Write short notes on interface, service and protocol.


30.Write short notes on interface, service and protocol.

Protocol Hierarchies:

To reduce their design complexity, most networks are organized as a stack of layers or levels, each one built upon the one below it. The number of layers, the name of each layer, the contents of each layer, and the function of each layer differ from network to network. The purpose of each layer is to offer certain services to the higher layers, shielding those layers from the details of how the offered services are actually implemented. In a sense, each layer is a kind of virtual machine, offering certain services to the layer above it.

This concept is actually a familiar one and used throughout computer science, where it is variously known as information hiding, abstract data types, data encapsulation, and object-oriented programming. The fundamental idea is that a particular piece of software (or hardware) provides a service to its users but keeps the details of its internal state and algorithms hidden from them.

Layer n on one machine carries on a conversation with layer n on another machine. The rules and conventions used in this conversation are collectively known as the layer n protocol. Basically, a protocol is an agreement between the communicating parties on how communication is to proceed. As an analogy, when a woman is introduced to a man, she may choose to stick out her hand. He, in turn, may decide either to shake it or kiss it, depending, for example, on whether she is an American lawyer at a business meeting or a European princess at a formal ball. Violating the protocol will make communication more difficult, if not completely impossible.

Layers, protocols, and interfaces
Layers, protocols, and interfaces

In reality, no data are directly transferred from layer n on one machine to layer n on another machine. Instead, each layer passes data and control information to the layer immediately below it, until the lowest layer is reached. Below layer 1 is the physical medium through which actual communication occurs. In Fig.16.1, virtual communication is shown by dotted line.


Between each pair of adjacent layers is an interface. The interface defines which primitive operations and services the lower layer makes available to the upper one. When network designers decide how many layers to include in a network and what each one should do, one of the most important considerations is defining clean interfaces between the layers. Doing so, in turn, requires that each layer perform a specific collection of well-understood functions.

Relation between Layers at an Interface
Relation between Layers at an Interface


Layers can offer two different types of service to the layers above them are,
1. Connection-oriented and
2. Connectionless.

Six different types of service

Service primitives:

A service is formally specified by a set of primitives (operations) available to a user process to access the service. These primitives tell the service to perform some action or report on an action taken by a peer entity. If the protocol stack is located in the operating system, as it often is, the primitives are normally system calls. These calls cause a trap to kernel mode, which then turns control of the machine over to the operating system to send the necessary packets. Five service primitives for implementing a simple connection-oriented service are shown in fig.16.4.

Five service primitives for implementing a simple connection-oriented service


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