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Key OSI Reference Model Concepts
The OSI Reference Model is valuable
as a tool for explaining how networks function, and for describing the
relationships between different networking technologies and protocols.
To accomplish this, the model relies on a number of important concepts
and terms. To understand the model, then, I need to explain what these
are and how they relate to the model as a whole.
In this section, I describe the key
concepts that define how the OSI Reference Model works. I begin with
a discussion of how the model uses layers, perhaps the single most important
model concepts. I then talk about some of the notation and jargon you
are likely to see used in general discussions of the model. I define
in more detail what interfaces and protocols
are in the context of the model. I then explain the important concept
of data encapsulation and the terminology used to refer to messages
in the OSI Reference Model: PDUs and SDUs. Finally, I put together most
of the preceding issues by describing how the various layers work to
handle the routing of messages on a theoretical basis.
Note: Many of the concepts discussed in this section are also used by many people in describing the details of various individual technologies. The best example is the word protocol, which is used just about everywhere to refer to just about anything. My focus here is on the conceptual definitions of such terms. However, the conceptual discussions here often also apply to real-world technologies. For example, data encapsulation is performed as data is sent between protocols and technologies at various OSI layers, pretty much as I describe it here.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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