As with TCP, client/server communication is initiated by a client application that requests data from a server process. The UDP client process randomly selects a port number from the range of dynamic port numbers and uses this as the source port for the conversation. The destination port is usually the well-known or registered port number assigned to the server process.

Randomized source port numbers also help with security. If there is a predictable pattern for destination port selection, an intruder can more easily simulate access to a client by attempting to connect to the port number most likely to be open.

Because there is no session to be created with UDP, as soon as the data is ready to be sent and the ports identified, UDP can form the datagrams and pass them to the network layer to be addressed and sent on the network.

After a client has selected the source and destination ports, the same pair of ports is used in the header of all datagrams used in the transaction. For the data returning to the client from the server, the source and destination port numbers in the datagram header are reversed.

Scroll through the figures on the right to see details of UDP client processes.