Unit 2 - Lesson 6 UDP vs TCP

For UDP, are there other common situations other than with DNS servers where it gets used?

Do students need to know about UDP for the AP Exam?


@wbarnum Since UDP is an internet data transmission protocol, it is primarily used with DNS servers. “IP, TCP and UDP are common protocols used over the internet” is and essential knowledge statement (CSN–1.C.4) in the framework. Your students should know how to differentiate between the three protocols for the AP Exam.

UDP is faster but less reliable than TCP. So it is used in real time applications like voice and video transmission. In those applications it is all about speed. A few dropped packets won’t matter. DNS uses UDP because it only sends a small amount of data that fits into one packet. DHCP is another protocol of note and also uses UDP.

UDP and TCP both sit on top of IP and as such do much the same job. Which is why they are compared and contrasted.

HTTP and HTTPS are another pair of protocols that they need to know how to differentiate.

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