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The IETF is 30!

Jari Arkko

On 16–17 January 1986, in San Diego, California, 21 people attended what is now known as IETF 1. Several participants of that meeting are still active contributors, and some of the topics mentioned in the proceedings from that meeting still surface at IETF meetings. And although the IETF has evolved over the past 30 years, its goal of addressing challenges to improve the network via meetings and other means has remained.

The Internet also has evolved over the past three decades. In 1986, there were a few thousand hosts on the Internet; today there are more than 3 billion users. Many of today’s users access the Internet via mobile devices, and the Internet of Things is gathering an increasing amount of attention.

The Internet’s technical development community has expanded, too. Starting about 15 years ago, IETF meetings were held exclusively in Europe and Asia. Today, IETF meetings draw participants from all over the world, and this year marks the first IETF meeting to be held in South America.

While it may be impossible to predict what the Internet will look like 30 years from now, it is safe to say that literally billions more devices will be connected and that  security and privacy will be increasingly important. Until then, our community will continue to work tirelessly on the standards that enable that growth.