Standards, protocols and ISOC organisations

Internet standards are established by a group of organizations, all of which operate under the auspices of the Internet Society (ISOC).

ISOC is the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), and the Internet Research Task Force - the standards setting and research arms of the Internet community. These organizations operate in an environment of bottom-up consensus building made possible through the participation of thousands of people from throughout the world.

At the technical and developmental level, the Internet is made possible through creation, testing and implementation of Internet Standards, developed by the IETF. The standards are then considered by the Internet Engineering Steering Group, in consultation with the Internet Architecture Board. The specification documents of the Internet protocol suite, as defined by the IETF and the IESG, are published as RFC's. The RFC Editor prepares and publishes the RFCs and is responsible for the final editorial review of the standards in their definitive form.

IETF Logo

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. It is open to any interested individual.

At the technical and developmental level, the Internet is made possible through creation, testing and implementation of Internet Standards. These standards are developed by the IETF. The standards are then considered by the Internet Engineering Steering Group, in consultation with the Internet Architecture Board. The RFC Editor, supported by the Internet Society, is responsible for preparing and organizing the standards in their final form. The standards may be found at numerous sites distributed throughout the world, such as the InterNIC.

IETF RFCs and the RFC Editor
The Requests for Comments (RFCs) form a series of notes, started in 1969, about the Internet (originally the ARPANET). The notes discuss many aspects of computer communication, focusing on networking protocols, procedures, programs, and concepts but also including meeting notes, opinion, and sometimes humorous anecdotes.

The specification documents of the Internet protocol suite, as defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and its steering group the IESG, are published as RFCs. Thus, the RFC publication process plays in important role in the Internet standards process.

The RFC Editor is the publisher of the RFCs and is responsible for the final editorial review of the documents. The Internet Society funds the RFC Editor function.

Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)
The Research Groups work on topics related to Internet protocols, applications, architecture and technology. Research Groups are expected to have the stable long term (with respect to the lifetime of the Research Group) membership needed to promote the development of research collaboration and teamwork in exploring research issues. Participation is by individual contributors.

The IRTF is managed by the IRTF Chair in consultation with the Internet Research Steering Group (IRSG). The IRSG membership includes the IRTF Chair, the chairs of the various Research Group and possibly other individuals ("members at large") from the research community.

The IRTF Chair is appointed by the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Research Group chairs are appointed as part of the formation of Research Groups and the IRSG members at large are chosen by the IRTF Chair in consultation with the rest of the IRSG and on approval of the IAB. In addition to managing the Research Groups, the IRSG may from time to time hold topical workshops focusing on research areas of importance to the evolution of the Internet, or more general workshops to, for example, discuss research priorities from an Internet perspective.

The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG)
The IESG is responsible for technical management of IETF activities and the Internet standards process. As part of the ISOC, it administers the process according to the rules and procedures which have been ratified by the ISOC Trustees. The IESG is directly responsible for the actions associated with entry into and movement along the Internet "standards track," including final approval of specifications as Internet Standards.

Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is a technical advisory group of the Internet Society. Its responsibilities include:

  1. IESG Selection: The IAB appoints a new IETF chair and all other IESG candidates, from a list provided by the IETF nominating committee.
  2. Architectural Oversight: The IAB provides oversight of the architecture for the protocols and procedures used by the Internet.
  3. Standards Process Oversight and Appeal: The IAB provides oversight of the process used to create Internet Standards. The IAB serves as an appeal board for complaints of improper execution of the standards process.
  4. RFC Series and IANA: The IAB is responsible for editorial management and publication of the Request for Comments (RFC) document series, and for administration of the various Internet assigned numbers.
  5. External Liaison: The IAB acts as representative of the interests of the Internet Society in liaison relationships with other organizations concerned with standards and other technical and organizational issues relevant to the world-wide Internet.
  6. Advice to ISOC: The IAB acts as a source of advice and guidance to the Board of Trustees and Officers of the Internet Society concerning technical, architectural, procedural, and (where appropriate) policy matters pertaining to the Internet and its enabling technologies.

IANA LogoInternet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
Dedicated to preserving the central coordinating functions of the global Internet for the public good, IANA served as the predecessor to ICANN.


ETSIEuropean Telecommunications Standards Institute
ETSI (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) is a not for profit organization whose mission is to produce the telecommunications standards that will be used for decades to come throughout Europe and beyond.


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit corporation that was formed to assume responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions previously performed under U.S. Government contract by IANA and other entities.

The World Wide Web Consortium
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential as a forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding.

The Benelux W3C Office (W3C-Benelux) is the regional contact point for the W3C activities in the Benelux. W3C-Benelux is collaborating with the Belgian and Dutch chapters of the Internet Society (ISOC).

International Telecommunication Union
The ITU, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland is an international organization within the United Nations System where governments and the private sector coordinate global telecom networks and services.

Internet Society (ISOC) Belgium vzw-asbl - Tel:+32  9 329 39 16 -  RPR : 0875.696.796