$$$ standards search engines -

Standards allow things to be trusted !!  They allow things to work together with one another.  Without standards, we could not count on anything in this world.  

The number of standards groups (called "bodies") is staggering.  Why, in the U.S. alone, it is estimated that there are hundreds of “traditional” SDO's (Standards Developing Organizations).  The 20 largest SDOs produce 90% of the standards - and hundreds more “non-traditional” standards development bodies, such as consortia, pitch in with their own sets of standards. 

There are literally millions of standards, which form the basis of product development.  Standards are recorded and published for the world, so that products can be designed with interoperability in mind.  The only way to be sure that a design will coexist with other systems, is to have a standard to follow.  These pages discuss the most prevalent telecom standards as well a electrical and mechanical standards.

Working Together - this is the biggest challenge that faces the standards groups.  If they all developed standards on theor own for the same technology (and this happens constantly) without deferring to the others, chaos would result.  For example, you would have 20 differing standards on SONET.  They must maintain close contact with one another and work together.  The key is communication, cooperation, and partnering.  For example, ANSI oversees hundreds of standards bodies to make sure that they do not all work on the same thing.  Then it updates it's published standards if another standards organization, such as ISO, makes a parallel yet new change to that particular technology.  

Major Standards Organizations


American National Standards Institute

11 W 42nd Street, 13th Floor
New York, NY
USA, 10036

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th St SW
Washington, DC
USA 20554

National Fire Protection Association

1 Batterymarch Park
PO Box 9101
Quincy, Mass
USA 02269-9101

American Society for Testing and Materials

100 Barr Harbour Drive
W Conshohocken, PA
USA 19428-2959

Insulated Cable Engineers Association Inc

PO Box 440
S Yarmouth, Mass
USA 02664

National Research Council of Canada

Institute for Research in Construction
Bldg M-20, Montreal Rd Campus
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1A 0R6
Bellcore see Telcordia Technologies IEEE

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc

445 Hoes Ln
PO Box 1331
Piscataway, New Jersey
USA 08855-1331

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

200 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC
USA 20210

European Committee for Electromechanical Standardization

Rue de Stassart, 35
B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

International Organization for Standardization

1, rue de Varembe
Case Postale 56
CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland

Rural Utilities Services

AG-Box 1522
14th and Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC
USA 20250

Canadian Standards Association

178 Rexdale Blvd
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M9W 1R3
*** formerly CCITT
International Telecommunications Union

Place des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland
Telcordia Technologies

Telcordia Technologies

8 Corporate Pl # 3A 184
Piscataway, New Jersey
USA 08854-4120

Electronics Industries Alliance

2500 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA
USA 22201-3834

National Electrical Manufacturers Association

1300 N 17th St, Suite 1847
Rosslyn, Virginia
USA 22209

Telecommunications Industry Association

2500 Wilson Blvd, Suite 300
Arlington, Virginia
USA 22201-3834

National Institute of Standards and Technology

100 Bureau Drive, Stop 3460
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-3460
(301) 975-NIST (6478)

International Electrotechnical Commission
3, rue de Varembé
P.O. Box 131
CH - 1211 GENEVA 20
Phone: +41 22 919 02 11  (ch = Swiss)

*** ANSI runs the IEC's U.S TC
(TC = Technical Committee)

Underwriters Laboratories Inc

333 Pfingsten Rd
Northbrook, IL
USA 60062

European Telecommunications Standards Inst.


Alliance for Telecommunications Industry
1200 G Street, NW
Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20005
Ph: 202.628.6380  



Free Standards

Unfortunately, many Standards Bodies have websites that insist on payment to download their standards - ANSI is one of them.  But if you are tenacious enough, you can find many of the predominant standards papers.  Here are a few excellent sources:

Number Title Author or Ed. Date Format More Info (Obs&Upd) Status
Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6) Specification  S. Deering, R. Hinden December 1995 ASCII Obsoleted by RFC2460  PROPOSED STANDARD

NOTE:  Bellcore has changed its name to Telcordia Technologies and has changed some of the numbers of standards.  Their standards are named as follows:

Standards you must Purchase

This is terrible - to have to pay for these, especially at these outrageous prices ! !  As an example of how expensive these are - suppose you need the SONET standards from ANSI.  As shown below - to get them all you're looking at about $1500 !!!

