This guide explains X.25 Networking by comparing X.25 to networks with which the reader may be more familiar, namely TCP/IP Networks (such as the Internet) and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

What is an X.25 Network?

An X.25 network provides a entail by which one X.25 DTE ( a Terminal or Host of some kind ) can exchange data with one or more other X.25 Host, on the other side of the network .
X.25 Network Data is carried within individual packets – X.25 is frequently referred to as a Packet Switching Protocol. This makes it similar to a TCP/IP network – the dispute is that IP networks employ a Connectionless protocol : each package is routed according to the information within that package ( typically by using the Destination Address ). By contrast, X.25 is a Connection-Oriented protocol : the routing information used by the network is carried only in the packets used to establish the connection ; thereafter addressing information is not required. This does, however, mean that the X.25 network switching nodes need be aware of each connection, unlike IP routers .

X.25 Layers

The X.25 protocol is divided into 3 layers ( or Levels ) ; TCP/IP, on the other hand is divided into 4 layers .
Each of these layers is freelancer. The Physical layer includes the mechanical and electric view of communications – in other words, cabling. The X.25 Data Link Layer provides the authentic connection between the DTE and the DCE ( or Network ), and the X.25 Packet Layer Protocol ( PLP ) provides the information necessary to make and maintain a connection across the network.

X.25 Network Layers It ‘s probably most useful to think of Layer 1 as being the physical connection to the network NTU or modem, Layer 2 as being the logical Link between the DTE and the local network switching node, and a Layer 3 Virtual Circuit as being the association to the remote control DTE .

X.25 Addresses

An X.25 Network User Address ( NUA ) is much like a telephone number, being a drawstring of digits, and can be up to 15 digits in length. The NUA on a typical network will be 12 digits in length, with another 2 digits for the subaddress .
More details on X.25 Addresses

Virtual Circuits

X.25 Data Transfer takes place within the context of connections, known as virtual Circuits. There are 2 types of Virtual Circuit :

  • Switched Virtual Circuit (SVC)
  • Permanent Virtual Circuit (PVC)

An X.25 SVC is very exchangeable to a Telephone Call – one party initiates the connection ( the “ calling ” party – or “ node ”, to use TCP/IP terminology ), and the other party receives the connection ( the “ called ” party or “ server ” ). The node supplies the address of the server, much like person making a telephone call has to dial the call number of the called party. An X.25 SVC is consequently a lot like a TCP/IP joining .
More about SVCs
A PVC is reasonably akin to a call hotline that goes to a individual pre-defined finish, except that there is no Call setup – data can be sent immediately, quite than having to wait for an suffice. This does, however, mean that there is a trouble knowing whether anything is salute at the other end of the connection when datum is transmitted .
More about PVCs


Unlike PSTN, with an X.25 network it is possible to make several virtual circuits simultaneously – this is because X.25 connections can be multiplexed down a single X.25 link. Multiplexing is achieved by splitting the yoke into coherent Channels.


X.25 is a dependable protocol, and was designed for use with networks with meaning error rates on each link. With TCP/IP, error convalescence is throughout ( any retransmissions take between the client and the waiter ). TCP/IP therefore does not require a reliable connection layer protocol like LAPB, With X.25, each connect has error recovery procedures .
An X.25 network consequently performs better than TCP/IP when there are meaning erroneousness rates on the links. The downside is that X.25 networks can not forward the packets until they have been wholly received, resulting in transit delays. TCP/IP therefore performs better than X.25 when mistake rates are low – error rates are typically very moo on modern networks .
More data on the X.25 Data Link Layer .

Data Transfer & Packetization

Another key dispute between TCP/IP and X.25 is that TCP data transfer is stream-based, whereas X.25 datum transfer is packetized. This is a concept that often catches out raw users of TCP – fortunately with X.25, when you send a forget of bytes, that lapp number of bytes is delivered to the far end as a single block. By contrast, with TCP, if, for example, transmitting 2 blocks of 2000 bytes, the distant peer might receive it as a single block of 4000 bytes, or more probable, as 3 or more classify blocks .
That ‘s not to say that the X.25 datum does n’t get split up – many X.25 Data Packets may be required to carry the block of 2000 bytes in the exemplar above. The difference is that the X.25 Data Packets can be chained together by use of something called the “ M-bit “, therefore allowing the receiver to link them together again .
many applications using X.25 trust upon X.25 ‘s ability to preserve the boundaries of blocks of data ( although it is of course besides possible to use X.25 to implement a elementary character stream ) .
In orderliness to achieve the lapp effect over TCP, an extra encapsulation layer is required, such as Cisco ‘s RBP ( Record Boundary Preservation ) protocol. There are very many others ways of encapsulating data blocks over TCP, however, which is why conversion between X.25 and TCP is not aboveboard, and the argue for the universe of the FarSync TCP-X25 Gateway, which supports a number of different encapsulations, including Cisco RBP .

IP Over X.25 – RFC-1356

It is possible for an X.25 net to carry TCP/IP data. This is normally accomplished using the rules defined in RFC-1356. This is useful where an existing X.25 network is used to form the anchor of separate of a TCP/IP network. In this case, the entire X.25 network would itself be as Layer 2 ampere far as TCP/IP is concerned .
IP over X.25
X.25 virtual circuits can be carried over a TCP/IP net – this is done using the XOT protocol, RFC-1613. This is utilitarian where an X.25 network has been replaced, but the X.25 terminals and hosts are required to continue to work unchanged.

For XOT, TCP/IP replaces X.25 level 2. however, there is a discriminate TCP association per X.25 Virtual Circuit, so it ‘s not precisely the same as running X.25 Layer 3 running on directly on clear of TCP .
XOT (X.25 over TCP/IP)
arsenic well being used to connect to a network, X.25 can be used point-to-point. Point-to-Point X.25. This is normally deployed when connecting to an bequest host computer, and it ‘s besides useful to be able to connect in this way when testing a terminal or host, in the absence of an X.25 network .
When used Point-to-Point, one conclusion of the connection must be a DTE, and the other a DCE. To confuse matters, the DTE/DCE configuration is potentially freelancer at each of the 3 X.25 layers ; it ‘s a good mind ( if you have the choice ) to configure all 3 layers to be the same type .
X.25 Point to Point

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