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Three-tier architecture is a well-established software application architecture that organizes applications into three logical and physical computing tiers: the presentation tier, or user interface; the application tier, where data is processed; and the data tier, where application data is stored and managed.

The chief benefit of three-tier architecture is that because each tier runs on its own infrastructure, each tier can be developed simultaneously by a separate development team. And can be updated or scaled as needed without impacting the other tiers.

For decades three-tier architecture was the prevailing architecture for client-server applications. Today, most three-tier applications are targets for modernization that uses cloud-native technologies such as containers and microservices and for migration to the cloud.

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Presentation tier

The presentation tier is the user interface and communication layer of the application, where the end user interacts with the application. Its main purpose is to display information to and collect information from the user. This top-level tier can run on a web browser, as desktop application, or a graphical user interface (GUI), for example. Web presentation tiers are developed by using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Desktop applications can be written in various languages depending on the platform.

Application tier

The application tier, also known as the logic tier or middle tier, is the heart of the application. In this tier, information that is collected in the presentation tier is processed - sometimes against other information in the data tier - using business logic, a specific set of business rules. The application tier can also add, delete, or modify data in the data tier. 

The application tier is typically developed by using Python, Java, Perl, PHP or Ruby, and communicates with the data tier by using  API  calls. 

The data tier, sometimes called database tier, data access tier or back-end, is where the information that is processed by the application is stored and managed. This can be a  relational database management system  such as  PostgreSQL , MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle, Db2, Informix or Microsoft SQL Server, or in a  NoSQL  Database server such as Cassandra,  CouchDB , or  MongoDB . 

In a three-tier application, all communication goes through the application tier. The presentation tier and the data tier cannot communicate directly with one another.

Tier versus layer

In discussions of three-tier architecture,  layer  is often used interchangeably – and mistakenly – for  tier , as in 'presentation layer' or 'business logic layer'. 

They aren't the same. A 'layer' refers to a functional division of the software, but a 'tier' refers to a functional division of the software that runs on infrastructure separate from the other divisions. The Contacts app on your phone, for example, is a  three - layer  application, but a  single-tier  application, because all three layers run on your phone.

The difference is important because layers can't offer the same benefits as tiers.

Again, the chief benefit of three-tier architecture is its logical and physical separation of functionality. Each tier can run on a separate operating system and server platform - for example, web server, application server, database server - that best fits its functional requirements. And each tier runs on at least one dedicated server hardware or virtual server, so the services of each tier can be customized and optimized without impacting the other tiers. 

Other benefits (compared to single- or two-tier architecture) include:

  • Faster development : Because each tier can be developed simultaneously by different teams, an organization can bring the application to market faster. And programmers can use the latest and best languages and tools for each tier.
  • Improved scalability : Any tier can be scaled independently of the others as needed.
  • Improved reliability : An outage in one tier is less likely to impact the availability or performance of the other tiers.
  • Improved security : Because the presentation tier and data tier can't communicate directly, a well-designed application tier can function as an internal firewall, preventing SQL injections and other malicious exploits.

In web development, the tiers have different names but perform similar functions:

  • The web server  is the presentation tier and provides the user interface. This is usually a web page or website, such as an ecommerce site where the user adds products to the shopping cart, adds payment details or creates an account. The content can be static or dynamic, and is developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • The application server  corresponds to the middle tier, housing the business logic that is used to process user inputs. To continue the ecommerce example, this is the tier that queries the inventory database to return product availability, or adds details to a customer's profile. This layer often developed using Python, Ruby, or PHP and runs a framework such as Django, Rails, Symphony, or ASP.NET.
  • The database server  is the data or backend tier of a web application. It runs on database management software, such as MySQL, Oracle, DB2, or PostgreSQL.

While three-tier architecture is easily the most widely adopted multitier application architecture, there are others that you might encounter in your work or your research.

Two-tier architecture 

Two-tier architecture is the original client-server architecture, consisting of a presentation tier and a data tier; the business logic lives in the presentation tier, the data tier or both. In two-tier architecture the presentation tier - and therefore the end user - has direct access to the data tier, and the business logic is often limited. A simple contact management application, where users can enter and retrieve contact data, is an example of a two-tier application. 

N-tier architecture

N-tier architecture - also called or multitier architecture - refers to  any  application architecture with more than one tier. But applications with more than three layers are rare because extra layers offer few benefits and can make the application slower, harder to manage and more expensive to run. As a result, n-tier architecture and multitier architecture are usually synonyms for three-tier architecture.

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Prerequisite : OSI Model

Introduction : Presentation Layer is the 6th layer in the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model. This layer is also known as Translation layer, as this layer serves as a data translator for the network. The data which this layer receives from the Application Layer is extracted and manipulated here as per the required format to transmit over the network. The main responsibility of this layer is to provide or define the data format and encryption. The presentation layer is also called as Syntax layer since it is responsible for maintaining the proper syntax of the data which it either receives or transmits to other layer(s).

Functions of Presentation Layer :

The presentation layer, being the 6th layer in the OSI model, performs several types of functions, which are described below-

  • Presentation layer format and encrypts data to be sent across the network.
  • This layer takes care that the data is sent in such a way that the receiver will understand the information (data) and will be able to use the data efficiently and effectively.
  • This layer manages the abstract data structures and allows high-level data structures (example- banking records), which are to be defined or exchanged.
  • This layer carries out the encryption at the transmitter and decryption at the receiver.
  • This layer carries out data compression to reduce the bandwidth of the data to be transmitted (the primary goal of data compression is to reduce the number of bits which is to be transmitted).
  • This layer is responsible for interoperability (ability of computers to exchange and make use of information) between encoding methods as different computers use different encoding methods.
  • This layer basically deals with the presentation part of the data.
  • Presentation layer, carries out the data compression (number of bits reduction while transmission), which in return improves the data throughput.
  • This layer also deals with the issues of string representation.
  • The presentation layer is also responsible for integrating all the formats into a standardized format for efficient and effective communication.
  • This layer encodes the message from the user-dependent format to the common format and vice-versa for communication between dissimilar systems.
  • This layer deals with the syntax and semantics of the messages.
  • This layer also ensures that the messages which are to be presented to the upper as well as the lower layer should be standardized as well as in an accurate format too.
  • Presentation layer is also responsible for translation, formatting, and delivery of information for processing or display.
  • This layer also performs serialization (process of translating a data structure or an object into a format that can be stored or transmitted easily).

Features of Presentation Layer in the OSI model: Presentation layer, being the 6th layer in the OSI model, plays a vital role while communication is taking place between two devices in a network.

List of features which are provided by the presentation layer are:

  • Presentation layer could apply certain sophisticated compression techniques, so fewer bytes of data are required to represent the information when it is sent over the network.
  • If two or more devices are communicating over an encrypted connection, then this presentation layer is responsible for adding encryption on the sender’s end as well as the decoding the encryption on the receiver’s end so that it can represent the application layer with unencrypted, readable data.
  • This layer formats and encrypts data to be sent over a network, providing freedom from compatibility problems.
  • This presentation layer also negotiates the Transfer Syntax.
  • This presentation layer is also responsible for compressing data it receives from the application layer before delivering it to the session layer (which is the 5th layer in the OSI model) and thus improves the speed as well as the efficiency of communication by minimizing the amount of the data to be transferred.

