Archived - What Does RFC Mean?

I have seen references to RFC-XXXX where XXXX is a number. What does RFC mean?
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
RFC stands for "Request for Comment". This refers to a description of a standard for new or modified internet or networking protocols. When standards are proposed, they are made available for public comment so that they can be refined and agreed upon. The document which details the proposed standards is called a "request for comment" document, or RFC. When the standards are finalized, they keep the same "RFC" name.

For example, the RFC which defines the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the format that web pages are written in, is RFC-1866. See the following:

ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc1866.txt

Note: Many of these documents are highly technical and may be difficult to understand without existing knowledge of the subject matter.

The most common reason to need to know about a specific RFC is to judge if two components (system software, application software, network hardware or computer hardware) are compatible and interoperable. Generally speaking, if two devices support the same RFCs, then they are most likely interoperable. In case of doubt, contact the manufactuer of the two components.

There are many search engines on the Internet that can aid you in finding a particular RFC, such as:

http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfcsearch.html

The following comes from the RFC Editor, which can be found at:

http://www.rfc-editor.org/

"The Requests for Comments (RFCs) are a series of notes, started in 1969, about the Internet (originally the ARPANET). The notes discuss many aspects of computing and computer communication focusing in networking protocols, procedures, programs, and concepts, but also including meeting notes, opinion, and sometimes humor. The specification documents of the Internet protocol suite, as defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and its steering group (the IESG), are published as RFCs. The RFC Editor is the publisher of the RFCs and is responsible for the final editorial review of the documents."
Last Modified: Feb 18, 2012
  • Last Modified: Feb 18, 2012
  • Article: TA37584
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