Tip

Internet standards bodies

Internet standards bodies
Bill Stallings

Ever wonder how things like Internet formats, languages and so forth get set? This tip will tell you. Bill Stallings is the co-author, with Richard Van Slyke, of Business Data Communications

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, published by Prentice Hall. This tip is excerpted from InformIT.

Many of the protocols that make up the TCP/IP protocol suite have been standardized or are in the process of standardization. By universal agreement, an organization known as the Internet Society is responsible for the development and publication of these standards. The Internet Society is a professional membership organization that oversees a number of boards and task forces involved in Internet development and standardization. Three organizations under the Internet Society are responsible for the actual work of standards development and publication:

  • Internet Architecture Board (IAB): Responsible for defining the overall architecture of the Internet, providing guidance and broad direction to the IETF.
  • Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF): The protocol engineering and development arm of the Internet.
  • Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG): Responsible for technical management of IETF activities and the Internet standards process.

The actual development of new standards and protocols for the Internet is carried out by working groups chartered by the IETF. Membership in a working group is voluntary; any interested party can participate. During the development of a specification, a working group will make a draft version of the document available as an Internet Draft, which is placed in the IETF's "Internet-Drafts" online directory. The document may remain as an Internet Draft for up to six months, and interested parties can review and comment on the draft. During that time, the IESG may approve publication of the draft as an RFC (Request for Comment). If the draft has not progressed to the status of an RFC during the six-month period, it is withdrawn from the directory. The working group may subsequently publish a revised version of the draft.


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This was first published in May 2001

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