A protocol is a standard to which all components within a system must agree in order for that system to function. The Internet uses several software protocols so that a variety of otherwise incompatible computer hardware can communicate collectively. The Internet's primary protocol is called TCP/IP, or Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol. There are protocols for e-mail, remote login, file transfer, and Gopher. Without these standards, Internet tools would not function properly over networks and the millions of different computers that use them. For more information on protocols, please contact your local Internet service provider.
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