Please Whitelist This Site?

I know everyone hates ads. But please understand that I am providing premium content for free that takes hundreds of hours of time to research and write. I don't want to go to a pay-only model like some sites, but when more and more people block ads, I end up working for free. And I have a family to support, just like you. :)

If you like The TCP/IP Guide, please consider the download version. It's priced very economically and you can read all of it in a convenient format without ads.

If you want to use this site for free, I'd be grateful if you could add the site to the whitelist for Adblock. To do so, just open the Adblock menu and select "Disable on tcpipguide.com". Or go to the Tools menu and select "Adblock Plus Preferences...". Then click "Add Filter..." at the bottom, and add this string: "@@||tcpipguide.com^$document". Then just click OK.

Thanks for your understanding!

Sincerely, Charles Kozierok
Author and Publisher, The TCP/IP Guide


NOTE: Using software to mass-download the site degrades the server and is prohibited.
If you want to read The TCP/IP Guide offline, please consider licensing it. Thank you.

The Book is Here... and Now On Sale!

Enjoy The TCP/IP Guide? Get the complete PDF!
The TCP/IP Guide

Custom Search







Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  Networking Fundamentals
      9  Network Standards and Standards Organizations

Previous Topic/Section
Network Standards and Standards Organizations
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
1
23
Next Page
Networking Standards
Next Topic/Section

Proprietary, Open and De Facto Standards
(Page 1 of 3)

Why are standards important? Well, because I said so. They are. Alright, fine, I'll try to do a bit better than that; even my young kids won't take that for an answer any more. But I have to warn you that the proper answer is a lot longer than the cute answer. J

An old saw in the computer world says that “the beauty of standards is that there are so many to choose from”. This little joke reflects the frustration that technicians often feel at the sheer number of standards that are found in the industry: thousands. Aside from differing in terms of content—what technologies and protocols they describe—standards also often differ in terms of the type of standards they are, and how they came about. In fact, part of the reason why there are sometimes “so many to choose from” in a particular area is because of how they come about.

Proprietary Standards

In the early days of computing, many people didn't quite understand just how important universal standards were. Most companies were run by skilled inventors, who came up with great ideas for new technologies and weren't particularly interested in sharing them. It wasn't considered a “smart business move” to share information about new inventions with other companies—the competition! Oh sure, every company believed that standards were important, but they thought it was even more important that they be the ones to control those standards.

I'll give you an example of what I mean. Let’s imagine that it's 1985, and I have just come up with a great networking technology, which I have incorporated into a fancy new local area networking product called “SooperDooperNet”. (Catchy, eh?) SooperDooperNet is my product. I have patents on the technology, I control its design and manufacture, and I sure as heck don't tell anyone else how it works—if I did, they would copy me, right?

Now, I could sell interface cards, cables and accessories for SooperDooperNet, and a company that wanted to use it could install the cards in all of their PCs and be assured that they would be able to talk to each other. This solves the interoperability problem for this company by creating a “SooperDooperNet standard”. This would be an example of a proprietary standard—it's owned by one company or person.

The problem with proprietary standards is that other companies are excluded from the standard development process, and therefore have little incentive to cooperate with the standard owner. In fact, just the opposite: they have a strong motivation to develop a competing proprietary standard, even if it doesn't improve on the existing one.

So when my competition sees what I am doing, he is not going to also create network interface cards that can work with SooperDooperNet, which would require paying me a royalty. Instead, he's going to develop a new line of networking hardware called MegaAwesomeNet, which is very similar to SooperDooperNet in operation but uses different connectors and cable and logic. He too will try to sell bunches of cards and cables—to my customers, if possible!

You can see what the problem is here: the market ends up with different companies using different products that can't interoperate. If you install SooperDooperNet, you have to come to me for any upgrades or changes—you have no choices. Worse, what happens if Acme Manufacturing, which has 50 PCs running SooperDooperNet, merges with Emca Manufacturing, which has 40 PCs running MegaAwesomeNet? Well, the IT people have a problem, that's what. Sure, there would be ways to solve it, but wouldn't everyone be better off to just avoid these difficulties in the first place? And how could you create something like the Internet if everyone's networks used different “standards”?


Previous Topic/Section
Network Standards and Standards Organizations
Previous Page
Pages in Current Topic/Section
1
23
Next Page
Networking Standards
Next Topic/Section

If you find The TCP/IP Guide useful, please consider making a small Paypal donation to help the site, using one of the buttons below. You can also donate a custom amount using the far right button (not less than $1 please, or PayPal gets most/all of your money!) In lieu of a larger donation, you may wish to consider purchasing a download license of The TCP/IP Guide. Thanks for your support!
Donate $2
Donate $5
Donate $10
Donate $20
Donate $30
Donate: $



Home - Table Of Contents - Contact Us

The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
Not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of this site.