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An Internet standard is

[a] specification, approved by the IESG and published as an RFC, that is stable and well-understood, is technically competent, has multiple, independent, and interoperable implementations with substantial operational experience, enjoys significant public support, and is recognizably useful in some or all parts of the Internet.[1]


Standards are particularly important in networks, since many parties on the network must store and communicate information using compatible formats and procedures — called protocols. In small or closed networks, all the users can employ the same proprietary equipment and protocols, but in large and open networks this is impractical.

An important area of standards-setting is in the protocols used to send messages between computers. The Internet largely uses formats built upon the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Other protocols include the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) set.