Network Working Group Internet Activities Board
Request for Comments: 1083 December 1988
IAB OFFICIAL PROTOCOL STANDARDS
Status of this Memo
This memo describes the state of standardization of protocols used in the Internet as determined by the Internet Activities Board (IAB). An overview of the standards procedures is presented first, followed by discussions of the standardization process and the RFC document series, then the explanation of the terms is presented, the lists of protocols in each stage of standardization follows, and finally pointers to references and contacts for further information.
This memo is issued quarterly, please be sure the copy you are reading is dated within the last three months. Current copies may be obtained from the Network Information Center or from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (see the contact information at the end of this memo). Do not use this memo after 31-March-89.
Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
1. Overview of Standards Procedures
The Internet Activities Board maintains a list of documents that define standards for the Internet protocol suite. It provides these standards with the goal of co-ordinating the evolution of the Internet protocols; this co-ordination has become quite important as the Internet protocols are increasingly in general commercial use.
Protocol standards may be proposed by anyone in the Internet community, by writing and submitting an RFC. In general, any proposed protocol will be reviewed or developed in the context of some Task Force of the IAB, or some working group within that Task Force. The IAB will assign a proposed protocol to a working group if official delegation is necessary.
The recommendation of the working group or task force is given major consideration in the decision by the IAB to assign a state and status to the protocol. The general policy is not to designate a protocol as an official standard until there is implementation experience with it.
In cases where there is uncertainty as to the proper decision concerning a protocol, the IAB may convene a special review committee consisting of interested parties from the working group and members of the IAB itself, with the purpose of recommending some explicit action to the IAB.
It is possible to proceed with widespread implementation of a standard without the approval of the IAB. For example, some vendor standards have become very important to the Internet community even though they have not been proposed or reviewed by the IAB. However, the IAB strongly recommends that the IAB standards process be used in the evolution of the protocol suite to maximize interoperability (and to prevent incompatible protocol requirements from arising). The IAB reserves the use of the term "standard" in any RFC to only those protocols which the IAB has approved.
2. The Standardization Process
Anyone can invent a protocol, document it, implement it, test it, and so on. The IAB believes that it is very useful to document a protocol at an early stage to promote suggestions from others interested in the functionality the of protocol and from those interested in protocol design. Once a protocol is implemented and tested it is useful to report the results. The RFC document series is the preferred place for publishing these protocol documents and testing results.
The IAB encourages the documenting of every protocol developed in the Internet (that is, the publication of the protocol specification as an RFC), even if it is never intended that the protocol become an Internet standard. A protocol that is not intended to become a standard is called "experimental".
Protocols that are intended to become standards are first designated as "proposed" protocols. It is expected that while in this state the protocol will be implemented and tested by several groups. It is likely that an improved version of the protocol will result from this activity.
Once a proposed protocol has become stable and has a sponsor (an individual willing to speak for the protocol to the IAB) it may advance to the "draft standard" state. In this state, it should be reviewed by the entire Internet community. This draft standard state is essentially a warning to the community that unless an objection is raised or a flaw is found this protocol will become a "standard".
Once a protocol has been a draft standard for a sufficient time (usually 6 months) without serious objections the IAB may act to declare the protocol an official Internet standard.
Some protocols have been superseded by better protocols or are otherwise unused. Such protocols are designated "historic".
In addition to a state (like proposed or standard) a protocol is also assigned a status. A protocol can be required, meaning that all systems in the Internet must implement it. For example, the Internet Protocol (IP) is required. A protocol may be recommended, meaning that systems should implement this protocol. A protocol may be elective, meaning that systems may implement this protocol; that is, if (and only if) the functionality of this protocol is needed or useful for a system it must use this protocol to provide the functionality. A protocol may be termed not recommended if it is not intended to be generally implemented; for example, experimental or historic protocols.
Few protocols are required to be implemented in all systems. This is because there is such a variety of possible systems; for example, gateways, terminal servers, workstations, multi-user hosts. It is not necessary for a gateway to implement TCP and the protocols that use TCP (though it may be useful). It is expected that general purpose hosts will implement at least IP (including ICMP), TCP and UDP, Telnet, FTP, SMTP, Mail, and the Domain Name System (DNS).
3. The Request for Comments Documents
The documents called Request for Comments (or RFCs) are the working notes of the Internet research and development community. A document in this series may be on essentially any topic related to computer communication, and may be anything from a meeting report to the specification of a standard. All standards are published as RFCs, but not all RFCs specify standards.
