Networking Standards


Standardization.  The OSI Model is not the only set of specifications that exists for networking.  There are a large variety of other standards and specifications.  We will survey some of the organizations and standards that exist in this web page.

If you have worked at all with computers you have encountered issues associated with standardization.  Even if you restrict yourself to Microsoft products, getting files from one version to work in another version can be impossible or much more of an effort than one would ever hope.  When one tries to go across operating systems or devices on a network these sorts of things become even more problematic.  These sorts of issues are major reasons why there are efforts towards standardization.

Unfortunately, on the other hand, sometimes these standards are too limiting.

Other times, businesses think they can develop their own standards and exclude others form the competitive market place by trying to require their use.

Obviously, there are all kinds of conflicting motives involved in creating standards.

Standards Setting Organizations.  Now we will give a quick survey and outline of some of the more well known standardization bodies.

  • The ISO - International Organization for Standardization
    • federation of national standards setting bodies from over 100 different nations
    • established in 1947 to develop standards in a variety of fields
      • international country codes
      • ISO number on photographic film
      • etceteras
    • partnerships with other organizations such as the WTO - World Trade Organization and others listed below
    • ISO web site at
  • The IEC - International Electrotechnical Commission
    • established in 1906
    • narrower focus than ISO
    • focus on standards in electrical and electronic engineering
    • multinational, though smaller than ISO
    • IEC website is at
  • The ITU - International Telecommunication Union
  • The IETF - Internet Engineering Task Force
    • part of the IAB - International Architecture Board which is a technical advisory group for the ISOC - Internet Society
    • divided into working groups to focus on particular issues
    • developed process for establishing Internet standards
  • The W3C Consortium
    • This is taken from the W3C website

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. W3C is a forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding.

    • their website is at

RFC - Request for Comments.  The RFC is a document series used as a very important means for communicating information about the Internet.  Most RFCs document services and protocol specifications, such as Telnet and FTP.  Some RFCs are historical and sometimes humorous. 

They are available online at a variety of sources. 
One good source is at

These RFCs may well be referenced as RFC[number].  Some of the networking services and protocols available are

  • Implementation of DNS - Domain Name System
  • TCP/IP Extensions
  • Specifications for NAT - Network Address Translation software

Many RFCs originate with the IETF.  But anyone that is interested can submit proposals.

If someone wants to submit something to become a standard there are three steps.

  1. Proposed Standard
  2. Draft Standard
  3. Internet Standard

There is even an RFC 2226 called "Instructions to Authors" to guide developers about how to write and format a draft.  Once submitted it is reviewed by the IESG - Internet Engineering Steering Group which is part of the IETF.

Following review by experts or a task force, proposed RFCs are classified into one of the following.

  • Required Status - must be implemented
  • Recommended status - encouraged
  • Elective Status - can be implemented, but implementation is not required
  • Limited Use Status - not intended for general implementation
  • Not Recommended Status - implementation discouraged.

The IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  This society does a large variety of things from setting standards to publishing academic research.  Of greatest interest in this course are its specifications for lower level networking technologies at the physical and data link layers of the OSI model.

Of particular interest and almost constant use are the IEEE 802 specification series.  The 802 derives from the year 1980 and the second month of that year.

Some of the main physical and data link protocols for which the IEEE sets standards are summarized in the following table.


Standard Description
  • Standards introduction for LAN and MAN management. 
  • Bridges that operate at the MAC sublayer.
  • Spanning Tree Algorithm that prevents bridge looping.


  • LLC - Logical Link Control
    • help prevent senders from overwhelming receivers
  • Provides for partitioning Data Link layer into two sublayers
    • MAC sublayer
    • LLC sublayer


  • CSMA/CD - Carrier Sense Multiple Access Collision Detection
  • This specification governs Ethernets
  • Sets standards for Ethernet packet format
  • Originally was for linear bus networks running on coax
  • Updated for networks including 10BaseT star topologies


  • Token Bus
  • Set standards for implementing physical and logical bus topology
  • Token passing as the access method


  • Token Ring
  • Physical star, logical ring topology
  • Uses shielded or unshielded twisted pair media
  • Token passing access method


  • Sets standards for MANs
  • Larger than LANs
  • Smaller than WANs


  • Broadband
  • Networking with broadband transmission technologies
    • CATV
    • FDM - Frequency Division Multiplexing to send different signals on the same cable using different frequencies
    • etceteras


  • Fiber Optics
  • Specifications for using fiber optic cabling
    • FDDI - Fiber Distributed Data Interface
    • etceteras


  • Integrated Voice and Data
  • Transmission of voice and data over ISDN


  • LAN Security

  • VPN - Virtual Private Networking



  • Wireless
  • Specifications for implementing non-cabled LAN technologies


  • 100 VG AnyLAN
  • Demand priority media ccess method developed by Hewlett Packard
  • Combines advantages of Ethernet, Token Ring and ATM technologies into a high speed LAN solution