Protocols at the Transport Layer

Protocols that operate at the transport layer can either be connectionless, such as the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) , or connection oriented, such as Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). For a further discussion of these protocols, and of the difference between connection oriented and connectionless protocols, refer to the information on network protocols later in this chapter.

Flow Control

The transport layer is also responsible for data flow control, which refers to the way in which the receiving device can accept data transmissions. There are two common methods of flow control used, buffering and windowing:

  • Buffering When buffering flow control is used, data is temporarily stored and waits for the destination device to become available. Buffering can cause a problem if the sending device transmits data much faster than the receiving device is able to manage it.

  • Windowing In a windowing environment, data is sent in groups of segments that require only one acknowledgment. The size of the window (that is, how many segments fit into one acknowledgment) is defined at the time the session between the two devices is established. As you can imagine, the need to have only one acknowledgment for every, say, five segments can greatly reduce overhead.

Session Layer (Layer 5)

The session layer is responsible for managing and controlling the synchronization of data between applications on two devices. It does this by establishing, maintaining, and breaking sessions. Whereas the transport layer is responsible for setting up and maintaining the connection between the two nodes, the session layer performs the same function on behalf of the application.