Internet Standards Organizations (ISOC, IAB, IESG, IETF, IRSG, IRTF)
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High-quality, widely-accepted open standards become more important the larger the number of people that use a network. The largest network of all is of course the Internet, which connects millions of people on thousands of individual networks into a globe-spanning internetwork. The Internet has revolutionized not only networking and computing, but communication, business, and even society as a whole. One of the critical factors in the success of the Internet has been its development using open standards.
Of course, nobody sat down one day and said hey, lets create the Internet! (No, not even Al Gore. J) It began as a small research network, and was developed over time concurrently with the technology set that implemented it: TCP/IP. At first, a relatively small organization was sufficient to manage the development of Internet standards and oversee its activities, but as the Internet continued to grow, this became inadequate. Eventually a more formalized structure of organizations was required, to manage the Internet development process and other activities to ensure the continued success and growth of the Internet and the TCP/IP technologies that power it.
Today, there are six organizations that are responsible for the development of the Internets architecture, standards and policies, and related activities. They are closely-related, with certain organizations being responsible for oversight of others, as shown in Figure 7. These organizations perform many tasks, and can be somewhat confusing to understand, since many have similar-sounding names and responsibilities. Therefore, I will concentrate mostly on their role in the development of Internet standards, since that is our primary interest in this discussion.
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