underlying structure of a computer network, including hardware, functional layers, interfaces, and protocols, used to establish communication and ensure the reliable transfer of information. Network architectures are designed to provide both philosophical and physical standards for the complexities of establishing communications links and transferring information without conflict. Various network architectures exist, including the internationally accepted seven-layer ISO Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model and IBM’s Systems Network Architecture (SNA). See also ISO/OSI reference model, SNA.
Specification of design principles (including data formats and procedures) for creating a network configuration of data processors.