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Request for Comments

Request for Comments

(also RFC)

Request for Comments definition

A formal document created by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that outlines requirements for a particular type of technology. When a Request for Comments (RFC) is ratified, it is converted into a full-fledged standards document. RFCs were initially implemented during the development of the ARPANET protocols, which led to the establishment of the internet as we know it today. They continue to be distributed on an ongoing basis despite the fact that the technology that underpins the internet is constantly undergoing development. After an RFC has been drafted and reviewed by a committee, it goes through a final ratification process in which no additional comments or modifications are accepted. The status of the remaining RFCs is either ‘informational’ or ‘experimental’, and they have not been ratified.

Examples:

  • In April 1971, Request for Comments (RFC) 114 was released with the first version of the File Transfer Protocol standard. Eventually, RFC 959 and then RFC 765 would take its place. Thus, RFCs are also updated as technology evolves.

Designations RFCs receive:

  • Internet Standard
  • Proposed Standard
  • Best Current Practice
  • Experimental
  • Informational
  • Historic

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