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OSI Explanation

OSI Explanation

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Published by: yousufadmin4338 on Jun 22, 2009
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OSI ExplanationSince computer networks can be very complex in their design, a model was created toshow network protocol in a series of layers which are each built upon its predecessor. TheOSI model (Open Systems Interconnection) is a protocol stack which was designed bythe ISO (International Standards Organization) in 1984 as a replacement for the thenexisting protocols such as SNA from IBM.This was a reference model which the ISO developed for worldwide communication between end users. The model is a seven layer protocol stack which passes controldownward from top to bottom. At each layer, the specific duties are carried out while thelayer below prepares to receive information from the above layer. The OSI modelconsists of seven layers. Each layer from top to bottom is a collection of related functionsthat provide the above layer with services. The upper four layers are used when amessage is passed to or from a user; these layers of the protocol handle matters related tosoftware such as encryption, format, etc. The lower three layers are used to pass messagesthrough the host computer. These layers deal more with the physical communication between the systems such as network connections with an Ethernet cable, etc.The seven layers of the OSI model are Application, Presentation, Session, Transport, Network, Data Link, and Physical.At the application layer, communication partners are identified, user authentication isconsidered and the quality of service and any errors in data syntax are identified. Whencommunication partners are identified, the application layer must find out if thesufficiency of network resources exists for communication to take place. The applicationlayer is the coordinator for synchronization and other processes and manages thecommunication between applications. Application services such as emailing and filetransfer such as FTP (File Transfer Protocol) exists entirely at this layer.The next layer in the model is the presentation layer. The presentation level is usually a part of the OS and converts in and outgoing data from presentation format to another which is ordered and meaningful. Here, data is converted to a form which the applicationlayer can accept. Data compression schemes allow for compressed or encrypted data to be easily decompressed or decrypted upon arrival at its destination. A variety of changessuch as encryption and ACSII conversion occur at this layer so that information can besent across a network with ease then presented to the host computer in a form which isunderstandable and can be used by that host. This function is usually the conversion of data into standard image, sound or text formats.The next layer in the model is the session layer. An example of this layer is tokenmanagement where the layer controls who has the token. This layer manages andcoordinates communication sessions, establishes, manages and terminates conversations,
and handles exchanges and dialogs between applications at each end as timely as possible.Communication sessions are requests from the applications in the several network devices.The transport layer is responsible for reliable transmission of information across thenetwork which involves end-to-end error recovery. It does a transparent transfer of data between end users or hosts. It ensures complete data transfer and it also handles the typeof connection to be created. Upper layer data packets are converted into smaller network sized packets which are then transported across the network to the other end user as fastas possible while maintaining the reliability of the data being sent. Due to the conditions present, the layer will create more than one network connections.The next layer in the OSI model is the network layer. This layer is the first of thehardware based layers to receive control. This layer allows for the connection of routersand other physical devices which support the connectivity of the network. These createlogical paths known as virtual circuits which allow the transmission of data from node tonode (station to station). In addition to routing, etc the network layer performs thefunction of addressing, internetworking, error handling, congestion control and packetsequencing.The data link layer is responsible for encoding and decoding data into bits. Also, it provides for reliable transfer of data from one end to the other at an electronic andmechanical level. Hardware devices such as hubs, switches and bridges operate at thedata link layer. It also handles tasks such as flow regulation, error detection and control.This layer is responsible for creating and managing the packets which are sent out on thenetwork. The data link layer is responsible for sending packets of data out, however itdoes not cater for the receipt of data at the other end of the network. The network data packets consist of a checksum, source address, destination address and the data which isthe message being sent. The Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) is a term related to thedata link layer and is the largest set of packets or frames which can be sent.The data link layer consist of two sub layers, these are the logical Link Control (LLC)and the Medium Access Control (MAC). The Logical Link Control defines how data can be transferred over cablewire connections and also provides the data link services to theabove layers. Next, the Medium Access Control defines who is allowed to use the network whenmany systems are trying to simultaneously access it. This involves token passing,Ethernet and other protocols for networking; some of these protocols include Serial LineIP (SLIP), Point to Point Protocol (PPP) and Multiple Transmission Unit (MTU).The last layer in the OSI model is the physical layer which literally deals entirely with the physical components of the network. This layer is responsible for the physical transfer of data in the form of bits from station to station. Items which operate at this level are for 
example cables voltages (CAT5, etc) or pin outs. The physical layer is concerned with (1) physical device interfaces such as mechanical and electronic specifications; (2) thetransmission type (duplex or half duplex) and (3) the amount of bits which aretransmitted per second.A graphical illustration of how the OSI model is intended to work Despite the introduction of the OSI model the TCPIP protocol is the one which is morecommonly used in the real life. This may be because the TCPIP protocol has fewer layersand is easier on the eye and mind and also, the TCPIP protocol was designed to solve problems which actually occur with networks.
Physical Layer
Concerned with the transmission of bits.How many volts for 0, how many for 1?Number of bits of second to be transmitted.Two way or one-way transmissionStandardized protocol dealing with electrical, mechanical and signaling interfaces.Many standards have been developed, e.g. RS-232 (for serial communication lines).Example : X.21
(2) Data Link Layer
Handles errors in the physical layer.Groups bits into frames and ensures their correct delivery.Adds some bits at the beginning and end of each frame plus the checksum.Receiver verifies the checksum.If the checksum is not correct, it asks for retransmission. (send a control message).Consists of two sublayers:Logical Link Control (LLC) defines how data is transferred over the cable and provides data link serviceto the higher layers.Medium Access Control (MAC) defines who can use the network when multiple computers are trying toaccess it simultaneously (i.e. Token passing, Ethernet [CSMA/CD]).
(3) Network Layer
Concerned with the transmission of packets.Choose the best path to send a packet ( routing ).It may be complex in a large network (e.g. Internet).Shortest (distance) route vs. route with least delay.Static (long term average) vs. dynamic (current load) routing.Two protocols are most widely used.X.25Connection OrientedPublic networks, telephone, European PTTSend a call request at the outset to the destinationIf destination accepts the connection, it sends an connection identifierIP (Internet Protocol)ConnectionlessPart of Internet protocol suite.An IP packet can be sent without a connection being established.Each packet is routed to its destination independently.
(4) Transport Layer
Network layer does not deal with lost messages.Transport layer ensures reliable service.Breaks the message (from sessions layer) into smaller packets, assigns sequence number and sendsthem.Reliable transport connections are built on top of X.25 or IP.In case IP, lost packets arriving out of order must be reordered.TCP : (Transport Control Protocol) Internet transport protocol.TCP/IP Widely used for network/transport layer (UNIX).UDP (Universal Datagram Protocol) : Internet connectionless transport layer protocol.Application programs that do not need connection-oriented protocol generally use UDP.

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