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UDP is a network encapsulation protocol that sends data via IP. UDP stands for unreliable datagram protocol, which sounds like a bad thing. In practice, and especially in a multimedia context, unreliability has its place. Its counterpart, TCP guarantees delivery of network packets, validating that each one reaches its destination, and retransmits as necessary. In a real-time multimedia streaming application, this is not necessarily desirable. If a packet that encodes a small segment of audio did not make it to its destination as anticipated there is no point in re-sending the packet. The place where the audio should have been played back has already passed and re-transmission would only weigh the network needlessly.