, easy to use and fast way.

TCP vs UDP: Comparison Table





TCP establishes the connection between the computers transmitting the data.

UDP sends the data directly without assessing not or whether the system is about to receive.

Expands to

Transmission Control Protocol

User Datagram Protocol

Connection Type


Connection Less.





Highly Reliable


Header Size

20 Bytes

8 Bytes UDP has only the basic error checking mechanism using checksums.


It takes acknowledgment of information and has the capacity.

It takes Correlation it retransmits the Missing data.

Used by

Telnet, FTP, HTTP, HTTPs, SMTM etc.

DNS, DHCP, SNMP, VoIP and RIP etc.

Delivery guarantees

Reliable as it guarantees delivery of data router.

Delivery of the data to the destination cannot be guaranteed.

Error Detaction​​​​

TCP provides error checking mechanisms. It is Because it offers acknowledgment and flow control of data.

UDP has a simple error checking mechanism with checksums.


Email, File transfer, Web browsing etc.

Broadcasts, Gaming, Video conferencing, etc.

Transfer method


Individual packets.

Difference Between TCP and UDP

Both protocols used for sending pieces of data -- called packets -- over the Web. They build on top of the online protocol. Whether you're sending a packet via TCP or UDP, that packet delivered to an IP address. These packets treated since they forwarded from your personal computer to intermediary routers and on to the destination.

TCP vs UDP aren't the only protocols which operate together with IP. However, they're the most frequently used. The popular term "TCP/IP" identifies TCP above IP. UDP above IP could just as well be known as "UDP/IP" although this isn't a common term.

Data packets are merely pieces of data that travel over the net. When you talk with your buddy online, send an email, or send a page request via your browser, you send online data. This information transferred in the kind of little packets.

They're also utilized to send the packets to the IP address of the receiver. (An IP address is a unique address that assigned to each device on the web.) That's the reason you might hear terms like TCP/IP or UDP/IP. However, because TCP/IP and UDP/IP used quite often, they're known as only TCP and UDP. While TCP and UDP are the most commonly used protocols, they are not the only ones used to transport data packets. Another protocol that could apply is ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol). However, as most connections rely on either TCP or UDP, we will concentrate on these two.

TCP vs UDP: Essential Key Differences

1. Reliability -- With TCP; you understand that you are getting the data you require. Say a data packet or message that the customer was supposed to get lost in transit. Well, there's nothing to worry about -- TCP employs re-sending methods to fix this issue. Unfortunately, if something like this were to occur with UDP, there is not much that can perform. The information will be lost. 

2. Link Speed -- UDP Is the Better Choice If you want fast online speed, then UDP has got you covered. Since UDP does not take any extra steps to create the link. Ensure all of the information packets delivered in the right sequence.

3. Data Boundary -- UDP only checked for integrity should they arrive. Thus, no apparent limitations enforced that impose data section boundaries. Nevertheless, that does not mean it works to its disadvantage. The messages delivered via TCP saved on buffers. Because of this, TCP ensures optimal bandwidth usage.

4. Flow Control -- One of TCP's major highlights at this point, it is hardly a surprise that UDP does not enforce any info Flow Control.   Before TCP sends any information, it must establish a socket connection with 3 data packets. 

Thus, with TCP, you get to enjoy superior congestion control. 

Function of TCP protocol

Addressing/multiplexing -- Higher-layer application procedures determined by using TCP ports. This coating mainly multiplexes the data obtained from the various procedures and transmits data with the support of the underlying network layer protocol. Establishing, managing, and terminating connections -- There are a group of processes that are followed by the apparatus to establish a connection through which data can travel. When the connection established, it's required to handle. At last, after completing the TCP connection, it's terminated.

Managing and packing data -- This attribute provides a mechanism that enables the information to send to TCP from higher layers. Which is then packed into the message to send it to the destination TCP applications further. The software residing in the receiving end unpackages the information and provide it to the program on the destination server.

Transferring data -- During this step, the packed data transferred into the TCP procedure on the other apparatus through after the layering principle.

Providing reliability and transmission quality solutions -- It entails the services and attributes that allow an application to think about the protocol a trusted medium of transferring the information.

Supplying flow control and congestion avoidance features -- This attribute controls the flow of the data between the two devices and copes with the congestion.

