• United States
by Steve Taylor and Joanie Wexler

Mailbag: OSI Layer 8 – money and politics

Feb 13, 20032 mins

* Readers add their own layers to the OSI model

We recently advised that people in the business of planning, building and supporting computer networks should not lose sight of the mythical OSI Layer 8. We define Layer 8 as the human-to-human interaction that the technologies specified in Layers 1 through 7 are designed to support.

We evidently struck a chord. We heard from several of you with alternative definitions of OSI Layer 8 that we’d like to share with the readership but with a disclaimer akin to the one in the original Dragnet series. We’ve changed the names to protect the innocent (and the guilty).

First, several of you wrote to tell us about the  “Political” layer, although there is considerable disagreement as to whether Politics resides at Layer 8 or 9 (and how could you expect anything else?).  Interestingly, no one cited “Religion” as a layer. But we suspect that it could reside along with Politics at Layer 8 or 9.

According to Dick, it is “well known that in the OSI model, Layers 8 and 9 are typically referred to as Money and Politics.”  Another reader, Tom, elaborates on these same definitions:

* Layer 8 (Money) – Provides network corruption by inspiring increased interference from the upper layer.

* Layer 9 (Politics) – Consists of technically ignorant management that negatively impacts network performance and development.

Finally, Harry says his company has been using OSI layers 0 to 9 for the past seven years.  His organization adds subjective descriptions to the definitions:

9 – Politics. “Where the most difficult problems live.”

8 – The user factor. “It turned out to be another Layer-8 problem.”

7 through 1 – “The usual technology suspects.”

0 – Funding. “Because we should always start troubleshooting from the lowest

layer, and nothing can exist before the funding.”

Thanks to all of you for your responses on this.  Levity aside, these discussions remind us that technology for technology’s sake (out of context of the business and productivity benefits they were created to deliver) doesn’t add up to much beyond politics and religion. This is a luxury we can ill afford in these trying times.