Network architecture

Last updated

Network architecture is the design of a computer network. It is a framework for the specification of a network's physical components and their functional organization and configuration, its operational principles and procedures, as well as communication protocols used.

Computer network collection of autonomous computers interconnected by a single technology

A computer network is a digital telecommunications network which allows nodes to share resources. In computer networks, computing devices exchange data with each other using connections between nodes. These data links are established over cable media such as twisted pair or fiber-optic cables, and wireless media such as Wi-Fi.

In telecommunication, a communication protocol is a system of rules that allow two or more entities of a communications system to transmit information via any kind of variation of a physical quantity. The protocol defines the rules, syntax, semantics and synchronization of communication and possible error recovery methods. Protocols may be implemented by hardware, software, or a combination of both.


In telecommunication, the specification of a network architecture may also include a detailed description of products and services delivered via a communications network, as well as detailed rate and billing structures under which services are compensated.

Telecommunication Transmission of information between locations using electromagnetics

Telecommunication is the transmission of signs, signals, messages, words, writings, images and sounds or information of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems. Telecommunication occurs when the exchange of information between communication participants includes the use of technology. It is transmitted through a transmission media, such as over physical media, for example, over electrical cable, or via electromagnetic radiation through space such as radio or light. Such transmission paths are often divided into communication channels which afford the advantages of multiplexing. Since the Latin term communicatio is considered the social process of information exchange, the term telecommunications is often used in its plural form because it involves many different technologies.

The network architecture of the Internet is predominantly expressed by its use of the Internet Protocol Suite, rather than a specific model for interconnecting networks or nodes in the network, or the usage of specific types of hardware links.

Internet Global system of connected computer networks

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

OSI network model

The Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) defines and codifies the concept of layered network architecture. Abstraction layers are used to subdivide a communications system further into smaller manageable parts. A layer is a collection of similar functions that provide services to the layer above it and receives services from the layer below it. On each layer, an instance provides services to the instances at the layer above and requests service from the layer below. [1]

OSI model Model with 7 layers to describe communications systems

The Open Systems Interconnection model is a conceptual model that characterizes and standardizes the communication functions of a telecommunication or computing system without regard to its underlying internal structure and technology. Its goal is the interoperability of diverse communication systems with standard communication protocols. The model partitions a communication system into abstraction layers. The original version of the model had seven layers.

In computing, an abstraction layer or abstraction level is a way of hiding the working details of a subsystem, allowing the separation of concerns to facilitate interoperability and platform independence. Examples of software models that use layers of abstraction include the OSI model for network protocols, OpenGL and other graphics libraries.

Distributed computing

In distinct usage in distributed computing, the network architecture often describes the structure and classification of a distributed application architecture, as the participating nodes in a distributed application are often referred to as a network. For example, the applications architecture of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) has been termed the Intelligent Network. There are any number of specific classifications but all lie on a continuum between the dumb network (e.g. Internet) and the intelligent network (e.g. the telephone network).

Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A distributed system is a system whose components are located on different networked computers, which communicate and coordinate their actions by passing messages to one another. The components interact with one another in order to achieve a common goal. Three significant characteristics of distributed systems are: concurrency of components, lack of a global clock, and independent failure of components. Examples of distributed systems vary from SOA-based systems to massively multiplayer online games to peer-to-peer applications.

In information systems, applications architecture or application architecture is one of several architecture domains that form the pillars of an enterprise architecture (EA).

The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is the aggregate of the world's circuit-switched telephone networks that are operated by national, regional, or local telephony operators, providing infrastructure and services for public telecommunication. The PSTN consists of telephone lines, fiber optic cables, microwave transmission links, cellular networks, communications satellites, and undersea telephone cables, all interconnected by switching centers, thus allowing most telephones to communicate with each other. Originally a network of fixed-line analog telephone systems, the PSTN is now almost entirely digital in its core network and includes mobile and other networks, as well as fixed telephones.

A popular example of such usage of the term in distributed applications, as well as PVCs (permanent virtual circuits), is the organization of nodes in peer-to-peer (P2P) services and networks. P2P networks usually implement overlay networks running over an underlying physical or logical network. These overlay networks may implement certain organizational structures of the nodes according to several distinct models, the network architecture of the system.