Document # Document Title Price Member Discount Available
ANSI T1.105.04-1995 (R2001) Approved American National Standard Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) - Data Communication Channel Protocol and Architectures $96.00 No
ANSI T1.105.07-1996 (R2001) Approved American National Standard Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) - Sub-STS-1 Interface Rates and Formats Specification $108.00 No
T1.105-2001 Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) - Basic Description including Multiplex Structure, Rates, and Formats $251.00 No
T1.105.01-2000 Approved American National Standard Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) - Automatic Protection $251.00 No
T1.105.02-2001 Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) - Payload Mappings $130.00 No
T1.105.03-2003 Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) - Jitter and Wander at Network and Equipment Interfaces (Revision of T1.105.03-1994, T1.105.03a-1995, and T1.105.03b-1997) $227.00 No
T1.105.05-2002 Synchronous Optical Network (SONET): Tandem Connection Maintenance (Revision of T1.105.05-1994) $108.00 No
T1.105.06-2002 Synchronous Optical Network (SONET): Physical Layer Specifications [Revision, redesignation, and consolidation of T1.105.06-1996 and T1.117-1991 (R1997)] $96.00 No
T1.105.07a-1998 (R2003) Supplement ANSI T1.105.07a-1998 $25.00 No
T1.105.08-2001 Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) - In-band Forward Error Correction Code Specification $96.00 No
T1.105.09-1996 (R2002) Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) Network Timing and Synchronization $108.00 No  (you can buy ISO standards at ).  ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developer of standards - principally in the development of technical standards.  Their most famous standard, oddly enough, goes by the acronym "OSI" - the reverse of ISO.  Short for Open System Interconnection, OSI is  ISO standard for worldwide communications that defines a networking framework for implementing protocols in seven layers.

ISO is a non-governmental organization whose network of the national standards institutes includes 148 countries, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.  Many of their standards were developed in concert with the IEC and are named as such - for example, ISO/IEC 23290:2004 - still others were published by ANSI, for example:  ISO/IEC 15521:1998.  

ISO Telecommunications standards - they are at the ISO store at - here is the list: 

33.020 Telecommunications in general Including infrastructure
33.030 Telecommunication services. Applications
  Including supplementary services, service aspects and associated legal tracability aspects
33.040 Telecommunication systems Including network (system) aspects
33.050 Telecommunication terminal equipment
33.060 Radiocommunications
33.070 Mobile services
33.080 Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
33.100 Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
  Including radio interference
33.120 Components and accessories for telecommunications equipment
  Plug-and-socket devices, connectors, see 31.220.10
  Switches, see 31.220.20
33.140 Special measuring equipment for use in telecommunications
33.160 Audio, video and audiovisual engineering
33.170 Television and radio broadcasting
  Equipment for television and radio broadcasting, see 33.160
  Stage and studio equipment, see 97.200.10
33.180 Fibre optic communications
33.200 Telecontrol. Telemetering


  International Telecommunication Union

 - - The ITU, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland is an international organization within the United Nations System where governments and the private sector coordinate global telecom networks and services.  There are three types of ITU standards:

NOTE:  the ITU lists all prices for it's standards in "CHF", which is "Swiss Francs" - you can use this currency converterfrom  At this time (March 2005,  1 CHF = 85 cents ($0.85)

ITU-R  -  Radio (radio communication) - this division of the ITU has published critical standards such as the entire Frequency Spectrum assignments.  The ITU-R Recommendations can be purchased on CDROM at .  Additionally many of the smaller sets of ITU-R documents can be purchased at 

