Data Link Control

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What Does Data Link Control Mean?

A data link control is a service that ensures reliable network data communication by managing frame error detection and flow control. DLC is based on the Data Link layer of the OSI model.


DLC handles the following tasks:

  • Reliable link packet transmission
  • Recovery and error detection during high-layer packet retransmission
  • Error framing, which determines start and end packetization via three approaches: length counts, bit-oriented framing and character-oriented framing

DLC character codes are based on standard character codes, such as the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC) is comprised of hidden characters.

Techopedia Explains Data Link Control

DLC device contexts are as follows:

  • IBM Systems Network Architecture (SNA) computers and peripherals
  • Local area network (LAN) communication with computers, servers and printers
  • Windows 2000 32-bit programs with communication drivers and other DLC network protocol stacks
  • Ethernet media access control (MAC) drivers or token rings that transmit digital frames
  • MS DOS and Windows 16-bit programs
  • COBOL Copybook Importer (CCBI) 16-bit interfaces
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.2 class I and II service transmission interfaces and other Ethernet network frames
  • Dynamic link libraries in Windows-compliant network interface cards (NIC)

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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.