There is no single source for all networking standards. Usually, a standards organization coordinates the specifications for various pieces of equipment or sets the parameters for features or functions. However, sometimes a need for a new standard will set events in motion and eventually result in a standard through consensus or through the action of the market place.
Most local and international network standards have originated with a limited number of organizations. Each of these organizations defines standards for a different area of network activity. The organizations are:
It is important to be aware of these organizations because their acronyms have become a common feature of the general networking vocabulary.
ANSI is an organization of U.S. industry and business groups dedicated to the development of trade and communication standards. ANSI defines and publishes standards for:
ANSI also represents the United States in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
In the microcomputer field, ANSI is commonly encountered in the areas of programming languages and the SCSI interface. Programming languages, such as C, conform to ANSI recommendations to eliminate problems in transporting a program from one type of computer system or environment to another.
Major ANSI specifications and standards include:
|Token Ring access, protocols, cabling, and interface.|
|Coaxial-cable carrier-sense multiple-access with collision detection (CSMA/CD) for Ethernet networks.|
|Structured query language (SQL) database query methods for front-end clients and back-end database services.|
|A privacy and security encryption algorithm.|
|Electronic data interchange (EDI) defining the exchange of purchase orders, bills of lading, invoices, and other business forms.|
|Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) specification for voice and data transmission over fiber-optic cable at 100 Mbps.|
|Synchronous Optical Network, a fiber-optic specification defining a global infrastructure for the transmission of synchronous and isochronous (time-sensitive data such as real-time video) information.|
The CCITT, which is also known as the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee, is based in Geneva, Switzerland. It was established as part of the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and ITU remains its parent organization. The CCITT studies and recommends use of communications standards that are recognized throughout the world, and publishes its recommendations every four years. Each update is distinguished by the color of its cover.
CCITT protocols apply to:
The CCITT Study Groups
The CCITT has been divided into study groups for the 1997-2000 study period; each study group is preparing recommendations for standards in a different subject area. These subject areas include:
|Network and service operation.|
|Tariff and accounting principles, including related telecommunications economic and policy issues.|
|TMN and network maintenance.|
|Protection against electromagnetic effects from the environment.|
|Data networks and open system communications.|
|Characteristics of telematic systems.|
|Television and sound transmission.|
|Languages and general software aspects for telecommunication systems.|
|Signaling requirements and protocols.|
|End-to-end transmission performance of networks and terminals.|
|General network aspects.|
|Transport networks, systems, and equipment.|
|Multimedia services and systems.|
The recommendations for standardizing modem design and operations (transmission over telephone networks) are collectively called the V series. These include:
|1200 bps full-duplex modem standard.|
|2400 bps full-duplex modem standard.|
|Defines circuits in RS-232 interface.|
|Asynchronous and synchronous 4800/9600 bps standard.|
|Asynchronous and synchronous standard up to 14,400 bps.|
|Defines high data-rates over combined circuits.|
|Defines error-checking standards.|
|Defines a standard for 56Kbps modem communication|
The X series covers Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) standards including:
|OSI reference model.|
|Packet-switching network interface.|
|Message handling (e-mail).|
|Common Management Information Protocol (CMIP).|
The EIA is an organization founded in 1924 by U.S. manufacturers of electronic parts and equipment. It develops industry standards for the interface between data processing and communications equipment and has published many standards associated with telecommunications and computer communication. The EIA works closely with other associations such as ANSI and ITU (CCITT).
The EIA standards for the serial interface between modems and computers include:
|A standard for serial connections using DB-9 or DB-25 connectors and maximum cable lengths of 50 feet. It defines the serial connections between DTE (Data Terminal Equipment—transmitting equipment) devices and DCE (Data Communications Equipment— receiving equipment) devices.|
|A serial interface with DB-37 connections that defines the RS-422 and RS-423 as subsets.|
|Defines a balanced multipoint interface.|
|Defines an unbalanced digital interface.|
BIA standards often have CCITT equivalents. RS-232, for example, is also the CCITT V.24 standard.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a U.S.-based society that publishes a variety of standards including those for data communications.
A subgroup of the IEEE, the 802 committees began developing network specifications in 1980 to ensure low-cost interfaces. These specifications are passed on to the ANSI for approval and standardization within the United States. They are also forwarded to the ISO.
Shortly after the 802 project began, the IEEE realized that a single network standard would be inadequate because it would not be able to account for the diverse hardware and emerging architectures. To adequately cover the wide range of subjects, the society established committees that were to be responsible for defining standards in different networking areas.
The 802 committees are:
|Logical Link Control (LLC).|
|CSMA/CD NETWORK (Ethernet).|
|Token Bus NETWORK.|
|Token Ring NETWORK.|
|Metropolitan Area Network (MAN).|
|Broadband Technical Advisory Group.|
|Fiber-Optic Technical Advisory Group.|
|Integrated Voice/Data Networks.|
|Demand Priority Access NETWORK (100VG-AnyLAN).|
|Cable TV Access Method and Physical Layer Specification.|
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a Paris-based organization of member countries, each of which is represented by its leading standard-setting organization. For example, ANSI represents the United States, and the British Standards Institution (BSI) represents the United Kingdom. Other organizations represented at the ISO include:
The ISO works to establish international standardization of all services and manufactured products.
In the area of computing, the ISO's goal is to establish global standards for communications and information exchange. The standards will promote open networking environments that let multivendor computer systems communicate with one another using protocols that have been accepted internationally by the ISO membership.
The ISO's major achievement in the area of networking and communications has been to define a set of standards, known as the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) reference model which defines standards for the interaction of computers connected by communications networks.
The OMG consists of almost 300 organizations involved in developing a suite of languages, interfaces, and protocol standards that vendors can use to create applications that will operate in multivendor environments.
The OMG certifies products designed to meet the standards and specifications agreed upon by the OMG members.
In working toward its goals, the OMG developed the Object Management Architecture (OMA), a model for object-oriented applications and environments.
The OMG architecture has been adopted by the Open Software Foundation (OSF), which is developing portable software environments called the Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) and the Distributed Management Environment (DME).
The OMG standards are similar to elements in Microsoft object linking and embedding (OLE).
The OSF, part of the Open Group, creates computing environments by acquiring and combining technologies from other vendors and distributing the results to interested parties.
These vendor-neutral environments, referred to as the Open System Software Environment, can be used to create a collection of open systems technologies in which users can incorporate software and hardware from several sources.
The following components comprise the OSF software environment:
This platform simplifies the development of products in a mixed environment.
The DME makes tools available for managing systems in distributed and multivendor environments.
This is a UNIX operating system, based on the Mach kernel, that supports symmetric multiprocessing, enhanced security features, and dynamic configuration.
This is a graphical user interface that creates a common environment with links to IBM's Common User Access (CUA).
Developers can use this environment to create a single version of an application that can be used on different hardware architectures.
A part of the ANSI standards, SAG is a consortium of 39 companies that was founded in 1989 by Hewlett-Packard, Digital, Oracle Corporation, and Sun Microsystems. Its charter is to work with the ISO to create standards covering the interoperability of front- and back-end systems.
SAG's purpose is to promote interoperability among structured query language (SQL) standards so that several SQL-based relational databases and tools can work together in a multivendor database environment. This will make it possible for different database applications running on different platforms to share and exchange data.
SAG has developed three technical specifications:
This is a specification that follows international specifications in implementing the SQL language.
This specification defines communication between a remote database server and an SQL-based client.
This group of APIs provides interfacing with SQL-based products.