Difference between TCP/IP and OSI model

TCP/IP and OSI model both are the two most widely used networking models for communications. There are some similarities between them. One of the major difference is that OSI is a conceptual model which is not practically used for communication, whereas the TCP/IP is used for establishing a connection and communicating through the network.

What is the TCP/IP model?

TCP/IP stands for transmission control protocol/Internet protocol. It is specially designed as a model to offer highly reliable and end to end byte stream over an unreliable internetwork. TCP/IP helps you to determine how a specific computer should be connected to the internet and how you can transmit the data between them. It helps you create a virtual network when multiple computer networks are connected together.

What is the OSI model?

OSI stands for open system interconnection. The OSI model is logical and also a conceptual model that defines network communication used by the system open to interconnection and communication with some other systems.  The OSI model also defines a logical network and effectively describe computer packet transfer by using various layers of protocols.

Difference between TCP/IP and OSI model are listed below:


  • TCP/IP is a model is based on standards protocol around which the internet has developed. It is a communication protocol, which allows the connection of hosts over a network. While the OSI model is a generic protocol independent standard acting as a communication gateway between the network and the end-user.
  • TCP/IP layer developed by ARPANET( Advanced project agency network), While the OSI model is developed by ISO( international standard organization).
  • TCP/IP follows a horizontal approach, the OSI model follows a vertical approach.
  • TCP/IP model the transport layer does not guarantee delivery of the packet. Still, the TCP/IP model is more reliable. While the OSI model the transport layer guarantees the delivery of the packet.
  • TCP/IP has 4 layers, the OSI model has 7 layers.
  • TCP/IP is a client-server model When the client request for service it is provided by the server. Whereas OSI is a conceptual model.
  • In TCP/IP network layer is connectionless. The network layer is both connection-oriented and connectionless in the OSI model.
  • The transport layer is both connection-oriented and connectionless while using TCP/IP but in the OSI model the transport layer is only connection-oriented.
  • TCP/IP model does not fit any protocol, the OSI model has a problem of fitting the protocols into the model.
  • TCP/IP is tangible, Whereas OSI is not.
  • TCP/IP follows the top to bottom approach, whereas the OSI model follows a bottom, up approach.
  • TCP/I[ is a standard protocol used for every network including the internet whereas the OSI is not a protocol but a reference model used for.
  • TCP/IP does not have a separate presentation layer or session layer, the OSI model has a separate presentation layer and session layer.
  • TCP/IP model is in a way implementation of the OSI model, the OSI model is a reference model around which the network is built. Generally, it is used as a guidance tool. 
  • TCP/IP does not have strict boundaries, the OSI model has strict boundaries.
  • TCP/IP  is a replacing protocol is not easy, OSI  model, protocol are hidden and are easily replaced as the technology changes.
  • TCP/IP service, interface, and protocol are not clearly separated. It is also protocol dependent. While the OSI model defines service, interfaces, and protocol very clearly and makes a clear distinction between them. It is protocol independent.
  • The minimum header size of TCP/IP is 20 bytes, The minimum header size of the OSI model is 5 bytes.
  • TCP/IP is defined before the advent of the internet, OSI is defined after the advent of the intern.
Following are some similarities between them:
  • Layers provide similar functionalities.
  • Both have layers of architecture.
  • Both are reference models.
  • Both are protocol stack.
In this article, we have to discuss the difference between TCP/IP and OSI model. I hope by reading this article you have gained some basic information about this article. If you have any queries regarding this article or to implement an engineering project for electronics and communication, please feel free to comment on the below section.