When you set up a local area network, you must specify a protocol. A protocol is a set of rules that allow each computer to communicate. Several LAN protocols exists, and some are more widely used than others.
TCP/IP is the main protocol of the Internet. To communicate on the Internet, a network and each client computer must have configurations on the network card that have TCP/IP set up. TCP/IP uses packets of information that contain an IP address, which is a segmented numerical system that indicates the address for a computer. Each computer must have a unique address to function on the network.
The Novell NFS protocol is specific to Novell Netware networks. Novell Netware is a server-client architecture that can be used in internal networks. To use the Internet, the Novel NFS protocol should be used with the TCP/IP protocol. Many Novell networks use NFS and TCP/IP simultaneously.
The Apple AppleTalk protocol is mainly used to connect Apple computers and printers. The AppleTalk protocol is only compatible with other Macintosh computers, so it is not widely used unless the network is Apple-specific. Users still must have TCP/IP to use the Internet with an Apple computer.
You can run several protocols on a computer to ensure that the computer can communicate with each client on the network. Heterogeneous networks require multiple network protocols, so each client computer can communicate with another. For instance, multiple protocols are needed for a Windows and Novell client computer to communicate.