Working of Presentation Layer in the OSI model : Presentation layer in the OSI model, as a translator, converts the data sent by the application layer of the transmitting node into an acceptable and compatible data format based on the applicable network protocol and architecture.  Upon arrival at the receiving computer, the presentation layer translates data into an acceptable format usable by the application layer. Basically, in other words, this layer takes care of any issues occurring when transmitted data must be viewed in a format different from the original format. Being the functional part of the OSI mode, the presentation layer performs a multitude (large number of) data conversion algorithms and character translation functions. Mainly, this layer is responsible for managing two network characteristics: protocol (set of rules) and architecture.

Presentation Layer Protocols : Presentation layer being the 6th layer, but the most important layer in the OSI model performs several types of functionalities, which makes sure that data which is being transferred or received should be accurate or clear to all the devices which are there in a closed network. Presentation Layer, for performing translations or other specified functions, needs to use certain protocols which are defined below –

  • Apple Filing Protocol (AFP): Apple Filing Protocol is the proprietary network protocol (communications protocol) that offers services to macOS or the classic macOS. This is basically the network file control protocol specifically designed for Mac-based platforms.
  • Lightweight Presentation Protocol (LPP): Lightweight Presentation Protocol is that protocol which is used to provide ISO presentation services on the top of TCP/IP based protocol stacks.
  • NetWare Core Protocol (NCP): NetWare Core Protocol is the network protocol which is used to access file, print, directory, clock synchronization, messaging, remote command execution and other network service functions.
  • Network Data Representation (NDR): Network Data Representation is basically the implementation of the presentation layer in the OSI model, which provides or defines various primitive data types, constructed data types and also several types of data representations.
  • External Data Representation (XDR): External Data Representation (XDR) is the standard for the description and encoding of data. It is useful for transferring data between computer architectures and has been used to communicate data between very diverse machines. Converting from local representation to XDR is called encoding, whereas converting XDR into local representation is called decoding.
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL): The Secure Socket Layer protocol provides security to the data that is being transferred between the web browser and the server. SSL encrypts the link between a web server and a browser, which ensures that all data passed between them remains private and free from attacks.

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  Layer 6 Presentation Layer

De/Encryption, Encoding, String representation

The presentation layer (data presentation layer, data provision level) sets the system-dependent representation of the data (for example, ASCII, EBCDIC) into an independent form, enabling the syntactically correct data exchange between different systems. Also, functions such as data compression and encryption are guaranteed that data to be sent by the application layer of a system that can be read by the application layer of another system to the layer 6. The presentation layer. If necessary, the presentation layer acts as a translator between different data formats, by making an understandable for both systems data format, the ASN.1 (Abstract Syntax Notation One) used.

OSI Layer 6 - Presentation Layer

The presentation layer is responsible for the delivery and formatting of information to the application layer for further processing or display. It relieves the application layer of concern regarding syntactical differences in data representation within the end-user systems. An example of a presentation service would be the conversion of an EBCDIC-coded text computer file to an ASCII-coded file. The presentation layer is the lowest layer at which application programmers consider data structure and presentation, instead of simply sending data in the form of datagrams or packets between hosts. This layer deals with issues of string representation - whether they use the Pascal method (an integer length field followed by the specified amount of bytes) or the C/C++ method (null-terminated strings, e.g. "thisisastring\0"). The idea is that the application layer should be able to point at the data to be moved, and the presentation layer will deal with the rest. Serialization of complex data structures into flat byte-strings (using mechanisms such as TLV or XML) can be thought of as the key functionality of the presentation layer. Encryption is typically done at this level too, although it can be done on the application, session, transport, or network layers, each having its own advantages and disadvantages. Decryption is also handled at the presentation layer. For example, when logging on to bank account sites the presentation layer will decrypt the data as it is received.[1] Another example is representing structure, which is normally standardized at this level, often by using XML. As well as simple pieces of data, like strings, more complicated things are standardized in this layer. Two common examples are 'objects' in object-oriented programming, and the exact way that streaming video is transmitted. In many widely used applications and protocols, no distinction is made between the presentation and application layers. For example, HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), generally regarded as an application-layer protocol, has presentation-layer aspects such as the ability to identify character encoding for proper conversion, which is then done in the application layer. Within the service layering semantics of the OSI network architecture, the presentation layer responds to service requests from the application layer and issues service requests to the session layer. In the OSI model: the presentation layer ensures the information that the application layer of one system sends out is readable by the application layer of another system. For example, a PC program communicates with another computer, one using extended binary coded decimal interchange code (EBCDIC) and the other using ASCII to represent the same characters. If necessary, the presentation layer might be able to translate between multiple data formats by using a common format. Wikipedia
  • Data conversion
  • Character code translation
  • Compression
  • Encryption and Decryption

The Presentation OSI Layer is usually composed of 2 sublayers that are:

CASE common application service element

Sase specific application service element, layer 7   application layer, layer 6   presentation layer, layer 5   session layer, layer 4   transport layer, layer 3   network layer, layer 2   data link layer, layer 1   physical layer.

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11.4: Connecting to databases in three-tier applications

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Three-tier application structure is similar to the 7-layer OSI model of telecommunications, in that it breaks up the presentation, data, and application functions into each of their own levels. This segmentation provides for a more streamlined approach to scalability and ease of development, since the developer does not have to produce a new web technology for every instance. Instead, standards such as HTML, CSS, or JavaScript may be used.

When connecting to a three-tier based web application, the user will interact with the presentation tier. This layer is the visual wrapper between the functionality, database, and UI elements. This layer is displayed in a web browser, and served through the World Wide Web or a Local Area Network. Connecting to an IP address using a compatible browser will provide the web page to the user, being provided through a server which hosts the website and has access to the databases which it uses. The presentation tier is largely the visual aspect of a website or application and does not perform the computing or data storage/retrieval. This layer is important, however, because data entry and user intent must be clearly interpreted for the right API calls to be made by the presentation layer, to be sent to the application and data tiers.

By using a three-tier architecture, developers are able to concurrently work on each tier of the application as they are designing it. This parallel development allows for fewer limitations due to older design which cannot easily be changed. This is relevant to the connection to databases, due to the ability of the development teams to agree on which APIs and methods they wish to communicate with between each layer. For the database to be accessed, the user would make a request for a piece of information to be pulled from the database through the presentation layer. The presentation layer would process the request through the application layer (or logic layer) which would request the data from the database. All of this would happen through the use of API calls in a modern application. The database layer would be a version of SQL such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, or another database type.

