Protocol Data Unit

What Does Protocol Data Unit Mean?

A protocol data unit (PDU) is an open-system interconnection (OSI) term used in telecommunications that refers to a group of information added or removed by a layer of the OSI model. Each layer in the model uses the PDU to communicate and exchange information, which can only be read by the peer layer on the receiving device and is then handed over to next upper layer after stripping.


Techopedia Explains Protocol Data Unit

A protocol data unit is information delivered as a unit among peer entities of networks containing control information, address information or data. In layered systems, PDU represents a unit of data specified in the protocol of a given layer, which consists of protocol control information and user data.

PDU is a significant term related to the initial four layers of the OSI model. In Layer 1, PDU is a bit, in Layer 2 it is a frame, in Layer 3 it is a packet and in Layer 4 it is a segment. In Layer 5 and above, PDU is referred to as data.

PDU has four fields: the destination service access point, source service access point, control field and information field. In packet-switched data networks, PDU is related to a service data unit.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse 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 explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…