Audio on The Internet

Conventional Transfer of Digital Audio Files

Digital audio file transfer among computers uses a number of protocols. The over-riding protocol on the Internet is Transfer Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). This controls all exchange of data on the Internet. Over this works other layers designed for specific purposes. Of specific interest here are File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Both originated on UNIX systems. FTP embodies a UNIX-like command language to navigate folders and to send and receive files. HTTP is a superset of FTP, adding more flexible graphical layout possibilities on the client end and more sophisticated, open- ended server software.

The conventional process of transferring and listening to an audio file involves first transferring the file from one computer to the next. One or two user-initiated commands prepare the receiving computer to listen for the file and the sending computer to transfer the file. As it is transferred, the receiving computer will usually shuttle it from random access memory to another storage medium, such as a hard disk drive. Once stored, the file format must be decompressed and/or decoded. Listening to the file requires the help of an application or the system software.

It is possible to listen to an audio file as it is transferred, as described in the next section:

Real Time Transfer of Digital Audio Files

Audio on The Internet