IEEE Standards Association

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The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is an organization within IEEE that develops global standards in a broad range of industries, including: power and energy, biomedical and health care, information technology and robotics, telecommunication and home automation, transportation, nanotechnology, information assurance, and many more.

A technical standard is an established norm or requirement in regard to technical systems. It is usually a formal document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes, and practices. In contrast, a custom, convention, company product, corporate standard, and so forth that becomes generally accepted and dominant is often called a de facto standard.

Energy development

Energy development is the field of activities focused on obtaining sources of energy from natural resources. These activities include production of conventional, alternative and renewable sources of energy, and for the recovery and reuse of energy that would otherwise be wasted. Energy conservation and efficiency measures reduce the demand for energy development, and can have benefits to society with improvements to environmental issues.

Medical research research

Biomedical research encompasses a wide array of research, extending from "basic research", – involving fundamental scientific principles that may apply to a preclinical understanding – to clinical research, which involves studies of people who may be subjects in clinical trials. Within this spectrum is applied research, or translational research, conducted to expand knowledge in the field of medicine.


IEEE-SA has developed standards for over a century, through a program that offers balance, openness, fair procedures, and consensus. Technical experts from all over the world participate in the development of IEEE standards. [1]

Fair procedure is a common law doctrine that arises from a line of groundbreaking decisions of the Supreme Court of California dating back to the 1880s. Certain types of private actors, due to their overwhelming economic power within certain fields, cannot arbitrarily expel members or employees or deny persons admission for no logical reason; they are obligated to provide a rudimentary form of procedural due process. It is contrasted against due process in that it applies to private actors, while due process normally applies only to state actors.

IEEE-SA is not a body formally authorized by any government, but rather a community. ISO, IEC and ITU are recognized international standards organizations. ISO members are national standards bodies such as American ANSI, German DIN or Japanese JISC. IEC members are so called National Committees, some of which are hosted by national standards bodies. These are not identical to ISO members. Both IEC and ISO develop International Standards that are consensus-based and follow the "one country one vote principle", representing broad industry needs. Their standards cannot be sponsored by individual companies or organizations. [2]

The 2017-2018 Standards Association President is Mr. Don Wright. He is the President of Standards Strategies, LLC and is the retired Director of Worldwide Standards for Lexmark International.


The standardization process

Each year, the IEEE-SA conducts over 200 standards ballots, a process by which proposed standards are voted upon for technical reliability and soundness. In 2017, IEEE had over 1100 active standards, with over 600 standards under development. [3]

One of the more notable are the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN group of standards, with the widely used computer networking standards for both wired (ethernet, aka IEEE 802.3) and wireless (IEEE 802.11 and IEEE 802.16) networks.

IEEE 802 is a family of IEEE standards dealing with local area networks and metropolitan area networks.

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a computer network that interconnects users with computer resources in a geographic area or region larger than that covered by even a large local area network (LAN) but smaller than the area covered by a wide area network (WAN). The term MAN is applied to the interconnection of networks in a city into a single larger network which may then also offer efficient connection to a wide area network. The term is also used to describe the interconnection of several local area networks in a metropolitan area through the use of point-to-point connections between them. It has a range of 5 to 50 kilometres.

Ethernet computer networking technology

Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies commonly used in local area networks (LAN), metropolitan area networks (MAN) and wide area networks (WAN). It was commercially introduced in 1980 and first standardized in 1983 as IEEE 802.3, and has since retained a good deal of backward compatibility and been refined to support higher bit rates and longer link distances. Over time, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies such as Token Ring, FDDI and ARCNET.

