Layer 6

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What Does Layer 6 Mean?

Layer 6 refers to the sixth layer of the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) Model, and is known as the presentation layer. Layer 6 provides the separation in the differences of data representation, such as encryption, through transformation of that data from application data format to a network-ready format and vice-versa. It transforms data into a form that the specific application can accept and also takes the application’s data and encrypts it to be sent over a network so that it is free from compatibility issues.


Techopedia Explains Layer 6

Layer 6, or the presentation layer, serves as the data translator between an application or process and the network. This layer is responsible for the formatting and subsequent delivery of data to the application layer either for processing or display. This is so that the application layer does not have to bother itself with syntactical differences in data representation in end-user systems. A good example of this presentation service offered by layer 6 is the conversion of an EBCDIC-coded file into an ASCII file.

Layer 6 is the lowest layer which high-level language programmers concern themselves with, by considering data structure and presentation as opposed to just sending application data as datagram or packets between communicating nodes.

Services offered by layer 6 include:

  • Data conversion
  • Encryption and decryption
  • Compression
  • Character code translation

Protocols used include:

  • Apple Filing Protocol (AFP)
  • Telnet
  • Network Data Representation (NDR)
  • X.25 Packet Assembler/Disassembler Protocol
  • Lightweight Presentation Protocol (NCP)

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.