Session Layer

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The Session Layer is Layer 5 of the seven-layer OSI model of computer networking.

The Session Layer provides the mechanism for opening, closing and managing a session between end-user application processes, i.e. a semi-permanent dialogue. Communication sessions consist of requests and responses that occur between applications. Session Layer services are commonly used in application environments that make use of remote procedure calls (RPCs).

An example of a Session Layer protocol is the OSI protocol suite Session Layer Protocol, also known as X.225 or ISO 8327. In case of a connection loss this protocol may try to recover the connection. If a connection is not used for a long period, the Session Layer Protocol may close it and re-open it. It provides for either full duplex or half-duplex operation and provides synchronization points in the stream of exchanged messages.[1]

Other examples of Session Layer implementations include Zone Information Protocol (ZIP) – the AppleTalk protocol that coordinates the name binding process, and Session Control Protocol (SCP) – the DECnet Phase IV Session Layer protocol.

Within the service layering semantics of the OSI network architecture, the Session Layer responds to service requests from the Presentation Layer and issues service requests to the Transport Layer.

Contents

Services

The Session Layer of the OSI model is responsible for session checkpointing and recovery. It allows information of different streams, perhaps originating from different sources, to be properly combined or synchronized.

An example application is web conferencing, in which the streams of audio and video must be synchronous to avoid so-called lip synch problems. Floor control ensures that the person displayed on screen is the current speaker.

Another application is in live TV programs, where streams of audio and video need to be seamlessly merged and transitioned from one to the other to avoid silent airtime or excessive overlap.

Protocols

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