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IETF Journal November 2015

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The IETF Journal is an Internet Society publication produced in cooperation with the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Spanish Translation: IETF Journal April 2016 (PDF, 1.8MB)

Russian Translation: IETF Journal April 2016 (PDF, 2.1MB)


The Internet Engineering Task Force returned to the stunning city of Prague for our 93rd meeting, which was hosted by Brocade and the Czech domain registry CZ.NIC. In this issue of IETF Journal we share highlights of the week-long meeting and attempt to convey the spirit of the many people and discussions that make up an IETF meeting.

It is increasingly important to ensure that all Internet applications receive certain minimum security assurances [RFC 7202]. For many years now, the IETF has required that the protocols it publishes have built-in security mechanisms [RFC 3552]. In order for users to benefit from these mechanisms, however, they need to be deployed by the operators of Internet applications.

IETF 93 in Prague was a record meeting in terms of attendance: 1,384 people from 65 countries were on site, and many more attended remotely. While our European meetings are always popular, this kind of attention is a testament to both how we are growing and the variety of interesting projects underway. 

It always surprises me how little time there seems to be between IETF meetings, at least by the time the meeting is upon us. IETF 93 in Prague was no exception. Still, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) had plenty to report to the community.

Vehicular communications systems, which hold the promise of preventing crashes and saving lives, are poised for wide-scale deployment during the next decade. IETF 93’s technical plenary session discussed the underlying networking technologies and protocols required by vehicular communications, as well as related privacy and security challenges. 

Most people think of the IETF as software and protocols, but at IETF 93, a CrypTech workshop gave participants the opportunity to work together on open source hardware: cryptographic engines developed by a multinational team designed to restore the public's trust in cryptography.

During IETF 93, approximately 170 participants attended a screening of Citizenfour, the movie about Edward Snowden’s revelations and the information that led the IETF to declare such pervasive monitoring as an attack on the Internet itself. The audience, the very people who design and maintain the Internet, watched the movie intently, their eyes glued to the screen; not a laptop was open.

In 2003, Request for Comment (RFC) 3535, “Overview of the 2002 IAB Network Management Workshop1 documented the outcomes of a dialog between network operators and protocol developers about focusing the IETF on future network management work. The workshop identified 14 operator requirements and identified ‘ease of use’ as a key requirement for any new network management system.

IETF 93 in Prague kicked off with a Hackathon the weekend of 18-19 July. Following the success of the first IETF Hackathon at IETF 92, Cisco DevNet and the IETF teamed up again to host it. 

In IETF Journal, Vol. 10, Issue 1, I wrote about the activities of the IETF Education Team ( Since then, in addition to organizing the Sunday tutorials and Working Group (WG) chair sessions, we’ve reviewed our portfolio, our training methods, the audiences we’ve reached, and the topics we’ve covered. It brought up a number of questions: Should we keep the Sunday tutorials?

During the IETF 93 administrative plenary, community members got their first look at updated designs for the new public-facing IETF website ( The design was developed based on usage data of the current IETF website, input from the target audiences, and consultations with the IETF Community Review Committee. The updated design aims to be widely usable, including being accessible on mobile, and working well over low-bandwidth/high-latency network connections. 

The IETF and the IAB have long been engaged in activities to rebuild user trust and strengthen the Internet in the face of pervasive monitoring and potential product vulnerabilities. The Managing Radio Networks in an Encrypted World (MaRNEW) workshop ( was the latest in a series of collaborative activities. 

During IETF 93 in Prague, eight out of the nine chartered Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) research groups (RGs) held meetings:

At the Bits-N-Bites session at IETF 93 in Prague, something quite remarkable was demonstrated: a streamed football match that you could pan and zoom with finger gestures on a touch screen—and still get (high definition) HD at full zoom. The app in itself was pretty neat, but the responsiveness was the remarkable thing; it seemed to stick to your finger as you panned or pinched.

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 awards presented during IETF 93 went to the following two individuals:

Haya Shulman. For analysing the deficiencies of DNS privacy approaches in the paper, “Pretty Bad Privacy: Pitfalls of DNS Encryption.” 

Proponents of Intent-Based Network Modeling (IBNEMO) held two bar–Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) meetings during IETF 93 in Prague. Many people are interested in standardizing a minimal language capable of expressing intent in networking configurations and work on this topic is ongoing via various projects using the OpenDayLight platform. Our aim is to define a minimal set of commands that can cover 80 percent of the intent expressions needed in network configurations (figure 1).

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 review the BoFs that took place during IETF 93, including their intentions and outcomes. If you’re inspired to arrange a BoF meeting, please read RFC 5434: Considerations for Having a Successful Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) Session.

Participants: 1,384

Newcomers: 204

Number of countries: 65

IETF Activity since IETF 92 (22 March–19 July 2015)

New WGs: 12

WGs closed: 8

WG currently chartered: 143

New and revised Internet-Drafts (I-Ds): 1739

RFCs published: 116

  • 76 Standards Track, 5 BCP, 6 Experimental, 27 Informational

IESG Restructuring

Restructuring complete