One Stop Guide to Understanding Network Layer in the OSI Model

For the data to be ready for transmission over the network channel, it is important to provide the data with the address information about the source and destination for the routing process. This task is handled by the “Network layer of the OSI Model.”

In this article on “Network layer in the OSI Model,” we will look into the parts related to the working and functions of the network layer.

What is Network Layer?

The network layer is the third layer in the OSI model and is responsible for breaking down the data segments into data packets and is tasked with reassembling them on the receiver side.     


This layer also ensures that the packets are transmitted over the best possible route to the destination system, governed by Internet protocols.

Now let’s move on to the working of the network layer in the OSI model.

Learn How to Secure, Test & Manage IT Systems

Advanced Executive Program in CybersecurityExplore Program
Learn How to Secure, Test & Manage IT Systems

Working of the Network Layer

The data flow between the network layer and other layers in the OSI Model, i.e., to begin with, the network layer will receive data from the transport layer of the OSI model.   


The network layer handles these data packets by integrating them with source and destination addresses. It also integrates the network protocols for proper transmission over the network channel to the data-link layer.

Functions of the Network Layer

Multiple network functions are needed for the working of the network layer in the OSI model, which are:

1. Network Addressing


  • The network layer does the task of adding the source and destination address in the header in the network channel.
  • Network addressing is performed to identify the device where the data is being shared on the channel.

2. Inter-Networking

  • It is one of the main tasks of the network layer to handle the network connection between multiple devices in the channel.
  • This task applies multiple protocols available in the network layer of the OSI model for stable network connection.

3. Packet Routing


  • Establishing a routing path for the data packet is one of the main functions of the network layer in a network model.
  • The Network layer is responsible for choosing the most suitable routing path out of all available network channels.

4. Packet Handling:

  • This network layer function is designed to handle the data received from the upper layers of the OSI model.
  • The network layer converts the received data into data packets for sharing over the communication channel.

Now let’s begin with the responsibilities of the network layer in the OSI model.

Develop Skills for Real Career Growth!

CISSP Certification Training CourseExplore Program
Develop Skills for Real Career Growth!

Responsibilities of the Network Layer

The network layer is responsible for the following tasks in the network channel in the communication channel:

  • It is responsible for handling the shortest routing path for the data packet in the network channel.
  • The network layer converts the received data into data packets for transmission.
  • Handles the network layer protocols, responsible for maintaining the network traffic in the channel.

With this, we have reached the end of the “Network Layer in the OSI Model” article. In case of any queries, do let us know in the comments section below.

Get help in becoming an industry-ready professional by enrolling in a unique Advanced Executive Program in Cybersecurity. Get valuable insights from industry leaders and enhance your interview skills. Enroll TODAY!


In this article on ‘Network Layer in the OSI model,’ we learned the importance of integrating the receiver address and the sender address in the header of the data packets for smooth transmission over the network channel.

If you want to learn more about the network layer protocol and functions related to the network layer, you can refer to Simplilearn’s Cyber Security Expert course. After completing this expert course, you’ll become familiar with the terms used in the network layer of a network model.

Do you have any questions about this article on ‘Network Layer in the OSI model’. If yes, feel free to mention them in the comment section at the bottom of this page. Our expert team will help you solve your queries at the earliest.

About the Author

Anmol KapoorAnmol Kapoor

Anmol is a Research Analyst who aims to become a Data Scientist one day. He enjoys Data Management systems and analysis. You will find him reading a book when he is not working.

View More
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.