|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (June 2013)|
Very generally, most of communications can be divided into connection-oriented, and connectionless. Whether a communication is a connection-oriented, or connectionless, is defined by the communication protocol, and not by API. Examples of the connection-oriented protocols include TCP and SPX, and examples of connectionless protocols include UDP, "raw IP", and IPX
For connection-oriented communications, communication parties usually have different roles. One party is usually waiting for incoming connections; this party is usually referred to as "server". Another party is the one which initiates connection; this party is usually referred to as "client".
For connectionless communications, one party ("server") is usually waiting for an incoming packet, and another party ("client") is usually understood as the one which sends an unsolicited packet to "server".
Network programming traditionally covers different layers of OSI/ISO model (most of application-level programming belongs to L4 and up). The table below contains some examples of popular protocols belonging to different OSI/ISO layers, and popular APIs for them.
|L3 (network)||IP||Raw socket|
|L4 (transport)||TCP, UDP, SCTP||Berkeley Sockets|
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