What is a Network port? Network Ports Explained in Detail
Usually, the Network Port concept is challenging to understand. In networking, it is a communication endpoint used to connect an external device to the computer. When there is a requirement to set up remote access for your IP Cameras, the network port comes into the picture. Routers are dependent on ports to route data to access your camera and share between multiple devices. Let us discuss more network ports.
In computer networking, a Port is an array of communication. It is a 16-bit unsigned integer number from 1 to 65535. With the help of these numbers, multiple programs can use the same IP address. A specific network port is required to transmit or receive data from network devices. There are two primary transport protocols in the networking that uses port numbers. Moreover, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) are used.
A network port handles multiple transmission requests through a single physical network on a computer. For file transfer, a particular number is assigned, termed as Port Number.
A port has three main applications in computer networking, as mentioned below:
- Firstly, in computer networking, a port is a software-defined number related to a Network Protocol. This number is used to transmit and receive communication for a particular service.
- Secondly, computer hardware is a socket where peripheral devices can plugin.
- Lastly, when a piece of software needs to be converted to run on another device or Operating system, a port is used as computer software.
A socket on a Network device or any computer hardware that allows cable from another device to share communication is a Network Port. Local Area Network ports (LAN Ports) is for a building or complex. However, Wide Area Network Ports (WAN Ports) attach to the modem to connect the outside world. But, mobile devices do not use network ports as they have in-built Wi-Fi.
Computers and other devices use TCP/IP protocol to communicate through the Internet. For example, a computer from a particular country wants to send information to another country. In that case, it must know the destination IP address that it would like to send the data. UDP and TCP help to complete this process.
- TCP is a Transmission Control Protocol. TCP sends information from one computer to another by a direct connection. The two computers stay connected until the duration of the file transfer. Hence, Both computers can guarantee that the data will transfer safely and accurately with this technique.
- UDP is a User Datagram Protocol. In this technique, the computer hardware can create data packages and release them to the Network. They can only hope that the data can reach safely. Here, the difference between TCP and UDP is that two computers cannot connect as TCP does with the UDP method.
In today’s world, everyone is using the Internet, and every computer hardware on the Internet has a unique number assigned called an IP address. With the help of an IP address, you can recognize your computer from millions of devices on the Internet. Finally, TCP or UDP ports use to accept the information from the Internet on your laptop.
Similarly, if any person wants to run an FTP server that allows transferring files on the same web server, he needs TCP ports 20 & 21.
As we said earlier, a Port number is a logical address assigned for each application on computer hardware that uses the Internet for the communication process. It is unique for every application on a computer device. However, the operating system can automatically assign a port number.
The primary use of a port number is to transfer the data between a Computer Network and an Application. Also, a Port Number and Network Protocol working together can do transmission correctly.
Further, Networks based on TCP and UDP mainly use Port Numbers ranging between 0 to 65535. As we know, the application itself can change its port number. But, commonly used Internet services work with global port numbers like Port Number 80 for Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Port 23 for Telnet, and port 25 for SMTP.
According to Gartner, “Increased sniffing detected on TCP Port 445 poses “a serious concern for enterprise security managers, because it may indicate an impending mass malicious-code attack.”
Port numbers are range from 0 to 65535. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) maintains the list of Port numbers. Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) supports network-related protocols. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used port numbers with their corresponding network protocol.
- Ports 20 and 21: FTP, File Transfer Protocol transfers files between a client and a serve and uses port numbers 20 & 21.
- Network Port 22: The Protocol Secure Shell (SSH) creates secure network connections.
- Port 25: For Email, use Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).
- A Port 80: Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the protocol that makes the World Wide Web possible.
- Port 123: Network Time Protocol (NTP) allows computer clocks to sync. This process is essential for encryption.
- Port 179: Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is essential for establishing efficient routes between the extensive networks that make up the Internet.
- Port 443: HTTP Secure (HTTPS) is the secure and encrypted version of HTTP. All HTTPS web traffic goes to port 443.
- Port 500: Internet Security Association and Key Management Protocol (ISAKMP) is part of the process of setting up secure IPsec connections.
- Port 3389: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). RDP enables users to connect to their desktop computers from another device remotely.
There is a tremendous amount of data flow from a computer with the same network connection. Ports help computers understand what to do with information from other hardware.
For instance, a person transfers an MP3 audio recording to his friend by using the FTP Protocol. This audio recording then passed to his friend’s email application, but he would not know how to act on it. But, while sending this MP3 audio file, a person uses FTP Server protocol having port number 21, by which an email application recognizes it and stores the file successfully.
In conclusion, Network ports are an essential feature of computer hardware. It is easy to communicate with peripherals and computer networks by using network ports. For networking, the most important endpoint is the port. Without the network ports, the computer cannot transmit the information outside.
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