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OSI model

The Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI) is both the ISO, as standard ISO 7498, and the renamed
a conceptual model that characterizes and standardizes CCITT (now called the Telecommunications Standard-
the internal functions of a communication system by ization Sector of the International Telecommunication
partitioning it into abstraction layers. The model is a Union or ITU-T) as standard X.200.
product of the Open Systems Interconnection project at
OSI had two major components: an abstract model of
the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), networking, called the Basic Reference Model or seven-
maintained by the identication ISO/IEC 7498-1. layer model, and a set of specic protocols.
The model groups communication functions into seven The concept of a seven-layer model was provided by
logical layers. A layer serves the layer above it and is the work of Charles Bachman, Honeywell Information
served by the layer below it. For example, a layer that pro- Services. Various aspects of OSI design evolved from
vides error-free communications across a network pro- experiences with the ARPANET, the edgling Internet,
vides the path needed by applications above it, while it NPLNET, EIN, CYCLADES network and the work in
calls the next lower layer to send and receive packets that IFIP WG6.1. The new design was documented in ISO
make up the contents of that path. Two instances at one 7498 and its various addenda. In this model, a networking
layer are connected by a horizontal connection on that system was divided into layers. Within each layer, one or
layer. more entities implement its functionality. Each entity in-
teracted directly only with the layer immediately beneath
it, and provided facilities for use by the layer above it.
Protocols enabled an entity in one host to interact with
a corresponding entity at the same layer in another host.
Service denitions abstractly described the functionality
provided to an (N)-layer by an (N-1) layer, where N was
one of the seven layers of protocols operating in the local
The OSI standards documents are available from the ITU-
T as the X.200-series of recommendations.[1] Some of
the protocol specications were also available as part of
Communication in the OSI-Model (example with layers 3 to 5) the ITU-T X series. The equivalent ISO and ISO/IEC
standards for the OSI model were available from ISO, but
only some of them without fees.[2]

1 History
2 Description of OSI layers
In the late 1970s, two projects began independently, with
the same goal: to dene a unifying standard for the archi-
tecture of networking systems. One was administered by The recommendation X.200 describes seven layers, la-
the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), beled 1 to 7. Layer 1 is the lowest layer in this model.
while the other was undertaken by the International Tele- At each level (N), two entities (layer N peers) exchange
graph and Telephone Consultative Committee, or CCITT protocol data units (PDUs) by means of a layer-N proto-
(the abbreviation is from the French version of the name). col. A service data unit (SDU) is the payload of a PDU,
These two international standards bodies each developed transmitted unchanged to a peer.
a document that dened similar networking models. The SDU is a unit of data that is passed down from one
In 1983, these two documents were merged to form a OSI layer to the next-lower layer, and which the lower
standard called The Basic Reference Model for Open layer encapsulates into a PDU. Layer N-1 adds a header
Systems Interconnection. Thats a mouthful, so the stan- or a footer, or both, to the SDU, composing a PDU of
dard is usually referred to as the Open Systems Intercon- layer N-1. The added framing make it possible to get the
nection Reference Model, the OSI Reference Model, or data from a source to a destination. The PDU at a layer
even just the OSI Model. It was published in 1984 by N thus becomes the SDU of layer N-1.


Some orthogonal aspects, such as management and secu- Media Access Control (MAC) layer - responsible for
rity, involve every layer. controlling how computers in the network gain ac-
Security services are not related to a specic layer: they cess to data and permission to transmit it.
can be related by several layers, as dened by ITU-T
Logical Link Control (LLC) layer - controls error
X.800 Recommendation.[3]
checking and packet synchronization.
These services are aimed to improve the CIA triad
(condentiality, integrity, and availability) of transmit-
The Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) is an example of a data
ted data. In practice, the availability of communication
link layer in the TCP/IP protocol stack.
service is determined by the interaction between network
design and network management protocols. Appropriate The ITU-T standard, which provides high-speed
choices for both of these are needed to protect against local area networking over existing wires (power lines,
denial of service. phone lines and coaxial cables), includes a complete data
link layer that provides both error correction and ow
control by means of a selective-repeat sliding-window
2.1 Layer 1: physical layer protocol.