The IEEE standards development process can be broken down into seven basic steps:

  1. Securing Sponsorship: An IEEE-approved organization must sponsor a standard. A sponsoring organization is in charge of coordinating and supervising the standard development from inception to completion. The professional societies within IEEE serve as the natural sponsor for many standards.
  2. Requesting Project Authorization: To gain authorization for the standard a Project Authorization Request (PAR) is submitted to the IEEE-SA Standards Board. The New Standards Committee (NesCom) of the IEEE-SA Standards Board reviews the PAR and makes a recommendation to the Standards Board about whether to approve the PAR.
  3. Assembling a Working Group: After the PAR is approved, a working group of individuals affected by, or interested in, the standard is organized to develop the standard. IEEE-SA rules ensure that all Working Group meetings are open and that anyone has the right to attend and contribute to the meetings.
  4. Drafting the Standard: The Working Group prepares a draft of the proposed standard. Generally, the draft follows the IEEE Standards Style Manual that sets guidelines for the clauses and format of the standards document.
  5. Balloting: Once a draft of the standard is finalized in the Working Group, the draft is submitted for Balloting approval. The IEEE Standards Department sends an invitation-to-ballot to any individual who has expressed an interest in the subject matter of the standard. Anyone who responds positively to the invitation-to-ballot becomes a member of the balloting group, as long as the individual is an IEEE Standards Association member or has paid a balloting fee. The IEEE requires that a proposed draft of the standard receive a response rate of 75% (i.e., at least 75% of potential ballots are returned) and that, of the responding ballots, at least 75% approve the proposed draft of the standard. If the standard is not approved, the process returns to the drafting of the standard step in order to modify the standard document to gain approval of the balloting group.
  6. Review Committee: After getting 75% approval, the draft standard, along with the balloting comments, are submitted to the IEEE-SA Standards Board Review Committee (RevCom). The RevCom reviews the proposed draft of the standard against the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws and the stipulations set forth in the IEEE-SA Standards Board Operations Manual. The RevCom then makes a recommendation about whether to approve the submitted draft of the standard document.
  7. Final Vote: Each member of the IEEE-SA Standards Board places a final vote on the submitted standard document. In some cases external members are invited to vote. It takes a majority vote of the Standards Board to gain final approval of the standard. In general, if the RevCom recommends approval, the Standards Board will vote to approve the standard.

The patent policy

Because the IEEE's standards often incorporate technologies that are covered by one or more patent claims, the IEEE-SA has developed and added to its governing bylaws a patent policy to ensure both that the implementers using the standard-essential patented technology in their standard-compliant products have access to that technology and that the patent holders that voluntarily contribute those technologies to the standard receive adequate compensation for the implementers' use. [4] [5] An important part of the IEEE patent policy is the FRAND commitment, which is a voluntary contractual commitment signifying that a patent holder with patented technology that has been adopted into one of the IEEE's standards will accept as adequate compensation a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory royalty for third-party use of that technology. [6] Most standard-setting organizations have developed similar patent policies with similar commitments. [7]

Reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms, also known as fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, denote a voluntary licensing commitment that standards organizations often request from the owner of an intellectual property right that is, or may become, essential to practice a technical standard. Put differently, a F/RAND commitment is a voluntary agreement between the standard-setting organization and the holder of standard-essential patents. U.S. courts, as well as courts in other jurisdictions, have found that, in appropriate circumstances, the implementer of a standard—that is, a firm or entity that uses a standard to render a service or manufacture a product—is an intended third-party beneficiary of the FRAND agreement, and, as such, is entitled to certain rights conferred by that agreement.

In 2014, the IEEE-SA became the center of a large academic debate among economic and legal scholars when it appointed an ad hoc committee to recommend and subsequently draft amendments to the IEEE patent policy, to which the IEEE Board of Governors gave final approval in February 2015 and which went into effect in March 2015. [8] The IEEE said that the reason for the amendments was to increase the clarity of the patent policy and the obligations that the patent policy's FRAND commitment imposes on patent holders seeking to enforce their standard-essential patents. [9] One particularly controversial amendment was a provision that prohibited patent holders from seeking injunctions and exclusion orders (from the ITC) against infringers of standard-essential patents.

