Case sensitivity in IEEE 802.1

By stretch | Friday, April 18, 2008 at 2:07 a.m. UTC

Ever wonder why 802.1Q is uppercase and 802.1p is lowercase? This has always bugged me and the other day I finally took a minute to determine the difference. I found the following blurb on the IEEE 802.1 working group website.

Project naming: 802.1 projects are identified using project names such as 802.1Q, 802.1ad, and 802.1Qat. Following the "802.1" are one, two, three or even four letters. Upper case letters identify (standalone) standards, and lower-case letters identify amendments (previously called supplements) to existing standards.

There you have it: lowercase letters identify a standard as an amendment to another standard. Note that this only applies to standards within the 802.1 working group; a cursory review suggests all other 802 groups use lowercase appendices only.

If you're really curious about such extraneous details of industry standards (and who isn't?), note that all IEEE 802 specs which have been published for at least six months are freely available for download (you still have to pay for drafts, apparently).

About the Author

Jeremy Stretch is a network engineer living in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area. He is known for his blog and cheat sheets here at Packet Life. You can reach him by email or follow him on Twitter.

Posted in Tips and Tricks

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