ITU-T  -  Telecom (telecom standardization) - created on 1 March 1993, the ITU-T replaced the former CCITT (International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee) whose origins go back to 1865.  The entire set of ITU-T publications can be purchased on DVD at 

ITU-D  -  Development  (telecom development) - rarely used by anyone, so we will not cover these standards here


The CCITT and the subsequent ITU-T used letters to denote a number of "series", or categories of standards.  You will often see these standards listed with a period after the letter of the series.  For example, X.25 is a packet data communication protocol, and is from the "X series" (Data networks and open system communications), and V.32 is a modem standard from the "V series" (Data communication over the telephone network), etc


Corrigendum - many recommendations later are corrected or modified.  This is called "erratum" by IEEE with their RFC's.  But the ITU calls it "corrigendum".


A series - Organization of the work of ITU-T

B series - Means of expression: definitions, symbols, classification

C series - General telecommunication statistics

D series - General tariff principles

E series - Overall network operation, telephone service, service operation and human factors

F series - Non-telephone telecommunication services

G series - Transmission systems and media, digital systems and networks

H series - Audiovisual and multimedia systems

I series  -Integrated services digital network

J series - Transmission of television, sound programme and other multimedia signals

K series - Protection against interference

L series - Construction, installation and protection of cables and other elements of outside plant

M series - TMN and network maintenance: international transmission systems, telephone circuits, telegraphy, facsimile and leased circuits

N series - Maintenance: international sound programme and television transmission circuits

O series - Specifications of measuring equipment

P series - Telephone transmission quality, telephone installations, local line networks

Q series - Switching and signalling

R series - Telegraph transmission

S series - Telegraph services terminal equipment

T series - Terminals for telematic services

U series - Telegraph switching

V series - Data communication over the telephone network

X series - Data networks and open system communications

Y series - Global information infrastructure and Internet protocol aspects

Z series - Languages and general software aspects for telecommunication systems


CCITT (International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee) well-known Standards

Before becoming the ITU-T, the CCITT developed many standards and many of them are still referenced as "CCITT" standards.  The more well-known CCITT standards, now adopted by the ITU-T, are the V. and X. standards, such as:

  • V.21: The standard for full-duplex communication at 300 baud in Japan and Europe. In the United States, Bell 103 is used in place of V.21.
  • V.22 : The standard for half-duplex communication at 1,200 bps in Japan and Europe. In the United States, the protocol defined by Bell 212A is more common.
  • V.22bis : The worldwide standard for full-duplex modems sending and receiving data across telephone lines at 1,200 or 2,400 bps.
  • V.29: The standard for half-duplex modems sending and receiving data across telephone lines at 1,200, 2,400, 4,800, or 9,600 bps. This is the protocol used by fax modems.
  • V.32 : The standard for full-duplex modems sending and receiving data across phone lines at 4,800 or 9,600 bps. V.32 modems automatically adjust their transmission speeds based on the quality of the lines.
  • V.32bis: The V.32 protocol extended to speeds of 7,200, 12,000, and 14,400 bps.
  • V.34 : The standard for full-duplex modems sending and receiving data across phone lines at up to 28,800 bps. V.34 modems automatically adjust their transmission speeds based on the quality of the lines.
  • V.42 : An error-detection standard for high-speed modems. V.42 can be used with digital telephone networks. See MNP for a competing standard.
  • V.42bis: A data compression protocol that can enable modems to achieve a data transfer rate of 34,000 bps.
  • V.90: The standard for full-duplex modems sending and receiving data across phone lines at up to 56,600 bps.
  • X.25: The most popular packet-switching protocol for WANs.
  • X.400: The universal protocol for e-mail. X.400 defines the envelope for e-mail messages so all messages conform to a standard format.
  • X.500: An extension to X.400 that defines addressing formats so all e-mail systems can be linked together.

