Layer 1: physical layer
The physical layer defines electrical and physical specifications for devices. In particular, it defines the relationship between a device and a transmission medium, such as a copper or fiber optical cable. This includes the layout of pins, voltages, cable specifications, hubs, repeaters, network adapters, host bus adapters (HBA used in storage area networks) and more.
The major functions and services performed by the physical layer are:
- Establishment and termination of a connection to a communications medium.
- Participation in the process whereby the communication resources are effectively shared among multiple users. For example, contention resolution and flow control.
- Modulation, or conversion between the representation of digital data in user equipment and the corresponding signals transmitted over a communications channel. These are signals operating over the physical cabling (such as copper and optical fiber) or over a radio link.
Parallel SCSI buses operate in this layer, although it must be remembered that the logical SCSI protocol is a transport layer protocol that runs over this bus. Various physical-layer Ethernet standards are also in this layer; Ethernet incorporates both this layer and the data link layer. The same applies to other local-area networks, such as token ring, FDDI, ITU-T G.hn and IEEE 802.11, as well as personal area networks such as Bluetooth and IEEE 802.15.4.
Layer 2: data link layer
The data link layer provides the functional and procedural means to transfer data between network entities and to detect and possibly correct errors that may occur in the physical layer. Originally, this layer was intended for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint media, characteristic of wide area media in the telephone system. Local area network architecture, which included broadcast-capable multiaccess media, was developed independently of the ISO work in IEEE Project 802. IEEE work assumed sublayering and management functions not required for WAN use. In modern practice, only error detection, not flow control using sliding window, is present in data link protocols such as Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), and, on local area networks, the IEEE 802.2 LLC layer is not used for most protocols on the Ethernet, and on other local area networks, its flow control and acknowledgment mechanisms are rarely used. Sliding window flow control and acknowledgment is used at the transport layer by protocols such as TCP, but is still used in niches where X.25 offers performance advantages.
The ITU-T G.hn standard, which provides high-speed local area networking over existing wires (power lines, phone lines and coaxial cables), includes a complete data link layer which provides both error correction and flow control by means of a selective repeat Sliding Window Protocol.
Both WAN and LAN service arrange bits, from the physical layer, into logical sequences called frames. Not all physical layer bits necessarily go into frames, as some of these bits are purely intended for physical layer functions. For example, every fifth bit of the FDDI bit stream is not used by the layer.
WAN protocol architecture
Connection-oriented WAN data link protocols, in addition to framing, detect and may correct errors. They are also capable of controlling the rate of transmission. A WAN data link layer might implement a sliding window flow control and acknowledgment mechanism to provide reliable delivery of frames; that is the case for Synchronous Data Link Control (SDLC) and HDLC, and derivatives of HDLC such as LAPB and LAPD.
IEEE 802 LAN architecture
Practical, connectionless LANs began with the pre-IEEE Ethernet specification, which is the ancestor of IEEE 802.3. This layer manages the interaction of devices with a shared medium, which is the function of a media access control (MAC) sublayer. Above this MAC sublayer is the media-independent IEEE 802.2 Logical Link Control (LLC) sublayer, which deals with addressing and multiplexing on multiaccess media.
While IEEE 802.3 is the dominant wired LAN protocol and IEEE 802.11 the wireless LAN protocol, obsolescent MAC layers include Token Ring and FDDI. The MAC sublayer detects but does not correct errors.Read more…