Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP)

History of the name part II


As could be expected , SCTP wasn't blessed with this name from the start. If logic would have it, it would have been surely called TCPng(just as IPv6 was known as IPng for the first few years of its birth);
But the ways of the protocols fairies are incomprehensible and so is its history. From the first SIGTRAN WG meeting in Orlando 1998, there were attempts at naming the child. Funny enough the letters T, C and P were already doing the rounds but in a different permutation.

It was then only envisioned for signalling tranport so we came to So for the time being , a shorthand version did its rounds as: At the Minneapolis meeting in March 1999, proposals for a new protocol were presented and it was really a great acronym party. Let have a look: TCP was to be the benchmark against all other proposals protocols were to be compared.
The naming game was now in full swing and the architecture document switched sides many times between CSTP is the one used in RFC2719(Framework Architecture for Signaling Transport). However that STP thing was way too prominent and a C at the beginning doesn't sound allright either. Thus a final transposition took place in the minds of everyone and the algorithm converged on SCTP(meaning then Signalling Common Transport Protocol). However the abbreviation SCTP stuck and started a live of its own. Unfortunaly thare had been a previous protocol effort in the IETF who had sthe same acronym, namely the Simple Computer Telephony Protocol  but we didn't know that at the time. So when the first design meeting got together, they started working on , well, SCTP but at that moment it didn't really mean anything. So we had a abbreviation but no real meaning.
The Oslo meeting and the summer of 1999 provided some inspiration because a meaning was attached to the acronym: it became the: That was sufficient reason to say that the word simple was not in its place: 4 different meanings: that ain't simple. Most of the authors were by that time so sick of  the naming game - no not the protocol, that was progressing very well, thank you - that they decided to explain SCTP with: "it doesn't stand for anything" protocol(but then you get the acronym IDNSFA and that's even worse)
We found out about the previous meaning of SCTP and asked if there would be any problems. That turned out not to be the case, so on marched SCTP in its now somewhat official version of In mid 2000, SCTP reached it final hurdle and was submitted to the IESG. It was becoming clear during the technical comments that all protocols in the Beginning are simple(this as opposed to the bible where "In the Beginning, there was Nothing(and even that exploded)") but over time become more complex.(Some sort of Peter-principle is at work here, I suspect) Thus the simple in the acronym was just a red herring and needed to be replaced by huh, well  a new name (oh not again) or could that S mean something completely different. Well SCTP has a feature concerning streams, so the name became: And then they lived happenly ever after.... Hold on, this isn't a fairy tale

Stay tuned for the rest of the story where we get to know about:

Coming to you .. in a few years..

It  should be clear that this is not the definitive guide to how SCTP got its name. It you see what you think is an error send your comment to sctp@sctp.be and we'll try to correct it.

This page was last updated on 01/06/01