What Is a Protocol Layer?

A protocol layer is a set of rules and procedures that govern how data is transmitted over a network. It defines the format, timing, sequencing, and error control of communication between two or more devices. Protocol layers are used to ensure reliable delivery of information across networks by providing an agreed-upon structure for exchanging messages.

The most common example of a protocol layer is the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model which consists of seven distinct layers: physical, data link, network, transport, session, presentation and application. Each layer has its own specific purpose in ensuring successful transmission from one device to another. For instance the physical layer deals with electrical signals while the application layer handles user applications such as web browsers or email clients. By using multiple protocols at different levels it allows for efficient communication between computers on different networks without having to worry about compatibility issues.

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