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Table of contents
Computer Network Models 
What is layered network architecture?
Importance Layered Architecture in Computer Network
Fundamental Components of Layered Architecture in Computer Network
Features of Layered Architecture
Types of Layered Architecture in Computer Network
OSI Model
TCP/IP Model
Need for Layered Architecture in Computer Network
The divide-and-conquer Strategy
Simple to Change
Easy to Test
Example of the five-layered architecture 
Why do we require Layered Architecture? 
Frequently Asked Questions
What is layered architecture also known as?
What is the layer OSI model?
What is a TCP connection?
What are the characteristics of layered architecture in computer network?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Layered Architecture in Computer Network

Author soham Medewar
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A complicated hardware and software component makes up a communication subsystem. Early implementations of the software for these subsystems relied on a single, unstructured, complicated program with a large number of interconnected components. Testing and modifying the resulting software proved to be exceedingly challenging. 

layered architecture in computer network

The ISO has devised a layered strategy to solve this issue. The networking concept is divided into numerous layers in a layered method, and each layer is given a specific purpose. As a result, networking duties are dependent on the layers.

Computer Network Models 

Computer network models are essential frameworks that define the structure and functionality of data communication systems. They offer a systematic approach to designing, organizing, and managing networks, ensuring they function efficiently. 

Two widely adopted models are the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) and TCP/IP models. These models break down network communication into distinct layers, with each layer responsible for specific tasks. This organization standardizes network protocols, ensuring seamless interaction between various devices and platforms. It also simplifies troubleshooting and facilitates network development by breaking complex concepts into manageable layers, ultimately enabling the seamless connectivity we depend on today.

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What is layered network architecture?

Layered network architecture, as exemplified by models like OSI and TCP/IP, is a strategic design approach that organizes network communication into multiple layers, each with well-defined functions and responsibilities. These layers collaborate with adjacent ones, simplifying the intricacies of network operations. This separation enhances modularity, scalability, and interoperability. 

Data travels sequentially through these layers, with each one adding or extracting necessary information. This method streamlines network design, making it easier to diagnose issues and allowing for the replacement or enhancement of individual layers without disrupting the entire system. Layered network architecture is fundamental to modern networking, facilitating global connectivity and communication.

Also see,  Personal Area Network

Importance Layered Architecture in Computer Network

  • The primary objective of layered architecture is to segment the design into manageable parts.
  • To provide a complete set of services to manage communications and power the applications, each lower layer adds its services to the top layer.
  • It offers modularity and distinct interfaces, allowing for interaction between different components.
  • Offering services from lower to higher layers without specifying how they are implemented ensure independence between layers. As a result, changes made to one layer have no impact on those made to the others.
  • Each network will have a different number of layers, functions, and contents. The goal of each layer, however, is to provide the service from a lower to a higher layer while concealing the specifics of how the services are performed from the layers.

Also see, Message Switching in Computer Networks And Basic Networking Commands

Fundamental Components of Layered Architecture in Computer Network

The core elements of layered architecture are services, protocols, and interfaces.

  • Service: a group of tasks that a lower layer offers to a higher layer.
  • Protocol: It is a set of guidelines used by a layer to exchange data with a peer entity. These guidelines mostly deal with the contents and order of the messages used.
  • Interface: The interface serves as the channel for passing messages from one layer to another.

In a layer-n architecture, layer n on one computer interacts with layer n on another computer according to set rules known as layer-n protocols.

Features of Layered Architecture

  • In a layered architecture, layer n of one computer does not receive any data from layer n of another machine. Each layer instead communicates the data to the one immediately underneath it until the lowest layer is reached.
  • Under layer 1, there is a physical route through which genuine communication occurs.
  • In a layered architecture, unmanageable tasks are broken down into smaller, more manageable duties.
  • An interface is used to transmit data from the top layer to the lower layer. A layered design offers a clear interface, allowing for the transmission of only the most crucial information across levels. Additionally, it guarantees that the implementation of one layer may be easily modified by another.