Once the request reaches the data layer, the database management system (DBMS) is what will actually do the work of finding what the request is looking for. This includes querying the database indexes to see where the information is stored, as databases are usually composed of one or more storage devices with many logical storage endpoints.

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Chapter 1. Layered Architecture

The most common architecture pattern is the layered architecture pattern, otherwise known as the n-tier architecture pattern. This pattern is the de facto standard for most Java EE applications and therefore is widely known by most architects, designers, and developers. The layered architecture pattern closely matches the traditional IT communication and organizational structures found in most companies, making it a natural choice for most business application development efforts. 

Pattern Description

Components within the layered architecture pattern are organized into horizontal layers, each layer performing a specific role within the application (e.g., presentation logic or business logic). Although the layered architecture pattern does not specify the number and types of layers that must exist in the pattern, most layered architectures consist of four standard layers: presentation, business, persistence, and database ( Figure 1-1 ). In some cases, the business layer and persistence layer are combined into a single business layer, particularly when the persistence logic (e.g., SQL or HSQL) is embedded within the business layer components. Thus, smaller applications may have only three layers, whereas larger and more complex business applications may contain five or more layers. 

Each layer of the layered architecture pattern has a specific role and responsibility within the application. For example, a presentation layer would be responsible for handling all user interface and browser communication logic, whereas a business layer would be responsible for executing specific business rules associated with the request. Each layer in the architecture forms an abstraction around the work that needs to be done to satisfy a particular business request. For example, the presentation layer doesn’t need to know or worry about how to get customer data; it only needs to display that information on a screen in particular format. Similarly, the business layer doesn’t need to be concerned about how to format customer data for display on a screen or even where the customer data is coming from; it only needs to get the data from the persistence layer, perform business logic against the data (e.g., calculate values or aggregate data), and pass that information up to the presentation layer.  

Alt Text

Figure 1-1. Layered architecture pattern

One of the powerful features of the layered architecture pattern is the separation of concerns among components. Components within a specific layer deal only with logic that pertains to that layer. For example, components in the presentation layer deal only with presentation logic, whereas components residing in the business layer deal only with business logic. This type of component classification makes it easy to build effective roles and responsibility models into your architecture, and also makes it easy to develop, test, govern, and maintain applications using this architecture pattern due to well-defined component interfaces and limited component scope.

Key Concepts

Notice in Figure 1-2 that each of the layers in the architecture is marked as being  closed . This is a very important concept in the layered architecture pattern. A closed layer means that as a request moves from layer to layer, it must go through the layer right below it to get to the next layer below that one. For example, a request originating from the presentation layer must first go through the business layer and then to the persistence layer before finally hitting the database layer. 

Alt Text

Figure 1-2. Closed layers and request access

So why not allow the presentation layer direct access to either the persistence layer or database layer? After all, direct database access from the presentation layer is much faster than going through a bunch of unnecessary layers just to retrieve or save database information. The answer to this question lies in a key concept known as  layers of isolation . 

The layers of isolation concept means that changes made in one layer of the architecture generally don’t impact or affect components in other layers: the change is isolated to the components within that layer, and possibly another associated layer (such as a persistence layer containing SQL). If you allow the presentation layer direct access to the persistence layer, then changes made to SQL within the persistence layer would impact both the business layer and the presentation layer, thereby producing a very tightly coupled application with lots of interdependencies between components. This type of architecture then becomes very hard and expensive to change.  

The layers of isolation concept also means that each layer is independent of the other layers, thereby having little or no knowledge of the inner workings of other layers in the architecture. To understand the power and importance of this concept, consider a large refactoring effort to convert the presentation framework from JSP (Java Server Pages) to JSF (Java Server Faces). Assuming that the contracts (e.g., model) used between the presentation layer and the business layer remain the same, the business layer is not affected by the refactoring and remains completely independent of the type of user-interface framework used by the presentation layer.  

While closed layers facilitate layers of isolation and therefore help isolate change within the architecture, there are times when it makes sense for certain layers to be open. For example, suppose you want to add a shared-services layer to an architecture containing common service components accessed by components within the business layer (e.g., data and string utility classes or auditing and logging classes). Creating a services layer is usually a good idea in this case because architecturally it restricts access to the shared services to the business layer (and not the presentation layer). Without a separate layer, there is nothing architecturally that restricts the presentation layer from accessing these common services, making it difficult to govern this access restriction.  

In this example, the new services layer would likely reside  below  the business layer to indicate that components in this services layer are not accessible from the presentation layer. However, this presents a problem in that the business layer is now required to go through the services layer to get to the persistence layer, which makes no sense at all. This is an age-old problem with the layered architecture, and is solved by creating open layers within the architecture.  

As illustrated in Figure 1-3 , the services layer in this case is marked as open,  meaning requests are allowed to bypass this open layer and go directly to the layer below it. In the following example, since the services layer is open, the business layer is now allowed to bypass it and go directly to the persistence layer, which makes perfect sense.  

Alt Text

Figure 1-3. Open layers and request flow

Leveraging the concept of open and closed layers helps define the relationship between architecture layers and request flows and also provides designers and developers with the necessary information to understand the various layer access restrictions within the architecture. Failure to document or properly communicate which layers in the architecture are open and closed (and why) usually results in tightly coupled and brittle architectures that are very difficult to test, maintain, and deploy.

Pattern Example

To illustrate how the layered architecture works, consider a request from a business user to retrieve customer information for a particular individual as illustrated in Figure 1-4 . The black arrows show the request flowing down to the database to retrieve the customer data, and the red arrows show the response flowing back up to the screen to display the data. In this example, the customer information consists of both customer data and order data (orders placed by the customer).  

The customer screen is responsible for accepting the request and displaying the customer information. It does not know where the data is, how it is retrieved, or how many database tables must be queries to get the data. Once the customer screen receives a request to get customer information for a particular individual, it then forwards that request onto the customer delegate module. This module is responsible for knowing which modules in the business layer can process that request and also how to get to that module and what data it needs (the contract). The customer object in the business layer is responsible for aggregating all of the information needed by the business request (in this case to get customer information). This module calls out to the  customer dao  (data access object) module in the persistence layer to get customer data, and also the order dao module to get order information. These modules in turn execute SQL statements to retrieve the corresponding data and pass it back up to the customer object in the business layer. Once the customer object receives the data, it aggregates the data and passes that information back up to the customer delegate, which then passes that data to the customer screen to be presented to the user.      

Alt Text

Figure 1-4. Layered architecture example

From a technology perspective, there are literally dozens of ways these modules can be implemented. For example, in the Java platform, the customer screen can be a (JSF) Java Server Faces screen coupled with the customer delegate as the managed bean component. The customer object in the business layer can be a local Spring bean or a remote EJB3 bean. The data access objects illustrated in the previous example can be implemented as simple POJO’s (Plain Old Java Objects), MyBatis XML Mapper files, or even objects encapsulating raw JDBC calls or Hibernate queries. From a Microsoft platform perspective, the customer screen can be an ASP (active server pages) module using the .NET framework to access C# modules in the business layer, with the customer and order data access modules implemented as ADO (ActiveX Data Objects). 


