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Role of Physical, Data Link and Network Layers

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Discuss the role of the physical layer, data link layer, and network layer in network transmissions. For the physical layer, contrast circuit switching and packet switching. For the data link layer, discuss sliding window protocols and the data link layer in the Internet. For the network layer, discuss virtual circuits and datagram, subnets, and the purpose of routing algorithms.

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Solution Summary

This solution discusses the role of the physical, data link and network layer in network transmissions. In the case of network layer, circuit and packet switching are compared and contrasted. In the case of data link layer, sliding window protocols are discussed while in the case of network layer, virtual circuits, datagrams, subnets, and purpose of routing algorithms are discussed.

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The physical layer defines the rules by which data are transmitted, such as the number of bits sent per second as well as the physical structure of cables and connectors used (Ciccarelli, Faulkner, & Fitzgerald, 2008). Physical layer is responsible for electrical, mechanical and procedural checks. In circuit switching, a connection is established between two devices on a network before they begin the transmission of data. The key advantage of packet switching is that it allows two devices to exclusively use a communication channel. This characteristic of packet switching makes it ideal for applications including video conferencing. Packet switching on the other hand divides the data into packets before they are transported. The content as well as size of the packet are determined beforehand. Each packet contains data, the destination address as well as information required to combine the packet with other packets in order recreate the message at the destination.
There are several key differences between packet and circuit switching. Packet switching is lot more efficient and faster as compared to circuit switching (Dean, 2003). In contrast to circuit switching, packet switching is not ideally suited for live applications such as video conferencing, as there is a minor time delay associated with ...

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