The Antitrust Division stated its support for the 2015 patent policy revisions in a business review letter that it issued in January 2015, upon request from the IEEE-SA. In the letter, the Antitrust Division said that the provisions would unambiguously produce net benefits for consumers with insignificant anticompetitive implications. [10] At least one commentator has criticized the Antitrust Division's legal and economic analysis put forth in its business review letter of the revisions, claiming that the Antitrust Division exaggerated the patent policy's procompetitive benefits and wrongly dismissed as unlikely some of its potential anticompetitive costs. [11]

The IEEE Get Program

The IEEE Get Program makes some standards publicly available for download: This program grants public access to view and download current individual standards at zero charges. On July 11, 2017, the IEEE Get Program moved to the IEEE Xplore digital library website and standards eligible for the program past that date will only be made available there. On September 1, 2017, the original website was decommissioned and remains, without further updates, to redirect visitors. [12] [13] [14]

Notable IEEE Standards committees and formats

IEEE 260 Standard Letter Symbols for Units of Measurement, IEEE-260-1978 (now 260.1-2004)
IEEE 488 Standard Digital Interface for Programmable Instrumentation, IEEE-488-1978 (now 488.1)
IEEE 610 Standard Glossary of Software Engineering Terminology
IEEE 754 Floating point arithmetic specifications
IEEE 802.1 Standards for LAN/MAN bridging and management and remote media access control (MAC) bridging
IEEE 802.2 Standards for Logical Link Control (LCL) standards for connectivity
IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Standards for Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD)
IEEE 802.4 Standards for token passing bus access
IEEE 802.5 Standards for token ring access and for communications between LANs and MANs
IEEE 802.6 Standards for information exchange between systems
IEEE 802.7 Standards for broadband LAN cabling
IEEE 802.8 Fiber-optic connection
IEEE 802.9 Standards for integrated services, like voice and data
IEEE 802.10 Standards for LAN/MAN security implementations
IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networking  "WiFi"
IEEE 802.12 Standards for demand priority access method
IEEE 802.14 Standards for cable television broadband communications
IEEE 802.15.2 Bluetooth and Wi-Fi coexistence mechanism
IEEE 802.15.4 Wireless Sensor/Control Networks  "ZigBee"
IEEE 802.15.6 Wireless Body Area Network [15] (BAN)  (e.g. Bluetooth low energy)
IEEE 802.16 Wireless Networking  "WiMAX"
IEEE 802.24 Standards for Logical Link Control (LLC) standards for connectivity
IEEE 828 Configuration Management in Systems and Software Engineering
IEEE 829 Software Test Documentation
IEEE 830 Software Requirements Specifications
IEEE 896 Futurebus
IEEE 1003 Unix compatibility programming standard  POSIX
IEEE 1016 Software Design Description
IEEE 1028 Standard for Software Reviews and Audits
IEEE 1044.1 Standard Classification for Software Anomalies
IEEE 1059 Software Verification And Validation Plan
IEEE 1073 Point of Care Medical Device Communication Standards
IEEE 1074 Software Development Life Cycle
IEEE 1076 VHDL   VHSIC Hardware Description Language
IEEE 1149.1 JTAG
IEEE 1180 Discrete cosine transform accuracy
IEEE 1233 System Requirements Specification
IEEE 1275 Open Firmware
IEEE 1284 Parallel port
IEEE P1363 Public key cryptography
IEEE 1364 Verilog
IEEE 1394 Serial bus  "FireWire", "i.Link"
IEEE 1471 software architecture / system architecture
IEEE 1541 Prefixes for Binary Multiples
IEEE 1584 Guide for Performing Arc Flash Hazard Calculations
IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol
IEEE P1619 Security in Storage Working Group (SISWG)
IEEE 1666 IEEE Standard for Standard SystemC Language Reference Manual
IEEE 1667 Standard Protocol for Authentication in Host Attachments of Transient Storage Devices
IEEE 1800 SystemVerilog
IEEE 1801 Unified Power Format
IEEE 1849 IEEE Standard for eXtensible Event Stream (XES) for Achieving Interoperability in Event Logs and Event Streams
IEEE 1855 IEEE Standard for Fuzzy Markup Language
IEEE 1901 Broadband over Power Line Networks
IEEE 1906.1 Recommended Practice for Nanoscale and Molecular Communication Framework
IEEE 1914Next Generation Fronthaul Interface Working Group
IEEE 1914.1 Standard for Packet-based Fronthaul Transport Networks
IEEE 1914.3Standard for Radio Over Ethernet Encapsulations and Mappings
IEEE 2050 RTOS for embedded systems standard
IEEE 2600 Hardcopy Device and System Security (and related ISO/IEC 15408 Protection Profiles)
IEEE P2791 Standard for Bioinformatics Computations and Analyses Generated by High-Throughput Sequencing (HTS) to Facilitate Communication
IEEE 12207 Information Technology   Software life-cycle processes
IEEE Switchgear Committee C37 series of standards for Low and High voltage equipment


The IEEE-SA recognizes outstanding standards development participation through various award categories.

