There is a need to be very clear about which specifications have completed the full process of standardization in the Internet. To do this an STD number will be assigned to a specification when it reaches the Standard maturity level. Note that specifications may be either Technical Specifications (TS) or Applicability Statements (AS).
When a specification reaches the final stage of the standardization process and the IAB has designated it a standard for the Internet, an STD number will be assigned to that specification.
The existing standards have been assigned STD numbers (see Appendix).
The standard for a particular protocol will always have the same STD number.
If at some future time a protocol is reworked and a new document is produced as the specification of that standard and the new specification is designated by the IAB as a standard for the Internet, then the new document will be labeled with the same STD number (of course, that new document will have a new RFC number).
Multiple Documents for One Standard:
A STD number identifies a standard not a document. A document is identified by its RFC number. If the specification of a standard is spread over several documents they will each carry the same STD number.
Internet Activities Board [Page 1]
RFC 1311 RFC on STD RFCs March 1992
For example, the Domain Name System (DNS) is currently specified by the combination of RFCs 1034 and 1035. Both of these documents are now labeled STD-13.
To be completely clear the DNS "Concepts and Facilities" document can be referenced as "STD-13/RFC-1034".
In such cases, whenever possible, the set of documents defining a particular standard will cross reference each other.
One Standard or Multiple Standards:
One difficult decision is deciding whether a set of documents describe one standard or multiple standards. In the Appendix, one can see that there are several cases in which one STD applies to multiple RFCs (see STDs 5, 13, and 20). There is one case in which a family of specifications has multiple STD numbers; that is the Telnet Options.
The general rule is that a separate STD number is used when the specification is logically separable. That is, logically separable options are assigned distinct STD numbers while amendments and non-optional extensions use the same STD number as the base specification.
Multiple Versions or Editions of a Standard:
It may occur that the documentation of a standard is updated or replaced with a new document. In such cases, the same STD number will be used to label the standard. No version numbers will be attached to STD numbers. There need be no confusion about having the up-to-date document about STD-9 since each version of the document will have a distinct RFC number (and of course a different date).
The complete identification of a specification and its document is the combination of the STD and the RFC. For example, "STD-13/RFC- 1035" completely identifies the current version of the second part of the Domain Name System specification.
To completely identify all of the DNS standard the citation would be "STD-13/RFC-1034/RFC-1035".
One way to think of this is that an acronym (like TCP) refers to a concept, which is called a protocol. An RFC number (like RFC-793) indicates the specific version of the protocol specification. An STD number (like STD-7) designates the status of the protocol.
There are several reasons why the STDs are part of the larger RFC series of notes.
The foremost reason is that the distribution mechanisms for RFCs are tried and true. Anyone who can get an RFC, can automatically get a STD. More important, anyone who knows of the RFC series can easily find the STDs.
Another reason for making STDs part of the RFC series is that the maintenance mechanisms for RFCs are already in place. It makes sense to maintain similar documents is a similar way.
Each STD RFC must include on its first page the "Status of this Memo" section which contains a paragraph describing the intention of the RFC. This section is meant to convey the status approved by the Internet Activities Board (IAB).
Each STD RFC will also include a "distribution statement". As the purpose of the STD series is to disseminate information, there is no reason for the distribution to be anything other than "unlimited".
Typically, the distribution statement will simply be the sentence "Distribution of this memo is unlimited." appended to the "Status of this Memo" section.
Each STD RFC must have at the very end a section giving the author's address, including the name and postal address, the telephone number, and the Internet email address.
Internet Activities Board [Page 3]
RFC 1311 RFC on STD RFCs March 1992
In the case of multiple authors, each of the authors will be listed. In the case of a document produced by a group, the editor of the document will be listed and optionally the chair of the group may be listed.
New STD RFCs are announced to the RFC distribution list maintained by the Network Information Center (NIC). Contact the NIC to be added or deleted from this mailing list by sending an email message to RFC- REQUEST@NIC.DDN.MIL.
STD RFCs may be obtained in the same way as any RFC.
Details on obtaining RFCs via FTP or EMAIL may be obtained by sending an EMAIL message to "rfc-info@ISI.EDU" with the message body "help: ways_to_get_rfcs". For example:
To: rfc-info@ISI.EDU Subject: getting rfcs
The current standards are listed in the "IAB Official Protocol Standards" (which is STD-1), whose current edition is RFC-1280.
Security issues are not discussed in this memo.
Jon Postel USC/Information Sciences Institute 4676 Admiralty Way Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Phone: 310-822-1511 Fax: 310-823-6714
Internet Activities Board [Page 4]
RFC 1311 RFC on STD RFCs March 1992
APPENDIX -- The Grandfathered STDs
Protocol Name Status RFC STD ======== ===================================== ======= ===== ==== -------- IAB Official Protocol Standards Req 1280 1 -------- Assigned Numbers Req 1060 2 -------- Host Requirements Req 1122,1123 3 -------- Gateway Requirements Req 1009 4 IP Internet Protocol Req 791 5 as amended by: -------- IP Subnet Extension Req 950 5 -------- IP Broadcast Datagrams Req 919 5 -------- IP Broadcast Datagrams with Subnets Req 922 5 ICMP Internet Control Message Protocol Req 792 5 IGMP Internet Group Multicast Protocol Rec 1112 5 UDP User Datagram Protocol Rec 768 6 TCP Transmission Control Protocol Rec 793 7 TELNET Telnet Protocol Rec 854,855 8 FTP File Transfer Protocol Rec 959 9 SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol Rec 821 10 MAIL Format of Electronic Mail Messages Rec 822 11 CONTENT Content Type Header Field Rec 1049 11 NTP Network Time Protocol Rec 1119 12 DOMAIN Domain Name System Rec 1034,1035 13 DNS-MX Mail Routing and the Domain System Rec 974 14 SNMP Simple Network Management Protocol Rec 1157 15 SMI Structure of Management Information Rec 1155 16 MIB-II Management Information Base-II Rec 1213 17 EGP Exterior Gateway Protocol Rec 904 18 NETBIOS NetBIOS Service Protocols Ele 1001,1002 19 ECHO Echo Protocol Rec 862 20 DISCARD Discard Protocol Ele 863 21 CHARGEN Character Generator Protocol Ele 864 22 QUOTE Quote of the Day Protocol Ele 865 23 USERS Active Users Protocol Ele 866 24 DAYTIME Daytime Protocol Ele 867 25 TIME Time Server Protocol Ele 868 26