Several sets of protocols determine how voice and data are transmitted over short and long distances. They include protocols for software, hardware, and networks.

The standard protocol governing World Wide Web communications is the well-known Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which supports HTML for Web page display. For wireless devices like mobile phones, the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) controls your access to information on the Internet. WAP supports WML for display.

Bluetooth technology (named for the tenth century Danish king who unified Denmark) allows wireless, radio-based communication between devices. Bluetooth is a general-purpose standard that targets communication between technical "gadgets." For example, it could connect your laptop to a major kitchen appliance like your refrigerator, if you so desired.

Transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) is the layered network protocol that has become the global standard for system-to-system communications. It is designed to allow dissimilar systems to transmit data to one another.