Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) develops and promotes
Internet standards, in particular the standards that
Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It is an open standards
organization, with no formal membership or membership requirements.
All participants and managers are volunteers, though their work is
usually funded by their employers or sponsors.
The IETF started out as an activity supported by the U.S. federal
government, but since 1993 it has operated as a standards development
function under the auspices of the
Internet Society, an international
membership-based non-profit organization.
5 Topics of Interest
5.1 Automated network management
Internet of Things
5.3 New transport technology
5.4 IETF Areas
6 See also
8 External links
The IETF is organized into a large number of working groups and
informal discussion groups (BoFs, or Birds of a Feather), each dealing
with a specific topic and operates in a bottom-up task creation mode,
largely driven by these working groups. Each working group has an
appointed chairperson (or sometimes several co-chairs), along with a
charter that describes its focus, and what and when it is expected to
produce. It is open to all who want to participate, and holds
discussions on an open mailing list or at IETF meetings, where the
entry fee in July 2014 was USD $650 per person.
Rough consensus is the primary basis for decision making. There are no
formal voting procedures. Because the majority of the IETF's work is
done via mailing lists, meeting attendance is not required for
contributors. Each working group is intended to complete work on its
topic and then disband. In some cases, the WG will instead have its
charter updated to take on new tasks as appropriate.
The working groups are organized into areas by subject matter. Current
areas are Applications, General, Internet, Operations and Management,
Real-time Applications and Infrastructure, Routing, Security, and
Transport. Each area is overseen by an area director (AD), with
most areas having two co-ADs. The ADs are responsible for appointing
working group chairs. The area directors, together with the IETF
Chair, form the
Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), which is
responsible for the overall operation of the IETF.
The IETF is overseen by the
Internet Architecture Board (IAB), which
oversees its external relationships, and relations with the RFC
Editor. The IAB is also jointly responsible for the IETF
Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC), which oversees the IETF
Administrative Support Activity (IASA), which provides logistical,
etc. support for the IETF. The IAB also manages the
Task Force (IRTF), with which the IETF has a number of cross-group
A Nominating Committee (NomCom) of ten randomly chosen volunteers who
participate regularly at meetings is vested with the power to appoint,
reappoint, and remove members of the IESG, IAB, IASA, and the IAOC.
To date, no one has been removed by a NomCom, although several people
have resigned their positions, requiring replacements.
In 1993 the IETF changed from an activity supported by the U.S.
government to an independent, international activity associated with
Internet Society, an international membership-based non-profit
organization. Because the IETF itself does not have members, nor is
it an organization per se, the
Internet Society provides the financial
and legal framework for the activities of the IETF and its sister
bodies (IAB, IRTF, …). IETF activities are funded by meeting fees,
meeting sponsors and by the
Internet Society via its organizational
membership and the proceeds of the Public Interest Registry.
In December 2005 the IETF Trust was established to manage the
copyrighted materials produced by the IETF.
The first IETF meeting was attended by 21 U.S.-government-funded
researchers on 16 January 1986. It was a continuation of the work of
the earlier GADS Task Force. Representatives from non-governmental
entities were invited to attend starting with the fourth IETF meeting
in October 1986. Since that time all IETF meetings have been open to
Initially, the IETF met quarterly, but from 1991, it has been meeting
three times a year. The initial meetings were very small, with fewer
than 35 people in attendance at each of the first five meetings. The
maximum attendance during the first 13 meetings was only 120
attendees. This occurred at the 12th meeting held during January 1989.
These meetings have grown in both participation and scope a great deal
since the early 1990s; it had a maximum attendance of 2,810 at the
December 2000 IETF held in San Diego, CA. Attendance declined with
industry restructuring during the early 2000s, and is currently around
The location for IETF meetings vary greatly. A list of past and future
meeting locations can be found on the IETF meetings page. The IETF
strives to hold its meetings near where most of the IETF volunteers
are located. For many years, the goal was three meetings a year, with
two in North America and one in either Europe or Asia, alternating
between them every other year. The current goal is to hold three
meetings in North America, two in Europe and one in Asia during a
two-year period. However, corporate sponsorship of the meetings is
also an important factor and the schedule has been modified from time
to time in order to decrease operational costs.
The IETF also organizes
Hackathons during the IETF meetings. The focus
is on implementing code that will improve standards in terms of
quality and interoperability.
