What is IEEE Protocol?

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  • Written By: W. Joyner
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 20 June 2016
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An IEEE protocol is a standard set forth by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This association is a professional organization that works to develop protocols and rules for various technologies. A protocol is a set of conventions instituted for the purpose of standardizing an industry or a component sector of an industry.

Creating such standards ensures that products from different manufacturers will work together and communicate properly. It also can serve to define and regiment procedures for things such as network security. The member companies of IEEE, mostly manufacturers and producers of technology products, agree to adhere to the protocols established by the organization.

An IEEE protocol will create the parameters and guidelines for a particular service or technology. For example, the IEEE protocol for wireless technology used in a wireless local area network is known as the IEEE 802.11 standard. This set of rules governs the boundaries and specifications for wireless communication devices.

The 802.11 standard is further divided into various sub-categories. Each of these subsets, such as 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g, represents a different IEEE protocol. The code prescribes such things as the frequency used by a device, the data rate of that particular standard and the over-the-air modulation technique used. With consistent criteria being followed, a consumer can be confident that a wireless adapter from one manufacturer will work effectively with a wireless router from a different manufacturer.


The IEEE isn’t limited to just the computer and technology industry. The organization produces protocols for a vast array of business sectors. Some of the other fields for which the IEEE establishes conventions are the rail and ship industries, biometrics and even fingerprinting.

The IEEE was formed in 1963 when two organizations, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Radio Engineers, joined forces and merged their operations. The IEEE has since grown into one of the premier and most well-respected standards organizations in the world. The association is divided into various groups, referred to as societies, councils and committees. The division responsible for developing standards is the Standards Association Board (IEEE-SA). In addition to developing protocols, the IEEE-SA also promotes and advances awareness of the organization’s work.


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