Request for Comments (RFC)

Definition of Request for Comments (RFC) in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is RFC (Request for Comments)?

A document that describes the standards, protocols, and technologies of the Internet and TCP/IP. Since 1969, about 2400 Requests for Comments (RFCs) have been published on various networking protocols, procedures, applications, and concepts.

Internet and TCP/IP standards are generated by consensus rather than by committee. Any member of the Internet Society (ISOC) can submit an RFC for consideration, although submission is usually done through the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Once published, an RFC is reviewed by various technical groups and given one of five classifications:

  • Required
  • Recommended
  • Elective
  • Limited Use
  • Not Recommended

Once an RFC is classified, it is published as an Internet Draft and is discussed and tested by research and technical groups and individuals. It might eventually go through the following stages of development:

  1. Proposed standard:
    Stable, well understood, and generally considered useful

     

  2. Draft standard:
    Stable enough to develop implementations of the standard in applications and networking technology

     

  3. Internet standard:
    Technically mature, widely implemented, and significantly beneficial to the Internet community

     

RFCs are sequentially numbered and published by the RFC Editor at the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California.

NOTE

Old RFCs are not updated, so several RFCs might relate to the same Internet protocol or technology, and some of them might be obsolete. To find the current RFC for a protocol or technology, see the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) Official Protocol Standard published quarterly by the IAB. The following table shows some of the important RFCs for commonly used Internet protocols.


Some Important RFCs for Internet Protocols

Protocol RFC(s)
ARP
826
DHCP
2131, 2132
DNS
1034, 1035
FTP
959
HTTP-1.1
2068
ICMP
792
IGMP
1112
IMAP4
2060
IP
791, 919, 922, 950
IPv6
1883
Kerberos
1510
LDAPv3
2251
MIME
2045, 2046, 2047, 2049
NetBIOS
1001, 1002
NNTP
977
OSPFv2
2328
POP3
1939
PPP
1661, 1662
PPP-CHAP
1994
PPP-MP
1990
RADIUS
2138
RMON
1757
RSVP
2205
SMTP
821, 822, 974, 1869, 1870
SNMP
1157
SNMPv2
1441
TCP
793
Telnet
854, 855
UDP
768

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