Networking Concepts

This documentation is not an introduction to networks but there are certain networking concepts that need to be addressed.


Readers without basic fundamental networking knowledge should locate additional introductory material as this chapter will not adequately provide all necessary information.

IPv6 concepts are introduced later in IPv6. For clarity, traditional IP addresses are referred to as IPv4 addresses. Except where otherwise noted, most functions will work with either IPv4 or IPv6 addresses. The general term IP address refers to either IPv4 or IPv6.

Brief introduction to OSI Model Layers

The OSI model has a network framework consisting of seven layers. These layers are listed in hierarchy from lowest to highest. A brief overview of each level is outlined below. More information can be found in many networking texts and on Wikipedia (

Layer 1 - Physical

Refers to either electrical or optical cabling that transports raw data to all the higher layers.

Layer 2 - Data Link

Typically refers to Ethernet or another similar protocol that is being spoken on the wire. This documentation often refers to layer 2 as meaning the Ethernet switches or other related topics such as ARP and MAC addresses.

Layer 3 - Network Layer

The protocols used to move data along a path from one host to another, such as IPv4, IPv6, routing, subnets etc.

Layer 4 - Transport Layer

Data transfer between users, typically refers to TCP or UDP or other similar protocols.

Layer 5 - Session Layer

Manages connections and sessions (typically referred to as “dialogs”) between users, and how they connect and disconnect gracefully.

Layer 6 - Presentation Layer

Handles any conversions between data formats required by users such as different character sets, encodings, compression, encryption, etc.

Layer 7 - Application Layer

Interacts with the user or software application, includes familiar protocols such as HTTP, SMTP, SIP, etc.