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Download the latest issue: IETF Journal July 2015 (PDF, 1.1MB)
Also available in Russian: IETF Journal July 2015 [Russian translation] (PDF, 1.7MB)

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Dallas, Texas, was the location for the 92nd meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force hosted by Google. In this issue of the IETF Journal we’ve tried to capture some of the highlights of the week and convey a small sample of the many exciting people and discussions that make up an IETF meeting.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the IETF meetings became very popular and the number of attendees increased significantly. This was likely due to a number of factors: the tech boom, the fact that many IETF meetings took place in beautiful California, and an increase in the IETF’s work load.

As I write this, our next meeting in Prague is just a few weeks away. I’m looking forward to interesting discussions from our new working groups (WGs) and Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) sessions, including the Deterministic Networking (DETNET) BoF, Distributed Denial-of-Service Open Threat Signaling (DOTS) WG, and the privacy-enhanced Real-time Transport Protocol Conferencing (PERC) WG.

Marching with a New Group

March represents the IETF’s time for change as the new NomCom appointments take effect at each March IETF meeting. This year, three members of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) ended their terms: Joel Halpern, Eliot Lear, and Xing Li; and the NomCom selected three new members to appoint to the IAB: Ralph Droms, Robert Sparks, and Suzanne Woolf. We thank Joel, Eliot, and Xing for their service; and welcome Ralph, Robert, and Suzanne.

A new Request for Comment (RFC), which provides guidance to network engineers designing Internet-connected smart objects, was the main topic at the Technical Plenary session of IETF 92 in Dallas. 

RFC 7452, entitled “Architectural Considerations for Smart-Object Networking,” explains how and when IP-based protocols can be used for embedded devices that have constrained energy, bandwidth, size, memory, and other factors. 

The Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) protocol is one of two Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP) routing protocols being standardized in the IETF. It is widely deployed in both enterprise and service-provider networks, and is the control plane protocol of choice in optical networks. The OSPF Working Group (WG) is one of the older IETF working groups and, after more than two decades, you’d think that it would be reaching maintenance mode. Yet, in fact, we are at a crossroads as we standardize flexible type-length-value (TLV)-based extension mechanisms.

The first-ever IETF Hackathon was held 21–22 March, the weekend before IETF 92 in Dallas, Texas. It was a late addition to the meeting schedule, an answer to the call to action in Dave Ward’s talk at IETF 91, Open Standards, Open Source, Open Loop (see https://www.internetsociety.org/publications/ietf-journal-march-2015/open-standards-open-source-open-loop).

In the past few years, the terms software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV) have emerged from nihility—SDN was coined circa 2009, NFV in 2012—to being the subjects of dozens of conferences, research groups (including the Internet Research Task Force’s SDNRG and NFVRG), industry groups, and open source communities. But what exactly are SDN and NFV, and how are they relevant for work in the IETF? 

The IPv6 Operations (v6ops) working group had an opportunity to learn first-hand about the promises and pitfalls of IPv6 deployment in India, thanks to a presentation from Internet Society Fellow and IETF newcomer, Suprita Lnu. 

“I thought she did an excellent job, and I wasn’t the only one,” said Fred Baker, cochair of the v6ops working group. “Comments in the room and on Facebook were very complimentary.” 

IETF 92 was a unique experience for me, particularly compared to the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and USENIX conferences I regularly attend. As an organization, the IETF is focused on concrete solutions and detailed specifications for working systems, as opposed to conceptual research. This practical focus appealed to my interest in systems-building research and is one of the reasons I chose to attend IETF 92.

The Applied Networking Research Prize (ANRP) is awarded for recent results in applied networking research that are relevant for transitioning into shipping Internet products and related standardization efforts. The ANRP award presented during IETF 92 went to Aaron Gember Jacobson for designing and evaluating a network functions virtualization (NFV) control plane. See his full paper at http://agember.com/docs/gember-jacobson2014opennf.pdf

During IETF 92 in Dallas, six out of the nine chartered Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) research groups (RGs) held meetings:

Getting new work started in the IETF usually requires a birds-of-a-feather (BoF) meeting to discuss goals for the work, the suitability of the IETF as a venue for pursuing the work, and the level of interest in and support for the work. In this article, we’ll review the BoFs that took place during IETF 92, including their intentions and outcomes. If you are inspired to arrange a BoF meeting, please be sure to read RFC 5434, “Considerations for Having a Successful Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) Session.”

ietf 92 pie chart

Participants: 1,176

Newcomers: 172

Number of countries: 57

IETF Activity since IETF 91 (9 November 2014–22 March 2015)

New WGs: 4

WGs closed: 8

WG currently chartered: 139

New and revised Internet-Drafts (I-Ds): 1797

RFCs published: 78