SMK N 1 GEMPOL : Networking Objectives Part 5
Layer 5 is not used in every protocol. It is where instructions for pacing and load balancing of different clients will occur, as well as where sessions are established. As I mentioned previously, the TCP protocol handles session establishment at Layer 4, and the UDP protocol doesn’t really have sessions at all.
To make matters more confusing, the TCP/IP telnet and FTP protocols, for example, tend to handle the session maintenance as Layer 7 application data, without a separate Session Management layer. These protocols use Layer 4 to make the connection and then handle elements such as username and password verification as application information.
Some protocols such as SNA can use a real Session Layer that operates independently from the Transport Layer. This ability to separate the layers, to run the same Session Layer protocol over a number of possible Transport Layers, or to build applications that have different options for session control, is what makes it a distinct layer.
The Presentation Layer, Layer 6, is also not universally used. In some cases, a data stream between two devices may be encrypted, and this is commonly handled at Layer 6. But encryption can also be done in some systems at Layer 2, which is generally more secure and where it can be combined with data compression.
One common usae of Layer 6 is in an FTP file transfer. It is possible to have the protocol interpret the data as either 7-bit or 8-bit characters. Similarly, some terminalemulation systems use ASCII characters, while others use EBCDIC encoding for the data in the application payload of the packet. Again, this is a Layer 6 concept, but it might not be implemented as a distinct part of the application protocol. In many cases, conversions like these are actually made by the application and then inserted directly into Layer 4 packets. That is to say, a lot of what people tend to think of as Layer 6 concepts are not really distinct protocols. Rather, they are implementation options that are applied at Layers 4 and 7.
And, finally, Layer 7 is called the Application Layer. This is where the contents of your email message or database query live. The Application Layer is really the point of having a network in the first place. The network needs to get information efficiently from one place to another. The Application Layer contains that information.
Maybe it needs to be chopped up into several packets, maybe it needs to be translated into some sort of special encoding scheme, encrypted and forwarded through 17 different types of boxes before it reaches the destination. But ultimately the information gets there. This information belongs to Layer 7.
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