The details of IETF operations have changed considerably as the
organization has grown, but the basic mechanism remains publication of
proposed specifications, development based on the proposals, review
and independent testing by participants, and republication as a
revised proposal, a draft proposal, or eventually as an Internet
Standard. IETF standards are developed in an open, all-inclusive
process in which any interested individual can participate. All IETF
documents are freely available over the
Internet and can be reproduced
at will. Multiple, working, useful, interoperable implementations are
the chief requirement before an IETF proposed specification can become
a standard. Most specifications are focused on single protocols
rather than tightly interlocked systems. This has allowed the
protocols to be used in many different systems, and its standards are
routinely re-used by bodies which create full-fledged architectures
Because it relies on volunteers and uses "rough consensus and running
code" as its touchstone, results can be slow whenever the number of
volunteers is either too small to make progress, or so large as to
make consensus difficult, or when volunteers lack the necessary
expertise. For protocols like SMTP, which is used to transport e-mail
for a user community in the many hundreds of millions, there is also
considerable resistance to any change that is not fully backwards
compatible. Work within the IETF on ways to improve the speed of the
standards-making process is ongoing but, because the number of
volunteers with opinions on it is very great, consensus on
improvements has been slow to develop.
The IETF cooperates with the W3C, ISO/IEC, ITU, and other standards
Statistics are available that show who the top contributors by RFC
publication are. While the IETF only allows for participation by
individuals, and not by corporations or governments, sponsorship
information is available from these statistics.
The IETF Chairperson is selected by the Nominating Committee (NomCom)
process for a 2-year renewable term. Before 1993, the IETF Chair
was selected by the IAB.
A list of the past and current Chairs of the IETF follows:
Mike Corrigan (1986)
Phill Gross (1986–1994)
Paul Mockapetris (1994–1996)
Fred Baker (1996–2001)
Harald Tveit Alvestrand
Harald Tveit Alvestrand (2001–2005)
Brian Carpenter (2005–2007)
Russ Housley (2007–2013)
Jari Arkko (2013–2017)
Alissa Cooper  (2017- )
Topics of Interest
It works on a broad range of networking technologies which provide
foundation for Internet's growth and evolution.
Automated network management
It aims to improve the efficiency in management of networks as they
grow in size and complexity. IETF is also standardizing protocols for
autonomic networking that enables networks to be self managing.
Internet of Things
It is a network of physical objects or things that are embedded with
electronics, sensors, software and also enables objects to exchange
data with operator, manufacturer and other connected devices. Several
IETF working groups are developing protocols that are directly
relevant to IoT.
New transport technology
Its development provides the ability of internet applications to send
data over the internet. There are some well established transport
protocols such as TCP(Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP(User
Datagram Protocol) which are continuously getting extended and refined
to meet the needs of global internet.
It divides its work into number of areas which has Working groups that
has a relation to area's focus. Area Directors handle the primary task
of area management. Area Directors may be advised by one or more
Directorates. The area structure is defined by
Steering Group. Nominations Committee can be used to add new
Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG)
Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)
Request for Comments (RFCs)
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)". RIPE NCC. 10 August 2012.
Retrieved 13 October 2012.
^ Jacobsen, O.; Lynch, D. (March 1991). "A Glossary of Networking
Terms". RFC 1208 . Retrieved 2012-10-13.
^ "The 2016 NomCom". March 16, 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
^ a b c d e "
Internet Engineering Task Force", Scott Bradner, Open
Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, O'Reilly, 1st
Edition, January 1999, ISBN 1-56592-582-3. Retrieved 21 July
^ "Register for the Next IETF Meeting". IETF. Retrieved 21 July
^ "Active IETF Working Groups". IETF. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
^ "Charter of the
Internet Architecture Board (IAB)", RFC 2850, B.
Carpenter, May 2000. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
^ "IETF NomCom", IETF. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
^ a b "IETF and the
Internet Society", Vint Cerf,
Internet Society, 18
July 1995. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
^ "History", Your Public
Internet Registry. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
^ "IETF Trust", IETF. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
^ "Past Meetings". IETF. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
^ "IETF Meetings". IETF. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
^ "IETF Hackathon". www.ietf.org. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
^ "IETF document statistics (all documents)", Jari Arkko. Retrieved 21
^ "IAB and IESG Selection, Confirmation, and Recall Process: Operation
of the Nominating and Recall Committees", RFC 3777, J. Galvin (Ed.),
June 2004. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
^ "Past IESG Members and IETF Chairs". IETF. Retrieved 21 July
^ "IETF Profile: Alissa Cooper". IETF. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
^ "Topics of interest". IETF. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
^ "Automated network management". IETF. Retrieved 16 January
Internet of Things". IETF. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
^ "New transport technology". IETF. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
^ "IETF Areas". IETF. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
IETF Online Proceedings
Early IETF Proceedings (note: large pdf files, one for each volume)
Past Meetings of the IETF
Past IESG Members and IETF Chairs
The Tao of the IETF: details on how IETF is organized
ISNI: 0000 0001 2217 224X