Communicating multi-byte integers across platforms

Developing applications that communicate between different platforms can quickly hit ground if multi-byte integers are sent without taking the proper byte order into account. We often forgotten to watch for this as most of us stick to a single platform during development. Thankfully, the .NET Framework has taken all the guesswork out with a pair of simple methods.

Before transmitting integers over the wire, a quick call to IPAddress.HostToNetworkOrder() will change the byte order to the communications standard of significant byte first. Receiving integers also requires a single call to IPAddress.NetworkToHostOrder() to ensure the proper value is understood from the incoming bytes.

Read over the “Sockets Byte-Ordering Primer” article over at and the “Converting & Sending Sockets Data with a Leading Length Value” article over at for some great in-depth explanations on the matter.

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