In telecommunications, a point-to-point connection refers to a communications connection between two communication endpoints or nodes. An example is a telephone call, in which one telephone is connected with one other, and what is said by one caller can only be heard by the other. This is contrasted with a point-to-multipoint or broadcast connection, in which many nodes can receive information transmitted by one node. Other examples of point-to-point communications links are leased lines, microwave radio relay and two-way radio.
The term is also used in computer networking and computer architecture to refer to a wire or other connection that links only two computers or circuits, as opposed to other network topologies such as buses or crossbar switches which can connect many communications devices.
The Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) is an encapsulation protocol for transporting IP traffic across point-to-point links. PPP is made up of three primary components:
Link Control Protocol (LCP)—Establishes working connections between two points.
Authentication protocol—Enables secure connections between two points.
Network control protocol (NCP)—Initializes the PPP protocol stack to handle multiple Network Layer protocols, such as IPv4, IPv6, and Connectionless Network Protocol (CLNP).
Link Control Protocol
LCP is responsible for establishing, maintaining, and tearing down a connection between two endpoints. LCP also tests the link and determines whether it is active. LCP establishes a point-to-point connection as follows:
- LCP must first detect a clocking signal on each endpoint. However, because the clocking signal can be generated by a network clock and shared with devices on the network, the presence of a clocking signal is only a preliminary indication that the link might be functioning.
- When a clocking signal is detected, a PPP host begins transmitting PPP Configure-Request packets.
- If the remote endpoint on the point-to-point link receives the Configure-Request packet, it transmits a Configure-Acknowledgement packet to the source of the request.
- After receiving the acknowledgement, the initiating endpoint identifies the link as established. At the same time, the remote endpoint sends its own request packets and processes the acknowledgement packets. In a functioning network, both endpoints treat the connection as established.