Networking Layers, Model and Architecture Explained

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The complexity of networking arises because of the involvement of many hardware and software elements.

Moreover, the networking user can only perceive two main components; hardware like PC and software like a browser.

To accomplish a simple task in a network, a dozen components must interact with each other, pass control information and data to complete the overall objective.

To make things easier and less complex, it is better to break down data into pieces and analyzes each part separately to understand the interaction process.

Logically, the division of the overall set of functions should be into modular components, and each component is responsible for performing particular functions.

Additionally, you need to define the interface of each component so that it can fit together.

This approach will lessen the compatibility issue in networking and help you better understand the flow of information.

Networking Layers

Networking technologies have adapted the approach by dividing major functions into layers, and each layer may involve hardware and software elements.

Further, each layer is responsible for performing a particular task and interacts with layers above and below it.

These networking layers are conceptually arranged into a vertical stack.

The lower layer of networking function is based on hardware signaling, low-level communication, and services to the upper layer.

Moreover, the upper layer of networking is more focused on listening lower layer and implementing user applications.

The division of each layer in networking is very similar to the process required in each step in the manufacturing industry.

The layers in networking can have multiple hardware and software specialized in performing the task needed by that layer.

Network Layer

Networking models

The layers in networking are defined so that everyone should be on the same page in terms of usage and development of technologies.

To make this happen, it has created Networking Models. The Networking Models describes the functionality of each layer, which layer is responsible for what and how the layers can interact.

When the networking model is universally accepted, then it possible to create hardware and software with that norms.

The most common general networking model today is the Open System Interconnection (OSI) Reference Model.

The OSI model has defined and conceptually created seven stacked layers. The lowest layer is the Physical Layer (layer one), which is at the bottom and responsible for low-level signaling.

The top layer is the Application Layer (Layer 7), where the application software is implemented.

You will find the complete details and explanation of the OSI Model here.

Networking Architectures

As we have stated, Networking Models are defined to describe the different layers in a network.

Similarly, the Networking Architectures concept is very closely related to Networking models. Networking architectures will states how each layer in a network will function.

Further, Networking Architecture will propose a set of rules that usually take a specification or standard form.

This set of rules or standards describes how the equipment (hardware) or software programs should behave in different OSI Reference Model network layers.

Networking Architecture is designed to implement the function associate with each layer of the OSI model.

Further, the TCP/IP protocol suite was developed on which the whole internet is running.

The TCP/IP model is the working model based on the conceptual OSI model that established connection and communication in a network.

The OSI model is a conceptual model which is not practically used for communication.

If you would like to know more about the differences between the TCP/IP model and the OSI model, you can click here.

Also, for a complete understanding of the TCP/IP protocol suite, you can click here.