10. Getting more information

This directory contains documents describing the major protocols. There are literally hundreds of documents, so we have chosen the ones that seem most important. Internet standards are called RFC's. RFC stands for Request for Comment. A proposed standard is initially issued as a proposal, and given an RFC number. When it is finally accepted, it is added to Official Internet Protocols, but it is still referred to by the RFC number. We have also included two IEN's. (IEN's used to be a separate classification for more informal documents. This classification no longer exists -- RFC's are now used for all official Internet documents, and a mailing list is used for more informal reports.) The convention is that whenever an RFC is revised, the revised version gets a new number. This is fine for most purposes, but it causes problems with two documents: Assigned Numbers and Official Internet Protocols. These documents are being revised all the time, so the RFC number keeps changing. You will have to look in rfc- index.txt to find the number of the latest edition. Anyone who is seriously interested in TCP/IP should read the RFC describing IP (791). RFC 1009 is also useful. It is a specification for gateways to be used by NSFnet. As such, it contains an overview of a lot of the TCP/IP technology. You should probably also read the description of at least one of the application protocols, just to get a feel for the way things work. Mail is probably a good one (821/822). TCP (793) is of course a very basic specification. However the spec is fairly complex, so you should only read this when you have the time and patience to think about it carefully. Fortunately, the author of the major RFC's (Jon Postel) is a very good writer. The TCP RFC is far easier to read than you would expect, given the complexity of what it is describing. You can look at the other RFC's as you become curious about their subject matter.

Here is a list of the documents you are more likely to want:

     rfc-index list of all RFC's

               Simple  Network Management Protocol (SNMP).  A protocol
               to get information from gateways and hosts, to  monitor
               failures,   and   to  reconfigure  gateways  and  hosts
               remotely.  This protocol will  be  the  foundation  for
               network  management  activities  involving TCP/IP.  RFC
               1028 documents the Simple Gateway  Monitoring  Protocol
               (SGMP),  which  is an interim protocol on which SNMP is
               based.  SGMP will be replaced by SNMP during 1988/89.

               protocols for reading mail on PC's

     rfc1062   Assigned  Numbers.  If you are working with TCP/IP, you
               will probably want a hardcopy of this as  a  reference.
               It's  not  very exciting to read, but is essential.  It
               lists all the offically defined  well-known  ports  and
               lots of other things.

     rfc1059   Network  Time  Protocol.   A protocol for synchronizing
               the time on all your machines.  Also allows you to  get
               time from one of the national time standards.

     rfc1058   Routing  Information  Protocol.    Details  of the most
               commonly-used routing protocol.

     rfc1057   RPC.  A protocol for remote  procedure  calls.    Sun's
               Network  File  System is based on this.  The actual NFS
               protocol specification is currently available only from
               Sun.    Sun  supplies a public domain implementation of
               RPC.  Aside from its use by NFS  (whose  implementation
               is not public domain), RPC has been used by a number of
               groups  for  building  server/client  systems  such  as
               remote database servers.  See also rfc1014.

     rfc1042   IP  encapsulation  for IEEE 802 networks.  This will be
               used for the IEEE  token  ring,  broadband,  etc.    In
               principle  it  seems  that  this  would cover Ethernet,
               since  Ethernet  is  IEEE  802.3.  However  the  normal
               encapsulation used on Ethernet is defined by rfc894.

               domains (the database used to go  from  host  names  to
               Internet  address  and back -- also used to handle UUCP
               these days).  This includes protocol standards, as well
               as information directed at people who are going to have
               to set up a domain name server.  Every site should have
               a copy of these documents.

     rfc1014   XDR:  External  Data  Representation Standard.  This is
               part of the specifications for Sun's RPC protocol  (rfc
               1057),  which  is the protocol underlying Sun's Network
               File System.

     rfc1013   X Window System Protocol, Version 11.    Documents  the
               most commonly used remote window system.

     rfc1012   list  of  all  rfc's  below  1000,  with  somewhat more
               information than rfc-index.

     rfc1011   Official Protocols.  It's useful to scan  this  to  see
               what tasks protocols have been built for.  This defines
               which  rfc's  are  actual  standards,  as  opposed   to
               requests for comments.

     rfc1009   NSFnet  gateway  specifications.  A good overview of IP
               routing and gateway technology.

     rfc1001/2 netBIOS: networking for PC's

     rfc959    FTP (file transfer)

     rfc950    subnets

     rfc894    how IP is to be put on Ethernet, see also rfc825

     rfc854/5  telnet - protocol for remote logins

     rfc826    ARP - protocol for finding out Ethernet addresses

     rfc821/2  mail

     rfc814    names and ports - general  concepts  behind  well-known

     rfc793    TCP

     rfc792    ICMP

     rfc791    IP

     rfc768    UDP

     ien-116   old  name  server  (still  needed  by  several kinds of

     ien-48    the  Catenet  model,   general   description   of   the
               philosophy behind TCP/IP
The following documents are somewhat more specialized.
     rfc1055   SLIP (IP for dialup lines)

     rfc1054   IP multicasting

     rfc1048   Bootp,  a protocol often used to allow diskless systems
               to find their IP address.

     rfc813    window and acknowledgement strategies in TCP

     rfc815    datagram reassembly techniques

     rfc816    fault isolation and resolution techniques

     rfc817    modularity and efficiency in implementation

     rfc879    the maximum segment size option in TCP

     rfc896    congestion control

               EGP and related issues
To those of you who may be reading this document remotely instead of at Rutgers: The most important rfc's have been collected into a three-volume set, the DDN Protocol Handbook. It is available from the DDN Network Information Center, SRI International, 333 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, California 94025 (telephone: 800-235-3155). You should be able to get them via anonymous FTP from sri-nic.arpa. File names are:
Sites with access to UUCP but not FTP may be able to retreive them via UUCP from UUCP host rutgers. The file names would be
Note that SRI-NIC has the entire set of rfc's and IEN's, but rutgers and topaz have only those specifically mentioned above.