Anyone can submit a document for publication as an RFC. Submissions must be made via electronic mail to the RFC Editor (see the contact information at the end of this memo).
While RFCs are not refereed publications, they do receive technical review form the task forces, individual technical experts, or the RFC Editor, as appropriate.
Once a document is assigned an RFC number and published, that RFC is never revised or re-issued with the same number. There is never a question of having the most recent version of a particular RFC. However, a protocol (such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP)) may be improved and re-documented many times in several different RFCs. It is important to verify that you have the most recent RFC on a particular protocol. This "IAB Official Protocol Standards" memo is the reference for determining the correct RFC to refer to for the current specification of each protocol.
The RFCs are available from the Network Information Center at SRI International. For more information about obtaining RFCs see the contact information at the end of this memo.
4. Other Reference Documents
There are four other reference documents of interest in checking the current status of protocol specifications and standardization. These are the Assigned Numbers, the Official Protocols, the Gateway Requirements, and the Host Requirements. Note that these documents are revised and updated at different times; in case of differences between these documents, the most recent must prevail.
4.1. Assigned Numbers
This document lists the assigned values of the parameters used in the various protocols. For example, IP protocol codes, TCP port numbers, Telnet Option Codes, ARP hardware types, and Terminal Type names. Assigned Numbers was most recently issued as RFC-1010.
Another document, Internet Numbers, lists the assigned IP network numbers, and the autonomous system numbers. Internet Numbers was most recently issued as RFC-1062.
4.2. Official Protocols
This document list the protocols and describes any known problems and ongoing experiments. Official Protocols was recently issued as RFC- 1011.
4.3. Gateway Requirements
This document reviews the specifications that apply to gateways and supplies guidance and clarification for any ambiguities. Gateway Requirement was recently issued as RFC-1009.
4.4. Host Requirements
This document reviews the specifications that apply to hosts and supplies guidance and clarification for any ambiguities. Host Requirements is in preparation and will be issued soon.
5. Explanation of Terms
There are two independent categorizations of protocols. The first is the state of standardization which is one of "standard", "draft standard", "proposed", "experimental", or "historic". The second is the status of this protocol which is one of "required", "recommended", "elective", or "not recommended". One could expect a particular protocol to move along the scale of status from elective to required at the same time as it moves along the scale of standardization from proposed to standard.
At any given time a protocol is a cell of the following matrix. Protocols are likely to be in cells in about the following proportions (indicated by the number of Xs). Most will be on the main diagonal. A new protocol is most likely to start in the (proposed, elective) cell, or the (experimental, not recommended) cell.
Req Rec Ele Not +-----+-----+-----+-----+ Std | XXX | XX | X | | +-----+-----+-----+-----+ Draft | | X | XX | | +-----+-----+-----+-----+ Prop | | | XXX | X | +-----+-----+-----+-----+ Expr | | | X | XXX | +-----+-----+-----+-----+ Hist | | | | XXX | +-----+-----+-----+-----+
Some protocol are particular to hosts and some to gateways; a few protocols are used in both. The definitions of the terms below will refer to a "system" which is either a host or a gateway (or both). It should be clear from the context of the particular protocol which types of systems are intended.
5.1.1. Standard Protocol
The IAB has established this as an official standard protocol for the Internet. These are separated into two groups: (1) IP protocol and above, protocols that apply to the whole Internet; and (2) network-specific protocols, generally specifications of how to do IP on particular types of networks.
5.1.2. Draft Standard Protocol
The IAB is actively considering this protocol as a possible Standard Protocol. Substantial and widespread testing and comment is desired. Comments and test results should be submitted to the IAB. There is a possibility that changes will be made in a Draft Standard Protocol before it becomes a Standard Protocol.
5.1.3. Proposed Protocol
These are protocol proposals that may be considered by the IAB for standardization in the future. Implementation and testing by several groups is desirable. Revisions of the protocol specification are likely.
5.1.4. Experimental Protocol
A system should not implement an experimental protocol unless it is participating in the experiment and has coordinated its use of the protocol with the developer of the protocol.
Typically, experimental protocols are those that are developed as part of a specific ongoing research project not related to an operational service offering. While they may be proposed as a service protocol at a later stage, and thus become proposed, draft, and then standard protocols, the designation of a protocol as experimental is meant to suggest that the protocol, although perhaps mature, is not intended for operational use.
