This lesson explores the network protocols that aid in data communication. It also discusses networking standards (formal and de facto) and introduces some of the organizations that are involved in establishing these networking standards.
Standards and Protocols Necessity
With the creation of huge computer networks, with many more devices being added to the chain each day, it became necessary to set up some standards that defined the way computers interacted with each other and how data was transferred amongst them. Standards and protocols provide the essential rules that enable hardware and software to work together in order to allow devices to communicate over a computer network. The major network protocol suite used for this purpose is Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).
When discussing standards, formal and de facto are the two most commonly used. Networking organizations such as IEEE, ISO, IETF, ITU-T, and CODASYL set the standards for network communication and facilitate interoperability of network technologies. All network protocols and components are designed per these standards.
TCP/IP is a standard protocol that defines how information is bundled together in what is called network packets and sent across a network between devices without any damage or loss to it. This protocol stack was developed in 1978 by Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf. It's responsible for the guaranteed transfer of information across a network.
TCP is a layer four (transport layer) connection-oriented protocol, which ensures the establishment of a connection between the source and destination before transferring data. In the network layer, the internet protocol carries 32-bit sized packets from the source that hold the IP address of the destination.
Functions & Characteristics of TCP/IP
TCP ensures the establishment of a safe connection for data transfer. The data transferred using TCP arrives at the destination in the same order as was sent from the source. Checksums are performed in order to detect errors in the data transfer sequence. Destination addresses are stored that point to where packets need to be delivered. IP addresses are used in routing packets across a network.
Standards are the procedures or widely agreed-upon rules set by networking organizations for designing networks, network components, and data transfer processes. Typically, two types of standards are followed in the industry:
- Formal standards - these are built by the officials and network professionals in organizations
- De facto standards - these are widely accepted standards that are created as per market requirements
Networking Standards Bodies
Some of the organizations that are popular in the networking world for setting up significant data transfer standards include IEEE, ISO, ACM, IETF, ITU-T, and CODASYL.
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) - This organization is responsible for developing network architectures and electrical interfaces required for enhancing the existing networks.
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO) - This promotes the standardization and development of data communications and computing. This organization developed the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model that set defined sending and receiving of data in a network .
- International Telecommunication Union - Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) - This organization lays the foundations for government communications. It also defines the tariffs principles for telecommunication services.
- Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) - This organization is responsible for the creation of computer standards, publishing latest updates of the industry, and conducting tech seminars.
- Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) - This organization is the hub for network designers, researchers, operators, and vendors who decide the standards for improving the existing networks.
- Conference on Data Systems Languages (CODASYL) - This organization was originally established for developing computer coding languages, and is famously known for developing COBOL language.
Internet communication takes place based on set standards and protocols. These are required for establishing appropriate paths and channels for transferring and receiving information. The most common suite of protocols used for this is TCP/IP. These are responsible for sending data across networks in a secure and orderly fashion. Many organizations and governing bodies create standards and rules for data communication based on developed network configurations and components. These standards are frequently updated to meet new requirements.