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Layer 3: Network

Three computers joined together.  Source: Microsoft.

The Network layer handles addressing and routing of data based on logical addressing. Routers belong to the Network layer because they use logical addresses to intelligently direct data from sender to receiver. A router determines which path the data should take based on network conditions, priority of service, and other factors. It also manages traffic problems on the network, such as switching and routing of packets and controlling the congestion of data.

Examples of Network layer protocols are Internet Protocol (IP) and Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX).

Layer 3 PDU: Packet


Next: Layer 2: Data Link