Open standards encourage competition and innovation. They also guarantee that no single company’s product can monopolize the market, or have an unfair advantage over its competition. A good example of this is when purchasing a wireless router for the home. There are many different choices available from a variety of vendors, all of which incorporate standard protocols such as IPv4, DHCP, 802.3 (Ethernet), and 802.11 (Wireless LAN). These open standards also allow a client running Apple’s OS X operating system to download a web page from a web server running the Linux operating system. This is because both operating systems implement the open standard protocols, such as those in the TCP/IP suite.
Standards organizations are important in maintaining an open Internet with freely accessible specifications and protocols that can be implemented by any vendor. A standards organization may draft a set of rules entirely on its own or in other cases may select a proprietary protocol as the basis for the standard. If a proprietary protocol is used, it usually involves the vendor who created the protocol.
Standards organizations are usually vendor-neutral, non-profit organizations established to develop and promote the concept of open standards.
Standards organizations include:
- The Internet Society (ISOC)
- The Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
- The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
- The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
- The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
Each of these organizations will be discussed in more detail in the next couple of pages.
In the figure, click each logo to view standards information.