5.1.5. Historic Protocol
These are protocols that are unlikely to ever become standards in the Internet either because they have been superseded by later developments or due to lack of interest. These are protocols that are at an evolutionary dead end.
5.1.6. Required Protocol
All systems must implement the required protocols.
5.1.7. Recommended Protocol
All systems should implement the recommended protocols.
5.1.8. Elective Protocol
A system may or may not implement an elective protocol. The general notion is that if you are going to do something like this, you must do exactly this.
5.1.9. Not Recommended Protocol
These protocols are not recommended for general use. This may be because of their limited functionality, specialized nature, or experimental or historic state.
6. The Protocols
6.1. Standard Protocols
Protocol Name Status RFC -------- ---- ------ --- Assigned Numbers Required 1010 Gateway Requirements Required 1009 IP Internet Protocol Required 791 as amended by: IP Subnet Extension Required 950 IP Broadcast Datagrams Required 919 IP Broadcast Datagrams with Subnets Required 922 ICMP Internet Control Message Protocol Required 792 UDP User Datagram Protocol Recommended 768 TCP Transmission Control Protocol Recommended 793 DOMAINS Domain Name System Recommended 1034,1035 TELNET Telnet Protocol Recommended 854 FTP File Transfer Protocol Recommended 959 SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol Recommended 821 MAIL Format of Electronic Mail Messages Recommended 822 EGP Exterior Gateway Protocol Recommended 904 NETBIOS NetBIOS Services Protocol Elective 1001,1002 ECHO Echo Protocol Recommended 862 DISCARD Discard Protocol Elective 863 CHARGEN Character Generator Protocol Elective 864 QUOTE Quote of the Day Protocol Elective 865 USERS Active Users Protocol Elective 866 DAYTIME Daytime Protocol Elective 867 TIME Time Server Protocol Elective 868
6.2. Specific Standard Protocols
Protocol Name Status RFC -------- ---- ------ --- ARP Address Resolution Protocol Elective 826 RARP A Reverse Address Resolution Protocol Elective 903 IP-ARPA Internet Protocol on ARPANET Elective BBN 1822 IP-WB Internet Protocol on Wideband Network Elective 907 IP-X25 Internet Protocol on X.25 Networks Elective 877 IP-E Internet Protocol on Ethernet Networks Elective 894 IP-EE Internet Protocol on Exp. Ethernet Nets Elective 895 IP-IEEE Internet Protocol on IEEE 802 Elective 1042 IP-DC Internet Protocol on DC Networks Elective 891 IP-HC Internet Protocol on Hyperchannnel Elective 1044 IP-ARC Internet Protocol on ARCNET Elective 1051 IP-SLIP Transmission of IP over Serial Lines Elective 1055 Note: It is expected that a system will support one or more physical networks and for each physical network supported the appropriate protocols from the above list must be supported. That is, it is elective to support any particular type of physical network, and for the physical networks actually supported it is required that they be supported exactly according to the protocols in the above list.
6.3. Draft Standard Protocols
Protocol Name Status RFC -------- ---- ------ --- SNMP Simple Network Monitoring Protocol Recommended 1067 MIB Management Information Base Recommended 1066 SMI Structure of Management Information Recommended 1065 NTP Network Time Protocol Elective 1059 IGMP Internet Group Multicast Protocol Recommended 1054 BOOTP Bootstrap Protocol Recommended 951,1048
6.4. Proposed Protocols
Protocol Name Status RFC -------- ---- ------ --- VMTP Versatile Message Transaction Protocol Elective 1045 RIP Routing Information Protocol Elective 1058 SUN-RPC Remote Procedure Call Protocol Elective 1057 PCMAIL Pcmail Transport Protocol Elective 1056 NFILE A File Access Protocol Elective 1037 Mapping between X.400 and RFC-822 Elective 987,1026 STATSRV Statistics Server Elective 996 NNTP Network News Transfer Protocol Elective 977 NICNAME WhoIs Protocol Elective 954 HOSTNAME HOSTNAME Protocol Elective 953 POP2 Post Office Protocol Elective 937 SFTP Simple File Transfer Protocol Elective 913 RLP Resource Location Protocol Elective 887 RTELNET Remote Telnet Service Elective 818 TFTP Trivial File Transfer Protocol Elective 783 FINGER Finger Protocol Elective 742 SUPDUP SUPDUP Protocol Elective 734 NETED Network Standard Text Editor Elective 569 RJE Remote Job Entry Elective 407
