IETF Ornithology: Recent Sightings

By: Mat Ford

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Getting new work started in the IETF usually requires a birds-of-a-feather (BoF) meeting to discuss goals for the work, to assess the suitability of the IETF as a venue for pursuing the work, and to identify the level of interest in and support for the work. In this article, we’ll review the BoFs that took place during IETF 84, including their intentions and outcomes. If you’re inspired to arrange a BoF meeting, please be sure to read RFC 5434: Considerations for Having a Successful Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) Session.

Data Set Identifier Interoperability (DSII)

Description: This BoF was not intended to form a working group at this session. The purpose was to discuss how to achieve interoperability among persistent identifiers for data sets made available on the Internet. The initial use case of interest is scientific data sets produced by different research teams; other use cases might include media developed by different sources and combined into a common collection. Access policies based on identifiers, discovery, association of meta-data, and data integrity are expected to be later topics, but these will likely be covered in follow-on mailing list discussion. The meeting reviewed existing methods such as DOI, URN, PURL, and then discussed core requirements.


Outcome: The meeting reviewed a conceptual framework for work in this area, core issues for data sets and their identifiers, and several current data set identifier systems.

The group discussed interoperability mechanisms briefly. The chairs concluded by thanking the group for the discussion and asked folks to continue the discussion on the mailing list.

RFC Format (rfcform)

Description: The BoF reviewed the current requirements for RFC formatting, and then discussed the RFC format proposals that have been published as Internet-Drafts. For a summary of the more contentious issues relating to RFC format, see


Outcome: The meeting recapped the progress of the discussion to date and reviewed the current proposals.

RTP Media Congestion Avoidance Techniques (RMCAT)

Description: Delivery of interactive real time media over the Internet is often in the form of sets of media flows using RTP over UDP. There is no generally accepted congestion control mechanism for this kind of data flow. With the deployment of applications using the RTCWEB protocol suite, the number of such flows is likely to increase, especially nonfixed-rate flows such as video or adaptive audio. There is therefore some urgency in specifying one or more congestion control mechanisms that can find general acceptance. This was a WG-forming BoF meeting to discuss chartering a WG to initially, and amongst other things, find or develop candidate congestion control algorithms, verify that these can be tested on the Internet without significant risk, and publish one or more as Experimental RFCs.


Outcome: The chairs wrapped-up the discussion by asking three questions:

• Do you think that the problem is clear, well scoped, solvable, and worth solving? There was a hum in favour.

• Do you support forming a WG with the charter outlined?

There was a strong hum in favour.

• Would you be willing to work on one or more of the drafts outlined?

There was a significant constituency of people willing to work on the drafts.

The proposed charter will be updated based on the discussion and circulated on the mailing list for review. The chairs and the area directors will then work to form a working group.

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