Related Research Articles

American National Standards Institute non-profit organization in the United States that develops standards

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International Organization for Standardization An international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards organizations

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Moving Picture Experts Group working group to set standards for audio and video compression

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is a working group of authorities that was formed by ISO and IEC to set standards for audio and video compression and transmission. It was established in 1988 by the initiative of Hiroshi Yasuda and Leonardo Chiariglione, group Chair since its inception. The first MPEG meeting was in May 1988 in Ottawa, Canada. As of late 2005, MPEG has grown to include approximately 350 members per meeting from various industries, universities, and research institutions. MPEG's official designation is ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 – Coding of moving pictures and audio.

An open standard is a standard that is publicly available and has various rights to use associated with it, and may also have various properties of how it was designed. There is no single definition and interpretations vary with usage.

IEEE 802.20 IEEE standard

IEEE 802.20 or Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA) was a specification by the standard association of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for mobile wireless Internet access networks. The main standard was published in 2008. MBWA is no longer being actively developed.

A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary activities are developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpreting, or otherwise producing technical standards that are intended to address the needs of a group of affected adopters.

The Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF), also known as OpenDocument, is a ZIP-compressed XML-based file format for spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents. It was developed with the aim of providing an open, XML-based file format specification for office applications.

An essential patent or standard-essential patent (SEP) is a patent that claims an invention that must be used to comply with a technical standard. Standards organizations, therefore, often require members disclose and grant licenses to their patents and pending patent applications that cover a standard that the organization is developing.

WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI) is a Chinese National Standard for Wireless LANs . Although it was allegedly designed to operate on top of WiFi, compatibility with the security protocol used by the 802.11 wireless networking standard developed by the IEEE is in dispute. Due to the limited access of the standard, it was the focus of a U.S.-China trade dispute. Following this it was submitted to, and rejected by the ISO. It was resubmitted to ISO in 2010, but was cancelled as a project on 21 November 2011 after being withdrawn by China.

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  1. The Standards & the IEEE Standards Development Process section is based on information originally obtained from the IEEE and IEEE-SA websites, and the Appendix of the article "The Role of Market-Based and Committee-Based Standards," by Sanjiv Patel, Babson College 2002.
  2. Ulf-Daniel Ehlers, Jan Martin Pawlowski (2006). Handbook on quality and standardization in e-learning. ISBN   9783540327882 . Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  3. IEEE-SA, IEEE Standards Association Announces Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Standards Projects In Advance of Participation at Augmented World Expo, (May 9, 2017).
  4. J. Gregory Sidak, The Meaning of FRAND, Part II: Injunctions, 11 J. COMP. L. & ECON. 201, 211–12 (2015)
  5. "Meaning of FRAND Injunctions - Sidak - Criterion Economics".
  6. J. Gregory Sidak, The Meaning of FRAND, Part II: Injunctions, 11 J. COMP. L. & ECON. 201, 209–13 (2015)
  7. "ETSI IPR policy" (PDF).
  8. Deepa Sundararaman, Inside the IEEE's Important Changes to Patent Policy, LAW360 (Apr. 3, 2015)
  9. "Dorsey & Witney LLP" (PDF).
  10. "Response To Institute Of Electrical And Electronics Engineers, Incorporated - ATR - Department of Justice".
  11. J. Gregory Sidak, The Antitrust Division's Devaluation of Standard-Essential Patents, 104 GEO. L.J. ONLINE 48 (2015)
  12. "IEEE Get Program". IEEE Standards Association. Archived from the original on 2017-08-10.
  13. "IEEE Get Program". IEEE Xplore . Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  14. Goldberg, Jonathan (July 26, 2017). "IEEE Get Program Update". 802SEC (Mailing list). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  15. "IEEE SA - 802.15.6-2012 - IEEE Standard for Local and metropolitan area networks - Part 15.6: Wireless Body Area Networks".