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The physical layer is the first layer of the Open System Interconnection Model (OSI Model). The physical layer deals with bit-level transmission between different devices and supports electrical or mechanical interfaces connecting to the physical medium for synchronized communication.
This layer plays with most of the network’s physical connections - wireless transmission, cabling, cabling standards and types, connectors and types, network interface cards, and more - as per network requirements. However, the physical layer does not deal with the actual physical medium (like copper, fiber).
The physical layer is aimed at consolidating the hardware requirements of a network to enable the successful transmission of data. Network engineers can define different bit-transmission mechanisms for the physical layer level, including the shapes and types of connectors, cables, and frequencies for each physical medium.
The physical layer sometimes plays an important role in the effective sharing of available communication resources, and helps avoid contention among multiple users. It also handles the transmission rate to improve the flow of data between a sender and receiver.
The physical layer provides the following services:
Examples of protocols that use physical layers include: