UDP Communication


UDP Low Overhead versus Reliability

As explained before, UDP is perfect for communications that need to be fast, like VoIP. This topic explains in detail why UDP is perfect for some types of transmissions. As shown in the figure, UDP does not establish a connection. UDP provides low overhead data transport because it has a small datagram header and no network management traffic.

UDP Datagram Reassembly

Like segments with TCP, when UDP datagrams are sent to a destination, they often take different paths and arrive in the wrong order. UDP does not track sequence numbers the way TCP does. UDP has no way to reorder the datagrams into their transmission order, as shown in the figure.

Therefore, UDP simply reassembles the data in the order that it was received and forwards it to the application. If the data sequence is important to the application, the application must identify the proper sequence and determine how the data should be processed.

UDP: Connectionless and Unreliable

UDP Server Processes and Requests

Like TCP-based applications, UDP-based server applications are assigned well-known or registered port numbers, as shown in the figure. When these applications or processes are running on a server, they accept the data matched with the assigned port number. When UDP receives a datagram destined for one of these ports, it forwards the application data to the appropriate application based on its port number.

UDP Server Listening for Requests

Note: The Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service (RADIUS) server shown in the figure provides authentication, authorization, and accounting services to manage user access. The operation of RADIUS is beyond the scope for this course.


UDP Client Processes

As with TCP, client-server communication is initiated by a client application that requests data from a server process. The UDP client process dynamically selects a port number from the range of port numbers and uses this as the source port for the conversation. The destination port is usually the well-known or registered port number assigned to the server process.

After a client has selected the source and destination ports, the same pair of ports are used in the header of all datagrams in the transaction. For the data returning to the client from the server, the source and destination port numbers in the datagram header are reversed.

Clients Sending UDP Requests

Client 1 is sending a DNS request while Client 2 is requesting RADIUS authentication services of the same server.

UDP Request Destination Ports

Client 1 is sending a DNS request using the well-known destination port 53 while Client 2 is requesting RADIUS authentication services using the registered destination port 1812.

UDP Request Source Ports

The requests of the clients dynamically generate source port numbers. In this case, Client 1 is using source port 49152 and Client 2 is using source port 51152.

UDP Response Destination

When the server responds to the client requests, it reverses the destination and source ports of the initial request. In the Server response to the DNS request is now destination port 49152 and the RADIUS authentication response is now destination port 51152.

UDP Response Source Ports

The source ports in the server response are the original destination ports in the initial requests.


Module Practice and Quiz.