The physical layer has the following major functions:

2.3 Layer 3: network layer
It denes the electrical and physical specications of
the data connection. It denes the relationship be- The network layer provides the functional and procedu-
tween a device and a physical transmission medium ral means of transferring variable length data sequences
(e.g., a copper or ber optical cable). This in- (called datagrams) from one node to another connected to
cludes the layout of pins, voltages, line impedance, the same network. A network is a medium to which many
cable specications, signal timing, hubs, repeaters, nodes can be connected, on which every node has an ad-
network adapters, host bus adapters (HBA used in dress and which permits nodes connected to it to transfer
storage area networks) and more. messages to other nodes connected to it by merely pro-
viding the content of a message and the address of the
It denes the protocol to establish and terminate a
destination node and letting the network nd the way to
connection between two directly connected nodes
deliver (route) the message to the destination node. In
over a communications medium.
addition to message routing, the network may (or may
It may dene the protocol for ow control. not) implement message delivery by splitting the message
into several fragments, delivering each fragment by a sep-
It denes transmission mode i.e. simplex, half, full arate route and reassembling the fragments, report deliv-
duplex. ery errors, etc.
It denes topology. Datagram delivery at the network layer is not guaranteed
to be reliable.
It denes a protocol for the provision of a (not nec-
essarily reliable) connection between two directly A number of layer-management protocols, a function de-
connected nodes, and the modulation or conversion ned in the management annex, ISO 7498/4, belong to
between the representation of digital data in user the network layer. These include routing protocols, mul-
equipment and the corresponding signals transmit- ticast group management, network-layer information and
ted over the physical communications channel. This error, and network-layer address assignment. It is the
channel can involve physical cabling (such as copper function of the payload that makes these belong to the
and optical ber) or a wireless radio link. network layer, not the protocol that carries them.

The physical layer of Parallel SCSI operates in this layer,

as do the physical layers of Ethernet and other local-area 2.4 Layer 4: transport layer
networks, such as Token Ring, FDDI, ITU-T, and
IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi), as well as personal area networks The transport layer provides the functional and procedu-
such as Bluetooth and IEEE 802.15.4. ral means of transferring variable-length data sequences
from a source to a destination host via one or more net-
works, while maintaining the quality of service functions.
2.2 Layer 2: data link layer
An example of a transport-layer protocol in the standard
The data link layer provides a reliable link between two Internet stack is Transmission Control Protocol (TCP),
directly connected nodes, by detecting and possibly cor- usually built on top of the Internet Protocol (IP).
recting errors that may occur in the physical layer. The The transport layer controls the reliability of a given link
data link layer is divided into two sublayers: through ow control, segmentation/desegmentation, and
2.6 Layer 6: presentation layer 3

