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ANSI (American National Standards Institute)

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ANSI is an organization that defines coding standards and signaling schemes in the United States and represents the United States in the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and within the ITU (International Telecommunication Union). ANSI was a founding member of the ISO and plays an active role in its governing. It is one of five permanent members to the governing ISO Council. ANSI promotes the use of U.S. standards internationally, advocates U.S. policy and technical positions in international and regional standards organizations, and encourages the adoption of international standards as national standards where these meet the needs of the user community.

According to ANSI, "it does not itself develop ANSs (American National Standards); rather it facilitates development by establishing consensus among qualified groups. The Institute ensures that its guiding principles-consensus, due process and openness-are followed by the more than 175 distinct entities currently accredited by the Federation." The U.S. standards are presented to international standards organizations by ANSI, where they may be adopted in whole or in part as international standards. Volunteers from industry and government carry out much of the technical work, so the success of ANSI's work largely depends on the amount of participation by U.S. industry and U.S. government.

Here are some well-known ANSI standards:

  • Programming and query languages, including SQL (ANSI X3H2), C++ (ANSI X3J16), and Smalltalk (ANSI X3J30)

  • EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) specifications (ANSI X12)

  • FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface) specifications (ANSI X3T9.5)

  • ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) specifications (ANSI T1.413-1995)

  • SONET (Synchronous Optical Network), the ANSI specification for fiber-optic transmissions over a common global infrastructure

  • Security standards (ANSI X9)

Note that the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) has conforming standards in some cases.

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