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Explain briefly fragmentation at network layer.

What is Fragmentation?

  • Imagine you have a big message to send, but your network can only handle smaller pieces (like breaking a big picture into smaller puzzle pieces).

Why does it happen?

  • The network layer breaks down your big message into smaller pieces (fragments) when it’s too big to fit into the network’s maximum piece size (MTU). It’s like breaking a long message into shorter sentences.

When does it occur?

  • The network layer does this splitting at the source’s end, and the fragments are put back together at the destination. Routers along the way might also help with this process.

Source Side vs. Destination Side:

  • The sender (source side) doesn’t worry about fragmentation; it’s the network layer’s job. The sender just hands over the message, and the network layer makes sure it fits into the network’s size limits.

How is it Recognized?

  • The receiver (destination side) identifies the fragments using an ID number in the message header. Each piece of the message has the same ID.

Putting Fragments Together:

  • The receiver uses the fragment offset to figure out the correct order of the fragments. It’s like arranging puzzle pieces based on their positions.


  • There’s a bit of extra work for the network layer due to this process, and it adds a bit of extra information (header) to each fragment.

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