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What is a Network Layer?

by Bhumika

The Network Layer is the third layer in the OSI model. It handles service requests received from the transport layer and forwards them to the data link layer. This layer translates logical addresses into physical addresses.

This layer is responsible for determining the path from the source to the destination, as well as traffic issues such as switching, routing, and data packet congestion control. The vital function of the this layer is to transfer packets from a sending host to a receiving host.

Function of network layer

This layer performs the following tasks:

  • Routing: From source to destination, the network layer protocols determine which path is best. Routing is the name for this layer function.
  • Logical Addressing: This layer defines an addressing scheme in order to uniquely identify each device on the internetwork. The network layer places the IP addresses of the sender and receiver in the header. An address like this recognises each gadget in a unique and universal way.
  • The network layer divides bigger packets into smaller ones.
  • This layer flow control, network layer error control, and packet sequence control are among the connection services available.


The following are some of the advantages :

  • Data packets are transported from one location in the network to another using the network layer’s forwarding service.
  • This layer routers produce collisions and broadcast domains in order to reduce traffic.
  • Packetization eliminates failure in the data communication system.


The following are some of the disadvantages :

  • There is a lack of flow control in the network layer design.
  • There are no proper error control mechanisms on this layer, and implementing error control systems is difficult due to the presence of fragmented data packets.
  • Congestion can arise when there are too many datagrams on the network.

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