error control. Some protocols are state- and connection- usually used in the Internet Protocol Suite. The session
oriented. This means that the transport layer can keep layer is commonly implemented explicitly in application
track of the segments and retransmit those that fail. The environments that use remote procedure calls.
transport layer also provides the acknowledgement of the
successful data transmission and sends the next data if
no errors occurred. The transport layer creates packets 2.6 Layer 6: presentation layer
out of the message received from the application layer.
Packetizing is a process of dividing the long message into The presentation layer establishes context between
smaller messages. application-layer entities, in which the application-layer
entities may use dierent syntax and semantics if the pre-
OSI denes ve classes of connection-mode transport
sentation service provides a big mapping between them.
protocols ranging from class 0 (which is also known as
If a mapping is available, presentation service data units
TP0 and provides the fewest features) to class 4 (TP4,
are encapsulated into session protocol data units, and
designed for less reliable networks, similar to the Inter-
passed down the protocol stack.
net). Class 0 contains no error recovery, and was designed
for use on network layers that provide error-free connec- This layer provides independence from data representa-
tions. Class 4 is closest to TCP, although TCP contains tion (e.g., encryption) by translating between application
functions, such as the graceful close, which OSI assigns and network formats. The presentation layer transforms
to the session layer. Also, all OSI TP connection-mode data into the form that the application accepts. This layer
protocol classes provide expedited data and preservation formats and encrypts data to be sent across a network. It
of record boundaries. Detailed characteristics of TP0-4 is sometimes called the syntax layer.[5]
classes are shown in the following table:[4] The original presentation structure used the Basic Encod-
An easy way to visualize the transport layer is to com- ing Rules of Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1), with
pare it with a post oce, which deals with the dispatch capabilities such as converting an EBCDIC-coded text
and classication of mail and parcels sent. Do remember, le to an ASCII-coded le, or serialization of objects and
however, that a post oce manages the outer envelope of other data structures from and to XML.
mail. Higher layers may have the equivalent of double
envelopes, such as cryptographic presentation services
that can be read by the addressee only. Roughly speak- 2.7 Layer 7: application layer
ing, tunneling protocols operate at the transport layer,
such as carrying non-IP protocols such as IBM's SNA or The application layer is the OSI layer closest to the end
Novell's IPX over an IP network, or end-to-end encryp- user, which means both the OSI application layer and the
tion with IPsec. While Generic Routing Encapsulation user interact directly with the software application. This
(GRE) might seem to be a network-layer protocol, if the layer interacts with software applications that implement
encapsulation of the payload takes place only at endpoint, a communicating component. Such application programs
GRE becomes closer to a transport protocol that uses IP fall outside the scope of the OSI model. Application-
headers but contains complete frames or packets to de- layer functions typically include identifying communica-
liver to an endpoint. L2TP carries PPP frames inside tion partners, determining resource availability, and syn-
transport packet. chronizing communication. When identifying commu-
nication partners, the application layer determines the
Although not developed under the OSI Reference Model
identity and availability of communication partners for
and not strictly conforming to the OSI denition of the
an application with data to transmit. When determining
transport layer, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
resource availability, the application layer must decide
and the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) of the Internet
whether sucient network or the requested communica-
Protocol Suite are commonly categorized as layer-4 pro-
tion exists. In synchronizing communication, all commu-
tocols within OSI.
nication between applications requires cooperation that
is managed by the application layer. Some examples of
application-layer implementations include:
2.5 Layer 5: session layer
On OSI stack:
The session layer controls the dialogues (connections) be-
tween computers. It establishes, manages and terminates FTAM File Transfer and Access Management
the connections between the local and remote application. Protocol
It provides for full-duplex, half-duplex, or simplex oper-
ation, and establishes checkpointing, adjournment, ter- X.400 Mail
mination, and restart procedures. The OSI model made Common Management Information Protocol
this layer responsible for graceful close of sessions, which (CMIP)
is a property of the Transmission Control Protocol, and
also for session checkpointing and recovery, which is not On TCP/IP stack:

