PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol)

PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) is a protocol for communication between two computers using a serial interface, typically a personal computer connected by phone line to a server.

PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) is a protocol for communication between two computers using a serial interface, typically a personal computer connected by phone line to a server. For example, your Internet server provider may provide you with a PPP connection so that the provider's server can respond to your requests, pass them on to the Internet, and forward your requested Internet responses back to you. PPP uses the Internet protocol (IP) (and is designed to handle others). It is sometimes considered a member of the TCP/IP suite of protocols. Relative to the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model, PPP provides layer 2 (data-link layer) service. Essentially, it packages your computer's TCP/IP packets and forwards them to the server where they can actually be put on the Internet.

PPP is a full-duplex protocol that can be used on various physical media, including twisted pair or fiber optic lines or satellite transmission. It uses a variation of High Speed Data Link Control (HDLC) for packet encapsulation.

PPP is usually preferred over the earlier de facto standard Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) because it can handle synchronous as well as asynchronous communication. PPP can share a line with other users and it has error detection that SLIP lacks. Where a choice is possible, PPP is preferred.

This was first published in April 2007

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