How network architecture works

Topics: Network topology, Ethernet, OSI model Pages: 11 (2890 words) Published: January 30, 2014
My project report is on ‘how network architecture has changed over the decade’. In this report, I’d be talking about different network architecture that has been adopted over the past years. I would as well put light upon early network architecture and the advantages and disadvantages of former and why and how latter architecture were needed and adopted.

Network architecture is the design of communication network. It is the complete framework of computer network. The diagram of the network architecture provides a full picture of the established network with detailed view of all the resource accessible. It can be used to classify all the network layers step by step in logical form by describing each step in detail. The architecture is emphasized upon distributed computing environment and its complexity is next to impossible to understand without a framework.


OSI stands for Open Source Interconnection. It is an essential element of computer network design. The concept of how a modern network operates can be understood by dissecting it into seven layers. The important thing to realise is that OSI model doesn’t define a network standard, but rather provides a guidelines for the creation of network standards.

OSI reference model is important as it breaks down troubleshooting into logical problems. If one needs to troubleshoot, one should start at the lower layer and step up to the next level. By the time, troubleshooter reaches the highest level, the problem will be found.

The 7 layers of OSI model are listed below:

Physical Layer
The first/lowest layer is Physical Layer. The physical layer is what the name implies, i.e. physical components of a network. This layer is concerned with transmission and reception of unstructured raw data over physical medium. The function of physical layer is to take binary information from higher layers, translate it into transmission signal, transmit the information across transmission medium, receive this information and finally translate it back into binary before passing it up to the next layer.

Data Link Layer
Data Link Layer addresses both hardware and software. It provides error-free transfer of data frames from one node to another over the physical layer allowing, the layer above it to assume error-free transmission over the link.

The physical address used in Data Link Layer physical addressing system is known as MAC address. MAC stands for Media Access Control. This address is physically embedded into the node of each Network Interface Card (NIC) during manufacturing. Each NIC’s MAC address is unique to prevent the conflict of addressing. It is this relationship that causes Data Layer Link to be known as the only layer that addresses both hardware and software. The base of remaining layers are entirely software

Network Layer
The network layer controls the operation of the subnet. It provides routing and switching technologies creating logical path for transmitting data from node to node. Other functions include internetworking, error handling, congestion control and packet sequencing.

Transport Layer
This layer provides transparent transfer of data between end systems, or hosts, and is responsible for end to end error recovery and flow control. It ensures complete data transfer.

Session Layer
This layer establishes, manages and terminates connections between applications. The session layer sets up, coordinates, and terminates conversations, exchanges, and dialogues between the applications at each end. It deals with session and connection coordination.

Presentation Layer
This layer provides independence from differences in data representation by translating from application to network format, and vice versa. The presentation layer works to transform data into the form that the application layer can accept. This layer formats and encrypts data to be sent across a network, providing freedom from compatibility problems.

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