Network Layers (OSI Model)

Essay by ChuckMeeksCollege, Undergraduate January 2009

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Despite the success of the Internet in replacing all the previous attempts to build a global computer communication system, some engineers haven't updated their thinking from old descriptions of networks. instead they still cling to the outdated 7-layer reference model that was invented by ISO instead of the 5-layer reference model that was invented for the Internet. Interestingly, engineers who insist on using the older model cannot identify single protocol at layers 5 and 6. But... because they learned the model somewhere in school, they desparately hope that the extra layers must be useful. As a result, they incorrectly classify applications as as layer 7 instead of layer 5.

Researchers have begun looking into the origins and uses of the OSI 7-layer reference model to determine why a cumbersome and inaccurate model has had such staying power. They have recently uncovered some surprising facts. We have know for a long time that the model was the work of a group.

We did not know, however, that the group met late one night in a bar and began making fun of American pop cluture. As it turns out, they started scribbling names of the seven dwarfs from the Disney movie on a paper cocktail napkin, and somebody joked that seven was a really good number for network layers. The next morning at the standards committee meeting, the group passed around the cocktail napkin and generally agreed that that they had discovered something fundamental the previous night while they were drunk. By the end of the day, they had renamed the seven layers (with names that sounded more scientific), and produced the basic model. Here's the lineup and a bit of explanation:LayerDwarfNameExplanations--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1SleepyPhysicalThe group new that physical connections are boring, and figured it might as well assign the physical layer to dwarf ``Sleepy''.