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Why is UDP used if TCP is more reliable?

UDP is used over TCP for its speed and efficiency in situations where reliability is less important.

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) are both communication protocols used for sending data over the internet. While TCP is indeed more reliable due to its error-checking mechanisms and guaranteed delivery, it is also slower and requires more resources. This is because TCP establishes a connection before data transmission and ensures that all data packets arrive in the correct order.

On the other hand, UDP is a connectionless protocol. It sends data without establishing a connection and does not guarantee the order of data packets. This means that UDP is faster and more efficient, as it does not have to wait for acknowledgements or resend lost packets. It is also less resource-intensive, making it suitable for systems with limited resources.

UDP is often used in real-time applications such as live streaming, online gaming, and Voice over IP (VoIP), where speed is more important than reliability. In these situations, a few lost or out-of-order packets will not significantly impact the user experience. For example, in a live video stream, a few missing frames will not disrupt the overall flow of the video. Similarly, in online gaming, real-time responsiveness is crucial, and the occasional loss of data is preferable to delays caused by TCP's error-checking mechanisms.

Furthermore, UDP supports broadcast and multicast transmission, which allows data to be sent to multiple recipients simultaneously. This is particularly useful in applications such as IPTV and online multiplayer games, where the same data needs to be sent to many users at the same time.

In summary, while TCP is more reliable, UDP is used when speed, efficiency, and resource usage are more important considerations. The choice between TCP and UDP depends on the specific requirements of the application.

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