Saturday, 29 December 2012

Network Layer Design Issues

1. Store-and-Forward Packet Switching 
· The major components of the system are the carrier's equipment (routers connected by transmission lines), shown inside the shaded oval, and the customers' equipment, shown outside the oval.

· Host H1 is directly connected to one of the carrier's routers, A, by a leased line. In contrast, H2 is on a LAN with a router, F, owned and operated by the customer. This router also has a leased line to the carrier's equipment.

· We have shown F as being outside the oval because it does not belong to the carrier, but in terms of construction, software, and protocols, it is probably no different from the carrier's routers.

Figure 3-1. The environment of the network layer protocols.

· This equipment is used as follows. A host with a packet to send transmits it to the nearest router, either on its own LAN or over a point-to-point link to the carrier. The packet is stored there until it has fully arrived so the checksum can be verified.

· Then it is forwarded to the next router along the path until it reaches the destination host, where it is delivered. This mechanism is store-and-forward packet switching.

2. Services Provided to the Transport Layer

· The network layer provides services to the transport layer at the network layer/transport layer interface. An important question is what kind of services the network layer provides to the transport layer.

· The network layer services have been designed with the following goals in mind.

1. The services should be independent of the router technology.

2. The transport layer should be shielded from the number, type, and topology of the routers present.

3. The network addresses made available to the transport layer should use a uniform numbering plan, even across LANs and WANs.

Given these goals, the designers of the network layer have a lot of freedom in writing detailed specifications of the services to be offered to the transport layer. This freedom often degenerates into a raging battle between two warring factions.

The other camp argues that the subnet should provide a reliable, connection-oriented service. They claim that 100 years of successful experience with the worldwide telephone system is an excellent guide. In this view, quality of service is the dominant factor, and without connections in the subnet, quality of service is very difficult to achieve, especially for real-time traffic such as voice and video.

These two camps are best exemplified by the Internet and ATM. The Internet offers connectionless network-layer service; ATM networks offer connection-oriented network-layer service. However, it is interesting to note that as quality-of-service guarantees are becoming more and more important, the Internet is evolving.

3. Implementation of Connectionless Service

Two different organizations are possible, depending on the type of service offered. If connectionless service is offered, packets are injected into the subnet individually and routed independently of each other. No advance setup is needed.

In this context, the packets are frequently called datagrams (in analogy with telegrams) and the subnet is called a datagram subnet. If connection-oriented service is used, a path from the source router to the destination router must be established before any data packets can be sent.

This connection is called a VC (virtual circuit), in analogy with the physical circuits set up by the telephone system, and the subnet is called a virtual-circuit subnet. In this section we will examine datagram subnets; in the next one we will examine virtual-circuit subnets.

Let us now see how a datagram subnet works. Suppose that the process P1 in Fig. 3-2 has a long message for P2. It hands the message to the transport layer with instructions to deliver it to process P2 on host H2.

The transport layer code runs on H1, typically within the operating system. It prepends a transport header to the front of the message and hands the result to the network layer, probably just another procedure within the operating system.

Figure 3-2. Routing within a datagram subnet.

Let us assume that the message is four times longer than the maximum packet size, so the network layer has to break it into four packets, 1, 2, 3, and 4 and sends each of them in turn to router A using some point-to-point protocol, for example, PPP.

At this point the carrier takes over. Every router has an internal table telling it where to send packets for each possible destination. Each table entry is a pair consisting of a destination and the outgoing line to use for that destination.

Only directly-connected lines can be used. For example, in Fig. 5-2, A has only two outgoing lines—to B and C—so every incoming packet must be sent to one of these routers, even if the ultimate destination is some other router. A's initial routing table is shown in the figure under the label ''initially.''

However, something different happened to packet 4. When it got to A it was sent to router B, even though it is also destined for F. For some reason, A decided to send packet 4 via a different route than that of the first three.

Perhaps it learned of a traffic jam somewhere along the ACE path and updated its routing table, as shown under the label ''later.'' The algorithm that manages the tables and makes the routing decisions is called the routing algorithm.

4. Implementation of Connection-Oriented Service

For connection-oriented service, we need a virtual-circuit subnet. The idea behind virtual circuits is to avoid having to choose a new route for every packet sent, as in Fig. 3-2.

Instead, when a connection is established, a route from the source machine to the destination machine is chosen as part of the connection setup and stored in tables inside the routers. That route is used for all traffic flowing over the connection, exactly the same way that the telephone system works.

When the connection is released, the virtual circuit is also terminated. With connection-oriented service, each packet carries an identifier telling which virtual circuit it belongs to. As an example, consider the situation of Fig. 3-3. Here, host H1 has established connection 1 with host H2.

It is remembered as the first entry in each of the routing tables. The first line of A's table says that if a packet bearing connection identifier 1 comes in from H1, it is to be sent to router C and given connection identifier 1. Similarly, the first entry at C routes the packet to E, also with connection identifier 1.

Figure 3-3. Routing within a virtual-circuit subnet.

Now let us consider what happens if H3 also wants to establish a connection to H2. It chooses connection identifier 1 and tells the subnet to establish the virtual circuit. This leads to the second row in the tables.

Note that we have a conflict here because although A can easily distinguish connection 1 packets from H1 from connection 1 packets from H3, C cannot do this. For this reason, A assigns a different connection identifier to the outgoing traffic for the second connection.

Avoiding conflicts of this kind is why routers need the ability to replace connection identifiers in outgoing packets. In some contexts, this is called label switching.

5. Comparison of Virtual-Circuit and Datagram Subnets
Both virtual circuits and datagrams have their supporters and their detractors. We will now attempt to summarize the arguments both ways. The major issues are listed in Fig. 3-4, although purists could probably find a counterexample for everything in the figure.

Figure 3-4. Comparison of datagram and virtual-circuit subnets.

Inside the subnet, several trade-offs exist between virtual circuits and datagrams. One trade-off is between router memory space and bandwidth. Virtual circuits allow packets to contain circuit numbers instead of full destination addresses.
If the packets tend to be fairly short, a full destination address in every packet may represent a significant amount of overhead and hence, wasted bandwidth. The price paid for using virtual circuits internally is the table space within the routers.

Depending upon the relative cost of communication circuits versus router memory, one or the other may be cheaper. Another trade-off is setup time versus address parsing time. Using virtual circuits requires a setup phase, which takes time and consumes resources.

However, figuring out what to do with a data packet in a virtual-circuit subnet is easy: the router just uses the circuit number to index into a table to find out where the packet goes. In a datagram subnet, a more complicated lookup procedure is required to locate the entry for the destination.

For transaction processing systems (e.g., stores calling up to verify credit card purchases), the overhead required to set up and clear a virtual circuit may easily dwarf the use of the circuit. If the majority of the traffic is expected to be of this kind, the use of virtual circuits inside the subnet makes little sense.

On the other hand, permanent virtual circuits, which are set up manually and last for months or years, may be useful here. Virtual circuits also have a vulnerability problem. If a router crashes and loses its memory, even if it comes back up a second later, all the virtual circuits passing through it will have to be aborted.

In contrast, if a datagram router goes down, only those users whose packets were queued in the router at the time will suffer, and maybe not even all those, depending upon whether they have already been acknowledged.

The loss of a communication line is fatal to virtual circuits using it but can be easily compensated for if datagrams are used. Datagrams also allow the routers to balance the traffic throughout the subnet, since routes can be changed partway through a long sequence of packet transmissions.


  1. thank u for giving this but u simply copy all information in computer networks by andrew s tanenbaum

  2. thankyou..............................

  3. understood the concepts very well ☺
    thanks a ton for uva efforts!!!!

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