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Network Basics: TCP/IP and OSI Network Model Comparisons

Internet Protocol (IP) version 4 (IPv4) is the current standard “IP” protocol used with TCP/IP — Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol — which is the protocol for Internet addressing. Like the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model, TCP/IP has its own model.

The OSI model and the TCP/IP models were both created independently. The TCP/IP network model represents reality in the world, whereas the OSI mode represents an ideal. With that said, the TCP/IP network model matches the standard layered network model as it should.

The following figure shows the relationship between the OSI model and the TCP/IP model.


The TCP/IP network model has four basic layers:

  • Network interface (layer 1): Deals with all physical components of network connectivity between the network and the IP protocol

  • Internet (layer 2): Contains all functionality that manages the movement of data between two network devices over a routed network

  • Host-to-host (layer 3): Manages the flow of traffic between two hosts or devices, ensuring that data arrives at the application on the host for which it is targeted

  • Application (layer 4): Acts as final endpoints at either end of a communication session between two network hosts

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