A layered model, such as the TCP/IP model, is often used to help visualize the interaction between various protocols. A layered model depicts the operation of the protocols occurring within each layer, as well as the interaction of protocols with the layers above and below each layer.

There are benefits to using a layered model to describe network protocols and operations. Using a layered model:

There are two basic types of networking models:

The OSI model is the most widely known internetwork reference model. It is used for data network design, operation specifications, and troubleshooting.

As shown in the figure, the TCP/IP and OSI models are the primary models used when discussing network functionality. Designers of network protocols, services, or devices can create their own models to represent their products. Ultimately, designers are required to communicate to the industry by relating their product or service to either the OSI model or the TCP/IP model, or to both.