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Lecture 1 Notes

Required Text: Data Communications and Networking, 4th Edition, Behrouz A


Is it required? Yes. You will use this expensive text for two courses, a fact that
should help with the cost.

Marking Scheme:

Tests: 2 @ 15% each

Assignments/Labs: 30%
Project: 10%
Final Examination: 30%

DCN230 is for all intents and purposes an introductory data communications course
disguised under the course title “Protocols: Standards and Models”. This title
reflects the fact that virtually all data communications courses introduce concepts
in relation to the two best known models called the OSI and the TCP/IP or Internet
Model as it is often called.

Models are useful for a number of purposes, including education and

standardization. Standards are required so that heterogeneous networks can
communicate with one another. A layered approach to the understanding of
networks breaks down the vastly complex process of networking into manageable
units. Note that the OSI layers describe the functionality of the various seven levels
described, but not the technologies that enable it. For example, if it is said that a
network interface card is a Layer Two device, we understand that it performs the
Layer Two function of data linkage without any reference to how this linkage is
achieved technologically.

Why do we have two models? The OSI model was developed in 1970s by the ISO as
the first systematic attempt to describe networked communications. An open
system is a set of protocols that allows any two different systems to communicate
regardless of their underlying architecture (Forouzan). We will define a protocol as a
rule, or set of rules that govern communication. For example, the protocol that
governs communication in this classroom involves the use of English, a certain
volume or voice level, the custom of raising one’s hand to ask or answer a question,
etc. The OSI Model is technically not a protocol, then. It is a model for
understanding and designing a network architecture that is flexible, robust, and
interoperable (Forouzan).
When the internet was launched it quickly became apparent that the protocol
actually in use was that of the TCP/IP model, which had existed prior to the OSI
Model. The TCP/IP protocol suite is the dominant protocol family that governs
internet communications. We might say, then, that the OSI model is a theoretical
reference model, while the TCP/IP or Internet Model is the practical implementation
of the layers described in the OSI model. We will examine the OSI layers today and
compare them with those of the Internet Model, but after today, all references will
be to the Internet Model.

Note that I will present the Internet Model as a four-layer model but that some
accounts involve a five-layer model. Unfortunately, your textbook presents the five
layered version. The difference is that Fourouzan retains the use of the OSI layers
one and two, namely, the physical and data link layers, while my (more popular
account) combines the function of these two layers and calls this entity the
“Network Access Layer”. My account is also consistent with the Cisco curriculum
that some of you may wish to pursue certification in, so my account may prove to
be more useful.
The benefits of using a layered model include

• Assists in protocol design

• Fosters competition

• Changes in one layer do not affect other layers

• Provides a common language

The following figure demonstrates the parallels between the OSI and the Internet
Model layers:
Note the numbering of the layers from highest to lowest – i.e. the “highest” layer or
the topmost layer has the highest number. Note the number and the ordering of
the layers, because as the semester progresses, we will often refer to layers by
number rather than name.

Layer Functions

Note that the following list names, but does describe details of the function of each
of the OSI layers. See your text for detailed descriptions.

Physical Layer (1)

Physical characteristics of interfaces and medium

Representation of bits
Data rate
Synchronization of bits
Line configuration ( e.g. point-to-point or multipoint
Physical topology
Transmission mode (simplex, half-duplex and full duplex)

Data Link layer (2)

Physical addressing (MAC)
Flow control (e.g. fall forward, fall back)
Error control (CRC)
Access control (MAC)

Associated Layer 2 Protocols: PPP, Ethernet, HDLC, Frame Relay, ATM

Network Layer (3)

Logical addressing

Associated Layer 3 Protocols: IPv4, IPv6, Novell IPX, AppleTalk,

Connectionless Network Service (CLNS)

Transport Layer (4)

Process to process delivery

Source to destination delivery
Service point addressing
Segmentation and reassembly
Connection control
Flow control
Error control

Associated Layer 4 Protocols: TCP, UDP

Session Layer (5)

Dialog control

Presentation Layer (6)


Application Layer (7)

Network virtual terminal

File transfer, access and management
Mail services
Directory services

Associated Layer 7 Protocols: DNS, HTTP, SMTP, POP, DHCP, FTP

Brief summary of TCP/IP Model Layer Functions (Note: inadequate for test
Encapsulation and Protocol Data Units (PDUs)
The term encapsulation refers to the transformation of data as it makes its way
down through the OSI layers. Headers and trailers are added as the data moves
from one layer to the next. These are stripped off at the receiving end as the data
moves up through the layers until it is presented to the user in its original format at
the application layer. We will be using the network simulation software called
Packet Tracer this semester. This software enables us to examine PDUs and their
contents in a simulated network environment and should help to bring life to these

Next Topic: Network Categories – LANS, WANS, MANS

A network serving a home, building or campus is considered a Local Area

Network (LAN)
LANs separated by geographic distance are connected by a network
known as a Wide Area Network (WAN)

The internet is defined as a global mesh of interconnected networks

Metropolitan area network: networks that serve an area of 1 to 30 miles,

approximately the size of a typical city. (MAN)

Personal area network: a network of a few meters, between wireless

devices such as PDAs, laptops, and similar devices (PAN)

Final Topic: Standards Organizations

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

This is a multinational body whose membership is drawn from the standards
creation committees of various governments throughout the world. The ISO is active
in developing cooperation in the realms of scientific, technological and economic
International Telecommunication Union – Telecommunication Standards
Sector (ITU-T)
The United Nations formed a committee devoted to the research and establishment
of standards for telecommunications in general and for phone and data systems in
particular in response to a lack of coordinated international effort until this time.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

This is a private, nonprofit corporation with no affiliation with the U.S. federal
government. ANSI activities are undertaken for the welfare and benefit of U.S.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

This is the largest professional engineering society in the world. It aims to advance
theory, creativity, and product quality I the fields of electrical engineering,
electronics and radio as well as in all related branches of engineering. The IEEE
oversees the development and adoption of international standards for computing
and communications

Electronic Industries Association (EIA)

This is another non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of electronics
manufacturing concerns. Its activities include public awareness education and
lobbying efforts in addition to standards development. In the IT field, the EIA has
made significant contributions by defining physical connection interfaces and
electronic signaling specification for data communication.
(these materials were extracted directly from Chapter 1 of your textbook)