Application, Presentation, and Session


Application Layer

In the OSI and the TCP/IP models, the application layer is the closest layer to the end user. As shown in the figure, it is the layer that provides the interface between the applications used to communicate, and the underlying network over which messages are transmitted. Application layer protocols are used to exchange data between programs running on the source and destination hosts.

Based on the TCP/IP model, the upper three layers of the OSI model (application, presentation, and session) define functions of the TCP/IP application layer.

There are many application layer protocols, and new protocols are always being developed. Some of the most widely known application layer protocols include Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP), Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), and Domain Name System (DNS) protocol.


Presentation and Session Layer

Presentation Layer

The presentation layer has three primary functions:

  • Formatting, or presenting, data at the source device into a compatible format for receipt by the destination device.
  • Compressing data in a way that can be decompressed by the destination device.
  • Encrypting data for transmission and decrypting data upon receipt.

As shown in the figure, the presentation layer formats data for the application layer, and it sets standards for file formats. Some well-known standards for video include Matroska Video (MKV), Motion Picture Experts Group (MPG), and QuickTime Video (MOV). Some well-known graphic image formats are Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPG), and Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format.