In computing, the Windows Sockets API (WSA), later shortened to Winsock, is a technical specification that defines how Windowsnetworksoftware should access network services, especially TCP/IP. It defines a standard interface between a Windows TCP/IP client application (such as an FTP client or a web browser) and the underlying TCP/IP protocol stack. The nomenclature is based on the Berkeley socketsAPI model used in BSD for communications between programs.
Early Microsoft operating systems, both MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows, offered limited networking capability, chiefly based on NetBIOS. In particular, Microsoft did not offer support for the TCP/IP protocol stack at that time. A number of university groups and commercial vendors, including the PC/IP group at MIT, FTP Software, Sun Microsystems, Ungermann-Bass, and Excelan, introduced TCP/IP products for MS-DOS, often as part of a hardware/software bundle. When Windows 2.0 was released, these vendors were joined by others such as Distinct and NetManage in offering TCP/IP for Windows.
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