Network Standards

Major Organizations that Create Data Communications Standards


Without standardized protocols for communicating data between computers it would be very difficult to have the low cost and ubiquitous information devices that are available today. These key standards organizations provide a forum for discussion turning discussions into formal specifications. Protocol standards are usually created in one of the following ways:

Defacto Standard - A company creates a protocol that is adopted by other manufacturers.


Industry Association - A group of companies get together with the understanding of creating an interoperable standard. It is not sanctioned by one of the formal standards bodies and may selective on their membership.


Standards Bodies - Groups that are a government accredited organization and immune to prosecution for collusion (as long as they obey their rules). They have an open, formal process for membership, require their membership to share relevant patents on a fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are examples of this type of standards body.


Each of these approaches has certain benefits and problems. For example, a defacto standard can be done rapidly, usually is complete, and can be modified rapidly should problems be encountered. Standards bodies work a much slower pace designed to ensure input from all its members. A defacto standard may not be widely used but one created by many people invest their time because of their intent to create a product.


There are a large number of organizations creating standards. These organizations usually specialize in the types of standards they work on. For example the T1 organization of ANSI works on protocols primarily used by the phone companies for medium and long distance communications. The IEEE 802 committee works primarily on Local Area Networks (LANs) used for communication over a shorter distance.


Some of the better-known standards organizations are:


ANSI – The American National Standards Institute

T1– Committee T1

ADSL – The Broadband Forum

ITU – The International Telecommunication Union

IETF – The Internet Engineering Task Force

IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers

TIA – Telecommunications Industry Association


Listed below is a summary of each of these standards organizations and a list of the working groups showing the development activity. You may click on the link above to go to their website. 

FourNetworks Inc. Creating Standards
FourNetworks Inc. Standards