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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  Networking Fundamentals

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Quality of Service (QoS)
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Proprietary, Open and De Facto Standards
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Network Standards and Standards Organizations

You can't study networking and its related technologies without very quickly encountering a whole host of standards that are related to the subject—and organizations that create these standards. Network standards facilitate the interoperability of network technologies and are extremely important. It may be an exaggeration to say that networking wouldn't exist without standards, but it isn’t to say that networking as we know it would not exist without them. Networks are literally everywhere, and every hardware device or protocol is governed by at least one standard, and usually many.

In this section I provide a brief examination of the often-overlooked subject of network standards and standards organizations. I begin with a background discussion of why standards are important, highlighting the differences between proprietary, de facto and open standards. I give an overview of networking standards in general terms, and then describe the most important international standards organizations and industry groups related to networking. I then describe the structure of the organizations responsible for Internet standards, including the registration authorities and registries that manage resources such as addresses, domain names and protocol values. I conclude with a discussion of the Request For Comment (RFC) process used for creating Internet standards.

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