Internet standard

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An Internet standard is a network protocol specified by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for use on the Internet . It is an open standard that has proven itself in practical use and is supported by a broad public. Every Internet standard consists of one or more Request for Comments (RFC); However, not every RFC is an Internet standard. The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) decides on recognition as an Internet standard.

An example of an Internet standard is the Domain Name System (DNS), which as STD 13 includes the two Request for Comments RFC 1034 and RFC 1035 . This Internet standard is useful, technically mature, and has the support of the Internet community. DNS extensions such as EDNS0 are managed as separate standards.


The standardization procedure was introduced at the end of 1988. At that time, the Internet Activities Board (IAB) decided whether a network protocol would be recognized as an Internet standard.

In 1992 the numbered document series STD was introduced, which includes all Internet standards and which is published by the RFC editor . The now founded IESG issued a recommendation to the IAB as to whether a specification should be adopted as an Internet standard. The role of the IESG as a decision-making body was later established, with the IAB (now known as the Internet Architecture Board) still making the final decision in disputes. The list of Internet standards was maintained as STD 1 through regularly changing RFCs. This procedure was discontinued in December 2013, STD 1 was marked as historical and reference was made to the website of the RFC editor instead.

The standardization process originally consisted of three stages and was reduced to two stages in October 2011 in order to simplify the process.

Standardization process

Proposed standard

An expectant Internet standard begins as a Request for Comments in the state of a Proposed Standard ( English for proposed standard ). A proposed standard is not a draft - that would be an Internet draft - but a network protocol that has been assessed by the IETF and recognized by the IESG in the standardization process. Although no implementation or operating experience is mandatory for a proposed standard, it is highly desirable. The IESG can request implementation or operating experience in individual cases if the specification is expected to have significant effects on the Internet.

Most Internet protocols do not get past this level for years and remain in the state of a proposed standard indefinitely. A prominent example is HTTP / 1.1 , which is a de facto standard in the World Wide Web .

Draft standardization

Draft Standard (German standardization draft ) was the next higher status that could be proven through the interoperability of several independent implementations. This state is no longer used today.

Internet standard

In order to be recognized as an Internet standard, there must be at least two independent implementations, extensive distribution and operational experience. There must be no significant errata that could make a new implementation incompatible with the popular implementations. Furthermore, there must not be any unused features in the specification that would result in an unjustifiably high implementation effort. If the network protocol requires the use of patented technology, at least two of the widely used implementations must prove the successful use of a license.

A network protocol specified as an Internet standard can be replaced by a new version. Outdated internet standards and RFCs are marked as historic .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Best Current Practice 9 - The Internet Standards Process . IETF. October 1996. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  2. RFC 1796 - Not All RFCs are Standards . IETF. April 1995. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  3. RFC 1083 - IAB Official Protocol Standards . IETF. December 1988. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  4. ^ J. Postel: RFC 1311 - Introduction to the STD Notes . IETF. March 1992. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  5. Lyman Chapin: RFC 1310 - The Internet Standards Process . IETF. March 1992. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  6. RFC 1602 - The Internet Standards Process - Revision 2 . IETF. March 1994. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  7. RFC 7100 - Retirement of the "Internet Official Protocol Standards" Summary Document . IETF. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  8. a b S. Bradner: RFC 2026 - The Internet Standards Process - Revision 3 . IETF. October 1996. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  9. a b c R. Housley, D. Crocker, E. Burger: RFC 6410 - Reducing the Standards Track to Two Maturity Levels . IETF. October 2011. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  10. ^ O. Kolkman, S. Bradner, S. Turner: RFC 7127 - Characterization of Proposed Standards . IETF. January 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  11. R. Fielding (Ed.), J. Reschke (Ed.): RFC 7230 - Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP / 1.1): Message Syntax and Routing . IETF. June 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2019.