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The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open
standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary function is developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpr ...
, which develops and promotes voluntary
Internet standard An Internet Standard in computer network engineering refers to the normative specification of a technology that is appropriate for the Internet. Internet Standards allow interoperation of hardware and software from different sources which allows th ...
s, in particular the
technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task which is applied to a common and repeated use of rules, conditions, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and produc ...
s that comprise the
Internet protocol suite The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of s used in the and similar s. The current foundational protocols in the suite are the (TCP) and the (IP). During its development, versions of it were known as the Departm ...
(TCP/IP). It has no formal membership roster 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
federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the Federation#Federal governments, national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 U.S. state, state ...
, but since 1993 it has operated as a standards-development function under the auspices of the
Internet Society The Internet Society (ISOC) is an American nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a col ...
, an international membership-based non-profit organization.


Organization

The IETF is organized into a large number of
working group A working group, or working party, is a group of experts working together to achieve specified goals. The groups are domain-specific and focus on discussion or activity around a specific subject area. The term can sometimes refer to an interdis ...

working group
s and birds of a feather informal discussion groups, each dealing with a specific topic. The IETF 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); a charter that describes its focus; and what it is expected to produce, and when. It is open to all who want to participate and holds discussions on an open
mailing list A mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by an individual or an organization to send material to multiple recipients. The term is often extended to include the people subscribed to such a list, so the group of subscribers is refe ...
or at IETF meetings, where the entry fee in July 2014 was $650 per person. As of mid-2018 the fees are: early bird $700, late payment $875, student $150 and a one-day pass for $375.
Rough consensus Rough consensus is a term used in consensus decision-making to indicate the "sense of the group" concerning a particular matter under consideration. It has been defined as the "dominant view" of a group as determined by its chairperson. The term w ...
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 working group 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 The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization, which develops and promotes voluntary Internet standards, in particular the technical standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal ...
(IESG), which is responsible for the overall operation of the IETF. The
Internet Architecture Board The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is "a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organi ...
(IAB) oversees the IETF's external relationships and relations with the
RFC Editor A Request for Comments (RFC) is a publication in a series, from the principal technical development and standards-setting bodies for the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected s that uses the (TCP ...
. The IAB provides long-range technical direction for Internet development. The IAB is also jointly responsible for the
IETF Administrative Oversight Committee The IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC) is part of the support organization for the Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards ...
(IAOC), which oversees the
IETF Administrative Support Activity The full name of IETF is "The Internet Engineering Task Force"which is the premier Internet standards body. It develops open standards through open processes. The IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) is an activity housed within the Intern ...
(IASA), which provides logistical, etc. support for the IETF. The IAB also manages the
Internet Research Task Force{{Infobox organization , name = Internet ResearchTask Force , image = Irtf-logo.svg , image_border = , size = 225px , caption = , map = , msize = , mcaption = , abbreviation = IRT ...
(IRTF), with which the IETF has a number of cross-group relations. 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 US Federal Government to an independent, international activity associated with the
Internet Society The Internet Society (ISOC) is an American nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a col ...
, an international membership-based non-profit organization."IETF and the Internet Society"
Vint Cerf, Internet Society, 18 July 1995. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
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 Public Interest Registry is a Reston, Virginia-based not-for-profit created by the Internet Society in 2002 to manage the .org, .ORG top-level domain. It took over operation of .ORG in January 2003 and launched the .NGO and .ONG top-level domains i ...

Public Interest Registry
. In December 2005 the IETF Trust was established to manage the copyrighted materials produced by the IETF.


Steering group

The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) is a body composed of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) chair and area directors. It provides the final technical review of Internet standards and is responsible for day-to-day management of the IETF. It receives appeals of the decisions of the working groups, and the IESG makes the decision to progress documents in the standards track. The chair of the IESG is the director of the General Area, who also serves as the overall IETF Chair. Members of the IESG include the two directors of each of the following areas: * Applications Area (app) * Internet Area (int) * Operations & Network Management Area (ops) * Routing Area (rtg) * Real-time Applications and Infrastructure Area (rai) * Security Area (sec) * Transport and Services Area (tsv) – frequently also referred to as the "Transport Area" Liaison and ''
ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) who is part of it by virtue of holding another office. The term ''ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) ...
'' members include: *IETF Executive Director *
Internet Architecture Board The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is "a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organi ...
(IAB) Chair *Appointed Liaison from the IAB *Liaison from the
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a standards organization that oversees global IP address allocation, Autonomous system (Internet), autonomous system number allocation, DNS root zone, root zone management in the Domain Name Sys ...
(IANA) *Liaison from the
Request for Comments A Request for Comments (RFC) is a publication in a series, from the principal technical development and standards-setting bodies for the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks tha ...
(RFC) Editor


