The switching function was primarily entrusted to Layer 2 of the OSI model, i.e. the Data Link Layer. A Layer 2 switch performs forwarding decisions by analyzing the MAC (Media Access Control) address of the destination segment in the frame. The Layer 2 switch checks for the destination address and transmits the packet to the appropriate segment if the address is present in its table of known destinations. If the entry for that address is not present, the switch then forwards the packet to all segments except the one on which it came from. This is known as flooding. When it gets a reply from the destination segment, it learns the location of the new address and adds it to its table of known destinations. As number of users are increasing on the network, the speed and the bandwidth of the network is being stretched to its limits. Earlier, switching was primarily entrusted to Layer 2 (Data Link Layer) of the OSI model, but now there are switches that operate at Layer 3 (Network Layer), Layer 4 (Transport Layer) and Layer 5 (Session Layer) of the OSI model. Going from one layer to the other layer does involve some costs/tradeoffs. My thesis explores the costs and tradeoffs involved with switching based on layers 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the OSI reference model.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Telecommunication--Switching systems--Costs; Local area networks (Computer networks)--Costs; Packet switching (Data transmission)--Costs
Department, Program, or Center
Information Sciences and Technologies (GCCIS)
Kapur, Gautam, "Analyzing the costs/tradeoffs involved between layer 2, layer 3, layer 4 and layer 5 switching" (2002). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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