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), 5 Examples

File Transfer Protocol (FTP),
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP),
6 Comparison with TCP/IP model
Simple Network Management Protocol
(SNMP), etc.
In the TCP/IP model of the Internet, protocols are de-
liberately not as rigidly designed into strict layers as in
the OSI model.[11] RFC 3439 contains a section entitled
3 Cross-layer functions Layering considered harmful".[12] However, TCP/IP
does recognize four broad layers of functionality which
There are some functions or services that are not tied to are derived from the operating scope of their contained
a given layer, but they can aect more than one layer. protocols: the scope of the software application; the end-
Examples include the following: to-end transport connection; the internetworking range;
and the scope of the direct links to other nodes on the
Security service (telecommunication)[3] as dened local network.[13]
by ITU-T X.800 recommendation.
Even though the concept is dierent from the OSI model,
Management functions, i.e. functions that permit to these layers are nevertheless often compared with the OSI
congure, instantiate, monitor, terminate the com- layering scheme in the following way:
munications of two or more entities: there is a spe-
cic application-layer protocol, common manage-
The Internet application layer includes the OSI ap-
ment information protocol (CMIP) and its corre-
plication layer, presentation layer, and most of the
sponding service, common management informa-
session layer.
tion service (CMIS), they need to interact with every
layer in order to deal with their instances. Its end-to-end transport layer includes the graceful
Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) operates at close function of the OSI session layer as well as the
an OSI-model layer that is generally considered to lie OSI transport layer.
between traditional denitions of layer 2 (data link The internetworking layer (Internet layer) is a subset
layer) and layer 3 (network layer), and thus is often of the OSI network layer (see above)
referred to as a layer-2.5 protocol. It was designed
to provide a unied data-carrying service for both The link layer includes the OSI data link and physi-
circuit-based clients and packet-switching clients cal layers, as well as parts of OSIs network layer.
which provide a datagram-based service model. It
can be used to carry many dierent kinds of traf- These comparisons are based on the original seven-layer
c, including IP packets, as well as native ATM, protocol model as dened in ISO 7498, rather than re-
SONET, and Ethernet frames. nements in such things as the internal organization of
ARP is used to translate IPv4 addresses (OSI layer the network layer document.
3) into Ethernet MAC addresses (OSI layer 2). The presumably strict peer layering of the OSI model as
it is usually described does not present contradictions in
TCP/IP, as it is permissible that protocol usage does not
4 Interfaces follow the hierarchy implied in a layered model. Such
examples exist in some routing protocols (e.g., OSPF), or
Neither the OSI Reference Model nor OSI protocols in the description of tunneling protocols, which provide
specify any programming interfaces, other than as delib- a link layer for an application, although the tunnel host
erately abstract service specications. Protocol speci- protocol might well be a transport or even an application-
cations precisely dene the interfaces between dierent layer protocol in its own right.
computers, but the software interfaces inside computers,
known as network sockets are implementation-specic.
For example Microsoft Windows' Winsock, and Unix's
7 See also
Berkeley sockets and System V Transport Layer Inter-
face, are interfaces between applications (layer 5 and Hierarchical internetworking model
above) and the transport (layer 4). NDIS and ODI are Internet protocol suite
interfaces between the media (layer 2) and the network
protocol (layer 3). Layer 8
Interface standards, except for the physical layer to me- Protocol stack
dia, are approximate implementations of OSI service
specications. Service layer

TCP/IP model
X.25 protocol suite
WAP protocol suite
List of information technology acronyms
IBM Systems Network Architecture

8 References
[1] ITU-T X-Series Recommendations
[2] Publicly Available Standards. 2010-
07-30. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
[3] X.800 : Security architecture for Open Systems Intercon-
nection for CCITT applications
[4] ITU-T Recommendation X.224 (11/1995) ISO/IEC
[5] Grigonis, Richard (2000). Computer telephony encyclope-
dia. CMP. p. 331. ISBN 9781578200450.
[6] ITU-T Recommendation Q.1400 (03/1993), Architecture
framework for the development of signaling and OA&M
protocols using OSI concepts, pp 4, 7.
[7] ITU Rec. X.227 (ISO 8650), X.217 (ISO 8649).
[8] X.700 series of recommendations from the ITU-T (in par-
ticular X.711) and ISO 9596.
[9] CISCO Cisco Systems, Inc. Internetworking Technology
Handbook OSI Model Physical layer
[10] 3GPP TS 36.300 : E-UTRA and E-UTRAN Overall De-
scription, Stage 2, Release 11
[11] RFC 3439

9 External links
ISO/IEC standard 7498-1:1994 (PDF document in-
side ZIP archive) (requires HTTP cookies in order
to accept licence agreement)
ITU-T X.200 (the same contents as from ISO)
The ISO OSI Reference Model , Beluga graph of
data units and groups of layers
Zimmermann, Hubert (April 1980). OSI Ref-
erence Model The ISO Model of Architec-
ture for Open Systems Interconnection. IEEE
Transactions on Communications 28 (4): 425432.
doi:10.1109/TCOM.1980.1094702. CiteSeerX:
Cisco Systems Internetworking Technology Hand-

