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Physical Layer

The physical layer is the bottom most layer in the networking model and it consists of the networking
stack. The protocols used on the physical layer are 10 base T for wired connections, & 802.11 for
wireless connections.
The packets on the physical layer are known as bits which are electrical signals sent through a voltage
modulation of the current. A Hub is an example of a Physical Layer device.

Data Link Layer

The second layer that follows the Physical layer is the Data Link Layer. The technologies existing on the
Physical Layer are Ethernet, & Wifi. Most devices in the office and data centers are connected via an
Ethernet connection through a network cable like Cat 5e, or Cat 6. Other devices like smartphones,
tablets, mobile PCs, ultrabooks connect via a Wifi connection.
The packets on the Data Link Layer are known as Frames or simply an “Ethernet frame”. An Ethernet
frame consists of the source MAC address, a destination MAC address, and an IP datagram
encapsulated in it. A checksum is calculated for every frame before stripping the frame for Cyclical
Redundancy Check (CRC), and new checksum is inserted in the new frame after the verification along
with its own MAC address, and the next MAC address.

Network Layer

The layer that follows the Data Link Layer is the Network Layer. The protocol used on this layer is the
Internet Protocol (IP). The packets on the Network layer are known as IP datagram. IP addresses are
assigned to networks and not individual devices connected on the network. A new checksum is
calculated on this layer every time it strips the datagram, and encapsulates the TCP segment with a
new checksum. A router is an example of a Network Layer device.
Multiple technologies exist on the Network layer for connecting devices together. NAT is used for
assigning non routable IP address like 10.0.0.0/8, 172.16.0.0/12, 192.168.0.0/16 to devices on a network.
For connecting networks within an Autonomous system, protocols like RIP, EIGRP,OSPF are used. RIP
uses distance vector method, while EIGRP uses a hybrid method, and OSPF uses the link state method
for maintaining the routing tables. The only protocol used to connect Core Routers around the world is
the Border Gateway Protocol which uses the Link State method as well.

Transport Layer

The next layer following the Data link layer is the transport layer. The protocols used on the Transport
layer are TCP, and UDP. The packets used on the Transport layer are known as TCP segments. The TCP
segment consists of the source port, the destination port, the sequence number, a TTL field, flags for
communication, a checksum, source IP address, destination IP address, and the data payload for the
Application layer. Other protocols are used by companies like CISCO for internal communication on
their own systems, but they are proprietary and not much common. TCP manages communication
states on the connected systems, which makes it a connection oriented protocol. Meanwhile, UDP is a
connectionless oriented protocol. TCP manages the integrity of the data, in the correct sequence, while
UDP does not care about the sequence of the data. TCP is mainly used for important data like
messages, while UDP is used for videos where data integrity can be of lesser importance in favor of
speed and more data sent through each packet.

MAC Address

MAC address or Media Access Control address are addresses assigned to individual devices which are
hardcoded into the systems. They are a set of 12 hexadecimal numbers. MAC addresses are utilized on
the Data link layer to identify devices on the routing table. If the MAC address of a device on the
network stack is unknown, an ARP request FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF is sent to the router for knowing its
address.

IP address

IP addresses are unique addresses assigned to networks. A subnet mask is an address used to calculate
the subnet ID of the network. IP addresses are 32 bits long or 4 bytes of size. IP address consists of
classes like Class A, B,C, D, E. There are 63 Class A addresses around the world with a host capacity of
16million hosts each, and 65,536 Class B with 65,536 hosts each. There are 16 million Class C address
with 254 host capacity of each address. With the help of CIDR, two or more IP address can be used in a
network stack.

TCP Port

A TCP port is a port used by applications for communication on a network. There are three types of
ports – System ports, Registered ports, Ephemeral ports. System ports are used by system applications
and require administrator access. Registered ports are open to use for applications, and can be
registered at the IANA. Ephemeral ports are used for outbound connections and cannot be registered
at the IANA. The range of ports can vary across systems, but an OS can never use system port for
outbound connections.

Checksum Check

A checksum is a value calculated to check the integrity of the data. A checksum is added to the
encapsulated packets in every layer for verification of data integration. A new checksum is calculated
every time a value on the packet changes and encapsulated in the packet for forwarding. If checksum
does not match to the value to the added value, the packet is discarded and it is up to the TCP protocol
to request the same data.

Routing Table

A routing table is a table consisting of list of networks connected. It consists of four fields, Destination
address, next hop, total hops, & interface. A routing table is updated via the Distance Vector method,
or the Link State method. Maintaining the routing table is necessary for the network to find the ideal
shortest path to the destination. Networks often broadcast their state to nearby networks for updating
the routing table.
TTL

TTL or ‘Time To Live’ is a method for a data packet to reach its destination in a minimal number of
hops. TTL has a standard value of 64, and the value is decremented by 1 following each hop. TTL is used
to prevent endless loops of data on the network. If the TTL value is exhausted before reaching the
destination, the data packet is discarded.