Internet Standards are rules put into place so that many types of programs, such as Web browsers, FTP clients, and other applications that communicate over the Internet will interact smoothly. There is a governing group that determines and documents these rules. The group is called the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
The IETF is an international group of computer people such as network designers, software vendors, researchers, and operators. The IETF meets several times a year to discuss current and emerging issues regarding the Internet.
Much of the technical work of the IETF is done in working groups. These groups are organized by topics such as Internet security. The IETF working groups are grouped into areas, and managed by Area Directors. The Area Directors are also members of the Internet Engineering Steering Group.
The output of these groups is a Request For Comment (RFC). The RFC is a proposal for a new standard, and the working notes about that new standard. An RFC is given a number, and is referred to by the abbreviation ‘RFC’ and the number. The IETF facilitates discussion, and eventually a new standard is established. When the standard is established the reference number/name remains the same.
It is important to choose software products that conform to Internet standards. For example, an Internet standard FTP client, such as WebDrive will work with any Internet standard FTP server. Because the FTP protocol is defined in an RFC, all FTP clients and servers adhering to the RFC will work together smoothly. Likewise, an Internet standard FTP server such as Titan FTP Server, will work well with any Internet standard FTP Client.
Choosing products based upon Internet standards gives you the most flexibility, and ensures compatibility with other applications.