Fragmentation

Another service provided by various protocols, such as TCP, is fragmentation. Fragmentation gives you the ability to send user information across a network regardless of what the minimum frame size between intermediate devices, such as routers, might be. Sometimes, a data frame might be larger than the allowable size to the outside world, or a packet might be sent from a Token Ring LAN to an Ethernet LAN. In such cases, fragmentation is used. Fragmentation allows data to be broken up into allowable sizes by creating smaller frames and reassembling the packet at the destination.

The Network layer (layer 3) is typically handled by software; hence, the layer fragments packets as required. Fragmented packets are then reassembled by the end device. TCP is an excellent example of a protocol that will fragment and reassemble packets as required.

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