Standards Title

Major Organizations that Create Data Communications Standards

Without standardized protocols for communicating data between computers it would be very difficult to have the low cost and ubiquitous information devices that are available today. These key standards organizations provide a forum for discussion turning discussions into formal specifications. Protocol standards are usually created in one of the following ways:

  • Defacto Standard - A company creates a protocol that is adopted by other manufacturers. An example of this is IBM's SNA (System Network Architecture) and BiSync.

  • Industry Association - A group of companies get together with the understanding of creating an interoperable standard. It is not sanctioned by one of the formal standards bodies and may selective on their membership. Examples of this type of group are the ATMForum and The Bluetooth Alliance.

  • Standards Bodies - Groups that are a government accredited organization and immune to prosecution for collusion (as long as they obey their rules). They have an open, formal process for membership, require their membership to share relevant patents on a fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are examples of this type of standards body.

Each of these approaches has certain benefits and problems. For example, a defacto standard can be done rapidly, usually is complete, and can be modified rapidly should problems be encountered. Standards bodies work a much slower pace designed to ensure input from all its members. A defacto standard may not be widely used but one created by many people invest their time because of their intent to create a product.


There are a large number of organizations creating standards. These organizations usually specialize in the types of standards they work on. For example the T1 organization of ANSI works on protocols primarily used by the phone companies for medium and long distance communications. The IEEE 802 committee works primarily on Local Area Networks (LANs) used for communication over a shorter distance.


Some of the better-known standards organizations are:

  • ANSI – The American National Standards Institute
  • ETSI– European Telecommunications Standards Institute
  • T1– Committee T1
  • ADSL – The ADSL Forum
  • ATM – The ATM Forum
  • ITU – The International Telecommunication Union
  • IETF – The Internet Engineering Task Force
  • IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
  • TIA – Telecommunications Industry Association

Listed below is a summary of each of these standards organizations and a list of the working groups showing the development activity. You may click on their logo to go to their website. For a specific data communication standard, please go to our Web Links page.


Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers

A professional organization defines many different industries including Project 802 that defines Local Area Network standards. Important IEEE LAN standards include Ethernet IEEE 802.3 and wireless 802.11. Their current groups are:

  • 802.1 – Higher Layer LAN Protocols Working Group

  • 802.2 – Logical Link Control Working Group (Inactive)

  • 802.3 – Ethernet Working Group

  • 802.5 – Token Ring Working Group

  • 802.6 – Metropolitan Area Network (Inactive)

  • 802.8 – Fiber Optic TAG

  • 802.9 – Isochronous LAN Working Group

  • 802.10 – Security Working Group

  • 802.11 – Wireless LAN Working Group

  • 802.12 – Demand Priority Working Group

  • 802.15 – Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN)

  • 802.16 – Broadband Wireless Access Working Group

  • 802.17 – Resilient Packet Ring Working Group


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

ANSI is one of the primary US standards organizations and it oversees approximately 275 Accredited Standards Developers (ASD) that do the actual writing of the standards. It sets policy, reviews the ASD's rules, and establishes consistent patent policies.. Some of the ASDs that do data communications are:

  • ATIS – Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (T1 Committee)
  • IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
  • EIA - Electronic Industries Alliance
  • OEOSC – Optics and Electro-Optics Standards Council
  • SCTE – Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers
  • SMPTE – Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers

For the complete list of ANSI ASDs, click here (size 2.2 MB).


Committee T1

The Committee T1, working under the ATIS umbrella and accredited by ANSI, creates network interconnections and interoperability standards for the United States. Their standards focus is on meeting the needs of the telephone companies. Their working groups:

  • T1A1 – Performance & Signal Processing

  • T1E1– Interfaces, Power & Protection for Networks

  • T1M1 – Internetwork Operations, Administration,
    Maintenance, &Provisioning (IOAM&P)

  • T1P1 – Wireless/Mobile Services and Systems

  • T1S1– Services, Architectures & Signaling

  • T1X1 – Digital Hierarchy & Synchronization


The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)

ETSI develops a wide range of standards in telecommunications, broadcasting and information technology.

  • TMN - Telecommunications Management Network

  • TETRA - TErrestrial Trunked RAdio


  • VPN - Virtual Private Network

  • xDSL - Various Digital Subscriber Loop Technologies

The ADSL Forum

The ADSL Forum is a nonprofit corporation organized to create guidelines for ADSL network system development and deployment.

The ATM Forum

The ATM Forum Residential Broadband Group is defining a complete end-to-end ATM system both to and from the home, to a variety of devices, e.g. STB, PC and other home devices. ADSL is seen as one of the possible physical interfaces between the ATM access network and the Home Access Network (HAN).

Standards development has occurred in the following areas:


  • AIC/ATM-IP Collaboration (formerly LanE)

  • B-ICI

  • Control Signaling

  • DANS - ATM Directory Services

  • Data Exchange Interface

  • Directory and Naming Services

  • Frame-based ATM

  • ILMI - Integrated Local Mgmt. Interface

  • Network Management

  • Physical Layer

  • P-NNI


  • Routing and Addressing

  • Residential Broadband

  • Service Aspects and Applications

  • Security

  • Signaling

  • Testing

  • Traffic Management

  • Voice & Telephony over ATM

  • User-Network Interface (UNI)

  • Wireless ATM

International Telecommunication Union

The ITU, headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland is an international organization within the United Nations System where governments and the private sector coordinate global telecom networks and services.

  • ITU-D - Development Sector

  • ITU-R - Radio communication Sector

  • ITU-T - Telecommunication Standardization Sector

The ITU-T was created in 1993, replacing the former International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT) whose origins go back to 1865.


The Internet Engineering Task Force

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet.


Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

The TIA is an organization within EIA (Electronic Industries Alliance) that represents providers of communications and information technology products and services for the global marketplace through its core competencies in standards development, domestic and international advocacy, as well as market development and trade promotion programs.

  • TR-8 - Mobile and Personal Private Radio Standards

  • TR-14 - Point-to-Point Communications

  • TR-29 - Facsimile Systems and Equipment

  • TR-30 - Data Transmission Systems and Equipment

  • TR-32 - Personal Communications Equipment

  • TR-34 - Satellite Equipment and Systems

  • TR-41 - User Premises Telecommunication Requirements

  • TR-42 - User Premises Telecommunications Infrastructure

  • TR-45 - Mobile and Personal Communications Systems Standards

  • TR-46 - Mobile & Personal Communications 1800 Standards

  • FO-2 - Committee on Optical Communication Systems

  • FO-6 - Fiber Optics


Others worth mentioning:

         International Organization for Standardization (ISO)--An international standards organization responsible for a wide range of standards, including those relevant to networking. This organization is responsible for the OSI reference model and the OSI protocol suite.

         Internet Activities Board (IAB)--A group of internetwork researchers who meet regularly to discuss issues pertinent to the Internet. This board sets much of the policy for the Internet through decisions and assignment of task forces to various issues. Some Request for Comments (RFC) documents are designated by the IAB as Internet standards, including Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).



2018 NextGen Datacom, Inc.