What JorgeM said. Protocols are the rules by which we communicate. They can be implemented in hardware/firmware, or in software. I have implemented the complete TCP/IP protocol stack in software from the protocol definitions published by the US DOD in the DDN (Defense Department Networking) Protocol Handbooks. I have also worked with implementations in hardware of the same. FWIW, the handbooks take up a good foot of shelf space... Interesting if you like reading compressed BNF (Backus-Naur Form) grammars! :-)
@JorgeM,rubberman,crescendo: Thanks for your replies on this post.
While reading about protocol I had came across this line "It is a set of rules .......", but i couldn't figure out what actually it is ? Are they some strict rules in a book which says that this hardware should be used or this program should be used ?
I am not able to visualize what does it mean when you say "The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems".
I mean what does protocol actually contain? For example what does an HTTP protocol contains ?
by Rahul47: Striked with last question lately.
Think of it this way. A human language can be considered a protocol. There are rules that make up the language. When two people follow the rules of the language, the two people are able to communicate. If two different languages are spoken by both people, communication is not possible.
The language, or protocol is established, agreed upon and known prior to and during the communication.
programs and hardware will follow the rules outlined in the protocol standard to allow the communication to occur.
So lets say you build a new operating system. And you then want this operating system to be able to communicate on a TCP/IP network. You will need to become very familiar with the TCP/IP standard so you can build the software interface to allow the OS to communicate with other TCP/IP hosts.