The worlds of computing, instrumentation and telecommunications need to exchange digital data between different equipment.
Due to the technological developments of electronic equipment and networks, this data exchange takes place at all levels of a control and supervision system:
These communications are mainly characterized by two components:
These communication protocols correspond in some way to the languages used so that two systems that need to exchange information can do so in an understandable and secure manner.
In a similar way to two human beings who must speak in a common language and make sure that they understand each sentence exchanged, even if it means asking for repetitions of misunderstood sentences or words, the two digital systems must use the same language and make sure each time that the information transmitted by each is well understood.
A communication protocol therefore defines this exchange language, through its syntax, its digital coding and the procedures for checking for errors or loss of transmitted data, and for repetition when necessary.
The term Interoperability, widely used today, describes the ability of different instruments, acquisition hardware, software ... possibly from different manufacturers, to be able to establish this dialogue through the use of a common communication protocol.
There are a very large number of protocols, both 'manufacturer' protocols and standardised and normalised protocols.
Some are aimed at specific needs, others are more general in scope; even if the classification has certain limitations, here are some examples of protocols used in different fields of application:
Real-time and Time-Stamped Protocols