The question of “how many layers do a network have?” has become more important to network administrators, IT professionals, and even to beginning network beginners. The number of layers in a network can have a profound effect on how effectively and efficiently the data is stored, retrieved, and used. Layers provide several main functions within a network, but they are not all created equally – so, if you’re interested in learning more about them, it’s good to learn about their pros and cons.
Every computer system has at least one logical layer. This layer contains the basic settings and information for that particular computer system. For instance, Windows stores all of the information about the software, programs, options, and settings that make up a Windows-based operating system.
Linux, on the other hand, stores all of its software settings in a configuration database, which is a file located in the directory that is called /etc/config. Each hardware device on a Linux machine also has a configuration file called /proc/bus/drivers. Other network layers exist to handle processes such as the transport of information across the network and the integrity of the data packets themselves.
Each physical network layer has an impact on the overall performance and efficiency of a network. For example, a router can help filter and route the data that is transmitted between a source and a destination. There are five layers involved in this process, however:
Outbound networking layers help control the traffic that is being sent out of a given network. The most popular of these layers are the lower layers, which are responsible for handling outbound connections, routing data, and broadcasting data. On the other end of the spectrum are ingress networking layers, which are responsible for sending inbound data and discovering new network resources. As you can see, both of these processes must take place within the same layers. For each physical layer, there is a corresponding logical layer, though.
In addition to these physical network layers, there exist logical network layers to manage various types of logical networks. For example, you might find that a company’s network has several VPNs. A VPN is a virtual network that allows individuals to connect to one another over a secure connection. One VPN might allow employees to move from one part of the world to the next without having to change their work computer. This would be logical network layers, as well.
One of the most important things to know about how many layers there are in your network is that every layer should be necessary for the proper functioning of the layers below it. For example, if you are dealing with a conference or a group of people that are talking to each other through a PABX, then you need an office phone. If you want to reach all your employees, you probably want to use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology. Similarly, if you want to send data from one computer to another over a network, then you will need a network switch and a router. Any of these layers would be considered necessary for proper operation.
Knowing how many layers your network has is important because this allows you to choose the best layer for your purposes. You will want your network to be able to transmit both data and voice very easily. If you only need a simple message sent from one computer to another, then you don’t need as many layers as you would if you had something like a video conference taking place. If you are going to have video conferencing, then you obviously need more than just the basic network layers.
The answer to the question, “How many layers does a network have?” depends on the functions that you want your network to perform. Hopefully, this article has given you a good starting point in answering this question.