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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  Networking Fundamentals
      9  Network Standards and Standards Organizations

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Internet Standards Organizations (ISOC, IAB, IESG, IETF, IRSG, IRTF)
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Internet Standards and the Request For Comment (RFC) Process
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Internet Registration Authorities and Registries (IANA, ICANN, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC, RIPE NCC)
(Page 1 of 3)

The success of the global Internet relies on the development of universally-accepted standards for protocols and other technologies. Internet standards organizations such as the IETF are thus critically important; they manage the standards development process, to ensure that everyone agrees on how to create hardware and software that will work together to communicate world-wide.

Important Standardization Functions

While the need to standardize protocols seems obvious, there are a couple of other aspects to Internet standardization that are equally important but perhaps not quite as well understood:

  • Parameter Standardization: Most protocols rely on the use of parameters that control how they function. As just two of many, many examples, the Internet Protocol has a set of numbers that define different IP options, and the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) has an Operation Code field that can take on many different values. Just as it is essential for devices to agree on what protocols to use, they must also agree on what parameters to use for those protocols, if communication is to be successful.

  • Global Resource Allocation and Identifier Uniqueness: There are a number of resources that are used on the Internet that must be allocated from a fixed set of values and where uniqueness in assignment is essential. The most obvious example is that each TCP/IP host must have a unique IP address; another important example is ensuring that only one organization uses a given DNS domain name. If two devices have the same IP address or two organizations try to use the same domain name, the results would be unpredictable, but almost certainly bad.

Previous Topic/Section
Internet Standards Organizations (ISOC, IAB, IESG, IETF, IRSG, IRTF)
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Internet Standards and the Request For Comment (RFC) Process
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