| Lesson 6 || The link layer |
| Objective || Responsibilities of link layer in TCP/IP protocol |
Link Layer in the TCP/IP Protocol
What are the responsibilities of the link layer in the TCP/IP protocol?
The link layer is responsible for establishing communication between machines at the level of a physical connection.
For example, the link-layer protocols move data from an ethernet
card across 10BaseT
wires, or from a serial port
, through a modem, and across the phone network. Examples of link-layer protocols are FDDI
, which is used for fiber optics networks; the familiar ethernet protocol; and PPP
, which is used across phone lines and other types of point-to-point connections. Link-layer protocols are typically concerned only with the local network
. Moving data across wide area networks
, or between different types of physical networks, requires the capabilities of the network layer.
What are the Responsibilities of the link layer in the TCP/IP protocol
The Link Layer, also known as the Network Interface Layer, is the lowest layer in the TCP/IP protocol stack and is responsible for facilitating communication between devices on a network. Its primary functions encompass a range of responsibilities aimed at ensuring data integrity and efficient delivery of packets:
- Frame Encapsulation: The Link Layer encapsulates packets from the Network Layer into frames, the unit of data transmission at this layer. Each frame includes a header containing information necessary for delivery, such as the source and destination MAC (Media Access Control) addresses, and a trailer that often contains a frame check sequence for error detection.
- Physical Addressing: The Link Layer is responsible for physical addressing (MAC addressing), uniquely identifying devices at the hardware level within a network. MAC addresses are typically hard-coded into the network interface card (NIC) and are used to deliver frames within a local network.
- Media Access Control: This responsibility pertains to determining which device has control over the communication channel in a network. In a shared medium, multiple devices may need to send data simultaneously, and it's the task of the Link Layer to manage this to avoid collisions. Protocols like CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection) in Ethernet networks serve this purpose.
- Error Detection and Handling: The Link Layer provides error detection and correction capability via mechanisms included in the frame structure. Common techniques include the use of cyclic redundancy check (CRC) in the frame trailer to ensure that data has been transmitted accurately.
- Frame Synchronization: The Link Layer also ensures that both the sending and receiving devices are synchronized at the frame level. This synchronization is crucial for the receiving device to know when a frame begins and when it ends.
- Flow Control: Similar to the Transport Layer, the Link Layer can also implement flow control, but at the device-to-device level, helping prevent a fast sender from overwhelming a slower receiver.
- Link Management: In some network technologies, the Link Layer establishes and terminates network connections through the process of "link management". Protocols like PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) include stages for setting up and terminating a link.
The Link Layer in the TCP/IP protocol stack ensures the reliable delivery of packets across individual network links. It provides the hardware and procedural means to transport packets across local network connections, maintaining the integrity of data as it travels to its intended destination. The Link Layer's operations underpin the broader function of the TCP/IP suite, facilitating the basic requirements for network communication.
A LAN developed by Xerox in 1976. Ethernet became a widely implemented network from which the IEEE 802.3 standard for contention networks was developed. It uses a bus topology and the original Ethernet relies on CSMA/CD to regulate traffic on the main communication line.
A variant of Ethernet which allows stations to be attached via twisted pair cable.
A connector on a computer to which you can attach a serial line connected to peripherals which communicate using a serial (bit-stream) protocol.
Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) :
FDDI is a 100 Mbit/s ANSI standard local area network architecture. It is based on optical fibre (though it can be copper cable, in which case it may be called CDDI).
 Point-to-point protocol (PPP):
A protocol for connecting to the Internet. PPP provides error checking and compression of the IP and TCP headers.
 Local Area Network:
A collection of computers and other hardware components linked by physical cabling that permits any device on the network to interact with any other device.
Wide Area Network.
A network that extends over distances greater than one mile.