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What is the difference between OSI model and TCP/IP other than the number of layers?

What is the difference between OSI model and TCP/IP other than the number of layers?

OSI is a standard "reference model" that describes how protocols should interact with one another. Invented by the Department of Defense, TCP/IP became one of the "standards" that enabled the Internet to become what it is today. TCP/IP doesn't map cleanly into the OSI model, but it is convenient to think in terms of the OSI model when describing protocols.

The major differences between the OSI and TCP/IP are:

  • The application layer in TCP/IP handles the responsibilities of layers 5, 6 and 7 in the OSI model.

  • The transport layer in TCP/IP does not always guarantee reliable delivery of packets at the transport layer, while the OSI model does. TCP/IP also offers an option called UDP that does not guarantee reliable packet delivery.

Rather then reinventing the wheel here, there is a great description of the OSI model on SearchNetworking.com.

This was first published in April 2005

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