SQL Server uses 3 protocols to make the communication between client and the server. Initially there were 4 protocols but now it supports only 3: Shared Memory, Named Pipes and TCP/IP. We can enable/disable these protocols from server-end and change the priority order from client-end. Now, how do I know which protocol has been used for my connection?
We can easily see this by using sys.dm_exec_connection dynamic management view. It shows all current connection along with the used protocol. The net_transport is the one that shows it.
Here is a sample code. The first connection 54, was made without specifying anything additional when connecting, hence it has used Shared Memory. This protocol is used when it is enabled and connection made using the same machine that hosts the SQL Server. The second connection 56 has been established using Named Pipes because I forced to use Named Pipes for my connection.
How can I force the protocol when connecting via SSMS? It is simple. When connecting, if you use lpc: as the prefix for the server name, it uses Shared Memory. If you use np:, then it uses Named Piped.