10 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

10.1 Text
OSI model Source: Contributors: Damian Yerrick, AxelBoldt, Bryan Derk-
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Shirik, Mathonius, Kallaspriit, Mmmeg, Theelmgren, Shadowjams, Joaquin008, Sesu Prime, A.amitkumar, FrescoBot, DrSpice, Oita2001,
802geek, Advancedtelcotv, Itusg15q4user, Kyllys, Recognizance, Nisavid, Runtux, Geek2003, Kismalac, Eliezerb, Vk anantha, Origi-
nalharry, DrDOS, AstaBOTh15, Simple Bob, Mojalefa247, I dream of horses, Ajw901, LittleWink, Jonesey95, A412, Calmer Waters,
Rushbugled13, Jschnur, SpaceFlight89, Isofox, Fumitol, Warrierrakesh, Bmylez, Mohitjoshi999, Merlion444, Mmeerman, Yamike, To-
beBot, Ashutosh.mcse, Lotje, Asn1tlv, Dinamik-bot, Nemesis of Reason, Bluest, Mattmill30,, JV Smithy, Tbhotch, Minimac,
10.2 Images 7

Brambleclawx, DARTH SIDIOUS 2, Artur Perwenis, Candc4, Ripchip Bot, Lynnallendaly, Conquest ace, Deagle AP, EmausBot, Slice-
ofmiami, Stryn, Immunize, Alex3yoyo, Super48paul, Dewritech, Racerx11, Mrankur, RenamedUser01302013, John Hopley, Sp33dyphil,
Tommy2010, Wikipelli, K6ka, Savh, Mohitsport, F, Josve05a, PaulWIKIJeery, Mkagenius, Unkownkid123, A930913, Saintends, Can
You Prove That You're Human, Cs mat3, SporkBot, Monterey Bay, Gz33, Wingman4l7, Vanished user fois8fhow3iqf9hsrlgkjw4tus, Elfos-
ardo, Praggu, Crasheral, Tarian.liber, Orange Suede Sofa, ChuispastonBot, Pastore Italy, Kkbairi, SharePointStacy, Neil P. Quinn, DASH-
BotAV, Raju5134, Petrb, ClueBot NG, MelbourneStar, Jeanjour, Satellizer, Lord Chamberlain, the Renowned, Chester Markel, Jjenk-
ins5123, Jakuzem, Bchiap, 336, Widr, Scottonsocks, Suyashparth, Chrkelly, Theopolisme, MerlIwBot, Novusuna, Kronn8, WNYY98,
BG19bot, HMGb, Island Monkey, Northamerica1000, Hallows AG, Palltrast, Mudasir011, Snehasapte, Mark Arsten, Shraddha deshmukh,
Dmohantyatgmail, Benzband, Jatinsinha, Avitesh, MrsValdry, CitationCleanerBot, GGShinobi, Roo314159, Falk.H.G., Nathanashleywild,
Mahesh Sarmalkar, Winston Chuen-Shih Yang, Nkansahrexford, Jsonheld, Vanished user lt94ma34le12, Jimw338, Taruntan, Sfeldner,
RealHandy, Tprz, Dexbot, Webclient101, Iambossatghari, Mitrabarun, Neevan99, Frosty, Payal1234, , DBhavsar709, Epicgenius,
Davidh63, Melonkelon, Apurv.11213, Thardrain, Comp.arch, Spyglasses, Congoblast, Ginsuloft, Semsi Paco Virchow, Quenhitran, Jian-
hui67, Lengeni, Byte1000101, Antrocent, YitzchakF, Tayyabjamil, Psycho365, Say which?, Jain Nupoor, Ajit31, Biochembob, Tranquil-
Hope, Praks purushot, Candlelighter, Superdupernova and Anonymous: 2295

10.2 Images
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The people from the Tango! project. And according to the meta-data in the le, specically: Andreas Nilsson, and Jakub Steiner (although
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License: Public domain Contributors: Own work Original artist: Runtux

10.3 Content license

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