User datagram protocol (UDP) is a 'connectionless' protocol and does not require a connection to be established between two machines prior to data transmission. It is therefore said to be 'unreliable' - the word 'unreliable' used here as opposed to 'reliable' in the case of TCP and should not be interpreted against its everyday context.

Sending a UDP datagram involves very little overhead in that there are no synchronization parameters, no priority options, no sequence numbers, no timers, and no retransmission of packets. The header is small, the protocol is streamlined functionally. The only major drawback is that delivery is not guaranteed. UDP is therefore used for communications that involve broadcasts, for general network announcements, or for realtime data.

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