Introduction To The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Reference Model

OSI Reference Model

Networking is a vast topic and therefore a Model was introduced to understand the networking layer by layer. Models are useful because they help us understand difficult concepts and complicated systems. The OSI Reference Model facilitates the study, design, development, and rearrangement of networks by allowing them to be viewed as modular parts that communicate in predictable ways.

The concept behind the OSI Reference Model is to provide a context for both developing and describing how networking systems operate.

Learn about Network Performance Measurements – Speed, Bandwidth, Throughput, and Latency.

History of the OSI Reference Model

In the late 1970s, two organizations International Organization for standardization (ISO) and the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT) began working on the independent projects both aiming to define a standard for the architecture of networking systems.

The above mentioned two international organizations developed their separate network architecture but they both were almost similar. So in the year 1983, these two documents were merged to form a standard called The Basic Reference Model for Open Systems Interconnection.

This name was very big so later it was shortened to just The OSI Reference Model or OSI Model.

When the network grew big, The OSI Reference Model lost its popularity and the TCP/IP model took its place. The OSI Model has 7 layers but the TCP/IP Model has mainly 4 or 5 layers compared to the OSI Model and thus TCP/IP won.

But, we still study The OSI Reference Model because it has more layers and easy to understand. We will also compare the OSI Model with the TCP/IP Model in later blogs.

Benefits of Networking Model

Many students complain that Networking is complicated and I totally agree, but It would have been more complicated without the Networking Model.

The Networking Model simplifies it and gives us a visualization power to understand Networking more easily.

  • Training and Documentation – It is easier to explain how to build complex systems by breaking the process into smaller parts.
  • Easier Design Modification and Enhancement – Separation makes a complex system look easy and the design modification and enhancements can be done easily.

Learn more about The OSI Model from wikipedia.

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