An overlay network is a computer network that is built on top of another network.

See also

Related Research Articles

Internetworking is "the concept of interconnecting different types of networks to build a large, global network" such that any pair of connected hosts can exchange packets. To build an internetwork, the following are needed: A standardized scheme to address packets to any host on any participating network; a standardized protocol defining format and handling of transmitted packets; components interconnecting the participating networks by routing packets to their destinations based on standardized addresses.

The Internet protocol suite is the conceptual model and set of communications protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP because the foundational protocols in the suite are the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP). During its development, versions of it were known as the Department of Defense (DoD) model because the development of the networking method was funded by the United States Department of Defense through DARPA.

Peer-to-peer Type of decentralized and distributed network architecture

Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads between peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application. They are said to form a peer-to-peer network of nodes.

DECnet is a suite of network protocols created by Digital Equipment Corporation. Originally released in 1975 in order to connect two PDP-11 minicomputers, it evolved into one of the first peer-to-peer network architectures, thus transforming DEC into a networking powerhouse in the 1980s. Initially built with three layers, it later (1982) evolved into a seven-layer OSI-compliant networking protocol.

In the seven-layer OSI model of computer networking, the session layer is layer 5.

In computer networking, the transport layer is a conceptual division of methods in the layered architecture of protocols in the network stack in the Internet protocol suite and the OSI model. The protocols of this layer provide host-to-host communication services for applications. It provides services such as connection-oriented communication, reliability, flow control, and multiplexing.

An application layer is an abstraction layer that specifies the shared communications protocols and interface methods used by hosts in a communications network. The application layer abstraction is used in both of the standard models of computer networking: the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) and the OSI model. Although both models use the same term for their respective highest level layer, the detailed definitions and purposes are different.

KNX (standard) Standard in building automation

KNX is an open standard for commercial and domestic building automation. KNX devices can manage lighting, blinds and shutters, HVAC, security systems, energy management, audio video, white goods, displays, remote control, etc. KNX evolved from three earlier standards; the European Home Systems Protocol (EHS), BatiBUS, and the European Installation Bus. It can use twisted pair, powerline, RF, or IP links. On this network, the devices form distributed applications and tight interaction is possible. This is implemented via interworking models with standardised datapoint types and objects, modelling logical device channels.

In computer networking, a network service is an application running at the network application layer and above, that provides data storage, manipulation, presentation, communication or other capability which is often implemented using a client-server or peer-to-peer architecture based on application layer network protocols.

In telecommunications networks, a node is either a redistribution point or a communication endpoint. The definition of a node depends on the network and protocol layer referred to. A physical network node is an electronic device that is attached to a network, and is capable of creating, receiving, or transmitting information over a communications channel. A passive distribution point such as a distribution frame or patch panel is consequently not a node.

The internet layer is a group of internetworking methods, protocols, and specifications in the Internet protocol suite that are used to transport network packets from the originating host across network boundaries, if necessary, to the destination host specified by an IP address. The internet layer derives its name from its function facilitating internetworking, which is the concept of connecting multiple networks with each other through gateways.

Peer-to-peer SIP (P2P-SIP) is an implementation of a distributed voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or instant messaging communications application using a peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture in which session control between communication end points is facilitated with the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).

Security service is a service, provided by a layer of communicating open systems, which ensures adequate security of the systems or of data transfers as defined by ITU-T X.800 Recommendation.
X.800 and ISO 7498-2 are technically aligned. This model is widely recognized

In computer networking, the link layer is the lowest layer in the Internet Protocol Suite, the networking architecture of the Internet. It is described in RFC 1122 and RFC 1123. The link layer is the group of methods and communications protocols that only operate on the link that a host is physically connected to. The link is the physical and logical network component used to interconnect hosts or nodes in the network and a link protocol is a suite of methods and standards that operate only between adjacent network nodes of a local area network segment or a wide area network connection.

In digital communications networks, packet processing refers to the wide variety of algorithms that are applied to a packet of data or information as it moves through the various network elements of a communications network. With the increased performance of network interfaces, there is a corresponding need for faster packet processing.


  1. "What is OSI model (Open Systems Interconnection)? - Definition from". SearchNetworking. Retrieved 2018-10-09.