IP addressing occurs at Layer 2 (data link) and Layer 3 (network) of the Open System Interconnection (OSI) reference model. OSI is an architectural network model developed by ISO and ITU-T that consists of seven layers, each of which specifies particular network functions such as addressing, flow control, error control, encapsulation, and reliable message transfer.
Layer 2 addresses are used for local transmissions between devices that are directly connected. Layer 3 addresses are used for indirectly connected devices in an internetwork environment. Each network uses addressing to identify and group devices so that transmissions can be sent and received. Ethernet (802.2, 802.3, Ethernet II, and Subnetwork Access Protocol [SNAP]), Token Ring, and Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) use media access control (MAC) addresses that are “burned in” to the network interface card (NIC). The most commonly used network types are Ethernet II and SNAP.
For the supported interface types, see the data sheet for your hardware platform.
In order for devices to be able to communicate with each when they are not part of the same network, the 48-bit MAC address must be mapped to an IP address. Some of the Layer 3 protocols used to perform the mapping are:
Address Resolution Protocol (ARP)
Reverse ARP (RARP)
Serial Line ARP (SLARP)
For the purposes of IP mapping, Ethernet, Token Ring, and FDDI frames contain the destination and source addresses. Frame Relay and Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) networks, which are packet-switched, data packets take different routes to reach the same destination. At the receiving end, the packet is reassembled in the correct order.
In a Frame Relay network, there is one physical link that has many logical circuits called virtual circuits (VCs). The address field in the frame contains a data-link connection identifier (DLCI), which identifies each VC. For example, in the figure below, the Frame Relay switch to which device Fred is connected receives frames; the switch forwards the frames to either Barney or Betty based on the DLCI that identifies each VC. So Fred has one physical connection but multiple logical connections.
Figure 1. Frame Relay Network
ATM networks use point-to-point serial links with the High-Level Data Link Control (HDLC) protocol. HDLC includes a meaningless address field included in five bytes of the frame header frame with the recipient implied since there can be only one.