The layered architecture pattern is a solid general-purpose pattern, making it a good starting point for most applications, particularly when you are not sure what architecture pattern is best suited for your application. However, there are a couple of things to consider from an architecture standpoint when choosing this pattern.

The first thing to watch out for is what is known as the architecture sinkhole anti-pattern . This anti-pattern describes the situation where requests flow through multiple layers of the architecture as simple pass-through processing with little or no logic performed within each layer. For example, assume the presentation layer responds to a request from the user to retrieve customer data. The presentation layer passes the request to the business layer, which simply passes the request to the persistence layer, which then makes a simple SQL call to the database layer to retrieve the customer data. The data is then passed all the way back up the stack with no additional processing or logic to aggregate, calculate, or transform the data. 

Every layered architecture will have at least some scenarios that fall into the architecture sinkhole anti-pattern. The key, however, is to analyze the percentage of requests that fall into this category. The 80-20 rule is usually a good practice to follow to determine whether or not you are experiencing the architecture sinkhole anti-pattern. It is typical to have around 20 percent of the requests as simple pass-through processing and 80 percent of the requests having some business logic associated with the request. However, if you find that this ratio is reversed and a majority of your requests are simple pass-through processing, you might want to consider making some of the architecture layers open, keeping in mind that it will be more difficult to control change due to the lack of layer isolation. 

Another consideration with the layered architecture pattern is that it tends to lend itself toward monolithic applications, even if you split the presentation layer and business layers into separate deployable units. While this may not be a concern for some applications, it does pose some potential issues in terms of deployment, general robustness and reliability, performance, and scalability.   

Pattern Analysis

The following table contains a rating and analysis of the common architecture characteristics for the layered architecture pattern. The rating for each characteristic is based on the natural tendency for that characteristic as a capability based on a typical implementation of the pattern, as well as what the pattern is generally known for. For a side-by-side comparison of how this pattern relates to other patterns in this report, please refer to  Appendix A  at the end of this report.

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Presentation Layer

Last Edited

What is the Presentation Layer?

Presentation Layer is the Layer 6 of the seven-layer Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model . The presentation layer structures data that is passed down from the application layer into a format suitable for network transmission. This layer is responsible for data encryption, data compression, character set conversion, interpretation of graphics commands, and so on. The network redirector also functions at this layer.

Presentation Layer

Presentation Layer functions

  • Translation:  Before being transmitted, information in the form of characters and numbers should be changed to bit streams. Layer 6 is responsible for interoperability between encoding methods as different computers use different encoding methods. It translates data between the formats the network requires and the format the computer.
  • Encryption:  Encryption at the transmitter and decryption at the receiver
  • Compression:  Data compression to reduce the bandwidth of the data to be transmitted. The primary role of  data compression  is to reduce the number of bits to be transmitted. Multimedia files, such as audio and video, are bigger than text files and compression is more important.

Role of Presentation Layer in the OSI Model

This layer is not always used in network communications because its functions are not always necessary. Translation is only needed if different types of machines need to talk with each other. Encryption is optional in communication. If the information is public there is no need to encrypt and decrypt info. Compression is also optional. If files are small there is no need for compression.

Explaining Layer 6 in video

Most real-world protocol suites, such as TCP/IP , do not use separate presentation layer protocols. This layer is mostly an abstraction in real-world networking.

An example of a program that loosely adheres to layer 6 of OSI is the tool that manages the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) — although it’s technically considered an application-layer protocol per the TCP/IP model.

However, HTTP includes presentation layer services within it. HTTP works when the requesting device forwards user requests passed to the web browser onto a web server elsewhere in the network.

It receives a return message from the web server that includes a multipurpose internet mail extensions (MIME) header. The MIME header indicates the type of file – text, video, or audio – that has been received so that an appropriate player utility can be used to present the file to the user.

In short, the presentation layer

Makes sure that data which is being transferred or received should be accurate or clear to all the devices which are there, in a closed network.

  • ensures proper formatting and delivery to and from the application layer;
  • performs data encryption; and
  • manages serialization of data objects.

The OSI Model – The 7 Layers of Networking Explained in Plain English

Chloe Tucker

This article explains the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model and the 7 layers of networking, in plain English.

The OSI model is a conceptual framework that is used to describe how a network functions. In plain English, the OSI model helped standardize the way computer systems send information to each other.

Learning networking is a bit like learning a language - there are lots of standards and then some exceptions. Therefore, it’s important to really understand that the OSI model is not a set of rules. It is a tool for understanding how networks function.

Once you learn the OSI model, you will be able to further understand and appreciate this glorious entity we call the Internet, as well as be able to troubleshoot networking issues with greater fluency and ease.

All hail the Internet!


You don’t need any prior programming or networking experience to understand this article. However, you will need:

  • Basic familiarity with common networking terms (explained below)
  • A curiosity about how things work :)

Learning Objectives

Over the course of this article, you will learn:

  • What the OSI model is
  • The purpose of each of the 7 layers
  • The problems that can happen at each of the 7 layers
  • The difference between TCP/IP model and the OSI model

Common Networking Terms

Here are some common networking terms that you should be familiar with to get the most out of this article. I’ll use these terms when I talk about OSI layers next.

A node is a physical electronic device hooked up to a network, for example a computer, printer, router, and so on. If set up properly, a node is capable of sending and/or receiving information over a network.

Nodes may be set up adjacent to one other, wherein Node A can connect directly to Node B, or there may be an intermediate node, like a switch or a router, set up between Node A and Node B.

Typically, routers connect networks to the Internet and switches operate within a network to facilitate intra-network communication. Learn more about hub vs. switch vs. router.

Here's an example:


For the nitpicky among us (yep, I see you), host is another term that you will encounter in networking. I will define a host as a type of node that requires an IP address. All hosts are nodes, but not all nodes are hosts. Please Tweet angrily at me if you disagree.

Links connect nodes on a network. Links can be wired, like Ethernet, or cable-free, like WiFi.

Links to can either be point-to-point, where Node A is connected to Node B, or multipoint, where Node A is connected to Node B and Node C.

When we’re talking about information being transmitted, this may also be described as a one-to-one vs. a one-to-many relationship.

A protocol is a mutually agreed upon set of rules that allows two nodes on a network to exchange data.

“A protocol defines the rules governing the syntax (what can be communicated), semantics (how it can be communicated), and synchronization (when and at what speed it can be communicated) of the communications procedure. Protocols can be implemented on hardware, software, or a combination of both. Protocols can be created by anyone, but the most widely adopted protocols are based on standards.” - The Illustrated Network.

Both wired and cable-free links can have protocols.

While anyone can create a protocol, the most widely adopted protocols are often based on standards published by Internet organizations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

A network is a general term for a group of computers, printers, or any other device that wants to share data.

Network types include LAN, HAN, CAN, MAN, WAN, BAN, or VPN. Think I’m just randomly rhyming things with the word can ? I can ’t say I am - these are all real network types. Learn more here .

