Why standards matter

As a practical matter, the market for a particular technology will not reach its potential until standards are met

The fact that a particular enterprise-class piece of network gear meets a formal industry standard certainly doesn't guarantee that it works and performs as advertised.

And formal standards are rarely a necessity -- witness the ubiquitous and now indispensable USB, which was never standardized by the IEEE.

But, as a practical matter, the market for a particular technology will not reach its potential until the IEEE or another group publishes an industrywide standard and vendors begin shipping products that meet the standard.

The obvious example from the early days is Ethernet, which was invented in 1975. The market for Ethernet LANs didn't take off until after Digital Equipment, Xerox and Intel joined forces in 1983 and the 802.3 standard was then developed.

More recently, enterprises were reluctant to adopt wireless LANs. That changed when the IEEE created the 802.11a, b and g standards and the Wi-Fi Alliance began certifying products for interoperability.

"Standards are good," says Tim Stanley, CIO of Harrah's Entertainment in Las Vegas. "Particularly in such a highly integrated environment like ours, it's complicated enough. . . . If I saw that the IEEE was getting further fragmented, that [would be bad] for us. We need more key standards. They make the job -- I wouldn't say easier -- but they make it less horrible."

Standards also help lower the cost of products, as a broader group of vendors developing compatible products allows for investments in very large-scale integration components and other economies of scale, Mathias says.

Standards also provide what Mathias calls "the warm fuzzy feeling." Network executives have more confidence buying products based on a standard, even without studying the IEEE specifications, he says. "As long as it's a standard from a recognized body, they're thinking well, if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rob Garretson

Network World
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?