6.5. Experimental Protocols
Protocol Name Status RFC -------- ---- ------ --- IP-MTU IP MTU Discovery Options Not Recommended 1063 NETBLT Bulk Data Transfer Protocol Not Recommended 998 IMAP2 Interactive Mail Access Protocol Not Recommended 1064 COOKIE-JAR Authentication Scheme Not Recommended 1004 IRTP Internet Reliable Transaction Protocol Not Recommended 938 AUTH Authentication Service Not Recommended 931 RATP Reliable Asynchronous Transfer Protocol Not Recommended 916 THINWIRE Thinwire Protocol Not Recommended 914 LDP Loader Debugger Protocol Not Recommended 909 RDP Reliable Data Protocol Not Recommended 908 ST Stream Protocol Not Recommended IEN 119 NVP-II Network Voice Protocol Not Recommended ISI memo
6.6. Historic Protocols
Protocol Name Status RFC -------- ---- ------ --- SGMP Simple Gateway Monitoring Protocol Not Recommended 1028 HMP Host Monitoring Protocol Not Recommended 869 GGP Gateway Gateway Protocol Not Recommended 823 CLOCK DCNET Time Server Protocol Not Recommended 778 MPM Internet Message Protocol Not Recommended 759 NETRJS Remote Job Service Elective 740 XNET Cross Net Debugger Elective IEN 158 NAMESERVER Host Name Server Protocol Not Recommended IEN 116 MUX Multiplexing Protocol Not Recommended IEN 90 GRAPHICS Graphics Protocol Not Recommended NIC 24308
7.1. Internet Activities Board Contact
Jon Postel Deputy Internet Architect USC Information Sciences Institute 4676 Admiralty Way Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6695 1-213-822-1511 Postel@ISI.EDU
Please send your comments about this list of protocols and especially about the Draft Standard Protocols to the Internet Activities Board care of the Deputy Internet Architect.
7.2. Internet Assigned Numbers Authority Contact
Joyce K. Reynolds Internet Assigned Numbers Authority USC Information Sciences Institute 4676 Admiralty Way Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6695 1-213-822-1511 JKRey@ISI.EDU
The protocol standards are managed for the IAB by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.
Please refer to the documents "Assigned Numbers" (RFC-1010) and "Official Internet Protocols" (RFC-1011) for further information about the status of protocol documents. There are two documents that summarize the requirements for host and gateways in the Internet, "Host Requirements" (RFC in preparation) and "Gateway Requirements" (RFC-1009).
How to obtain the most recent edition of this "IAB Official Protocol Standards" memo:
The file "in-notes/iab-standards.txt" may be copied via FTP from the VENERA.ISI.EDU computer using the FTP username "anonymous" and FTP password "guest".
7.3. Request for Comments Editor Contact
Jon Postel RFC Editor USC Information Sciences Institute 4676 Admiralty Way Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6695 1-213-822-1511 Postel@ISI.EDU
Documents may be submitted via electronic mail to the RFC Editor for consideration for publication as RFC. If you are not familiar with the format or style requirements please request the "Instructions for RFC Authors". In general, the style of any recent RFC may be used as a guide.
7.4. The Network Information Center and Requests for Comments Contact
SRI International DDN Network Information Center 333 Ravenswood Avenue Menlo Park, CA 94025 1-800-235-3155 1-415-859-3695 NIC@SRI-NIC.ARPA
The Network Information Center (NIC) provides many information services for the Internet community. Among them is maintaining the Requests for Comments (RFC) library.
RFCs can be obtained via FTP from SRI-NIC.ARPA with the pathname RFC:RFCnnnn.TXT where "nnnn" refers to the number of the RFC. A list of all RFCs may be obtained by copying the file RFC:RFC-INDEX.TXT. Log in with FTP username ANONYMOUS and password GUEST.
The NIC also provides an automatic mail service for those sites which cannot use FTP. Address the request to SERVICE@SRI-NIC.ARPA and in the subject field of the message indicate the RFC number, as in "Subject: RFC nnnn".
How to obtain the most recent edition of this "IAB Official Protocol Standards" memo:
The file RFC:IAB-STANDARDS.TXT may be copied via FTP from the SRI-NIC.ARPA computer following the same procedures used to obtain RFCs.
USC/Information Sciences Institute
4676 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292