    HomePage:      Standards Store:

    If you remember anything from these pages - remember ANSI !!!  The ANSI Federation of is made up of nearly 1,000 U.S. businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, institutes and consumer and labor interests.   It accredits qualified organizations, whose standards development process meets all of ANSI’s requirements, to develop American National Standards.  ANSI is not a government agency.

    ANSI only publishes standards from other organizations - it does not develop standards on its own ! ! !  

    ANSI does 2 things: - it accredits standards groups, and it publishes the standards created by those groups.

    Conformity Assessment - All standards published by ANSI must first pass Conformity assessment, which is defined as any activity concerned with determining directly or indirectly that relevant requirements are fulfilled. (As defined in ISO/IEC Guide 2:1996)

    ANSI is the standards body of standards bodies.  It is the group that makes sure the standards bodies are  .  .  .  well, standard  !!  It is an overseer of standards bodies.  ANSI is a private, non-profit organization - [ tax exempt via IRS code (501(c)3) ] that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system.  ANSI facilitates the development of American National Standards (ANS) by accrediting the procedures of standards developing organizations (SDOs).  In order to maintain ANSI accreditation, standards developers are required to consistently adhere to a set of requirements or procedures known as the “ANSI Essential Requirements," that govern the consensus development process.

    ANSI also is a publisher of thousands of standards - when a standard is created by a standards developer who works under the ANSI umbrella - it becomes an "ANSI Standard".  There are three naming conventions for these standards is as follows - some include the acronym, "ANSI", while others do not:

    • ANSI/organization standard_number

    • ANSI standard_number

    • organization standard_number


    • ANSI C136.23-1995  -  an IEEE standard published by ANSI

    • ANSI/IEEE C2-2002  -  an IEEE standard published by ANSI

    • UL 38-2001  -  an Underwriters Laboratories standard published by ANSI

    ANS (American National Standards) -  provide dimensions, ratings, terminology and symbols, test methods, and performance and safety requirements for personnel, products, systems and services in hundreds of industries.  Many ANS documents make it clear how to improve the safety of products for the protection of consumers, including products such as baby cribs, bicycle helmets, home appliances, lawn mowers, ladders, etc.  The ANS's are essential tools used in every industry. Today, there are more than 11,500 American National Standards that have been developed and approved in accordance with ANSI Procedures.

    ANSI as a U.S. Representative to the International Standards Communities

    ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) via the U.S. National Committee (USNC).

    Q: Does ANSI develop the U.S. position on ISO and IEC standards?

    A: Yes and No. ANSI and its U.S. National Committee for the IEC (USNC) help to govern both organizations by serving on their respective governance bodies. ANSI accredits and the USNC approves U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (U.S. TAGs) to develop and transmit, via ANSI or the U.S. National Committee, U.S. positions on activities and ballots of the international technical committee.

    The U.S. also helps to facilitate and direct the technical work by holding leadership positions on 30 ISO Technical Committees (TC), more than 100 Subcommittees (SC) and nearly 500 working groups. The U.S. holds leadership positions in nearly 40 IEC TCs and SCs, and is actively involved in more than 175 of its other committees.


      Telecommunications Industry Association

    TIA is the communications sector of EIA.


    ANSI/TIA Standards

    This site is fantastic because it carries all the ANSI/TIA standards for free, and has the documents in their entirety !!!  Here are the main categories of the standards they carry:

    Cabling Glossary of Terms

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 568-B  (twisted pair cabling, fiber, and the now famous Cat3, Cat5e and Cat6 cabling standards)

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 569 Pathways & Spaces

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 570-A Residential Telecommunications

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 598-A Fiber Optic Color Coding

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 606 Administration

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 607 Grounding & Bonding

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 758 Customer Owned Outside Plant


    Interface Standards

    Many standards primarily include "interfaces", since that is the point where systems communicate.  For example, the RS-232 standard discusses the way in which an external modem or other device, interfaces with a 9-pin (typically) serial port on a PC.  The mode itself can be designed in many ways, so long as it's communication to the outside world strictly follows the RS-232 standard.

