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The fourth layer of the OSI Reference Model protocol stack is the Transport Layer, also called the middle layer.

Process-Level Addressing - Addressing at the transport layer is used to differentiate between software programs. This is part of what enables many different software programs to use a network layer protocol simultaneously. The best example of transport-layer process-level addressing is the TCP and UDP port mechanism that’s used in TCP/IP, which allows applications to be individually referenced on any TCP/IP device.

Multiplexing and Demultiplexing - Using the process-level addresses, transport layer protocols on a sending device multiplex the data received from many application programs for transport, combining them into a single stream of data to be sent. The same protocols receive data and then demultiplex it from the incoming stream of datagrams, and direct each one to the appropriate recipient application processes.

Segmentation, Packaging, and Reassembly - The transport layer segments the large amounts of data it sends over the network into smaller pieces on the source machine, and then reassembles them on the destination machine.

Connection Establishment, Management, and Termination - Transport layer connection-oriented protocols are responsible for the series of communications required to establish a connection, maintain it as data is sent over it, and then terminate the connection when it is no longer required.

Acknowledgments and Retransmissions - The sending device starts a timer on each occasion that data is sent; if the data is received, the recipient sends back an acknowledgment to the sender to indicate successful transmission. If no acknowledgment is returned before the timer expires, the data is retransmitted.


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