According to 7 Layers of the OSI Model, IP is located at layer 3 (Network), while TCP and UDP are located on layer 4 (Transport).

Just for the sake of curiosity, why the combination of "TCP/IP" term is more popular than "UDP/IP"?

I've been searching on internet about this, however the only site that uses UDP/IP term is http://searchmicroservices.techtarget.com/definition/UDP-User-Datagram-Protocol

Both UDP and TCP run on top of the Internet Protocol (IP) and are sometimes referred to as UDP/IP or TCP/IP.

Btw, I'm not talking about the difference between TCP vs UDP and why TCP is more popular instead of UDP.

I'm just curious why the combination of "TCP/IP" term is more popular than "UDP/IP"?

It's common to hear about "TCP/IP" term but not "UDP/IP" term right? Any idea why?




  • probably bcs of HTTP (aka the WWW). Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 13:36
  • You are now edging into asking a question that will solicit primarily opinion-based answers, and that is off-topic here.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 14:22
  • @RonMaupin, this is not about TCP vs UDP. diffen.com/difference/TCP_vs_UDP But my question was why "TCP/IP" term is more popular than "UDP/IP"? It's common to hear about "TCP/IP" term but not "UDP/IP" right? Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 14:25
  • I understand that, and the answer to that particular question is going to generate primarily opinion-based answers. There are various reasons why that is more popular, but there is no real single reason.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 14:27
  • @RonMaupin, nevermind found the answer. It's not an opinion actually. It's a fact. TCP/IP is actually a model, just like OSI model. That's why the TCP/IP term is common and popular, not like UDP/IP because there is no such UDP/IP Model. Reference: omnisecu.com/tcpip/tcpip-model.php Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 14:37

4 Answers 4


There's many IP protocols, including TCP and UDP among others. See this list for reference: List of IP protocol numbers

Some are rarely (or never) used, why others are widely used.

Their usage depend on their usefulness.

UDP provide a fast, but unreliable, mean to transfer data. A typical use is for audio and video streaming, where re-sending a missed packet is not useful, since, if you missed an image in a movie there's no point to displaying it anymore

TCP provide a reliable connection, and handle error and retransmission of lost packet. This is vital to exchange of data the must reach the destination intact.

So there's more use case of TCP than UDP, but the latter is still widely used.


Historical reasons: TCP/IP was the initial combination for the Internet Protocol. We are talking about around 1974-75. UDP came to life in 1980. By that time, people already talked about TCP/IP and meant the Internet Protocol using TCP.


TCP and IP were and still are considered the core protocols of the IP suite, with TCP also preceding UDP considerably. The suite's origins were about recreating the then-common environment with serial lines, but over a packet-oriented network. A TCP socket connection pretty closely resembles a serial link.

Accordingly, TCP (first RFC from 1974 - long before even IPv4) was one of the cornerstones of Internet protocol development. UDP was added rather late in 1980 for services not requiring TCP's overhead and abstraction - by then, "TCP/IP" had already stuck.


Actually it depends on your need in the Internet. If you always use Internet applications which need reliable and connection-oriented service such as Web, File transfer, E-Mail, Remote Terminal access and so on, TCP protocol is the best protocol in your needs.

Because, TCP protocol serves connection-oriented and reliable connection for applications who use it. That means your data will always reach the destination(defined in IP header) with no loss. These task are accomplished by Sequence number field, Acknowledgment number field and Flag bits inside the TCP header.

As a result, if you use applications which need TCP protocol for transporting, TCP/IP is more popular than UDP/IP from your perspective. If someone uses applications which don't need realiable or connection-oriented service, from his perspective UDP/IP is more popular than TCP/IP.

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