Layer 1: Physical Layer
The physical layer defines the electrical and physical specifications of the data connection. It defines the relationship between a device and a physical transmission medium (e.g., a copper or fiber optical cable, radio frequency).
This includes the layout of pins, voltages, line impedance, cable specifications, signal timing and similar characteristics for connected devices and frequency (5 GHz or 2.4 GHz etc.) for wireless devices.
It is responsible for transmission and reception of unstructured raw data in a physical medium. It may define transmission mode as simplex, half duplex, and full duplex. It defines the network topology as bus, mesh, or ring being some of the most common.
The physical layer of Parallel SCSI operates in this layer, as do the physical layers of Ethernet and other local-area networks, such as token ring, FDDI, ITU-T G.hn, and IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi), as well as personal area networks such as Bluetooth and IEEE 802.15.4.
The physical layer is the layer of low-level networking equipment, such as some hubs, cabling, and repeaters. The physical layer is never concerned with protocols or other such higher-layer items. Examples of hardware in this layer are network adapters, repeaters, network hubs, modems, and fiber media converters.
Layer 2: Data Link Layer
The data link layer provides node-to-node data transfer—a link between two directly connected nodes. It detects and possibly corrects errors that may occur in the physical layer. It defines the protocol to establish and terminate a connection between two physically connected devices. It also defines the protocol for flow control between them.
IEEE 802 divides the data link layer into two sublayers:
Media access control (MAC) layer – responsible for controlling how devices in a network gain access to a medium and permission to transmit data.
Logical link control (LLC) layer – responsible for identifying network layer protocols and then encapsulating them and controls error checking and frame synchronization.
The MAC and LLC layers of IEEE 802 networks such as 802.3 Ethernet, 802.11 Wi-Fi, and 802.15.4 ZigBee operate at the data link layer.
The Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) is a data link layer protocol that can operate over several different physical layers, such as synchronous and asynchronous serial lines.
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 that provides both error correction and flow control by means of a selective-repeat sliding-window protocol.
Layer 3: Network Layer
The network layer provides the functional and procedural means of transferring variable length data sequences (called datagrams) from one node to another connected to the same "network". A network is a medium to which many nodes can be connected, on which every node has an address and which permits nodes connected to it to transfer messages to other nodes connected to it by merely providing the content of a message and the address of the destination node and letting the network find the way to deliver the message to the destination node, possibly routing it through intermediate nodes. If the message is too large to be transmitted from one node to another on the data link layer between those nodes, the network may implement message delivery by splitting the message into several fragments at one node, sending the fragments independently, and reassembling the fragments at another node. It may, but need not, report delivery errors.
Message delivery at the network layer is not necessarily guaranteed to be reliable; a network layer protocol may provide reliable message delivery, but it need not do so.
A number of layer-management protocols, a function defined in the management annex, ISO 7498/4, belong to the network layer. These include routing protocols, multicast group management, network-layer information and error, and network-layer address assignment. It is the function of the payload that makes these belong to the network layer, not the protocol that carries them.
Layer 5: Session Layer
The session layer controls the dialogues (connections) between computers. It establishes, manages and terminates the connections between the local and remote application. It provides for full-duplex, half-duplex, or simplex operation, and establishes check pointing, adjournment, termination, and restart procedures. The OSI model made this layer responsible for graceful close of sessions, which is a property of the Transmission Control Protocol, and also for session check pointing and recovery, which is not usually used in the Internet Protocol Suite. The session layer is commonly implemented explicitly in application environments that use remote procedure calls.
Layer 6: Presentation Layer
The presentation layer establishes context between application-layer entities, in which the application-layer entities may use different syntax and semantics if the presentation service provides a mapping between them. If a mapping is available, presentation service data units are encapsulated into session protocol data units, and passed down the protocol stack.
This layer provides independence from data representation (e.g., encryption) by translating between application and network formats. The presentation layer transforms data into the form that the application accepts. This layer formats and encrypts data to be sent across a network. It is sometimes called the syntax layer.
The original presentation structure used the Basic Encoding Rules of Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1), with capabilities such as converting an EBCDIC-coded text file to an ASCII-coded file, or serialization of objects and other data structures from and to XML.
Layer 7: Application Layer
The application layer is the OSI layer closest to the end user, which means both the OSI application layer and the user interact directly with the software application. This layer interacts with software applications that implement a communicating component. Such application programs fall outside the scope of the OSI model. Application-layer functions typically include identifying communication partners, determining resource availability, and synchronizing communication. When identifying communication partners, the application layer determines the identity and availability of communication partners for an application with data to transmit. When determining resource availability, the application layer must decide whether sufficient network resources for the requested communication are available.