Internet Engineering Task Force Internet Routing Protocol Standardization Criteria
RFC 1264

Document Type RFC - Historic (October 1991; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 4794
Author Bob Hinden 
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                          R. Hinden
Request for Comments: 1264                                           BBN
                                                            October 1991

                    Internet Engineering Task Force
           Internet Routing Protocol Standardization Criteria

Status of this Memo

   This informational RFC presents procedures for creating and
   documenting Internet standards on routing protocols.  These
   procedures have been established by the Internet Activities Board
   (IAB) in consultation with the Internet Engineering Steering Group
   (IESG).  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

1.0  Introduction

   The IAB and the IESG have evolved a three-stage Internet
   standardization process.  This process is explained in the "IAB
   Official Protocol Standards", published as an RFC several times a
   year (the current version is RFC 1250).

   In brief, the three stages of Internet standardization are Proposed
   (which requires a well written, openly reviewed specification), Draft
   (which requires Proposed status, multiple implementations and some
   operational experience), and full Internet Standard (which requires
   Draft status and more extensive operational experience).  The IAB and
   IESG are currently developing a more detailed explanation of the
   process, which will be available as an RFC.

   The purpose of this document is to provide more specific guidance for
   the advancement of routing protocols.  All levels of the
   standardization process are covered.

   There are currently two types of routing protocol in the Internet.
   These are Interior Gateway Protocols (IGP) sometimes called Intra-
   Domain Routing Protocols and Exterior Gateway Protocols (EGP)
   sometimes called Inter-Domain Routing Protocols.  This document uses
   the terms IGP and EGP.

2.0 Motivation

   The motivation for these requirements two-fold.  The first is to
   reduce the risk that there will be serious technical problems with a
   routing protocol after it reaches Draft Standard.  The second is to
   insure that the new routing protocol will support the continued
   growth of the Internet.

Hinden                                                          [Page 1]
RFC 1264               Routing Protocol Criteria            October 1991

   Routing protocols are complex, widely distributed, real-time
   algorithms.  They are difficult to implement and to test.  Even
   though a protocol may work in one environment with one
   implementation, that does not ensure that it will work in a different
   environment with multiple vendors.  A routing protocol may work well
   within a range of topologies and number of networks and routers, but
   may fail when an unforeseen limit is reached.  The result is that
   even with considerable operational experience, it is hard to
   guarantee that the protocol is mature enough for widespread

   The Internet is currently growing at an exponential rate.  Routing
   protocols and the management of internet addressing are key elements
   in the successful operation the Internet.  It is important that new
   routing protocols be designed to support this rapid growth.

3.0 General Requirements

   1) Documents specifying the Protocol and its Usage.  This may be
      one or more documents.  The specifications for the routing
      protocol must be well written such that independent,
      interoperable implementations can be developed solely based on
      the specification.  For example, it should be possible to
      develop an interoperable implementation without consulting the
      original developers of the routing protocol.

   2) A Management Information Base (MIB) must be written for the
      protocol.  Routing protocols, like all other internet protocols,
      need a MIB defined so they can be remotely managed.

   3) A security architecture of the protocol must be defined.  The
      security architecture must include mechanisms for authenticating
      routing messages and may include other forms of protection.

   4) Generally, a number of interoperable implementations must
      exist.  At least two must be written independently.

   5) There must be evidence that all features of the protocol have
      been tested, running between at least two implementations.  This
      must include that all of the security features have been
      demonstrated to operate, and that the mechanisms defined in the
      protocol actually provide the intended protection.

   6) There must be operational experience with the routing
      protocol.  The level of operational experience required is
      dependent on which level of standardization is requested.  All
      significant features of the protocol must be exercised.  In the
      case of an Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP), both interior and

Hinden                                                          [Page 2]
RFC 1264               Routing Protocol Criteria            October 1991
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