Feb 19, 2024
Behind the Scenes of Internet Standards Organizations

Internet Standards Organizations

Internet standards are the backbone of the world wide web. Without them, systems built on one set of rules would have difficulty communicating with those built on another.

The IETF is a bottom-up organization that relies on working groups to identify operational problems and propose solutions. The groups are organized into areas, and each is overseen by an area director. The IETF also receives architectural coordination from the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).


IETF is a bottom-up organization that creates Internet standards through collaboration and open processes. Its 130+ Working Groups (WGs) are chartered and work in eight different topic areas. Most WG work takes place online on public mailing lists and at IETF meetings. IETF participants are committed to collaborative, respectful discussion and do not view their opinions as inherently superior or inferior to those of others. In fact, the unofficial motto of IETF is “rough consensus and running code.”

The IETF’s technical coordination and oversight is provided by the Internet Engineering Steering Group, which is a committee of experts and professionals elected from among IETF participants. The IESG oversees the IETF’s eight topic areas, and provides top-level guidance to Working Groups in each area. It also comments on and approves all RFCs before they are published.

The IETF publishes its Internet standards in the form of RFCs, which describe how to implement specific features of the Internet. IETF standards are implemented in production networks and often evolve as implementation experience grows.


The W3C develops standards for the Web, ensuring that developers have tools that work across platforms. Its standards allow websites to be accessible by people with disabilities, and improve security and privacy. The organization also encourages innovation by promoting open Web technology. Its revenues are primarily from membership fees and grants.

Upon completion of its work, the W3C may publish a specification as a “Recommendation.” This means that it has been reviewed and tested by the community, and that software that implements the specification should function as expected. It is considered stable and ready for wide use.

A Working Group’s goal is to study a technical or policy issue and produce specifications or prototype software that will become W3C Recommendations. The group may include Coordination Groups and Interest Groups, and it must adhere to the W3C Working Group Process, including the consensus policy. Participation in a Working Group is by invitation only. The invitation is based on the Advisory Committee’s review of an Activity Proposal, which includes a proposal to dedicate Team and Member resources.


ECMA is an international standardization body for information communication technology and consumer electronics. It develops publicly available standards and technical reports. Its publications are free of charge and may be used without restriction. Moreover, the organization works in co-operation with national and international organizations to promote their use. Its membership is open to any legal entity that produces, markets or develops computer systems.

Currently, the TC39 is working on ES7+, which will be published in 2016. The features will be rolled out over time, so that most browsers will eventually support them. These new versions of ECMA Script are often referred to by their year, for example, ES2016 or ES2017.

ECMA’s technical committees hold physical, hybrid, or virtual meetings depending on their needs. They are generally held outside of ECMA’s headquarters at the invitation of a TC member who hosts the meeting at their facility. They try to be efficient and economical while focusing on the quality of their work.


The NSRC started out as a volunteer effort to support networking in southern Africa. It helped organize, teach about and help deploy a multi-country network using varying technologies, from FidoNet over dialup lines to UUCP over low cost 9600 baud links with old PCs running publicly available PC-based SLIP routing software, to low-cost IP technology based on dedicated, multi-point-to-point connections to the public Internet.

The NSRC also arranges workshops, seminars and technical training courses for people interested in networking. Its members have presented at international conferences, such as ICANN, ISOC INET and PacNOG.

The NSRC also helps developing countries build Internet infrastructure and engineering expertise. It works directly with indigenous network operator groups, collaborating with universities and government agencies to provide networking information, engineering assistance and equipment. The NSRC also supports students by offering scholarships for their participation in international networking conferences and other events. This scholarship is a great opportunity for the aspiring engineers.

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