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The IETF and Telecommunications Standards: Progress through cooperation

The Internet Society is the organizational home for the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards, including the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The IETF is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, users and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. The IETF has been developing standards for Internet-related technologies since 1986.

As the Internet migrated from a small research network to a general-purpose telecommunications system it began to impact the activities of other Standard Development Organizations (SDOs). Beginning in the early 1990s the IETF began working with a number of these SDOs. Initially the cooperation was informal but starting with RFC 2436 (Collaboration between ISOC/IETF and ITU-T) in 1998 these relationships have been put on a more formal basis. The currently active formal relationships between the IETF and other SDOs are described in the following RFCs:

RFC 3113: 3GPP-IETF Standardization Collaboration
RFC 3131: 3GPP2-IETF Standardization Collaboration
RFC 3356: Internet Engineering Task Force and International Telecommunication Union - Telecommunications Standardization Sector Collaboration Guidelines

In addition the IAB has appointed liaisons to a number of JTC1 study groups, the ATM Forum, Unicode, WIPO, and the ICANN Board of Directors.

Most interactions between the IETF and other SDOs occur directly at the Working Group or Working Party level.

IETF standards are relied upon by standards developed by SDOs around the world and IETF relies on the standards from other SDOs. In some cases the IETF undertakes joint work with another SDO on the development of a standard. Examples of jointly developed standards include Internet FAX, developed with the ITU-T, XML Signatures, developed with the W3C and Megaco/H.248, developed with the ITU-T.

For more information: