February 6, 2023
Shutterstock.com/Angelus_Svetlana The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) networking model defines a conceptual framework for communications between computer systems. The model is an ISO standard which identifies seven fundamental networking layers, from the physical hardware up to high-level software applications. Each layer in the model handles a specific networking function. The standard helps administrators to visualize networks,…

Shutterstock.com/Angelus_Svetlana

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) networking model defines a conceptual framework for communications between computer systems. The model is an ISO standard which identifies seven fundamental networking layers, from the physical hardware up to high-level software applications.

Each layer in the model handles a specific networking function. The standard helps administrators to visualize networks, isolate problems, and understand the use cases for new technologies. Many network equipment vendors advertise the OSI layer that their products are designed to slot into.

OSI was adopted as an international standard in 1984. It remains relevant today despite the changes to network implementation that have occurred since first publication. Cloud, edge, and IoT can all be accommodated within the model.

In this article, we’ll explain each of the seven OSI layers in turn. We’ll start from the lowest level, labelled as Layer 1.

1. Physical Layer

All networking begins with physical equipment. This layer encapsulates the hardware involved in the communications, such as switches and cables. Data is transferred as a stream of binary digits…

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