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

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Proprietary, Open and De Facto Standards
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International Networking Standards Organizations
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Networking Standards

All networking technologies have standards associated with them. These are usually highly technical documents, and often presume that the reader has a fair bit of knowledge about networking. If you aren't an expert, you will probably have some difficulty understanding networking standards. (Some people seem to think I am an expert, but I too have trouble with most of the details in a typical networking standard.)

In fact, many technologies have quite a number of standards associated with them. A networking technology may have more than one standard for any or all of the following reasons:

  • The original standard has been revised or updated;

  • The technology is sufficiently complex that it needs to be described in more than one document;

  • The technology borrows from or builds on documents used in related technologies;

  • More than one organization has been involved in developing the technology.

Standards documents created in the United States are usually developed in English, but are also routinely translated into other languages. European standards are often published simultaneously in English, French and German, and perhaps other languages as well.

Today, virtually all networking standards are “open” standards, administered by a standards organization or industry group. As I explained in the previous topic, open standards are more popular than proprietary ones in the computer industry, and that's particularly so when it comes to networking. In fact, the few technologies where there is no universally-accepted open standard have been losing ground to those with open standards, particularly in the areas of wireless LANs and home networking—pretty much proving how important an open process really is.

I considered having a separate section where I listed all of the various standards used for networking within the Guide. However, this would be a very large section indeed, and the discussions of the various standards would be somewhat “detached” from the places where I describe the technologies they define. Instead, I have many different smaller discussions of standards, within the sections where I describe each networking method or protocol. These can usually be found in an overview topic introducing each technology type, though for more complex protocols I have a dedicated topic just discussing relevant standards and where they are documented.

Previous Topic/Section
Proprietary, Open and De Facto Standards
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Pages in Current Topic/Section
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International Networking Standards Organizations
Next Topic/Section

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