    Here are the typical telecom standards that providers use to connect customers to their Networks.  Of course, these are only typical, and the actual number of standards is diverse :


    Typical Interface


    Twisted Pair (POTS)

    T1, fract T1   


    T3, fract T3   


    T3 HSSI or Coax BNC

    OC3 and up   

    Fiber ST, SC, etc.


    Common LAN, Building, and Cabling Standards


    EN 50173 Information Technology-Generic Cabling Systems

    EN 50173 Amendment 1, 1996

    EN 50174 Information Technology-Cabling Installation 2000

    EN 50310 Application of Equipotential Bonding and Earthing in Buildings with Information Technology Equipment 2000

    CSA-Canadian Standards Association

    CSA-C22.1-1998 Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1, 1998

    CSA-T525 Residential Wiring for Telecommunications

    CSA-T527 Grounding and Bonding for Telecommunications in Commercial Buildings,1994, (harmonized with ANSI/TIA/EIA-607)

    CSA-T528 Design Guidelines for Administration of Telecommunications Infrastructure in Commercial Buildings, 1993 (harmonized with ANSI/TIA/EIA-606)

    CSA-T529 Design Guidelines for Telecommunications Wiring Systems in Commercial Buildings, 1995 (harmonized with ANSI/TIA/EIA 569-A)

    CSA-T530 Commercial Building Standard for Telecommunications Pathways and Spaces, 1999 (harmonized with ANSI/TIA/EIA-569-A)


    FCC - Federal Communications Commission

    FCC Part 15 Radiated Emission Limits, revised 1998

    FCC Part 22 Public Mobile Services, revised 1998

    FCC Part 68 Connection of Terminal Equipment to the Telephone Network, revised 1998.

    FCC Part 76 Cable Television Service, revised 1998

    Insulated Cable Engineers Association (ICEA)

    The ICEA is an organization of cable manufacturers that is focussed on writing specifications for the telephone and power cable industries.

    Some of the specifications that may be of interest are:

    Telecommunications Cable for Outside Plant Applications

    Communications Wire and Cable for Premises Wiring

    Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc (IEEE)

    The IEEE is heavily involved in writing standards and specifications. While all of their documents are important, only the ones directly related to telecommunications are listed here.

    IEEE Standard 81-1983 IEEE Guide for Measuring Earth Resistivity, Ground Impedance, and Earth Surface Potentials of a Ground System.

    IEEE Standard 1934, High Performance Serial Bus (Fire Wire) to Provide High Speed Communications for Digital Audio, Digital Voice, Signal Routing and Home Networking.

    Project 802

    Project 802 was developed in order to produce standards for local and metropolitan area networks. The 802 standards are aimed at the Physical Layer of the 7 layer OSI model.

    One of the main driving forces behind 802 was to have interoperability between hardware manufacturers and software producers, thus giving potential customers full choice in the products and software they purchase.

    While there are many 802 projects and sub workgroups, the major projects are noted below.

    IEEE 802.3-Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD)

    This group is concerned with Physical and Data Link layer standards for LANs which use CSMA/CD access method and a bus topology. Examples of these LANs are Ethernet, Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet.

    802.3x-Specification for full duplex operation

    802.3y-Physical layer specifications for 100 Mbps operation over two pairs of Category 3 or higher twisted pair cable.

    802.3z-Specification for 1000 Mbps (Gigabit Ethernet) operation over fiber optic cable.

    802.3ab-Specification for 1000 Mbps over four pairs of Category 5 or higher twisted pair cable.

    802.3ac-Ethernet frame extensions for virtual local area networks (VLANs).

