The transmission of haptic information over the network has recently received significant attention. The wide spectrum of haptic applications makes it difficult to capture the widely varying requirements of these applications into one generic protocol. In this paper, we introduce ALPHAN (Application Layer Protocol for Haptic Networking), a novel application layer protocol for haptic communication. The distinguished features of this protocol are the followings: first, being an application layer protocol, it can easily be customized according to the application requirements and needs; second, the protocol utilizes an XML-based description to define its networking parameters; and third the protocol supports multi-buffering where priorities are attributed to different buffers in collaborative haptic environments. The implementation and preliminary evaluation of the protocol showed a satisfactory performance. We also present our immediate future development and possible research avenues.