Difference between OSI and TCP/IP Reference Model

By Mohit Uniyal|Updated : June 14th, 2022

Difference between OSI and TCP/IP Reference Model: A reference model is used for clear communication where a clearly defined and interlinked set of concepts are mentioned. Both OSI and TCP/IP reference models are used for standard communication functions. There exist a major difference between OSI and TCP/IP reference model which says that OSI is used to provide quality service whereas TCP/IP does not provide quality service comparatively.

The reference models are also used to educate about the large problem thus broken down into smaller problems in order to understand and solve them. Here, we will first read about the difference between OSI and TCP/IP reference models in detail thereafter we will discuss the OSI and TCP/IP reference models. After the discussion, we will have a clear idea about the TCP/IP vs OSI Model.

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Difference Between OSI and TCP/IP Reference Model

Even though there exists various similarities between the OSI and TCP/IP model such as both carry defined standard as a layer, both use a simple process to troubleshoot, etc but there also exists a few differences between the two models. The comparison of the OSI and TCP/IP reference model is explained here based on the various factors.

Difference between OSI and TCP/IP Reference Model

OSITCP/IP
Developed by ISO.Developed by ARPANET.
It is only a reference model and no actual implementation is done on this model.This model is used for the development of the internet.
Stands for: Open System Interconnection.Stands for: Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol.
The transport layer confirms the delivery of the packets.The transport layer does not confirm the delivery of the packets.
A vertical approach followed.A horizontal approach followed.
Presentation and Session layers are different.Both are the same and included under the application layer.
Can be used to build models like TCP/IP.Can not be used for model building.
The network layer can provide connectionless service as well along with connection service.The network layer can only provide connectionless service.
There exists 7 layers.There exists 5 layers.
Used very less compared to TCP/IP.Highly used.

What is OSI Reference Model?

OSI reference model stands for Open System Interconnection reference model. The ISO introduced this model. This is a reference model and hence is only being used for reference and no real work or implementation is done on this model. It is used to introduce and teach the concepts related to computer networking.

The Open System Interconnection reference model is a conceptual model used to define the computer packet transfer with the help of multiple layer protocols. The OSI model carries the following layers:

  • Application
  • Presentation
  • Session
  • Transport
  • Network
  • Datalink
  • Physical

What is a TCP/IP Reference Model?

The TCP/IP reference model stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. It is a reference model used to explain the connection of a computer in order to transmit data after connecting to the internet. A virtual network is created. 

The TCP/IP model is used to secure a connection to have a highly reliable network connection where end-to-end bytes can be transferred through the internet. The Transmission Control Protocol Internet Protocol model initially carried four layers but with the modifications, it now carries 5 layers which are mentioned below:

  • Application
  • Transport
  • Network
  • Datalink
  • Network Interface

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FAQs on Difference between OSI and TCP/IP Reference Model

  • The major difference between OSI and TCP/IP reference models is that TCP/IP uses a horizontal approach whereas OSI uses a vertical approach. This approach makes OSI a better model than TCP/IP for making other models.

  • As per the number of layers present in both the approaches, the difference between OSI and TCP/IP is that in OSI there are 7 layers in it whereas in TCP/IP there are 5 layers which were 4 earlier.

  • The layers in the OSI are:

    • Application
    • Presentation
    • Session
    • Transport
    • Network
    • Datalink
    • Physical

    And the layers in the TCP/IP are:

    • Application
    • Transport
    • Network
    • Datalink
    • Network Interface
  • The OSI reference model is a  Open System Interconnection reference model. It is used as the reference for the implementation for the concepts related to the computer networking. It has 7 layers to successfully execute the function which are: Application, Presentation, Session, Transport, Network, Datalink, and Physical.

  • The TCP/IP reference model also a reference model which stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. It is used for the reference model in order to make the connection to the internet to transfer the data. This reference model has only 5 layers which are: Application, Transport, Network, Datalink, and Network Interface.

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