February 2017

What does RFC mean?

RFCs (Request For Comments) are a collection of documents which are referred to by the Internet community and which describe, specify and assist in the implementation, standardization and discussion of the majority of norms, standards, technologies and protocols related to the Internet and networks in general.

Who writes these RFCs?

The TCP/IP protocol suite represents a collection of norms drawn up by an organization called the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). This organization officially publishes their reports in the form of requests, available to all, making it possible to clarify a great number of subjects relating to TCP/IP.

Each of these documents represents a specification proposal which can be made obsolete at any time by a new RFC document. So, RFCs are text files where the name is "rfcxxxx.txt" where xxxx is a number incremented for each new RFC. There are currently more than 2000, representing a size of approximately 130MB (25MB once compressed). However a number of these files have been replaced by more recent files.

In reality, anyone can write a RFC and submit it to the IETF by sending it to the coordinator: rfc.editor@rfc.editor.org. If it is accepted, it will appear after having been appraised by the coordinators. RFC1543, entitled instructions to RFC authors, explains how to compose an RFC.

What are the interesting RFCs?

The most interesting RFCs are the recent RFCs which talk about the most common protocols or services:

Specification RFC
UDP protocol RFC768
IP protocol RFC791
ICMP protocol RFC792
TCP protocol RFC793
FTP protocol RFC959
Webmail RFC822
Telnet protocol RFC854
NNTP protocol RFC977
Netbios RFC1001
SLIP protocol RFC1055
FAQ for beginners RFC1206
FAQ for experienced users RFC1207
Network glossary RFC1208
RFCs RFC1325
MIME (MultiPurpose Mail Extension) RFC2045, RFC2046 and RFC2047
Allocation of IP addresses for intranets RFC1597
PPP protocol RFC1661
Port numbers RFC3232
HTTP protocol RFC2068
LDAPv3 protocol RFC2251
SMTP protocol RFC2821

How to obtain them?

These documents are available on a large number of FTP sites:

The website http://www.rfc-editor.org also allows these documents to be downloaded, as well as providing the opportunity to download the archive of more than 20MB containing all the RFCs.


RFC (petición de comentarios)
RFC (petición de comentarios)
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