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The Internet Standards Process

The Internet Standards Process

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The Internet Standards Process

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  1. David Arnold DSTC George Michaelson APNIC The Internet Standards Process Internet Standards Process

  2. A (Very) Brief History Internet Standards Process

  3. Evolution – First Steps • ARPANET was a US DoD project • 7 April 1969 the Network Working Group publishes the first RFC • The NWG was a group of graduate students, some of whom are still active in the IETF today! • International Network Working Group formed c.1973. Internet Standards Process

  4. Evolution – Structure • 1983 saw formation of the Internet Activities Board (IAB) • Engineering and Architecture Task Forces • 1985 saw Working Groups created to manage growth of IETF activity • 1987 saw IETF WG activity divided into Areas (initially applications and security) and the IESG formed from Area Directors Internet Standards Process

  5. Evolution – Structure • 1992 formation of Internet Society • Restructure of IAB to Internet Architecture Board • Formation of relationships between IESG, IETF, IRTF, IAB and Internet Society • 1998 formation of ICANN • Beginning of assertion of statutory control Internet Standards Process

  6. Structure ICANN ISOC IANA IAB IRTF IETF IESG Funding Review Internet Standards Process

  7. Role of the IETF • Standardize (inter)network protocols • Layer 3 to Layer 7 • Interfaces to layer 2 often collaborative • Layer 7 is big • Little emphasis on applications themselves • Programming APIs considered borderline • Eg. RFC-2616 (HTTP), RFC-2133 (Sockets) Internet Standards Process

  8. The Internet Standards Process Internet Standards Process

  9. Standards Process • Goals • Technical excellence • Proven implementation and inter-operability • Clear, concise and simple documentation • Openness and fairness • Timeliness • Process formally defined in RFC-2026 • “We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code” Internet Standards Process

  10. Standards Process • IETF is not a ‘member body’ • Participation (in email lists) is the only criteria • Meetings are high bandwidth exchanges • But mailing lists are the forum for final decisions • Standards are freely available • Online is ‘canonical’ • Conformance is Voluntary • Many proprietary, non-standard solutions persist Internet Standards Process

  11. Standards Process • RFC documents are an archival series of publications from the IAB and its task forces • Not all RFCs are standards • Historic and Obsolete • Proposed, Draft and Internet Standard • Experimental and Informational • IESG (and sometimes IAB) review required for RFC publication • Internet-Drafts are working documents Internet Standards Process

  12. Standards Process • A BOF is proposed to an Area Directorate • The BOF develops a proposed charter • IESG approves charter and WG Chairs • WG addresses charter; publishes drafts • Drafts are reviewed by working group, community at large, IESG and if required IAB. • Approved drafts are published as RFCs • Protocols are implemented, tested and revised as required Internet Standards Process

  13. ITU ICANN W3C IEEE Both “sides” of the IETF (802.* and POSIX) WS-I New body, some charter overlap Various ISO JTCs ATM Forum WIPO Unicode Consortium 3GPP And many more at various levels of interaction Related Bodies Internet Standards Process

  14. Issues Internet Standards Process

  15. Issues • Process is slow • Consensus is hard to find • Commercial and national interests make it harder • Voluntary participation can impede progress • Especially problematic in bottlenecks (eg. IESG) • Personalities • Ability to achieve influenced by who you know • Work outside the traditional wisdom or scope can be difficult to progress Internet Standards Process

  16. Issues • IPR issues • Becoming extremely difficult • Current policy (disclosure) proving insufficient • Overload • Too many meetings? (3 per year) • Too many people? (1500-1700 people post crash) • Too many working groups? • Too many drafts? Internet Standards Process

  17. Issues • Overlap with alternative bodies • Popularity of Internet has reopened old debates about scope and legitimacy • No de jure authority • Corporations have long acknowledged strategic value of standards, and have sought to influence standards forums • Or create them … • More governments are beginning to take interest also Internet Standards Process

  18. Issues • Role of national and international government • On-the-wire decisions can have wider implications • Operational issues now politicized • Truly international decisions require national government participation • Social issues often lost in technology forum • Privacy vs. identification • Internationalization Internet Standards Process

  19. Issues • Some of these issues are being addressed http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-huston-ietf-pact-00.txt http://www.alvestrand.no/ietf/ietf55/ • Some issues require a “Layer 8” solution • The dreaded Political Layer • What is the IETF’s competitive advantage? Internet Standards Process

  20. Opportunities Internet Standards Process

  21. Additional Requirements • Preservation of the public interest • Separation of policy and mechanism • Transparency of processes • Respect for the role of national governments • Can the IETF alone deliver on these goals? • At best, half-way • Limited scope widely recognised • Other bodies might be more appropriate for some tasks • ISOC, for example Internet Standards Process

  22. Refocus IETF • IETF really only a protocol body • Behaviour above the wire should not be defined by IETF • Historically, IETF has attempted to provide or at least influence social policy • The Internet is renowned for its political advocacy  • No ability to enforce policies • Except for limitations built into technology specifications • Must continue to ensure international access • US national influence dominates IETF • Even more than other bodies • Clarify domains of responsibility for ISOC, IETF, ITU and ICANN Internet Standards Process

  23. Australian Internet Strategy • Not (only) a commercial issue • Requires at minimum a medium term view • Technological and societal policies • Academic/Commercial sector interaction • Confused thinking about broadcast vs datacast • Investments in connectivity • Education Internet Standards Process

  24. Designing the Future • There doesn’t have to be a conflict between • National Interest • International and regional outcomes • Technological Best Practice • Economically Viable activity Internet Standards Process

  25. Questions? Internet Standards Process

  26. Internet Standards Process