Network Administration for Ottawa IT Companies Part 6: Network management and maintenance

Network administrators are responsible for managing and maintaining their business network.


This includes everything previously mentioned in this series, from being responsible for the monitoring and managing of network components to ensuring the network remains secure and free of potential intrusions. Most network support providers in Ottawa rely on a networking framework known as an open system model or the OSI model.


The OSI Model

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model is a conceptual model that standardizes how data is exchanged over a network. The OSI model consists of 7 core layers which guide the network administrator to a better understanding of processes occurring on the network. The 7 layers include:


  1. 1) Physical layer: Provides hardware means of sending and receiving data;
  2. 2) Data Link Layer: Ensures that data flow is well regulated and manages communication between two devices on the network;
  3. 3) Network Layer: Provides data routing paths for data exchange;
  4. 4) Transport Layer: Responsible for transporting data between two computers on the network;
  5. 5) Session Layer: Establishes and manages connections between applications;
  6. 6) Presentation Layer: Translates and presents data in a well-defined, standardized form;
  7. 7) Application Layer: Provides network services to application processes.


In the OSI model, data is passed from one layer to the next. Data continuously travels between computers in the form of packets. These packets have headers which contain routing information as well as trailers which aids in refining the data transmission.


The 7 layers of the OSI model are responsible for routing these packets to the intended destination. A fault on the network indicates data not being transmitted correctly. When notified your network administrator or network support provider will begin to find the cause of the fault by determining which layer of the OSI model the fault occurred on.


For example: If a user is unable to send emails using their default email client, but alternative email clients are working correctly, the network administrator will identify the problem to be in the Application Layer as the desired service is not working in the application process i.e. The default email client.


Network administrators can monitor the functionality of a network by sending packets of information to various network devices, an dobserving the reply. This ensures that problems can be addressed, as quickly as possible, and hopefully before users notice service interruptions.


The OSI model defines a network and is widely used for managing and maintaining networks thus it can be said that the OSI model is a blue print for administering a network.


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