Computer systems are extremely complex, and one technique that has proven effective at managing this complexity is the idea of modularity. Activities are decomposed into a collection of cooperating modules, each of which provides an abstraction to the other modules through some interface. In the area of networking, the modularization is refined along functional lines and called layering. Layering is an intellectual technique that allows the various behaviors and complexities of different protocols to be decomposed into pieces, called layers, each of which takes a step towards the translation of application data into “bits on a wire,” or reverses this translation. Layering can be a useful technique for matching one type of abstraction to another. For example, in systems using distributed file systems, a file system abstraction is mapped to the low-level message-based Ethernet abstraction via a series of layers. The layers, in turn, map.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Information Systems
- Hardware and Architecture
- Computer Networks and Communications