Request for Comment
The vast majority of the protocols and standards that we discuss throughout this book are embodied in a Request for Comment (RFC), more specifically, an RFC developed and/or maintained by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
The overall controlling entity for Internet standards is the Internet Society (ISOC). The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the IETF both fall under the SOC. The IETF does the actual technical work while the IAB handles a lot of the administrative details. The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), also part of the ISOC, provides technical direction for the IAB and the IETF. Our interest is with the work of the IETF and, in particular, with RFCs that provide a standard that is implemented in TCP/IP networking. In addition to standards track RFCs (RFCs that have been approved as standards or are becoming standards), the IETF also produces informational and best current practice RFCs that provide details about the implementation and use of some technology without being a standard. You can learn more about the IETF and the associated organizations discussed in this paragraph at
For complete details about IETF RFCs, please see the site
A search engine for RFCs can be found at
Where appropriate, we will discuss specific RFCs at various points in this book.
There is another type of RFC maintained by an organization called the Open Group. The Open Group RFCs also define standards and protocols, but are less common. For further information regarding the Open Group RFCs, please visit
Throughout this document, all RFCs are IETF RFCs unless specifically identified as an Open Group RFC.