Topology describes how nodes and links fit together in a network configuration, often depicted in a diagram. Here are some common network topology types:

What is Network Topology? Best Guides to Types & Diagrams - DNSstuff

A network consists of nodes, links between nodes, and protocols that govern data transmission between nodes.

At whatever scale and complexity networks get to, you will understand what’s happening in all computer networks by learning the OSI model and 7 layers of networking.

What is the OSI Model?

The OSI model consists of 7 layers of networking.

First, what’s a layer?

Cave, Dragon's Lair, mountains

No, a layer - not a lair . Here there are no dragons.

A layer is a way of categorizing and grouping functionality and behavior on and of a network.

In the OSI model, layers are organized from the most tangible and most physical, to less tangible and less physical but closer to the end user.

Each layer abstracts lower level functionality away until by the time you get to the highest layer. All the details and inner workings of all the other layers are hidden from the end user.

How to remember all the names of the layers? Easy.

  • Please | Physical Layer
  • Do | Data Link Layer
  • Not | Network Layer
  • Tell (the) | Transport Layer
  • Secret | Session Layer
  • Password (to) | Presentation Layer
  • Anyone | Application Layer

Keep in mind that while certain technologies, like protocols, may logically “belong to” one layer more than another, not all technologies fit neatly into a single layer in the OSI model. For example, Ethernet, 802.11 (Wifi) and the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) procedure operate on >1 layer.

The OSI is a model and a tool, not a set of rules.

OSI Layer 1

Layer 1 is the physical layer . There’s a lot of technology in Layer 1 - everything from physical network devices, cabling, to how the cables hook up to the devices. Plus if we don’t need cables, what the signal type and transmission methods are (for example, wireless broadband).

Instead of listing every type of technology in Layer 1, I’ve created broader categories for these technologies. I encourage readers to learn more about each of these categories:

  • Nodes (devices) and networking hardware components. Devices include hubs, repeaters, routers, computers, printers, and so on. Hardware components that live inside of these devices include antennas, amplifiers, Network Interface Cards (NICs), and more.
  • Device interface mechanics. How and where does a cable connect to a device (cable connector and device socket)? What is the size and shape of the connector, and how many pins does it have? What dictates when a pin is active or inactive?
  • Functional and procedural logic. What is the function of each pin in the connector - send or receive? What procedural logic dictates the sequence of events so a node can start to communicate with another node on Layer 2?
  • Cabling protocols and specifications. Ethernet (CAT), USB, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) , and more. Specifications include maximum cable length, modulation techniques, radio specifications, line coding, and bits synchronization (more on that below).
  • Cable types. Options include shielded or unshielded twisted pair, untwisted pair, coaxial and so on. Learn more about cable types here .
  • Signal type. Baseband is a single bit stream at a time, like a railway track - one-way only. Broadband consists of multiple bit streams at the same time, like a bi-directional highway.
  • Signal transmission method (may be wired or cable-free). Options include electrical (Ethernet), light (optical networks, fiber optics), radio waves (802.11 WiFi, a/b/g/n/ac/ax variants or Bluetooth). If cable-free, then also consider frequency: 2.5 GHz vs. 5 GHz. If it’s cabled, consider voltage. If cabled and Ethernet, also consider networking standards like 100BASE-T and related standards.

The data unit on Layer 1 is the bit.

A bit the smallest unit of transmittable digital information. Bits are binary, so either a 0 or a 1. Bytes, consisting of 8 bits, are used to represent single characters, like a letter, numeral, or symbol.

Bits are sent to and from hardware devices in accordance with the supported data rate (transmission rate, in number of bits per second or millisecond) and are synchronized so the number of bits sent and received per unit of time remains consistent (this is called bit synchronization). The way bits are transmitted depends on the signal transmission method.

Nodes can send, receive, or send and receive bits. If they can only do one, then the node uses a simplex mode. If they can do both, then the node uses a duplex mode. If a node can send and receive at the same time, it’s full-duplex – if not, it’s just half-duplex.

The original Ethernet was half-duplex. Full-duplex Ethernet is an option now, given the right equipment.

How to Troubleshoot OSI Layer 1 Problems

Here are some Layer 1 problems to watch out for:

  • Defunct cables, for example damaged wires or broken connectors
  • Broken hardware network devices, for example damaged circuits
  • Stuff being unplugged (...we’ve all been there)

If there are issues in Layer 1, anything beyond Layer 1 will not function properly.

Layer 1 contains the infrastructure that makes communication on networks possible.

It defines the electrical, mechanical, procedural, and functional specifications for activating, maintaining, and deactivating physical links between network devices. - Source

Fun fact: deep-sea communications cables transmit data around the world. This map will blow your mind:

And because you made it this far, here’s a koala:

Closeup of a Koala

OSI Layer 2

Layer 2 is the data link layer . Layer 2 defines how data is formatted for transmission, how much data can flow between nodes, for how long, and what to do when errors are detected in this flow.

In more official tech terms:

  • Line discipline. Who should talk for how long? How long should nodes be able to transit information for?
  • Flow control. How much data should be transmitted?
  • Error control - detection and correction . All data transmission methods have potential for errors, from electrical spikes to dirty connectors. Once Layer 2 technologies tell network administrators about an issue on Layer 2 or Layer 1, the system administrator can correct for those errors on subsequent layers. Layer 2 is mostly concerned with error detection, not error correction. ( Source )

There are two distinct sublayers within Layer 2:

  • Media Access Control (MAC): the MAC sublayer handles the assignment of a hardware identification number, called a MAC address, that uniquely identifies each device on a network. No two devices should have the same MAC address. The MAC address is assigned at the point of manufacturing. It is automatically recognized by most networks. MAC addresses live on Network Interface Cards (NICs). Switches keep track of all MAC addresses on a network. Learn more about MAC addresses on PC Mag and in this article . Learn more about network switches here .
  • Logical Link Control (LLC): the LLC sublayer handles framing addressing and flow control. The speed depends on the link between nodes, for example Ethernet or Wifi.

The data unit on Layer 2 is a frame .

Each frame contains a frame header, body, and a frame trailer:

  • Header: typically includes MAC addresses for the source and destination nodes.
  • Body: consists of the bits being transmitted.
  • Trailer: includes error detection information. When errors are detected, and depending on the implementation or configuration of a network or protocol, frames may be discarded or the error may be reported up to higher layers for further error correction. Examples of error detection mechanisms: Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) and Frame Check Sequence (FCS). Learn more about error detection techniques here .

Example of frames, the network layer, and the physical layer

Typically there is a maximum frame size limit, called an Maximum Transmission Unit, MTU. Jumbo frames exceed the standard MTU, learn more about jumbo frames here .

How to Troubleshoot OSI Layer 2 Problems

Here are some Layer 2 problems to watch out for:

  • All the problems that can occur on Layer 1
  • Unsuccessful connections (sessions) between two nodes
  • Sessions that are successfully established but intermittently fail
  • Frame collisions

The Data Link Layer allows nodes to communicate with each other within a local area network. The foundations of line discipline, flow control, and error control are established in this layer.

