Stands for "Trivial File Transfer Protocol." TFTP is a file transfer protocol similar to FTP, but is much more limited. Unlike FTP, TFTP does not support authentication and cannot change directories or list directory contents. Therefore, it is most often used to transfer individual files over a local network. TFTP may also be used to boot a computer system from a network-connected storage device.

While FTP connections use the TCP protocol, TFTP connections are made over UDP, which requires less overhead than TCP. This means TFTP file transfers may be faster, but less reliable than FTP transfers. Port 20 is used for FTP transfers, while port 69 is used for transferring files via TFTP.

TFTP is most often used on Unix systems, but it is supported by Windows and Mac OS X as well. You can initiate a TFTP file transfer via a command-line interface using the following syntax:

tftp [-i] [Host] [{get | put}] [Source] [Destination]

The "-i" parameter is used to transfer files in binary mode and should be omitted when transferring an ASCII text file. The get command is used to retrieve a file, while the put command is used to send a file to another system.

Updated May 2, 2013 by Per C.

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