Early leadership and administrative history

The Gateway Algorithms and Data Structures (GADS) Task Force was the precursor to the IETF. Its chairman was
David L. Mills David L. Mills (born June 3, 1938) is an American computer engineering, computer engineer and Internet pioneer. Mills earned his PhD in Computer and Communication Sciences from the University of Michigan in 1971. While at Michigan he worked on th ...
of the
University of Delaware The University of Delaware (colloquially UD, UDel or Delaware) is a Public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university located in Newark, Delaware. UD is the largest university in Delaware. It offers three associate' ...
. In January of 1986, the Internet Activities Board (IAB; now called the
Internet Architecture Board The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is "a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organi ...
) decided to divide GADS into two entities: an Internet Architecture (INARC) Task Force chaired by Mills to pursue research goals, and the IETF to handle nearer-term engineering and technology transfer issues. The first IETF chair was Mike Corrigan, who was then the technical program manager for the
Defense Data Network The Defense Data Network (DDN) was a computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These interconnections are made up of tech ...
(DDN). Also in 1986, after leaving DARPA, Robert E. Kahn founded the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), which began providing administrative support to the IETF. In 1987, Corrigan was succeeded as IETF chair by Phill Gross. Effective March 1, 1989, but providing support dating back to late 1988, CNRI and NSF entered into a Cooperative Agreement No. NCR-8820945, wherein CNRI agreed to create and provide a "secretariat" for the "overall coordination, management and support of the work of the IAB, its various task forces and, particularly, the IETF." In 1992, CNRI supported the formation and early funding of the
Internet Society The Internet Society (ISOC) is an American nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a col ...
, which took on the IETF as a fiscally sponsored project, along with the IAB, the
Internet Research Task Force{{Infobox organization , name = Internet ResearchTask Force , image = Irtf-logo.svg , image_border = , size = 225px , caption = , map = , msize = , mcaption = , abbreviation = IRT ...
(IRTF), and the organization of annual INET meetings. Phill Gross continued to serve as IETF chair throughout this transition. Cerf, Kahn, and Lyman Chapin announced the formation of ISOC as "a professional society to facilitate, support, and promote the evolution and growth of the Internet as a global research communications infrastructure". At the first board meeting of the Internet Society, Vint Cerf, representing CNRI, offered, "In the event a deficit occurs, CNRI has agreed to contribute up to USD102000 to offset it." In 1993, Cerf continued to support the formation of ISOC while working for CNRI, and the role of ISOC in "the official procedures for creating and documenting Internet Standards" was codified in the IETF's . In 1995, IETF's describes ISOC's role in the IETF as being purely administrative, and ISOC as having "no influence whatsoever on the Internet Standards process, the Internet Standards or their technical content". In 1998, CNRI established Foretec Seminars, Inc. (Foretec), a for-profit subsidiary to take over providing Secretariat services to the IETF. Foretec provided these services until at least 2004. By 2013, Foretec was dissolved. In 2003, IETF's described IETFs role in appointing 3 board members to the ISOC's Board of Directors. In 2018, ISOC established The IETF Administration LLC, a separate LLC to handle the administration of the IETF. In 2019, the LLC issued a call for proposals to provide secretariat services to the IETF.


Meetings

The first IETF meeting was attended by 21 US Federal 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 (such as gateway vendors) were invited to attend starting with the fourth IETF meeting in October 1986. Since that time all IETF meetings have been open to the public."Internet Engineering Task Force"
Scott Bradner, ''Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution'', O'Reilly, 1st Edition, January 1999, . Retrieved 21 July 2014.
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, California San Diego ( , ; ) is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Mexico–United States border, Mexican border. With a 2020 population of 1,386,932, San Diego is the List of United ...
. Attendance declined with industry restructuring during the early 2000s, and is currently around 1,200. 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
hackathon A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest, datathon or codefest; a portmanteau A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "portmanteau (luggage) A portmanteau is a piece of luggage Baggage or luggage consists of bags, cases, and c ...

hackathon
s during the IETF meetings. The focus is on implementing code that will improve standards in terms of quality and interoperability.