OSI Layer 3

Layer 3 is the network layer . This is where we send information between and across networks through the use of routers. Instead of just node-to-node communication, we can now do network-to-network communication.

Routers are the workhorse of Layer 3 - we couldn’t have Layer 3 without them. They move data packets across multiple networks.

Not only do they connect to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide access to the Internet, they also keep track of what’s on its network (remember that switches keep track of all MAC addresses on a network), what other networks it’s connected to, and the different paths for routing data packets across these networks.

Routers store all of this addressing and routing information in routing tables.

Here’s a simple example of a routing table:

A routing table showing the destination, subnet mask, and interface

The data unit on Layer 3 is the data packet . Typically, each data packet contains a frame plus an IP address information wrapper. In other words, frames are encapsulated by Layer 3 addressing information.

The data being transmitted in a packet is also sometimes called the payload . While each packet has everything it needs to get to its destination, whether or not it makes it there is another story.

Layer 3 transmissions are connectionless, or best effort - they don't do anything but send the traffic where it’s supposed to go. More on data transport protocols on Layer 4.

Once a node is connected to the Internet, it is assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which looks either like 172.16. 254.1 (IPv4 address convention) or like 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334 (IPv6 address convention). Routers use IP addresses in their routing tables.

IP addresses are associated with the physical node’s MAC address via the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), which resolves MAC addresses with the node’s corresponding IP address.

ARP is conventionally considered part of Layer 2, but since IP addresses don’t exist until Layer 3, it’s also part of Layer 3.

How to Troubleshoot OSI Layer 3 Problems

Here are some Layer 3 problems to watch out for:

  • All the problems that can crop up on previous layers :)
  • Faulty or non-functional router or other node
  • IP address is incorrectly configured

Many answers to Layer 3 questions will require the use of command-line tools like ping , trace , show ip route , or show ip protocols . Learn more about troubleshooting on layer 1-3 here .

The Network Layer allows nodes to connect to the Internet and send information across different networks.

OSI Layer 4

Layer 4 is the transport layer . This where we dive into the nitty gritty specifics of the connection between two nodes and how information is transmitted between them. It builds on the functions of Layer 2 - line discipline, flow control, and error control.

This layer is also responsible for data packet segmentation, or how data packets are broken up and sent over the network.

Unlike the previous layer, Layer 4 also has an understanding of the whole message, not just the contents of each individual data packet. With this understanding, Layer 4 is able to manage network congestion by not sending all the packets at once.

The data units of Layer 4 go by a few names. For TCP, the data unit is a packet. For UDP, a packet is referred to as a datagram. I’ll just use the term data packet here for the sake of simplicity.

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) are two of the most well-known protocols in Layer 4.

TCP, a connection-oriented protocol, prioritizes data quality over speed.

TCP explicitly establishes a connection with the destination node and requires a handshake between the source and destination nodes when data is transmitted. The handshake confirms that data was received. If the destination node does not receive all of the data, TCP will ask for a retry.

TCP also ensures that packets are delivered or reassembled in the correct order. Learn more about TCP here .

UDP, a connectionless protocol, prioritizes speed over data quality. UDP does not require a handshake, which is why it’s called connectionless.

Because UDP doesn’t have to wait for this acknowledgement, it can send data at a faster rate, but not all of the data may be successfully transmitted and we’d never know.

If information is split up into multiple datagrams, unless those datagrams contain a sequence number, UDP does not ensure that packets are reassembled in the correct order. Learn more about UDP here .

TCP and UDP both send data to specific ports on a network device, which has an IP address. The combination of the IP address and the port number is called a socket.

Learn more about sockets here .

Learn more about the differences and similarities between these two protocols here .

How to Troubleshoot OSI Layer 4 Problems

Here are some Layer 4 problems to watch out for:

  • Blocked ports - check your Access Control Lists (ACL) & firewalls
  • Quality of Service (QoS) settings. QoS is a feature of routers/switches that can prioritize traffic, and they can really muck things up. Learn more about QoS here .

The Transport Layer provides end-to-end transmission of a message by segmenting a message into multiple data packets; the layer supports connection-oriented and connectionless communication.

OSI Layer 5

Layer 5 is the session layer . This layer establishes, maintains, and terminates sessions.

A session is a mutually agreed upon connection that is established between two network applications. Not two nodes! Nope, we’ve moved on from nodes. They were so Layer 4.

Just kidding, we still have nodes, but Layer 5 doesn’t need to retain the concept of a node because that’s been abstracted out (taken care of) by previous layers.

So a session is a connection that is established between two specific end-user applications. There are two important concepts to consider here:

  • Client and server model: the application requesting the information is called the client, and the application that has the requested information is called the server.
  • Request and response model: while a session is being established and during a session, there is a constant back-and-forth of requests for information and responses containing that information or “hey, I don’t have what you’re requesting.”

Sessions may be open for a very short amount of time or a long amount of time. They may fail sometimes, too.

Depending on the protocol in question, various failure resolution processes may kick in. Depending on the applications/protocols/hardware in use, sessions may support simplex, half-duplex, or full-duplex modes.

Examples of protocols on Layer 5 include Network Basic Input Output System (NetBIOS) and Remote Procedure Call Protocol (RPC), and many others.

From here on out (layer 5 and up), networks are focused on ways of making connections to end-user applications and displaying data to the user.

How to Troubleshoot OSI Layer 5 Problems

Here are some Layer 5 problems to watch out for:

  • Servers are unavailable
  • Servers are incorrectly configured, for example Apache or PHP configs
  • Session failure - disconnect, timeout, and so on.

The Session Layer initiates, maintains, and terminates connections between two end-user applications. It responds to requests from the presentation layer and issues requests to the transport layer.

OSI Layer 6

Layer 6 is the presentation layer . This layer is responsible for data formatting, such as character encoding and conversions, and data encryption.

The operating system that hosts the end-user application is typically involved in Layer 6 processes. This functionality is not always implemented in a network protocol.

Layer 6 makes sure that end-user applications operating on Layer 7 can successfully consume data and, of course, eventually display it.

There are three data formatting methods to be aware of:

  • American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII): this 7-bit encoding technique is the most widely used standard for character encoding. One superset is ISO-8859-1, which provides most of the characters necessary for languages spoken in Western Europe.
  • Extended Binary-Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBDCIC): designed by IBM for mainframe usage. This encoding is incompatible with other character encoding methods.
  • Unicode: character encodings can be done with 32-, 16-, or 8-bit characters and attempts to accommodate every known, written alphabet.

Learn more about character encoding methods in this article , and also here .

Encryption: SSL or TLS encryption protocols live on Layer 6. These encryption protocols help ensure that transmitted data is less vulnerable to malicious actors by providing authentication and data encryption for nodes operating on a network. TLS is the successor to SSL.