Also See, Internal and External Fragmentation

Types of Layered Architecture in Computer Network

OSI Model

OSI Model in layered Architecture

The seven layers of the OSI Model are given below:

  • Application Layer: The application layer is in charge of giving the application users an interface. These protocols connect with the user directly through this layer.
  • Presentation Layer: This layer handles how the data appears and is formatted on the end devices.
  • Session Layer: The connections between distant hosts must be kept up by this layer. For instance, the remote host can keep the session once user/password authentication is finished and not ask for authentication again during that time.
  • Transport Layer: The end-to-end delivery between hosts is the responsibility of the Transport Layer.
  • Network Layer: This layer is in charge of giving hosts a network address and addressing them specifically.
  • Data Link Layer: Reading and writing the data from and onto the line are handled by the Data Link Layer. Problems with links are discovered at this layer.
  • Physical Layer: This layer provides information about the hardware, wiring, pulse rate, power output, and other components.

TCP/IP Model

TCP/IP Model Layered Architecture in Computer Network

The four layers of the TCP/IP model are as follows:

  • Application Layer: The protocol that enables network communication between users is specified at the application layer. Among them are HTTP and FTP.
  • Transport Layer: The Transport Layer explains how information should be transferred between hosts. The most crucial protocol at this tier is the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). This layer is in charge of end-to-end delivery and ensures that data is delivered between hosts in the proper order.
  • Internet Layer: On this layer, the Internet Protocol (IP) functions. Host addressing and identification are made simpler by this layer. The routing is done by this layer.
  • Network Interface Layer: This layer provides a way to send and receive actual data. This layer is independent of the hardware and underlying network architecture, unlike its OSI Model equivalent.

Must Read Subnetting in Computer Networks

Need for Layered Architecture in Computer Network

The divide-and-conquer Strategy

During the design phase, the divide-and-conquer strategy breaks down large tasks into manageable pieces. In a nutshell, this strategy reduces the design's complexity.


The degree of modularity is higher in a layered architecture. Layer independence is made possible by modularity, which makes it simpler to understand and use.

Simple to Change

It offers layer independence, making it possible for modifications to the implementation of one layer to have no impact on other levels.

Easy to Test

The layered architecture's layers can each be independently researched and evaluated.

You can also read about the network models in computer network.

Recommended Topic - Memory hierarchy in computer network.

Example of the five-layered architecture 

An example of a five-layered architecture in networking is the TCP/IP model. It consists of the Application, Transport, Internet, Data Link, and Physical layers. The Application layer deals with user interfaces and application-level protocols like HTTP for web browsing. 

The Transport layer manages end-to-end communication, using protocols like TCP or UDP. The Internet layer handles routing and addressing, while the Data Link and Physical layers manage data transmission over the physical medium, such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Each layer has specific functions, contributing to efficient and standardized network communication.

Why do we require Layered Architecture? 

Layered architecture in networking is crucial for several reasons. 

Firstly, it provides a structured and organized approach to network design and implementation. Each layer focuses on specific tasks, promoting modularity, which simplifies development and maintenance. 

Secondly, it enhances interoperability by standardizing protocols and interfaces between layers, ensuring that diverse devices and software can work together seamlessly. Thirdly, layered architecture improves scalability, allowing for the addition or modification of specific layers without disrupting the entire network.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is layered architecture also known as?

Layered architecture is also commonly referred to as N-tier architecture or multitier architecture.

What is the layer OSI model?

The seven levels that computer systems employ to interact over a network are described by the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. In the early 1980s, all significant computer and telecommunications businesses adopted it as the first universal architecture for network communications.

What is a TCP connection?

Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP, is a communications standard that enables computer hardware and software to exchange messages over a network. It is made to send packets across the internet and make sure that data and messages are successfully sent through networks.

What are the characteristics of layered architecture in computer network?

The most typical architectural style is the layered one. As a result of the horizontal layering of modules or components with identical functionalities, each layer serves a particular function within the programs. The number of layers in the application is not specified by the layered architectural approach.


In this article, we have discussed the layered architecture in Computer Network. Also, we have discussed the two types of layered architecture in computer network, i.e., the OSI model and TCP/IP model. 

To study more about computer networks, refer to disadvantages of computer network.

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