How to Remember the OSI and TCP/IP Models

The OSI Layer Model is composed of seven layers, each representing an abstract concept that is used in network communication. Each layer is served by the layer below it. Through traversing the OSI model, data is divided into segments, then packets, then frames, and then finally into individual bits. The data travels from the top of the model to the bottom, and then back to the top at the other end of the connection.

It is very important to be familiar with the OSI Model. Both for certifications, such as Netowk+ or CCNA, and for the real world. Network engineers will ofter say there they are seeing a ‘Layer 2 problem’ or they see an issue on the ‘Network Layer’. You will look awfully silly if you do not know what they mean when they make such references. You should know and understand the different layers, along with which protocols live on which layer.

Place the seven layers of the OSI Model into their correct order by clicking on a layer’s name and then clicking on an empty box.

Data link

Move to:

Layer 7
Layer 6
Layer 5
Layer 4
Layer 3
Layer 2
Layer 1

OSI Model Acronyms

Pick whichever one you like best to help remember the order of the OSI layers:

Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away
All People Seem To Need Data Processing
Please Do Not Teach Students Pointless Acronyms
Please Do Not Take Sales People’s Advice
Please Do Not Touch Superman’s Private Area

TCP/IP Model

The TCP/IP Model or Internet protocol suite serves the same function as the OSI Layer model, but is divided into four logical layers. Each of these four layers corresponds to one or more OSI Model layers. As above, practice memorizing the order of this model by ordering the layers from top to bottom.

Network Access

Move To:

TCP/IP Model Acronym

This isn’t really an acronym, but you can use the girl’s name ‘Tina’ to remember the TCP/IP model layers:


You can use our other interactive pages to check Ethernet RJ45 568A and 568B Wiring and the IP header format.

Download our Subnet Cheat Sheet for all the essential information you need to quickly perform subnet calculations in your head.

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