Network Control Protocol


Network Control Protocol (NCP) is a set of protocols used in network communication to govern the establishment, configuration, and management of data connections between devices. It operates as a part of the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) suite, ensuring proper functioning of multiple network layer protocols over a single physical connection. NCP dynamically negotiates the network layer options based on the requirements of the underlying network and the devices participating in the communication process.

Key Takeaways

  1. Network Control Protocol (NCP) is an early set of protocols responsible for network communication and management, which laid the foundation for the development of the modern Internet.
  2. NCP was primarily used in the ARPANET, the first wide-area packet-switching network, to establish and maintain connections between host computers and to allow the sharing of resources and information.
  3. It was eventually replaced by the more advanced and efficient Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), collectively known as TCP/IP, which brought about significant improvements in network communication and remains the standard for internet communication today.


The term Network Control Protocol (NCP) is important because it was the first standardized network protocol that enabled the efficient communication and data transmission between different computer systems connected through a network.

Developed in the 1970s as part of the ARPANET project, NCP played a crucial role in laying the foundation for the modern internet by establishing fundamental connection-oriented and connectionless communication protocols.

In essence, NCP contributed significantly to the growth and development of networking technologies and inspired subsequent networking protocols, such as the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), which are the backbone of today’s internet.


Network Control Protocol (NCP) is a vital technology term that serves a significant purpose in network communication systems. It plays a crucial role in establishing and maintaining operational communication between different devices within a network. In essence, it streamlines the process of data transfer and ensures seamless integration of various devices connected within a network system.

As a part of the networking protocol suite, NCP’s primary objective is to provide a consistent and efficient method for transferring data packets and managing traffic control. It also helps maintain the proper functioning and coordination of multiple devices connected to the network, making it essential for effective communication and data management. One of NCP’s key use cases is in the context of the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), a protocol designed for establishing a direct link connection between two nodes in a network.

In this scenario, NCP works in conjunction with other protocols to negotiate the optimal configuration for network-layer protocols on both ends of the point-to-point link. Through this negotiation process, NCP is responsible for ensuring reliable and efficient communication by handling network-layer protocol options, such as error detection, error correction, and flow control. As a result, NCP contributes to the stable and efficient functioning of the overall network environment, ultimately enhancing data transfer and communication between devices within the network.

Examples of Network Control Protocol

Network Control Protocol (NCP) was the initial suite of networking protocols used on ARPANET, which was the precursor to the modern Internet. It provided the framework for allowing computers to communicate with each other across diverse networks. Here are three real-world examples involving the use of Network Control Protocol:

ARPANET: NCP played a vital role during the early years of ARPANET (from 1969 to 1982) to establish reliable host-to-host communication between computers. ARPANET was a project funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and initially connected the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Stanford Research Institute, the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the University of Utah.

File transfer and remote login: One of the main functionalities of NCP was to provide support for basic applications like file transfer and remote login during the early days of the ARPANET. Network Control Protocol enabled the early internet pioneer Ray Tomlinson to send the first email in

It also facilitated initial implementations of Telnet, an application to access remote devices on the network.

Transition from NCP to TCP/IP: By the early 1980s, NCP had shown its limitations in terms of performance and adaptability to newer network technologies. To address these challenges, the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) was developed as a more advanced and scalable solution. On January 1, 1983, ARPANET officially switched from NCP to TCP/IP, and NCP was eventually phased out. Nevertheless, NCP’s role in the development of the internet highlights its importance as a stepping stone toward modern networking protocols.

Network Control Protocol FAQ

What is Network Control Protocol (NCP)?

Network Control Protocol (NCP) is a set of communication protocols used to connect hosts on ARPANET, the precursor of the internet. NCP provided an early standard for transmitting network services, eventually replaced by the more advanced Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) suite.

When was Network Control Protocol (NCP) developed?

NCP was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as an initial suite of protocols for the ARPANET, which formed the basis for the internet. NCP enabled the first network connections, allowing computers to communicate over packet-switched networks.

What was the purpose of Network Control Protocol (NCP)?

The purpose of NCP was to provide a standardized method for transmitting network services between hosts on the ARPANET, enabling the sharing of resources and information among different computers. NCP provided the foundation for early network communication before being replaced by the more advanced TCP/IP protocol suite.

How did Network Control Protocol (NCP) work?

NCP worked by providing a set of communication protocols for establishing connections, transmitting data, and managing network resources on ARPANET. It operated at the network layer of the OSI model, managing the interaction between hosts connected on the network. NCP facilitated the transmission of packets between hosts, ensuring that sent packets were received, and controlling the flow of data.

Why was Network Control Protocol (NCP) replaced by TCP/IP?

NCP was replaced by TCP/IP because the latter offered more advanced features and greater flexibility for handling network communications. TCP/IP, a more robust and flexible protocol suite, provided better support for error detection, error correction, and data retransmission. The adoption of TCP/IP became crucial in the growth and expansion of the internet, allowing for the seamless communication we have today.

Related Technology Terms

  • Packet Switching
  • Data Transmission
  • Network Topology
  • Routing Protocols
  • Network Management

Sources for More Information

  • Techopedia – A comprehensive online resource for various technology topics including Network Control Protocol.
  • Network World – A great source of news and analysis about enterprise IT, including information on Network Control Protocol.
  • Cisco Systems – The official website of Cisco, a global leader in networking solutions, which provides information about Network Control Protocol.
  • Computerworld – An online resource for information about technology and IT management, including in-depth articles about Network Control Protocol.

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