Winsock 2

Like Winsock, Winsock 2 is a programming interface and the supporting program that handles input/output requests for Internet applications in a Windows operating system. It's called Winsock because it's an adaptation for Windows of the Berkeley UNIX sockets interface. Sockets is a particular convention for connecting with and exchanging data between two program processes. Winsock 2 is a 32-bit version of Winsock.

Winsock 2 runs between an application program such as a Web browser and the program in your computer that handles TCP/IP. A request flows in the following order:


Web browser or other application
ws2-32.dll (Winsock 2)
Layers for TCP/IP (or certain other protocols)
Modem or network card
The Internet and destination

Winsock 2 offers these advantages over Winsock:

  • In addition to TCP/IP, it provides an interface to a variety of protocols, including IPX/SPX, ISDN and wireless protocols.
  • An application can request multicast and other protocol services not supported by Winsock 1.1.
  • It offers access to multiple name spaces.
  • It offers an application the possibility of choosing services based on cost.

Winsock 2 is included in the latest versions of the Windows operating systems.

This was last updated in September 2005

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