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Networking and Internet Standards Organizations

Without standards, the Internet would be chaos. Everybody would be using their own rules and systems built on one set of rules would have great difficulty communicating with systems built on a different set of rules. The primary organization that sets communications standards for the Internet is the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The primary organization that sets document transfer and programming standards for the Web is the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).


The primary protocol used on the internet is Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). It is the IETF that writes the specifications for the TCP/IP protocol suite. Most specifications created by the IETF are called Requests For Comments (RFC). A RFC starts out as a Proposed Standard (PS) that is released to the world for comments. Many PSs never progress beyond the PS stage.

After comments have been considered and the standard has been tested, it is released as a RFC Draft Standard (DS). Many times when a DS is put into actual practice a problem may be discovered and the DS is modified. After the DS has been found to work successfully, it becomes a RFC Standard (STD).

Every RFC has a number, for example I Pv4 which specifies 32-bit Internet addresses, is RFC 791. The Internet grew so rapidly that it was running out of I Pv4 addresses, so RFC 1891, the specification for 64-bit addresses, IPv5 was released. However, comments related to the coming “Internet of Things” where, for example, your smart phone can communicate with your refrigerator, indicated that with only 64-bits the Internet would soon again be running out of addresses. So RFC 2460, the specification for 128-bit addresses, IPv6 was released.


The W3C is the organization that sets document transfer and programming standards for the Web. The term "web" is short for "world wide web", which basically came into being in 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee implemented the first Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) communication between a client and server via the Internet.

The W3C consists of working groups that develop standards. The Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) working group recently released version 5 of the language (HTML5). The W3C also has an Interest Group that brings together people to evaluate potential Web technologies and policies, a Coordination Group which manages dependencies and facilitates communication with other groups, within or outside of W3C, and many other working groups.

ECMA International

The ECMA was founded in 1961 as the European Computer Manufacturers Association. In 1994, in order to reflect their activities beyond Europe, they changed their name to ECMA International. Their main contribution to the Internet is their maintenance of the standard for the JavaScript programming language (ECMA-262).

JavaScript is an extremely popular and very powerful scripting language that can be used to make a web page perform like an application. It was created by Netscape and first released in 1995 as part of Netscape Navigator 2.0. In 1996 Netscape submitted JavaScript to ECMA International to be maintained as an industry standard.

Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)

The IEEE develops standards for the electrical, electronics, and computer industry. The IEEE organization has been around since long before the creation of the Internet. The IEEE was formed in 1963 when the AIEE, founded in 1884, merged with IRE.

The IEEE created the IEEE 802 specification which defines Ethernet, the protocol for communications over s local area network, IEEE 802, which specifes wireless networking standards, and many other specifications.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

The ITU is a United Nations organization which defines standards for telecommunication and coordinates the global use of the radio spectrum. The ITU recently released the specification for the fourth generation of mobile communications, 4G.

More Networking Protocols and Standards:
• Free eBook: Introduction to 802.11 Wireless
• IPv6 Global Unicast Addresses
• Video - The Upper Layers 5 Through 7 of the OSI Networking Model
• Session Border Controllers - More Than Just a Voice Firewall
• IPv6 Payload Length Field and Jumbograms
• Wireless Network Standards - 80211a, 80211b, 80211g, 80211n, 80216
• TCP/IP Features
• NTP Server Systems - The Network Time Protocol
• RIP (Routing Information Protocol)
• A Simple Description of the IPv6 Header and Datagram

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