Layer 8

What Does Layer 8 Mean?

The term “layer 8” is a hypothetical layer that is used to analyze network problems and issues that are not covered by the traditional seven-layer OSI model. It is commonly used to refer to user error.


Techopedia Explains Layer 8

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, which is maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), is split into seven layers with different kinds of network functionality. These layers are as follows:

  1. Physical layer
  2. Data link layer
  3. Network layer
  4. Transport layer
  5. Session layer
  6. Presentation layer
  7. Application layer

Each of these has specific functionality in the model.

By contrast, layer 8 is not an official part of the model and has no actual functionality. Rather, the name is used by IT professionals to refer to the forces and issues affecting a network that are outside of the OSI model. Some call layer 8 a “political layer,” which refers to issues like network neutrality and spectrum management that affect a network in secondary ways. Others call it as a “user layer,” which refers to problems ascribed to users. The term layer 8 can also be used humorously to talk about “ghost in the machine” problems that cannot really be linked to a technical part of the OSI model. In general, layer 8 is a loose term that refers to the non-technical aspects of network administration and is generally not used outside of the network administrator community.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…