Articles written in Sadhana
Volume 25 Issue 5 October 2000 pp 489-510
Volume 30 Issue 2-3 April 2005 pp 89-117
This article examines the architecture of e-commerce as a set of layers, each supporting the one above it. The layers have clean interfaces, that is, they can be designed independently. We present an architecture with six layers. The lowest layer consists of a physical communication network such as local area network or public switched telephone networks. The next higher layer is the logical layer which describes the protocol used to interconnect communication systems to create internet, intranet and extranet. The services provided over the internet infrastructure, namely, e-mail, world wide web etc., are described in what is called network services layer. It is essential to ensure security of messages, documents etc., which are transmitted using network services. The messaging layer is thus concerned with encryption methods, both private and public key encryption and their applications. We call the layer above this the middleman service, which is concerned with value-added services offered by intermediaries to enable payment for services received, certify digital signatures, safely transmit documents and provide information on behalf of companies. The topmost layer is the application layer which users see. The major applications are customer-to-business (C2B) e-commerce, business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, customer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce etc. We briefly explain these modes.