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protocol data unit (PDU)

ProtocolData Units (PDU) are used for communication between equal protocol layers and are therefore also referred to as communication protocols.

The protocol data units are nested in each other by the layer formation in each node. In the data source, the protocol data unit is the pure user data. A header is added to these in the application layer of the OSI reference model. The new unit - user data plus layer 7 header - is added to the presentation layer and is again referred to as the protocol data unit, namely the application PDU. As each layer adds control information to the data sets passing through it, new PDUs are created in each layer, each supplemented by the headers of the layer above. The application layer is followed by the protocol data units of the presentation layer, communication control layer, transport layer, network layer, link layer, and physicallayer.

Adding headers as you pass through each layer

Adding headers as you pass through each layer

These are processed in the data sink in the appropriate layers. As the individual layers are traversed from bottom to top, the header for layer 1 is removed from the protocol data unit in the physical layer and processed. The remaining protocol data unit goes to layer 2, and so on. A link layer protocol data unit consists of the Service Data Unit (SDU), which contains the user data, and a Protocol Control Information (PCI), which contains the control data and protocol data to control the link layer protocol.

Service data units are user data that pass through a service access point (SAP), i.e., that are passed from the network layer to the data link layer for secure transport over the corresponding communication system. In the case of large data records, the data records in a protocol layer may have to be broken down into smaller units because the system does not permit such large data records.

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Englisch: protocol data unit - PDU
Updated at: 12.01.2021
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