Conformance Terms to Indicate Requirement Levels

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Last updated 2012-03-26 (latest revision 2011-08-29)
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In many protocol specifications and related documents, special conformance terms (e.g., the uppercase words "MUST", "SHOULD", and "MAY") are often used to signify requirement levels. This document defines these conformance terms and describes how they are to be interpreted in documents produced within the Internet Standards Process. If approved, this document obsoletes RFC 2119 and changes its status to Historic.


Peter Saint-Andre (

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