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September 20th, 2004

The OSI model

A simple self-explaining diagram

The OSI model diagram



The 7 layer model has often been extended in a humorous manner, to refer to non-technical issues or problems. A common joke is the 9 layer model, with layers 8 and 9 being the "financial" and "political" layers.

Network technicians will sometimes refer euphemistically to "layer-eight problems", meaning problems with an end user and not with the network.

Carl Malamud, in his book "Stacks," defines layers 8, 9, and 10 as "Money", "Politics", and "Religion". The "Religion layer" is used to describe non-rational behavior and/or decision-making that cannot be accounted for within the lower nine levels. (For example, a manager who insists on migrating all systems to a Linux platform "because everyone else is doing it" is said to be operating in Layer 10.)

The OSI model has also on occasion been jokingly called the "Taco Bell" model, since the restaurant chain has been known for their 7 layer burrito.

Dick Lewis uses an analogy of James Bond delivering classified messages to illustrate the seven-layer model.