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Why is the number 802 used for IEEE 802 and what is its meaning? Can you explain how these numbers are assigned in general as well as what 802 in particular is?

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2 Answers

From Wikipedia:

The number 802 was simply the next free number IEEE could assign, though “802” is sometimes associated with the date the first meeting was held — February 1980

IEEE = Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is a professional association chartered for the advancement of technology.

802 is specific to networks with variable packet sizes and is not all-encompassing for networking specifications in general.

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Actually, the answer to this question was recently given by Bob Metcalfe, Ethernet Inventor, at the November 2013 802 Plenary session in Texas. The wikipedia article is a misstatement in that 802 was available, not the "next available".

Why the 802 number? Because first meeting was in the 2nd month of 1980. via @BobMetcalfe

Here is a link to the tweet from the official IEEE Standards Association twitter account mentioning the etymology of 802.

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I checked the source; Wikipedia is correct, and Bob Metcalfe is quite possibly wrong. –  Michael Hampton Jan 26 at 17:33
    
Bob Metcalfe is quite possibly wrong. - that's a phrase you don't see every day. –  RobM Jan 26 at 17:53
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