An agreed-upon set of specifications for hardware or software, a standard makes it possible for different manufacturers to create products that are compatible with each other. Standards may be set by official organizations, or unofficially set, established by common use. Common examples of standards include multiple IEEE standards for electrical interfaces (computer cables), ANSI for programming languages, and VESA for computer monitors and video adapters.
Advantages of standards
Standards are advantageous for both the end user and the manufactures of computer products in that they prevent confusion between the two parties. One example of how a standard came into use was with 56k modems and the X2 and Flex technologies. As a result, Internet service providers had a difficult choice to make. They could purchase both brands of modems, and a separate access line to use with each brand. Or, they could support only one technology and lose business. The solution came in the form of V.90, which combined two standards into one.