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Sockets let your network application communicate with other systems over the network. Each socket can be viewed as an endpoint in a network connection. It has an address that specifies:
- The system on which it is running.
- The types of interfaces it understands.
- The port it is using for the connection.
A full description of a socket connection includes the addresses of the sockets on both ends of the connection. You can describe the address of each socket endpoint by supplying both the IP address or host and the port number.
Before you can make a socket connection, you must fully describe the sockets that form its endpoints. Some of the information is available from the system your application is running on. For instance, you do not need to describe the local IP address of a client socket - this information is available from the operating system.
The information you must provide depends on the type of socket you are working with. Client sockets must describe the server they want to connect to. Listening server sockets must describe the port that represents the service they provide.