Development of a Network System for BiggsTech Electricals Inc. (Part 2)
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Development of a Network System for BiggsTech Electricals Inc.
Network Referencing Model (OSI versus TCP/IP)
Network Reference Model (OSI vs TCP/IP) Comparison
The current network architecture at BiggsTech Electricals Inc. is running on a dual-stack model that has implemented both OSI and TCP/IP protocol. This architecture has resulted in challenges and compromise to the security and infrastructure of the retail store. A dual stack model duplicates the implementation of the application to network layer across the communicating devices on the network, which makes it memory-intensive (Lin & Lei, 2008).
OSI Model Concept
The retail store implements the OSI model in its communication and resource sharing processes. Whenever users in various departments are communicating within the store, the information has to pass through all the seven steps from sender to destination, which are application layer, presentation layer, session layer, transport layer, network layer, data link layer, and physical layer. Each layer communicates with the peer layer in the two communicating devices. Noteworthy, the devices sending data must initiate the communication from the top layer, but the receiving device receives the information from the bottom. The communication takes the reverse action mechanism of natural communication.
Figure 1
OSI Reference Model and Data Flow Diagram
Roles of the OSI Layers in Communication
Application Layer
The application layer is the interface layer between the user and the computer device. It provides the interface between the applications running on the computer devices and the underlying layers. The protocols at this layer include Telnet, FTP, email client (SMTP) and HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Protocols are simply the rules that govern communication in a network.
Presentation Layer
The presentation layer delivers the information passing through from the application layer in a manner that can be transmitted across the network. For example, when a user is sending an email, the presentation layer transforms the text into email format for transmission.
Session Layer
This layer initiates and terminates communication between the sender and the recipient.
Transport Layer
The transport layer helps in maintaining the flow of data and provides error checking mechanisms and recovery of data between devices. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) protocols operate in this layer.
Network Layer
Usually, routers determine the paths to use for the destination of the data being sent. The network layer provides the logical addresses that are used by routers. Logical addresses are equivalent to the IP addresses used on the network, which include the source and destination address.
Data Link Layer
This layer is useful in formatting the message into data frames by adding headers containing the hardware destination and source address. This mechanism makes the header to find the next destination device on the network for the message. This layer comprises of Logical Link Layer (LLC) for managing frames of upper and lower layer, error control, flow control, and the Media Access Control (MAC) for carrying the physical address of every device on the network.
Physical Layer
This layer defines the physical layout of the network such as the connections and timing.
Network Reference TCP/IP
TCP/IP communication suite helps in interconnecting network devices on the internet. The protocol also applies to private networks such as intranet and extranet (Mazzon, 2000). Unlike ISO reference model, this protocol suite has five layers, which are the application, transport, network, data link, and physical layers.
Figure 2
TCP/IP Reference Model and Data Flow Diagram
Application Layer
The application layer is where users get the interface to interact with applications on the computers and communicate with other devices on the network.
Transport Layer
In this layer, programs transfer information between various applications on the network and between the clients and servers. The layer uses Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) for a reliable connection between server and client applications. The protocol can check and handle errors, lost packets and correct them without relying on the application programs. The protocol also handles flow control for slow transmissions.
For unreliable transmissions, the layer applies the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) with no sessions and flow control. This protocol is used in Voice over internet protocol and video streaming, and there is no error detection.
Network Layer
This layer is responsible for routing packets across the network for communication. The protocol used is the Internet Protocol (IP) with the complexity of the message left for the TCP.
Data Link Layer
Data link layer transfers information/data between the network’s hosts. It mostly applies to the Local Area Network (LAN).
Physical Layer
The physical layer is used for handling the physical characteristics of the network’s transmission medium, such as radio transmission, optical fibre, and copper medium. The software application has no reliance on this layer.
The figure below shows how data travels through this layers between communicating devices.
Data Flow Diagram for Both OSI and TCP/IP
Figure 3
Revised OSI Model with Hardware and its Data Flow
OSI Reference Model Connectivity
For the retail store to be able to stabilize and secure its communications and resource sharing across the network, both local and external, there is need to implement best mechanisms for connectivity via the OSI model. The revised proposed network solution will have every required device at any given layer for enhanced communication.
For secure communication and transfer of information, there will be a security and encryption mechanisms for the information. This mechanism will be achieved through implementation of firewalls to safeguard communication and prevent intrusion of data and information.
Figure 4
Revised Proposed Data Flow Diagram
Project Analysis
In any organization that relies on the network for communication and data sharing, there has to be a well-implemented network architecture that facilitates the flow of information.  For the revised analysis and connectivity of the network devices, the retail store requires every employee and user to have access to connectivity and security of information (Kołodziejczyk & Ogiela, 2012). The OSI reference model is a primary requirement in making sure that communication flows from the top to bottom layer is well secured, and encryption is guaranteed for data integrity. Having the routers connected at the application layer linking to the switches fulfils the requirement for connectivity, which is the number one objective.
The implementation of the network protocols such as TCP/IP is a good practice for secure communication and flow of information across the network. The implementation will ensure that all the rules that govern data communication have been considered in the long run. It is upon Biggs Tech Electricals Inc. network administrator in ensuring that there is the implementation of a firewall at the application and physical layer for security reason to prevent intrusion (Kołodziejczyk & Ogiela, 2012). Having the log of all the traffic flowing through the network will be an essential implementation for intrusion detection and prevention. The design and flow of data will rely on peer-to-peer communication between the sending and receiving the host on the network. Translation and presentation of information will be handled by the specific network layer in the business entity.
The connectivity of all the devices provided by the management will rely on the OSI model for communication. Every protocol will route information and convert the data in the way that realises the needs and requirement of users across the network (Kołodziejczyk & Ogiela, 2012). Improving network infrastructure is a process that requires enough analysis and penetration testing for the organization to realize stability in communication and data sharing. Biggs Tech Electricals Inc. retail store requires protection of their confidential information. The security of data has been considered in the revised plan by implementing peer-to-peer communication across the OSI model layers on the network. The realization of the mission is upon the architectural design and implementation of the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates on the organization’s domain. The primary goal of the new design is to make sure that there will be secure, efficient and reliable communication.
Kołodziejczyk, M., & Ogiela, M. (2012). Applying of security mechanisms to middle and high layers of OSI/ISO network model. Theoretical and Applied Informatics24(1).
Lin, X., & Lei, Z. (2008). Implementation of embedded IPv4/IPv6 dual-protocols stack. Journal of Computer Applications28(2), 406-408.
Mazzon, E. (2000). Review: A guide to the TCP/IP protocol suite. The Computer Bulletin42(6), 31-31.
Senthilnathan, S. (2012). Network analysis part 2 – Network analysis and time. SSRN Electronic Journal.