How to Troubleshoot OSI Layer 6 Problems

Here are some Layer 6 problems to watch out for:

  • Non-existent or corrupted drivers
  • Incorrect OS user access level

The Presentation Layer formats and encrypts data.

OSI Layer 7

Layer 7 is the application layer .

True to its name, this is the layer that is ultimately responsible for supporting services used by end-user applications. Applications include software programs that are installed on the operating system, like Internet browsers (for example, Firefox) or word processing programs (for example, Microsoft Word).

Applications can perform specialized network functions under the hood and require specialized services that fall under the umbrella of Layer 7.

Electronic mail programs, for example, are specifically created to run over a network and utilize networking functionality, such as email protocols, which fall under Layer 7.

Applications will also control end-user interaction, such as security checks (for example, MFA), identification of two participants, initiation of an exchange of information, and so on.

Protocols that operate on this level include File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Secure Shell (SSH), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), Domain Name Service (DNS), and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

While each of these protocols serve different functions and operate differently, on a high level they all facilitate the communication of information. ( Source )

How to Troubleshoot OSI Layer 7 Problems

Here are some Layer 7 problems to watch out for:

  • All issues on previous layers
  • Incorrectly configured software applications
  • User error (... we’ve all been there)

The Application Layer owns the services and functions that end-user applications need to work. It does not include the applications themselves.

Our Layer 1 koala is all grown up.

Koala with Photoshopped makeup

Learning check - can you apply makeup to a koala?

Don’t have a koala?

Well - answer these questions instead. It’s the next best thing, I promise.

  • What is the OSI model?
  • What are each of the layers?
  • How could I use this information to troubleshoot networking issues?

Congratulations - you’ve taken one step farther to understanding the glorious entity we call the Internet.

Learning Resources

Many, very smart people have written entire books about the OSI model or entire books about specific layers. I encourage readers to check out any O’Reilly-published books about the subject or about network engineering in general.

Here are some resources I used when writing this article:

  • The Illustrated Network, 2nd Edition
  • Protocol Data Unit (PDU):
  • Troubleshooting Along the OSI Model:
  • The OSI Model Demystified:
  • OSI Model for Dummies:

Chloe Tucker is an artist and computer science enthusiast based in Portland, Oregon. As a former educator, she's continuously searching for the intersection of learning and teaching, or technology and art. Reach out to her on Twitter @_chloetucker and check out her website at .

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Data solution design patterns, implementation, and automation

Presentation Layer

The ‘architecture’ section of this weblog serves as an introduction for the Data Integration Framework Github repository (see the collaboration section ). This Github repository contains the various levels of documentation that constitutes the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) architecture, pattern documentation and supporting metadata and control frameworks.

In the Presentation Layer of the architecture, the data is converted from ‘data’ to ‘information’ to be further picked up by reporting and analysis tools. This consists of the processe from the Integration Layer to the Information Marts. The Presentation Layer is a collection of derived data from the Data Vault including persistent (but completely rebuildable) aggregate and helper tables which can make life easier for ETL and reporting tooling.

The hierarchies are defined and maintained here as series of primary key’s from the involved hubs in a certain order.

To create a Dimension, the data is pulled from the satellites related to these hubs to create a typical ‘Kimball’ dimension for a defined grain. The Presentation Layer is comprised of two parts (or areas): the supporting area and the presentation area . The datamart layer is not a persistent layer since it can be recreated from the integration layer at any time. Performance considerations however will usually require the information to be stored in the datamart layer permanently for quick access. The datamart layer is the location in the architecture where the all business rules (but the enterprise wide ones) are applied to the data. One very important aspect of the datamart layer is that it inherits its datawarehouse keys from the integration layer, thus enabling backtracking of information. The detailed (raw or cleaned) data from the integration layer is still applicable to the keys in the datamart layer.

The supporting area  in an optional phase where calculations can be stored which are shared for every datamart. Using semi-aggregate tables, summaries or any shared calculation can prevent datamarts from executing performance heavy aggregations more than once. The use of a supporting area is very dependant of the way the datamarts are modelled and what their purpose is.

The core area of the datamart layer is the presentation area . Here all the specific subject areas of information are modelled from the integration layer model to a model which suits the requirements of the recipient of the information. The presentation area is the only part of the datawarehouse that is accessible to end-users.

Considerations which affect the presentation layer in general and the datamart area specifically are:

  • Front-end analysis and reporting tooling used. Some reporting and analysis software performs better on a specific data model. In this case the datamart that is created for this tool has to conform to these requirements as much as possible.
  • Views on history. Not everyone needs a historical view on the data. For most reasons the current view (type 1) might be sufficient whether other recipients might need to monitor how information changes over time.
  • Quality of data. All data is stored in the integration layer: its raw form in the integration area and the cleaned form in the cleansing area. By selecting information from the cleansing area, based on the error bitmap, varying levels of data can be selected. Alternatively there is the option of creating a data quality helper summary which uses the error bitmap to enable the selection of data with or without certain errors.

Implementation overview

  • In the Integration layer every attribute has been modelled as Type 2 history (stacking), but since the datamarts themselves are specific for the end-users purposes the attributes should be individually labeled as type 1,2 or 3 (well, type 3 cannot be labelled individually).
  • Every table which is accessed by front-end tooling (SQL clients excluded) should have a 1-on-1 view as per best practice of working with front-end tooling. This will add flexibility when moving changes in the table structure forward without having to impact the front-end layer right away. Of course it is best to do this quick, but at least you have the option for a more gradual change path. These views are completely similar to the tables they represent, in other words they contain no business logic. Due to the nature of these views, they can be easily generated (if you stay consistent in your approach). Handling these views this way provides a clean line between ETL/Datawarehousing and Front-end/Business Intelligence.
  • In terms of database and ETL design this layer can consist of (semi) aggregates and datamarts per subject area or customer. It is advisable to combine the (semi)aggregates in a single group, ETL folder or schema to enable multiple datamarts to (re)use them. The datamarts themselves should be logically separated for whatever purpose they are presented.
  • Depending on the front-end software or performance demands,  dimensions can be modelled as star or as snowflake models.

Using dates and times

Dates and times always need special care in the datawarehouse data model. The following agreement exists about date, times, timestamps and so forth:

If date/time attributes are stored for aggregation then foreign keys can be used.  This make roll-up in the front-end much easier. On the other hand, if the only function this attribute in a table has is pure display on a report or minor calculation then the information can be stored as date time.

History in datamarts

The datamart attributes are all type 1 by default. This information is most frequently requested by Business Intelligence users. By request datamart table attributes may be set to type2 (history) or type3 (today’s view of the history).

Supporting Area

The supporting area is an optional area where semi-aggregates or any useful tables can be stored. These types of tables are usually added for either performance reasons or the wish to implement the same business logic in as few places as possible. Supporting tables can be modelled in any way as long as they benefit the presentation area. They are not accessible by users or front-end reporting and analysis tools.

