News from the IAB

By: IAB Chair, Leslie Daigle

Date: December 7, 2005

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The IAB has to fulfill a number of roles and responsibilities, described in RFC2850 (BCP39). In the light of the current NomCom cycle (looking for next year’s IAB members) this issue’s IAB update includes additional material elaborating the broad range of those responsibilities.

First, how are IAB members selected? Candidates for the IAB are selected by the IETF NomCom except for Ex-Officio members (IRTF chair and the IAB Executive Director) and Liaison members (ISOC, RFC Editor and IESG). Every year, the IAB elects a chair from within its membership.

Appointment of the IESG, the RFC Editor and the IANA

From BCP39, the IAB has a role in the appointment of the IESG, RFC Editor, and IANA. Formally, this includes:

  • Confirmation of the IESG: The NomCom annually provides a list of candidates for vacant IESG seats and for the IETF chair (if vacant). The IAB reviews the candidates, consenting to some, all or none.
  • RFC series: The IAB approves the appointment of an organisation to act as RFC Editor and the general policy followed by the RFC Editor.
  • IANA: The IAB approves the appointment of an organisation to act as IANA on behalf of the IETF.

With the introduction of BCP101, while the IAB continues to maintain oversight of the relationships with the RFC Editor and IANA, the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) means that the IAB now has fewer responsibilities for practical management of the relationships.

During IETF64, the IAB was involved in leading the TechSpec BoF (Requirements for IETF Technical Specification Publications), to discuss the specific requirements of the IETF’s technical publication process. This comes from the IAB’s work to oversee the RFC Editor process, and is aimed at providing further clarification of requirements there.

Oversight over the Standards Process

Even before BCP39, BCP 9 (RFC2026) defines the role of the IAB in oversight of the IETF standards process:

  • The IAB provides oversight of the process to create Internet Standards
  • The IAB serves as an appeals board for complaints of improper execution of the standards process

Lately, the IAB has been fortunate not to have had any appeals to deal with.

The IAB is responsible for liaison relationships with other organisations

The IAB carries out various tasks to ensure the IETF’s continued open communications with other organizations to carry out our work.

  • The IAB acts as a source of advice and guidance to officers and the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society (ISOC) concerning techncial, architectural, procedural and (where appropriate) policy matters pertaining to the Internet and its enabling technologies.
  • The IAB acts as representative of the interests of the IETF and ISOC in technical liaison relationships with other organisations concerned with standards and other technical and organisational issues relevant to the world-wide Internet.
  • The IAB appoints the IETF liaison to the ICANN Board of Trustees.

While there were no new liaison relationships established between IETF63 and IETF64, the IAB has appointed some new external liaison representatives. The IAB has also established a subcommittee to work with ISOC on technical communications.

Oversight of the architecture for the protocols and procedures used by the Internet

BCP39 describes a number of specific activities in which the IAB engages.

The IAB provides input to the IESG regarding BoFs and possible (subsequent) WG formation

  • BoF meetings were attended by at least one IAB member (see more discussion on IAB’s involvement in BoF formation in the summary of the plenary sessions on page 2). IAB members work to provide additional feedback to the IESG in reviewing the BoF outcome and potential working group formation.

The IAB sponsors and organises the IRTF as well as reviewing proposed IRTF research groups

  • The IRTF regularly reports at the plenary sessions. The IAB reviews the charters of WGs and RGs. At IETF64, the Routing RG had a meeting with the IAB to review the status of the Routing RG.

The IAB can convene invitational workshops to perform in-depth reviews of particular architectural issues

  • The IAB is planning to hold a workshop – called “Network Architecture meets Network Reality” at IETF64, and subsequently renamed to “Unwanted Traffic” in the first quarter of 2006.

The IAB can organise ad-hoc groups of independent experts to discuss and provide input on various topics

  • The IDN ad-hoc committee has concluded. The IPv6 ad-hoc committee will continue its work. In addition to that the IAB has established a committee to work with ISOC on technical communications and publications.

The IAB can write (informational) documents

The IAB has recently published a number of documents:

  • “Internet Denial of Service Considerations” – draft-iab-dos-03.txt
  • “What’s in a Name: False Assumptions about DNS Names” – draft-iab-dns-assumptions-03
  • “IAOC Member Selection Guidelines and Process” – draft-iab-iesg-iaoc-selection-03.txt

As reported in the last issue of the IETF Journal, the IAB is currently focusing on the following technical issues:

  • IPv6: The IAB has organised an IPv6 Multihoming Bof at the recent NANOG35 meeting to get input from the operators community. This will bring other perspectives to the discussions at the IETF. The IAB expects to organise more such sessions in the future. For more details see
  • Internet Architecture: a new mailing list has been set up to discuss architectural issues: [email protected] (also see Pekka Nikkander’s article elsewhere in this issue of the IETF Journal).
  • Bad Net Traffic: The IAB agreed to set up a workshop on “Unwanted Traffic”. It is expected to be held in February 2006.