Internet Society fellows are giving back to the IETF community in numerous ways, from acting as scribes in working group (WG) meetings, to submitting Internet drafts and engaging in meaningful online dialogue–all long after their financial support has ended.
The ISOC Fellowship to the IETF Programme provides grants to network engineers from emerging economies to pay for their meeting fees, travel, and other expenses so they can attend IETF meetings. The goal of the programme is to increase the diversity of input to the IETF and to increase global awareness of the IETF.
Increasingly, IETF leaders and WG chairs are seeing a major return on ISOC’s investment, in terms of former ISOC fellows contributing their time and effort towards standards development work.
“We are asking returning IETF fellows to scribe at least two meetings,” said Steve Conte, senior manager of Internet leadership at ISOC. “They are contributing to the overall notes for that day, but it also ensures that they get a lot of out of the meeting by being active and engaged participants.”
Conte said ISOC hopes to see its former fellows make long-term contributions to IETF WGs.
“This is another benefit of ISOC’s Fellowship to the IETF programme,” Conte said. “It is helping to foster ongoing engagement in the IETF by folks from emerging and devel-oping countries.”
For example, Fernando Gont is an ISOC fellow who is making significant contributions to the TCP Maintenance and Minor Extensions (TCPM) WG. Gont is a network engineer from Argentina who has worked on projects for the U.K.’s National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre (NISCC) and the U.K. Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) where he has reviewed the IP and TCP protocol specifications from a security perspective.
Michael Scharf, cochair of the TCPM WG and an engineer with Alcatel-Lucent, said Gont has presented this work at three TCPM meetings. “Fernando’s work is very important for improving TCP specifications,” Scharf said. “Fernando authored a quite significant share of the recent RFCs published through TCPM. He is one of only a few TCPM working group contributors who checks the consistency between the TCP standards and what is actually implemented in real-world protocol stacks, in particular regarding security mechanisms. This is important for the IETF since some security mechanisms are not well documented in the RFC series.”
Scharf said Gont has contributed up to seven RFCs through TCPM, all related to TCP security, as well as two individual drafts that fall in the scope of the TCPM WG.
“The ISOC Fellowship to the IETF Programme helped a lot to bring his work to the IETF and to move it forward in the standardization process,” Scharf says. “Fernando is an important contributor to the TCPM working group….As far as I can tell, this fellowship programme significantly supported the recent work performed by the TCPM working group.”
Vinayak Hegde, an ISOC fellow who is a lead architect at Indian mobile advertising firm Inmobi, was an ISOC fellow at three meetings. He regularly contributes to the IP Performance Metrics (IPPM), Content Delivery Networks Interconnection (CDNI) and Benchmarking Methodology (BMWG) WGs.
Hegde said that ISOC’s fellowship programme has allowed him to connect with many Internet engineering experts from around the world.
“The conversations with people who come to IETF [meetings] have given me new ideas, insights and problem-solving techniques in my regular work,” Hegde said. “Due to my regular participation in the working groups, I have come to know about past and current work in the area of Internet performance. I also realized that you need to have a strong base in statistics and analytics if you [want] to consistently contribute to this area.”
Zartash Uzmi, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan, said he has benefitted from interacting with the Internet industry at IETF meetings. He has attended three IETF meetings as an ISOC fellow, presenting on an Internet draft at one meeting. He also acted as a scribe for the Forwarding and Control Element Separation (ForCES) WG.
“I am an academic, and there is no greater pleasure than getting your research endorsed by the industry,” Uzmi said. “Being an ISOC fellow provided me the opportunity to discuss and present my work with the practitioners at IETF. I feel enthusiastic in contributing to IETF, and I draw personal satisfaction by doing so.”