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The Physical Layer in OSI Model Explained

The Physical Layer in OSI Model Explained

The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model can be defined as a conceptual framework consisting of seven layers used by computer systems for communication and interoperability. The OSI model consists of seven layers, with each layer having a unique functionality and following a set of rules pre-defined to allow interoperability between different products and services in the network. These layers work collectively to transmit data from one person to another from anywhere across the globe. 

Layer 1 is called the physical layer in the OSI model. It is the first level connection between the devices and provides hardware and connectivity support to the whole network. To go into depth, we will require a better understanding of the whole model and understand the function of the physical layer in the OSI model.

What is Physical Layer in OSI Model? 

Regarding network security and hardware support, the physical layer in OSI model is the basic level for the whole network. It identifies the equipment, including the wires, devices, frequencies, and pulses, required to connect between computers. The information is stored in bits and is transferred between devices through the nodes in this physical layer. 

As you understand what the physical layer in OSI model is, you will also have to look at the significance it holds in the security of the whole network. The physical layer is required for network hardware visibility. The existing breed of software solutions often ignores Layer 1 in the OSI model. The lack of identifiability of the layer 1 devices may cause rogue devices to get implanted in the hardware and pose a security threat to the whole network. The physical layer identifies the devices and eliminates such bad actors. The layer also consists of a separate security procedure to ensure network safety. 

How does Physical Layer in OSI Model Work? 

  • Mesh Topology: It is a highly secure device connection where every device is connected through links to every other device in the network. A dedicated point-to-point connection is present, which is complex to form. 
  • Star Topology: In this kind of device connection, all the devices are connected with a dedicated point-to-point connection to a central hub. It is easy to install but has no fault tolerance. 
  • Bus Topology: Here, all the devices are connected with a single backbone cable which is less costly and easily re-installable. 

There are several other ways, too, through which the physical layer in OSI model works, such as the end-to-end configuration. 

What are the Layers in the OSI Model? 

The OSI model consists of seven layers in total. All these layers complete one interconnected network, which is interoperable. These layers have different functions and different sets of rules:

1. Physical layer

It is the first layer, as discussed earlier, and the function of physical layer in OSI model is to provide a medium for transmitting bits. 

2. Data Link Layer

Error-free transfer of data frames occurs through this layer. 

3. Network

The moving of data packets from source to destination occurs because of this layer. 

4. Transport

This layer performs the task of reliable message delivery

5. Session

As the name suggests, it establishes, manages, and terminates the data sessions. 

6. Presentation

Its function is to translate, compress and encrypt different data frames. 

7. Application

It is the end user service provider. 


The OSI model of the interconnectivity of devices has helped secure and seamless data transfer over devices and keeps the application services connected. It is all possible because of the seven layers that it consists of. The ground layer, the physical layer, provides all the hardware connections to the network and ensures that the next processes can occur without error. So the function of the physical layer in the OSI model is pretty significant, making it important for security and efficiency reasons.

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