Operations

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 (e.g.
3GPP The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is an umbrella term for a number of standards organizations which develop protocols for mobile telecommunications. Its best known work is the development and maintenance of: * GSM and related 2G and 2. ...
IMS). 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 The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is an internet standard An Internet Standard in computer network engineering refers to the normative specification of a technology that is appropriate for the Internet. Internet Standards allow interoper ...
, 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
backward compatible Backward or Backwards is a relative direction. Backwards or Sdrawkcab (the word "backwards" with its letters reversed) may also refer to: * Backwards (Red Dwarf), "Backwards" (''Red Dwarf''), episode of sci-fi TV sitcom ''Red Dwarf'' ** Backwar ...
, except for
IPv6 Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communication protocol, communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic ...

IPv6
. 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 The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary ...
,
ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task w ...
/
IECIEC may refer to: Businesses and organisations * International Electrotechnical Commission The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC; in French: ''Commission électrotechnique internationale'') is an international standards organizati ...
,
ITU 260px, ITU Monument, Bern The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communication technologies Information and communications technology ...

ITU
, and other standards bodies. 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.


Chairs

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 Paul V. Mockapetris (born 1948 in Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the and city of the of in the and 21st . The city proper covers with an estimated population of 692,600 in 2019, also making it the most populous c ...
(1994–1996) * Fred Baker (1996–2001) *
Harald Tveit Alvestrand Harald Tveit Alvestrand (born 29 June 1959) is a Norway, Norwegian computer scientist. He was chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) from 2001 until 2005, succeeding Fred Baker (IETF chair), Fred Baker. Within the IETF, Alvestrand was ...

Harald Tveit Alvestrand
(2001–2005) * Brian Carpenter (2005–2007) *
Russ Housley Russ is a masculine given name, often a short form of Russell (given name), Russell, and a surname. People Given name or nickname * Russ Abbot (born 1947), British musician, comedian and actor * Russ Adams (born 1980), American former Major Leag ...

Russ Housley
(2007–2013) * Jari Arkko (2013–2017) *
Alissa Cooper Alyssa is a feminine given name A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a personal name A personal name, or full name, in onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and ...
(2017–2021) *
Lars Eggert Lars is a common male name in Scandinavia, Scandinavian countries. Origin ''Lars'' means "from the city of Laurentum". Lars is derived from the Latin name Laurentius (disambiguation), Laurentius, which means "from Laurentum" or "crowned with laure ...
(2021- )


Topics of interest

The IETF works on a broad range of networking technologies which provide foundation for the 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. The IETF is also
standardizing In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin ...
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 .


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 the global Internet.


IETF areas

It divides its work into a number of areas that have Working groups that have a relation to an 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 the
Internet Engineering Steering Group The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization, which develops and promotes voluntary Internet standards, in particular the technical standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal ...
. The Nominations Committee can be used to add new members.


Token Binding Protocol

In October 2018,
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
and
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
engineers introduced a plan to create the Token Binding Protocol in order to stop
replay attack A replay attack (also known as playback attack) is a form of network attack in which valid data transmission is maliciously or fraudulently repeated or delayed. This is carried out either by the originator or by an adversary who intercepts the d ...
s on .


See also

*
Internet Architecture Board The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is "a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organi ...
(IAB) *
Internet governance Internet governance is the development and application of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) ...
*
Internet Research Task Force{{Infobox organization , name = Internet ResearchTask Force , image = Irtf-logo.svg , image_border = , size = 225px , caption = , map = , msize = , mcaption = , abbreviation = IRT ...
(IRTF)


References


External links

* * /www.ietf.org/iesg/ Steering group** /www.ietf.org/old/2009/proceedings_directory.html IETF Online Proceedings** /www.ietf.org/old/2009/proceedings/directory2.html Early IETF Proceedings(''note: large
pdf Portable Document Format (PDF), standardized as ISO 32000, is a file format ogg-file: 154 kilobytes. A file format is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for pe ...
files, one for each volume'') ** /www.ietf.org/meeting/past.html Past Meetings of the IETF** /www.ietf.org/iesg/past-members.html Past IESG Members and IETF Chairs* /tools.ietf.org/rfcmarkup?doc=fyi17 The Tao of the IETF details on how IETF is organized {{Authority control Internet properties established in 1986 Organizations established in 1986 Internet governance organizations Internet Standard organizations Internet-related organizations History of the Internet Task forces 1986 establishments in the United States