In networking, why do people keep talking about IEEE 802.xx and EIA/TIA-586 ? What does it mean ?
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ZeusGodConnect With a Mentor Commented:
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These are protocol standards.  They define a network.  Below are some good resources for full information about these and other related information.

Try :

Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) Resources
  Access to a wide range of technical information on Ethernet.

The other is EIA/TIA-568 Commercial Building
Telecommunications Wiring Standard
at :

These two sites will give you the complete information that I couldn't do justice to here.

802.2xx:  One of the best resources is the developer of the standards. 
Local Area Networks/Metropolitan Area Networks (LAN/MAN 802s) Standards.  This describes all the 802 standards and their application.
EIA/TIA-586:  One of the best resources is the developer of the standards.
Type "568" in search window for info about this standard.      Category 5 Cabling  EIA/TIA-568-A TYPICAL BUILDING WIRING TOPOLOGY
568-A (not to be confused with 568A & 568B wiring pin assignments)

A.  Defines generic wiring systems to support a multiproduct, multivendor environment

B.  Incorporates TSB-36; Transmission performance requirements of high performance UTP

C. Incorporates TSB-40; Transmission performance requirements for high performance connecting hardware

TIA/EIA Standards
TIA/EIA established in 1985 after the breakup of AT&T

A. Defines the minimum requirements for communications wiring of buildings

B. Allows for planning and installation of universal wiring systems

C. Provides a "base platform" for testing perfomance and evaluation
A leading network supplier has some usful information on networking including a glossary as listed below:

The latest versions of the documents on the Documentation CD  or web source are available on CCO at:

The purpose of standards is to develop the methodology and protocols so that equipment products by one vendor or multiple vendors will work with each other and communicate with each other.

Also certain cable designs include different wire sizes, different shielding and / or other configuration and pin assignment to work over a specified distance.
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