By thoughtfully creating aggregate tables which can be shared by the datamarts one could for instance create a fact table on a certain aggregate level and have different datamarts aggregate this table further depending on their needs. The business logic and performance demanding calculations only have to be done once this way. The helper table can have any structure as long as it will support the connected datamarts. Performance and limiting the duplicate implementation of business rules is the mail goal. Usually though the helper area will follow the design of the datamarts which will in most cases lead to a star- or snowflake model.

Presentation Area

The Presentation Layer is the final part of the outline architecture. A mart is modelled for a specific purpose, audience and technical requirement. The complete Data Warehouse can contain many different marts with different models and different ‘versions of the truth’ depending on the business needs.

In the process from loading the data from the Integration layer to the Datamart layer most of the business logic is implemented.

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  • End dating, or not, in Data Vault
  • A brief update on data solution automation progress

Presentation Layer: Protocols, Examples, Services | Functions of Presentation Layer

Presentation Layer is the 6th layer in the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model where all application programmer consider data structure and presentation, beyond of simply sending the data into form of datagram otherwise packets in between the hosts. Now, we will explain about what is presentation layer with its protocols, example, service ; involving with major functions of presentation Layer with ease. At the end of this article, you will completely educate about What is Presentation Layer in OSI Model without any hassle.

  • What is Presentation Layer?

Definition : Presentation layer is 6th layer in the OSI model , and its main objective is to present all messages to upper layer as a standardized format. It is also known as the “ Translation layer “.  This layer takes care of syntax and semantics of messages exchanged in between two communication systems. Presentation layer has responsible that receiver can understand all data, and it will be to implement all data languages can be dissimilar of two communication system.

presentation layer

Presentation layer is capable to handle abstract data structures, and further it helps to defined and exchange of higher-level data structures.

Presentation Layer Tutorial Headlines:

In this section, we will show you all headlines about this entire article; you can check them as your choice; below shown all:

  • Functions of Presentation Layer

Protocols of Presentation Layer

  • Example of Presentation Layer Protocols

Presentation Layer Services

Design issues with presentation layer, faqs (frequently asked questions), what is meant by presentation layer in osi model, what protocols are used in the presentation layer, can you explain some presentation layer examples, what are the main functions of the presentation layer, what are services of presentation layer in osi, let’s get started,   functions of presentation layer.

Presentation layer performs various functions in the OSI model ; below explain each one – 

  • Presentation layer helps to translate from American standard code for information interchange (ASCII) to the extended binary code decimal interchange code (EBCDIC).
  • It deals with user interface as well as supporting for several services such as email and file transfer.
  • It provides encoding mechanism for translating all messages from user dependent format with common format and vice – versa.
  • It’s main goal for data encryption and decryption of entire data before they are getting transmission over all common platforms.
  • It provides data compression mechanism for source point to decrease the all bits which are transmitted. Due to this data compression system, user are able to transmit enlarge multimedia file at fastest file transfer rate.
  • Due to use of Data Encryption and Decryption algorithm, presentation layer provides more network protection and confidentiality while transmission data over the entire network.
  • This layer offers best flexibility for data translation for making connections with various kinds of servers , computers, and mainframes over the similar network.
  • Presentation layer has responsible to fix all translations in between all network systems .

Presentation layer is used various protocols; below list is available –

  • Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions
  • File Transfer Protocol
  • Network News Transfer Protocol
  • Apple Filing Protocol (AFP)
  • Independent Computing Architecture (ICA), the Citrix system core protocol
  • Lightweight Presentation Protocol (LPP)
  • NetWare Core Protocol (NCP)
  • Network Data Representation (NDR)
  • Telnet (a remote terminal access protocol)
  • Tox Protocol
  • eXternal Data Representation (XDR)
  • 25 Packet Assembler/Disassembler Protocol (PAD)

Example of Presentation Layer Protocols:

Here, we will discuss all examples of presentation layer protocols; below explain each one –  

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) : MIME protocol was introduced by Bell Communications in 1991, and it is an internet standard that provides scalable capable of email for attaching of images, sounds and text in a message.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) : FTP is a internet protocol, and its main goal is to transmit all files in between one host to other hosts over the internet on TCP/IP connections.

Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) : This protocol is used to make connection with Usenet server and transmit all newsgroup articles in between system over internet.

Apple Filing Protocol (AFP ) : AFP protocol is designed by Apple company for sharing all files over the entire network .

Lightweight Presentation Protocol (LPP) : This protocol is used to offer ISO presentation services on top of TCP/IP based protocol stacks.

NetWare Core Protocol (NCP) : NCP is a Novell client server model protocol that is designed especially for Local Area Network (LAN). It is capable to perform several functions like as file/print-sharing, clock synchronization, remote processing and messaging.

Network Data Representation (NDR) : NDR is an data encoding standard, and it is implement in the Distributed Computing Environment (DCE).

Telnet (Telecommunication Network) : Telnet protocol was introduced in 1969, and it offers the command line interface for making communication along with remote device or server .

Tox : The Tox protocol is sometimes regarded as part of both the presentation and application layer , and it is used for sending peer-to-peer instant-messaging as well as video calling.

eXternal Data Representation (XDR) : This protocol provides the description and encoding of entire data, and  it’s main goal is to transfer data in between dissimilar computer architecture.

25 Packet Assembler/Disassembler Protocol (PAD) : Main objective of this protocol is to obtain all data from group of terminal and allots the data into X. 25 packets.

Presentation layer provides several services like as –

  • Data conversion
  • Character code translation
  • Compression
  • Encryption and Decryption
  • It helps to handle and maintain Syntax and Semantics of the message transmitted.
  • Encoding data can be done as standard agreed like as String, double, date, and more.
  • Standard Encoding can be done on wire.

Presentation Layer is the 6th layer in the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model that is the lowest layer, where all application programmer consider data structure and presentation, beyond of simply sending the data into form of datagram otherwise packets in between the hosts.

Presentation layer is used various protocols like as:

Yes! In this article, already we have been explained many examples of presentation layer; you can check them.

Presentation layer has a responsibility for formatting, translation, and delivery of the information for getting to process otherwise display .

Now, i hope that you have completely learnt about what is presentation layer with its protocols, example, service ; involving with major functions of presentation Layer with ease. If this post is useful for you, then please share it along with your friends, family members or relatives over social media platforms like as Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Twitter, and more.

Also Read: Data Link Layer: Protocols, Examples | Functions of Data Link Layer

If you have any experience, tips, tricks, or query regarding this issue? You can drop a comment!

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Beginning Microsoft Dataverse pp 133–174 Cite as

Presentation Layer

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The presentation layer consists of various methods of presenting and interacting with your data. In Power Platform, there are several tools with which to do this, such as Power Apps, Power BI, and Power Pages. Designing an interface for your data is one of the more challenging aspects of designing a solution because it is where users interact with data. It needs to be built in such a way that users can intuitively find and navigate data structures. In my experience, this part of the process involves numerous iterations to find a balance between functionality and what makes sense to users.

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