    802.4 Token Bus Working Group

    This work group is responsible for developing standards and practices for access control and physical signalling in a token bus network.

    802.5 Token Ring Working Group

    802.5r-Specifications for dedicated token ring (DTR) operation.

    802.5t-Specifications for 100 Mbps high speed token ring operation over 2 pairs of copper cables.

    802.5u-Specifications for 100 Mbps high speed token ring operation over fiber optic cable.

    802.5v-Specifications for 1000 Mbps token ring operation (Gigabit token ring).

    IEEE 802.9 Integrated Services LAN (IS-LAN) Working Group

    This working group develops standards and practices for access control and physical signalling when integrating voice, data, and video traffic on other 802 LANs.

    IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Working Group

    This working group develops standards and practices for access control and physical signalling in the wireless form of network communications.

    802-11a-Specifications for high speed physical layer in the 5 GHz frequency band.

    802.11b-Specifications for high speed physical layer extension in the 2.4 GHz frequency band.

    IEEE 802.14 Cable Modem (Cable-TV) Working Group

    This working group develops standards and practices for access control and physical signalling to be used on networks operating over cable TV infrastructures.

    National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

    These are the fire and safety codes produced by the NFPA that relate to telecommunications.

    NFPA-70, National Electrical Code (NEC)

    NFPA-70E, Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces.

    NFPA-71, Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Signalling Systems for Central Station Service

    NFPA-72, National Fire Alarm Code

    NFPA-75, Protection of Electronic Computer/Data Processing Equipment.

    NFPA-101, Life Safety Code

    NFPA-297, Guide on Priciples and Practices for Telecommunications Systems.

    NFPA-780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems.

    National Research Council of Canada, Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC)

    Some of the standards produced by the NRC-IRC which are concerned with telecommunications are:

    NRCC 30619, National Building Code of Canada, 1990

    NRCC 30621, National Fire Code of Canada, 1990

    NRCC 30629, Supplement to the National Building Code of Canada, 1990

    NRC/AT&T 555-400-021, A Guide to Premises Distribution, 1988

    Telecommunications Industry Association/Electronic Industries Alliance (TIA/EIA)

    The TIA/EIA is the most active in developing standards for the telecommunications industry.

    If you would like more information on these standards and find out how to get your own more.

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 568B.1 General Requirements
    ANSI/TIA/EIA 568B.2
    Balanced Twisted Pair Cabling Components
    ANSI/TIA/EIA 568B.3
    Optical Fiber Cabling Components

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 569-A, Commercial Building Standard for Telecommunications Pathways and Spaces

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 569-A-1, Addendum 1, 2000. Replaces Section 4.7, Perimeter Pathways.

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 569-A-2, Addendum 2, 2000. Replaces Section 6.3.3, Furniture Pathways.

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 569-A-3, Addendum 3, 2000. Revision to Subclause 4.3, Access Floors.

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 569-A-4, Addendum 4, 2000, Poke Thru Devices, 2000

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 570-A, Residential Telecommunications Cabling Standard.

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 606, Administration Standard for the Telecommunications Infrastructure of Commercial Buildings.

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 607, Commercial Building Grounding and Bonding Requirements for Telecommunications.

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 758, Customer-Owned Outside Plant Telecommunications Cabling Standard.

    ANSI/TIA/EIA 758-1 Addendum 1, OSP Fiber Optic Cabling Practices

    TIA/EIA/IS-729, Technical Specifications for 100 Ohm Screened Twisted Pair Cabling

    TIA/EIA TSB 67, Transmission Performance Specifications for Field Testing of UTP Cabling Systems.

    TIA/EIA TSB 72, Centralized Optical Fiber Cabling Guidelines.

    TIA/EIA TSB 75, Additional Horizontal Cabling Practices for Open Offices.

    TIA/EIA TSB 95, Additional Transmission Performance Guidelines for 4-Pair 100 Ohm Category 5 Cabling.