IETF 27 November 2014

Among the Nerds in Paradise

Amelia Yeo
By Amelia YeoGuest Author


Observations of a new attendee at the IETF 91, Honolulu


I’ve just returned from my first Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and there can be no better introduction than in semi-tropical Honolulu. Honolulu was a hive of activity from November 9-14 with numerous activities taking place simultaneously including working groups, meetings, plenaries, lunch time talk, networking receptions and dinners.
IETF is an organized activity of the Internet Society (ISOC) that meets three times a year to produce standards and other documents. The Honolulu meeting was attended by nearly 1,100 people from 80 countries, 13% were first timers like myself.
Many of the attendees were Internet standards developers and technology implementers. Some were sponsored by their employers whereas others were not. ISOC had sponsored eleven qualified individuals including technology professionals and advanced IT students from developing and emerging economies to IETF91.
Like all the other IETFs, this meeting was initiated to develop and maintain standards for technologies used to provide Internet service or to provide services over the Internet. The meeting helped to ensure that the technology was able to perform needed functions, support the proper scale of deployment and usage, was secure, could be operated securely and was manageable.
For many, the reason for being there was to observe and/or participate in the creation of IETF “standards” which relies on discussion and rough consensus. There were 129 working groups in eight areas: Applications (APS), General (GEN), Internet (INT), Operations & Management (O&M), Real-time Applications and Infrastructure Area (RAI), Routing Area (RTG), Security (SEC) and Transport (TSV).
Since the first Request for Comments (RFC) at an IETF in 1969, over 7,000 RFCs have been produced. Many multinational technology companies develop standards at the IETF which are then adopted by themselves and/or others to provide real solutions. Time from implementation of standards at IETF 91 range from six months to six years.
Areas of great interest at IETF 91 included making virtualized networks function, programming network nodes, making DNS traffic more private and, guaranteeing network throughput and delay for special applications.
There were Birds of a Feather (BOFs) sessions on new multicast forwarding architecture and on new top-level media type for archive formats. A new research group was likewise formed to study data-center latency.
Highlights included an ISOC-moderated panel on “Identity as an Internet Building Block,” a presentation on “Open Standards, Open Source, Open Loop,” and the Internet Research Task Force’s (IRTF) Applied Networking Research Prizes (ANRP) awarded to Sharon Goldberg, Tobias Flach and Misbah Uddin.
Stuart, the minion from the animated film Despicable Me, came out in force, however there was low participation from Asia-Pacific overall in the meeting and we look forward to this improving.
So mark it on the calendar, the next Asian IETF will be in Yokohama on November 1-6 2015 and, Seoul on November 13-18, 2016.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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