What is a Networking Model Explained

A networking model is a set of guidelines and standards that defines how data is transmitted and received over a network. It is also known as a networking architecture or a networking blueprint. It provides a common framework for network devices and software to communicate with each other.

It is a comprehensive set of documents. Individually, each document explains a single function required for a computer network. Collectively, these documents describe how a computer should work or exchange data.

Some documents explain the physical requirements for a network device. For example, a document could describe the current levels and voltage used by a specific cable to transmit data. Some documents describe protocols. A protocol is a set of logical rules that devices must follow to transmit data or communicate.

A networking model is similar to an architectural blueprint of a building. We use an architectural blueprint for a building to ensure that the building has the correct hidden space to accommodate the electrical, plumbing, gas, and other secretive amenities and has the right structure and foundation so that it remains standing for many years. We also share the same blueprint with contractors, mason men, painters, electricians, plumbers, and other workers, so their part of the work do not cause problems for other co-workers.

Similar to it, administrators use networking models to build their networks. Although they can build their own networking model, they use an already-built networking model. If they use their own networking model, they have to develop their own software and protocol, and build their own networking devices and networking cables. But if they use an already built networking model, they can purchase networking devices from the networking product vendors who build their product for the same networking model. Since the products are built for the same networking model, they work well.

There are many networking models, but the most widely used are the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model and the TCP/IP. Both models are layered architectures that divide the communication process into layers. The OSI model divides the communication process into seven layers, each responsible for a specific set of functions. These layers are:

Physical Layer

This layer defines the physical characteristics of the network, such as the type of cable, connectors, and other hardware.

Data Link Layer

This layer provides error-free transmission of data over a physical link and ensures that data is transmitted reliably.

Network Layer

This layer provides routing and addressing functions, allowing data to be sent from one network to another.

Transport Layer

This layer provides end-to-end data transport services, ensuring that data is delivered reliably and in the correct order.

Session Layer

This layer establishes and manages connections between applications on different devices.

Presentation Layer

This layer translates data into a format that can be understood by the receiving device.

Application Layer

This layer provides services to applications that enable them to communicate with each other over the network.

The TCP/IP model is similar to the OSI model. It divides the communication process into five layers. It merges the functionalities of some layers. The following table maps the TCP/IP model to the OSI model.

TCP/IP Model OSI Model
Transport Transport
Network/Internet Network
Data-link Data-link
Physical Physical

Both models provide a standard framework for networking devices and software to communicate with each other, making it easier for different vendors' products to interoperate.

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