The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Life Story: Growing upMonday, 29th August 2016 22:00 - BBC FourFrom the cradle to the grave can be a short journey - it's a challenge out there. Read more: Life Story: Growing up
Full Steam Ahead: Episode fiveTuesday, 30th August 2016 00:40 - BBC Two
Hidden histories: Britain's oldest family businesses: Balson The ButcherTuesday, 30th August 2016 22:00 - BBC Four
Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story: A Question Of IdentityWednesday, 31st August 2016 22:00 - BBC Four
Full Steam Ahead: Episode sixAvailable until Monday, 26th September 2016 16:30The final episode of Full Steam Ahead looks at how more free time and rail transport allowed Victorians to travel... Read more: Full Steam Ahead: Episode six
Life Story: First stepsAvailable until Sunday, 25th September 2016 00:50
BBC Inside Science - 2016/2017 series: Proxima b exoplanet, The Hunt for Vulcan, East Antarctic lakes, Deep sea shark huntingAvailable for over a year
Full Steam Ahead: Episode fourAvailable until Thursday, 22nd September 2016 01:15
OpenLearn Live: August Bank Holiday Special 2016Get more than an ice cream out of your holiday weekend - make the most of the last of summer. Read more: OpenLearn Live: August Bank Holiday Special 2016
Full Steam AheadIt’s Full Steam Ahead for historians Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn as they bring... Read more: Full Steam Ahead
Internet of everythingThe internet of everything (IoE) is the networked connection of people, process, data and things.... Try: Internet of everything now
Organisations and management accountingThis free course, Organisations and management accounting, examines the nature of organisations,... Try: Organisations and management accounting now
The internet, like the telephone system which preceded it, depends for its existence on communications networks. This free course, Protocols in multi-service networks, examines these networks as the means of interconnecting devices so that two-way communication is possible. Examining protocols like HTTP, TCP/IP and ATM as well as the OSI reference model, it provides an overview of the topic for learners who have significant prior knowledge of the subject.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- evaluate technical descriptions of communication protocols and demonstrate an understanding of their operation
- describe the characteristics of circuit-switched and packet-switched networks, and of connectionless and connection-oriented modes in packet-switched networks
- describe the role played by primitives in the OSI reference model
- explain how ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ communication takes place in the OSI reference model
- describe the main functions of the principal protocols in the TCP/IP architecture.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Overview
- 2 OSI reference model
- 3 TCP/IP protocol architecture
- 4 ATM protocol architecture
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Protocols in multi-service networks
People have always communicated with each other – initially by face-to-face communication through gestures and sounds, then over a distance through written messages and signals in the form of fires, lights or flags. Technology, for instance in the form of electrical signals, has reduced many of the limitations of distance. Communication networks have become very important, and modern society depends on them for the smooth operation of economic and social activities. In this unit we regard a communication network as the means of interconnecting devices so that two-way communication is possible, and we shall focus on networks that interconnect telephones or computers. However, you should bear in mind other forms of network such as television and radio networks, which are primarily one-way, broadcast networks. In the future the separation between types of network may be less clear.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of postgraduate study in
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Systems (Computer) courses or view the range of currently available OU Systems (Computer) courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 30th March 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 30th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (2.9 MB)
- PDF (2.8 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (2.2 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (2.2 MB)
- Kindle (1.1 MB)
- RSS (380 KB)
- HTML (2.1 MB)
- SCORM (2 MB)
- OUXML Package (43 KB)
- OUXML File (159 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.