What is a Data Packet?


A packet is a basic unit of communication over a digital network. A packet is also called a datagram, a segment, a block, a cell or a frame, depending on the protocol. When data has to be transmitted, it is broken down into similar structures of data, which are reassembled to the original data chunk once they reach their destination.

Packets and protocols

Packets vary in structure depending on the protocols implementing them. VoIP uses the IP protocol, and hence IP packets. On an Ethernet network, for example, data is transmitted in Ethernet frames.

Structure

The structure of a packet depends on the type of packet it is and on the protocol. Normally, a packet has a header and a payload.

The header keeps overhead information about the packet, the service and other transmission-related things. For example, an IP packet includes

  • The source IP address
  • The destination IP address
  • The sequence number of the packets
  • The type of service
  • Flags
  • Etc

The payload is the data it carries.

One thought on “What is a Data Packet?

  1. Pingback: Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) « Brain Knowledge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s