Who’s Who in the Internet Standards World

Internet Standards refer to all the documented requirements both in technology as well as methodology pertaining to the Internet. The standardization process has three steps. The documentation laid down in a step is called the maturity level. There were previously three maturity levels but are merged to form only two maturity levels now which are:

  • Proposed Standard: These are the standards that are ready for implementation. However, they can be revised according to circumstances of deployment.
  •  Draft Standard: When a Proposed Standard has been meticulously tested by at least two sites for at least 4 months, they are considered as Draft Standard. Draft Standard has been merged with Internet standard to form the future Internet standard.
  • Internet Standard: These are technically matured standards that define the protocols and formats of messages. The fundamental standards are those which form the Internet Protocol (IP).

The organizations of Internet Standards are

1. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) 
IETF formulates, publishes and regulates Internet Standards, particularly those related to TCP/IP. The organization is open standard, with no formal memberships. Development of IETF standards is open to all. Any interested person can participate for their development. IETF documents are free and easily available over the Internet. IETF specifications are on individual protocols that may be used in different systems.

2. Internet Society (ISOC)
ISOC was founded in the US in 1992 as a non-profit organization to provide support on technical development of the Internet. It presently conducts a range of activities on

  • standards
  • education
  • access, and
  • policies.

3. Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
IAB is a committee of IETF and an advisory body of ISOC. The board comprises researchers and professionals for developing technical aspects of the Internet. The responsibilities of IAB are −

  • Supervise architectural standards of different networks and IP.
  • Review issues related to Internet Standards.
  • Provide guidance to IETF and ISOC.

4. Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)
IRTF is composed of a number of research groups whose overall objective is focused on the long-term development of the Internet. It is a parallel organization to IETF. The participants are individual contributors who have long-term memberships. The research groups work on Internet protocols, applications, technology and overall architecture.
5. World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
It is the foremost international standards organization for the world wide web (www). It is a community of a large number of member organizations, who work together to develop web standards and improve web services. Some of the popular standards developed by W3C are HTML, HTTP, XML, CSS, etc.