Winsock Kernel Socket Categories
The Winsock Kernel (WSK) Network Programming Interface (NPI) defines five different categories of sockets: basic sockets, listening sockets, datagram sockets, connection-oriented sockets, and stream sockets. Each WSK socket category has unique functionality and supports a different set of socket functions. A WSK application must specify which category of WSK socket it is creating whenever it creates a new socket. The purpose for each WSK socket category is as follows:
Basic sockets are used only to get and set transport stack socket options or to perform socket I/O control operations. Basic sockets cannot be bound to a local transport address and do not support sending or receiving network data.
Listening sockets are used to listen for incoming connections from remote transport addresses. The functionality of a listening socket includes all of the functionality of a basic socket.
Connection-oriented sockets are used to send and receive network data over established connections. The functionality of a connection-oriented socket includes all of the functionality of a basic socket.
Stream sockets are used to either listen for incoming connections from remote transport addresses (act as a listening socket), or to send and receive network data over established connections (act as a connection-oriented socket). Use a stream socket when you do not know at the time of socket creation if you want a listening socket or a connection-oriented socket. The functionality of a stream socket includes all of the functionality of a basic socket.