TCP vs UDP: What is the difference?

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With the development of the Internet, communications are being improved. Typically, data transfer is carried out using computer networks that are organized according to OSI standards. Interaction is possible on seven three levels of Media (3) and Host (4). TCP v.s. UDP relates to the second. These are transport layer protocols.

Below we will analyze their characteristic features, scope, and differences.

TCP protocol features

It is designed to transmit voluminous information. The reliability of the connection is guaranteed by a three-stage communication procedure. The request for the ISN and port value is sent to both the server and the client. The correctness of the data transmission is detected by the checksum. It is present in the package.

UDP protocol features

It is considered less reliable than TCP, but faster. The protocol is used for:

  • VOIP;
  • IP TV;
  • Online games/applications.

In these cases, the accelerated transmission of information is required. UDP is faster than TCP because you can reset lost datagrams and do not:

  • Guarantee receipt;
  • Remove batch duplicates;
  • Perform an initial connection test;
  • Observe the integrity of the structure.

Differences between TCP and UDP

The difference between TCP and UDP is clearly shown in the table:




Establishing a connection

No need

Three-step procedure

Packet loss

Not excluded


Delivery order

Not compliant


Flow control

Not controlled


Overload protection

No notifications

Notifications present

Boundaries of transmitted datagrams


Not saved, but their integrity is guaranteed

Segmentation and assembly of packages



Message reachability

Not checked








Scope of TCP and UDP usability

The TCP protocol is used for correspondence between users, sending photos, etc. It is preferable to UDP if the transmission of information must be accurate and validated.

UDP is more beneficial for voice and / or video streaming. Because it works faster.

As you can see, both protocols have advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, both TCP and UDP are used to transmit information. One protocol is simpler and faster, the other is more reliable. Based on the specific situation, it is necessary to choose the optimal protocol for communication.

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