User Datagram Protocol – What is it?

User Datagram Protocol, or simply UDP, is one of the most essential components of the Internet Protocol Suite. It is a collection of Internet-related network protocols. But how does it work, and when do we use it? We will take a detailed look at this point in today’s article.

User Datagram Protocol – detailed explanation

The User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a well-known high-speed communications protocol. It’s what we employ to make low-latency, loss-tolerant connections between various Internet services.

The User Datagram Protocol allows data to be transferred before the recipient agrees, which speeds up the communication process. As a result, UDP is the preferred method for time-sensitive communications such as DNS lookups, Voice over IP (VoIP), video, or audio transfers.

History of UDP

How does it work?

Like other communication protocols, User Datagram Protocol splits a message (its data) into packets or datagrams, which are then sent through the network and the machines that make it up until they arrive at their destination. However, the fact that the UDP is connectionless is a significant difference. This means the data transfer does not require a formal and active connection to begin. This drastically speeds up the process.

When reassembling data packets after slicing messages, UDP does not number the datagrams. When you employ it, each data packet has a header with port numbers (from the source and destination) that are important for distinguishing between different users’ requests. The user datagram protocol provides a checksum function to ensure that the data has been fully sent, but it does not guarantee that the messages have been received correctly.

When do we use the User Datagram Protocol?

We use UDP as follows:

  • The simple request/response transmission of relatively modest amounts of data eliminates issues about regulating mistakes or packet flow.
  • Because UDP works well with packet switching, it is possible to implement multicasting.
  • Because of routing transients, inconsistent connection, or movement, the Internet may also dramatically delay some packets in comparison to others. This can result in sequencing, where UDP datagrams come to the destination in a different sequence than they were sent.
  • UDP distributes data packets to receivers randomly and does not check for missing packets. We use it when error detection isn’t required, and speed is desired. The Domain Name System (DNS), streaming media (IPTV, VoIP), and online games are all examples of programs that employ UDP.


Let’s go through everything again! UDP is a communication protocol that allows devices and networks to exchange data. The fact that UDP does not acknowledge the reception of delivered packets works against it. As a result, the UDP protocol is extensively used for DNS, streaming, and online games.

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