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 are an older form of RFC.) 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:
The following documents are somewhat more specialized.
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:
RFC's: rfc:rfc-index.txt rfc:rfcxxx.txt IEN's: ien:ien-index.txt ien:ien-xxx.txt
rip.doc is available by anonymous FTP from topaz.rutgers.edu, as /pub/tcp-ip-docs/rip.doc.
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
RFC's: /topaz/pub/pub/tcp-ip-docs/rfc-index.txt /topaz/pub/pub/tcp-ip-docs/rfcxxx.txt IEN's: /topaz/pub/pub/tcp-ip-docs/ien-index.txt /topaz/pub/pub/tcp-ip-docs/ien-xxx.txt /topaz/pub/pub/tcp-ip-docs/rip.docNote that SRI-NIC has the entire set of RFC's and IEN's, but rutgers and topaz have only those specifically mentioned above.