Network ports are the reason why computers can multi-task. You may be wondering do computers multitask? Yes, they do.
An example of computer multitasking is when you open a YouTube video, a Facebook page in Chrome, and at the same time, you are playing a computer game.
It is important to note that the computer uses an IP address to connect to the internet. However, if the computer was to use an IP address to connect to services, you will only perform one service at a time.
To connect multiple services, the computer uses network ports. Below is an analysis of various network ports and their classification.
What are Network Ports
A network port is a 16-bit decimal number that computer use to establish a connection to various applications running. Each application you launch to use a particular port to connect to the internet.
Network Port Range
We have said a computer is 16 bit. In binary, it means that there are 65536 combinations. Therefore, network ports range from 0 to 65535.
That means a computer can connect 65536 services if its processing power can allow. To have a standard when using these ports, the port ranges are classified as explained below.
Classification of Network Ports
Network ports range 0-65535 are classified into well-known ports, registered ports, and private ports. The classification is based on smaller port ranges as explained below.
1. Well-Known Ports (0-1023)
These are ports that are used to connect server services and are also popularly known as ephemeral ports.
Well-know ports are managed and assigned by Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Each port in this range is assigned a specific service.
Popular examples of well-know ports are port 80 assigned to HTTP, port 23 assigned to Telnet, and port 53 assigned to DNS.
Well-know ports are also commonly referred to as the system ports.
2. Registered Ports (1024-49151)
These are ports that various application or programs use to communicate with other applications. However, the application owners must register with IANA to get assigned these network ports.
3. Private/Dynamic Ports (49151-65553)
These are ports that any application can use to connect to any other application that either uses UDP or TCP without need to register with IANA.
UDP stands for User Datagram Protocol and TCP stands for Transport Control Protocol.