STREAMS makes it possible to create modules that present a service interface to any neighboring module or device driver, or between the top module and a user application. A service interface is defined in the boundary between two neighbors.
In STREAMS, a service interface is a set of messages and the rules that allow these messages to pass across the boundary. A module using a service interface, for example, receives a message from a neighbor and responds with an appropriate action (perhaps sending back a request to retransmit), depending on the circumstances.
You can stack a module anywhere in a Stream, but connecting sequences of modules with compatible protocol service interfaces is better. For example, a module that implements an X.25 protocol layer, as shown in Figure 1-6, presents a protocol service interface at its input and output sides. In this case, other modules should only be connected to the input and output side if they have the compatible X.25 service interface.