Packet framing

by gowtham 2010-02-18 19:18:53

A packet consists of two kinds of data: control information and user data (also known as payload). The control information provides data the network needs to deliver the user data, for example: source and destination addresses, error detection codes like checksums, and sequencing information. Typically, control information is found in packet headers and trailers, with user data in between.

Different communications protocols use different conventions for distinguishing between the elements and for formatting the data. In Binary Synchronous Transmission, the packet is formatted in 8-bit bytes, and special characters are used to delimit the different elements. Other protocols, like Ethernet, establish the start of the header and data elements by their location relative to the start of the packet. Some protocols format the information at a bit level instead of a byte level.

A good analogy is to consider a packet to be like a letter: the header is like the envelope, and the data area is whatever the person puts inside the envelope. A difference, however, is that some networks can break a larger packet into smaller packets when necessary (note that these smaller data elements are still formatted as packets).

A network design can achieve two major results by using packets: error detection and multiple host addressing

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