There are a wide range of official Internet protocol standards. A list of official standards
is documented in the Request
For Comments documents, with a recent version at RFC
3300, and an up-to-date list maintained at RFC-Editor.org.
The first RFC explicitly declared an official standard was RFC
733. The official protocol standards are listed in the following categories:
- Standard. Established as a standard protocol by the IESG.
- Proposed. Early stage, proposed protocol.
- Historic. Older protocols, usually superseded or unused.
- Experimental. Research protocols, documented to provide a convenient
reference for researchers.
- Informational. Protocols developed by other organizations,
such as official standards organizations and commercial network companies, were
sometimes published as RFC's to provide a standard reference. The last list
of information protocols can be found in RFC
Each protocol is assigned a status of "Required", "Recommended", "Elective", "Limited
Use", or "Not Recommended", in descending order of priority. Only a very few
essential protocols are labeled "Required".
Working groups of the IETF do most of the work on standardization of Internet
protocols as they go through proposed standard, draft standard, and actual
standard phases. A protocol published as a proposed standard is usually intended
to become an actual standard, but is not promoted to draft standard for at
least six months to allow time for the Internet community to review and comment.
A draft standard is not promoted to full standard for at least four months,
after operational experience has been obtained, and when there is demonstrated
interoperability between two or more independent implementations.
A full standard must be instantiated by at least two independent, fully working
implementations of the defined protocol. When a protocol becomes a full standard
it is given an STD number as described in RFC