Function of UDP protocol

Higher-Layer Data Transfer -- During this step, a message sent to the UDP software via an application. The headers of the UDP message together with the source port area and destination port area, are added. Additionally, it calculates the checksum value.

Transfer message to IP -- At last the UDP message is moved into the IP for transmission. Similarly, once the destination end gets the message, this entire process becomes reversed.

How TCP works?

TCP is the most widely used protocol online. When you request a web page on your browser, your computer sends TCP packets to the web host's address, asking it to send the webpage back to your computer. The web server responds to your browser by sending a stream of TCP packets. Which pits together to form the webpage.

When you click on a link, sign in, post a comment, or do anything else, your browser sends TCP packets to the host server. Also, the host sends TCP packets back.

How UDP works?

The UDP protocol operates similarly to TCP, but TCP vs UDP works differently. Once an app uses UDP, packets just sent to the receiver. The sender does not wait to be sure that the receiver received the package. It just continues sending the upcoming packets. If the receiver misses a few UDP packets here and there, they're just lost--the sender will not resend them. Losing this overhead means that the devices can communicate.

When is it appropriate to use UDP?

UDP used if speed desired, and error correction is not essential. By way of instance, UDP often used for live broadcasts and internet games. For example, let's say you are watching a live video stream, which is frequently broadcast using UDP. The server sends a continuous flow of UDP packets to computers viewing.

Should you lose your connection for a couple of seconds, the movie may freeze or get jumpy for a minute and then jump to the current bit of the broadcast. If you encounter minor packet-loss, the audio or video may be distorted for a minute as the movie continues to play with no missing data.

If you miss any UDP packets, player characters might seem to teleport across the map as you get the more recent UDP packets. There is no point in asking the previous packs if you missed them since the game is ongoing without you. All that matters what is happening right now on the game machine --not what happened a couple of seconds ago. Ditching TCP's error correction helps speed the game uplink and decrease latency.

Uses of UDP protocol

Video traffic and voice are transmitted using UDP.

Video and sound protocols were created to manage lost packets. So minor degradation in quality occurs, instead of massive delays if packets retransmitted. Many companies are discovering that a recent increase in UDP traffic from such software is hindering the operation of software Since TCP and UDP run over the network. It is going to throttle back its data speed usage when packet loss detected by TCP. Since both business and real-time applications are crucial to businesses, a few see as the essential developing quality of service solutions.

Why TCP is better than UDP?

TCP is the reason file downloads do not become corrupted if there are system hiccups. Needless to say, if the receiver is completely offline, your computer will give up, and you will see an error message stating it cannot communicate with the remote host. TCP accomplishes this in two ways. It orders packets by numbering them.

Secondly, it error-checks by having the receiver send a reply back to the sender stating that it has received the message. If the sender does not receive a suitable answer, it may resend the packets to make sure the recipient gets them accurately.

History of TCP/IP

In 1974, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn explained an internetworking protocol for sharing tools using packet switching among network nodes. The authors operating with Gérard Le Lann to integrate concepts from the French CYCLADES project to the new network. A central control element of the model was that the Transmission Control Program that incorporated both connection-oriented connections and datagram services between hosts.

The monolithic Transmission Control Program afterward divided into a modular structure consisting of the Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol. TCP caused a networking model that became known informally as TCP/IP. Although officially it was variously called the Department of Defense (DOD) version and ARPANET version, and finally also since the Internet Protocol Suite.

In 2004, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn obtained the Turing Award for their foundational work on TCP/IP.

TCP caused a networking model that became known informally. As TCP/IP, though officially it was variously called the Department of Defense (DOD) version, and ARPANET version. Also as the Internet Protocol Suite.

It establishes a link between the source and destination computer before beginning the communication. A computer sends TCP packets to the web host's address, requesting it to send the webpage to you when you load a web page.

History of UDP protocol

In computer networking, the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is among the core members of this Internet protocol suite. David P. Reed created the protocol in 1980 and officially defined in RFC 768. With UDP, computer software can send messages, to other hosts on an Internet Protocol (IP) network. Prior communications aren't required to be able to prepare communication stations or data paths.

It establishes a link nor checks whether the destination computer is ready to receive or not. It just sends the data directly. UDP is used to transfer the information at a faster speed. It is not as dependable and so used for transmitting information like video and audio files.