Application-layer framing

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Application-layer framing or application-level framing (ALF) is a method of allowing an application to use its semantics for the design of its network protocols.

This procedure was first proposed by D. D. Clark and David L. Tennenhouse.[1] It works as follows:

  • The application splits the data into useful segments.
    • These segments are called ADUs (application data units).
  • The ADUs can be processed in any order.
  • The lower layers keep the ADU borders.

This procedure simplifies the quality of service negotiation and provides a simpler method of error checking.

The Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) is an example of where the semantics of the real-time application are used to segment the data.


  1. ^ Clark, D. D. and Tennenhouse, D. L. (1990). Architectural considerations for a new generation of protocols. In: ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review archive Volume 20, Issue 4 (September 1990), Pages 200 - 208, ISSN 0146-4833.[1]