RFC and Internet Drafts

In order to get any new technology out to the public there are certain procedures and documentations that a publisher must go through. I wont be going over the entire process but Instead I’ll be focusing on two areas which are Request for Comments (RFC) and an Internet Draft. Even the most popular networking technologies used today Like IP and Ethernet had to go through these processes at some point. I’ll also be explaining the organizations that must produce the documentation and the processes to produce said documents.

An RFC or Request for Comments is just as its name implies documents that are published in order to solicit feedback on new technologies. The main purpose of an RFC is to be available for public comments so the new or modified standard for the Internet or networking protocol can be refined and agreed upon. Some common Ref’s are REFRACT (HTML), RFC (Ethernet), and RFC 180 (TCP/IP). REF’S date back all the way to 1969 when the first RFC was published, RCA 1. RFC 1 was about host software and was made while working on the ARPA net.

I bring up RFC 1 Just as an example of how Ref’s documenting standards ever the evolution of technology can be a great tool of keeping record. Internet Drafts are similar to an RFC In the way that they are both documents that are distributed for the Intention of review for new or modified technologies. The main distributors of an Internet Draft are the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The documents posted as Internet Drafts are working documents which are under review, revision, and available all to be informally reviewed.

Internet Drafts can also be submitted other organizations to the IETF to be reviewed. The main difference between an Internet Draft and an RFC seems to be Internet Drafts are more volatile being subject to change constantly or complete removal and are actually used as drafts and then sort of upgraded into an actual RFC. I mentioned already that the organization that is in charge of the Internet Drafts is the Information Engineering Task Force and it’s actually the same organization for Ref’s. The actual process starts with any organization that wants to submit a new or modified Internet/networking technology.

They first must submit an Internet Draft with the proper format to the IETF which Is hen submitted to rounds of peer review. If It gets through all the peer review then the documents are finally published as an RFC. So there isn’t just one organization or group of people that produce the documents or run the process. The majority of the responsibility falls onto the IETF but the documents are reviewed by a large amount of people and the process could be rather lengthy. Just as the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day” the same could be said for new or modified technologies that want to be realized.

When you see an ad for the new phone running on a new super- fast 76 network now hopefully you know the process that technology had to go through. This process and set of standards help the Internet and technology world be not so volatile. Healthy competition is great but we want to make sure out protocols and standards communicate with each other when necessary. That’s exactly what the IETF does with Internet Drafts and Ref’s, they give structure where It’s needed to emerging standards. Ellis, J. (2003). Voice, Video, and Data Network Convergence: Architecture and Design.

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