In telecommunications, a protocol data unit (PDU) is a single unit of information transmitted among peer entities of a computer network. A PDU is composed of protocol specific control information and user data. In the layered architectures of communication protocol stacks, each layer implements protocols tailored to the specific type or mode of data exchange.
For example, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) implements a connection-oriented transfer mode, and the PDU of this protocol is called a segment, while the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) uses datagrams as protocol data unit for connection-less transfer. A layer lower in the Internet protocol suite, at the Internet layer, the PDU is called a packet, irrespective of its payload type.