Computer Networks – Layers of OSI Model

The OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model is developed by the International Standard Organization. It is a layered framework for the design of network systems that allows communication between all types of computer systems. Its primary purpose is to provide a set of structural guidelines for exchanging information between computers, workstations, and networks.

The Seven Layers of OSI Model

Layers No.Layers NameFunction
Layer 1Physical LayerTransmission method used to propagate bits through a network
Layer 2Data Link LayerFrame formatting for transmitting data across a physical communication line.
Layer 3Network LayerNetwork addressing and packet transmission on the network.
Layer 4Transport LayerData tracking as it moves through a network.
Layer 5Session LayerJob management tracking
Layer 6Presentation LayerEncoding the language used in transmission.
Layer 7Application LayerUser networking applications and interfacing to the network.

Physical Layer

The Physical Layer is the lowermost layer in the OSI model and its major responsibility includes the actual propagation of the unstructured data bits (0’s and 1’s) across the network, from the physical layer of the sending device to the physical layer of the receiving device.

The Physical layer contains information in the form of bits. It transmits individual bits from one node to the next node. The transmission media defined by the physical layer include metallic cable, optical fiber, and the wireless radio-wave.

Physical Layer Includes −

  • Bit Synchronization – Physical layer provides the bit synchronization of bits by providing a clock. This clock controls the sender and receiver providing synchronization at bit level.
  • Bit Rate Control – Physical layer defines the transmission rate. The number of bits sent per second.
  • Physical Topologies – The physical layer specifies how the different devices are arranged in a network (bus, ring, star, and mesh topology).
  • Transmission mode – The physical layer checks if the transmission is simplex, half-duplex, or full-duplex. It defines how the data flows between the two connected devices.

Data Link Layer

It is the second layer of the OSI model. The data link layer is responsible for providing error-free communication across the physical link connecting the primary and secondary nodes within a network. It provides hop-to-hop delivery. It packages the data from the physical layer into a group called blocks.

The data link layer provides the final framing of the information signal, and it provides synchronization facilities for the orderly flow of data between the nodes.

  • Framing − Breaks messages into frames and reassembles frames into messages.
  • Error handling − It is used to soles the damaged, lost, and duplicate frames.
  • Flow Control − It keeps a fast transmitter from flooding a slow receiver.
  • Access Control − In access control, if many hosts have usage of the medium, When a single communication channel is shared by multiple devices, the MAC sub-layer of data link layer helps to determine which device has control over the channel at a given time.

Network Layer

The network layer provides details that enable data to be routed between devices in an environment using multiple networks, sub-networks, or both.

The networking components that operate at the network layer include routers and their software. It determines which network configuration is most appropriate for the function provided by the network and addresses and routes data within a network by establishing, maintaining, and terminating connectors between them.

It provides the upper layers of the hierarchy with independence from the data transmission and switching technologies used to interconnect systems.

It also provides the source and destination network addresses, subnet information, and source and destination node addresses. In this, the network is subdivided into subnet-work that is separated by routers.

Transport Layer

We can say that the transport layer controls and ensures the end-to-end integrity of the data message propagated through the network between two devices, providing the reliable, transparent transfer of data between the endpoints.

Responsibilities of Transport Layer

  • Segmentation and Reassembly − In this, a message is divided into small pieces. Reassemble the message correctly upon arriving at the destination.
  • Reliability − It ensures that packets arrive at their destination. Reassembles out-of-order messages.
  • Service Decisions − It is used to check what types of service to provide error-free point-to-point, datagram, etc.
  • Mapping − It determines which messages belong to which connections.
  • Naming − It must be translated into an internal address and route, send to node XYZ.
  • Flow Control − It keeps a fast transmitter from flooding a slow receiver.
  • Error Control − To retransmit the damaged segments.

Session Layer

The session layer creates communication channels between devices. It is responsible for opening sessions, ensuring they remain open and functional while the data is being transferred, and close the session when the communication ends.

The session layer can also set checkpoints during a data transfer. If a session is interrupted, then the devices can resume data transfer from the last checkpoint.

The session layer is responsible for network availability for data storage and processes capacity. It provides the logical connection entities at the application layer.

Session Layer Responsibilities −

  • Network log-on and log-off procedures
  • User authentication
  • Determines the type dialog available − simplex, half-duplex, and full-duplex.
  • Synchronization of data flow for recovery purposes.
  • Creation of dialog units and activity units.

Presentation Layer

The presentation layer prepares the data for its upper layer or the application layer. It defines how two devices should encode, encrypt, and compress the data.

  • The presentation layer receives any data transmitted by the application layer and prepares it for transmission over the session layer.
  • It specifies how the end-user applications should format the data.
  • This layer provides for the translation between the local representation of data and the representation of data that will be used for transfer between the end-users. The result of encryption, data compression, and virtual terminals are examples of translation services.

Application Layer

The application layer is the topmost layer in the OSI model and acts as the general manager of the network by proving access to the OSI environment. This layer provides distributed information services and controls the sequence of activities within an application and also the sequence of events between the computer application and the user of the application. It communicates directly with the user’s application program.

The application layer uses HTTP, FTP, POP, SMTP, and DNS protocols that allow the software to send and receive information and present meaningful data to users.

Updated on: 23-Nov-2021

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