News from the IETF

By: Brian Carpenter, IETF Chair

Date: September 7, 2005

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There were 1454 registered participants at IETF63 – 150 more than at the last meeting. Attendees came from 36 countries with only 35% from the US. Significantly, many people from ITU-T had come to Paris to participate in the meeting.

Attendance at IETF meetings has decreased somewhat during the last four years. This was to be expected taking into consideration the downturn in the fortunes of the telecom industry during the same period. However, attendee levels have held up well when compared to the performance of the Nasdaq Telecom index!

Since the last IETF meeting in March, a lot of work has been done with four new Working Groups (WGs) established and 22 WGs being closed. In the same period, around 125 RFCs were published – 71 of them standards or BCP documents

Recent achievements of the IETF include:

  • the IASA restructuring is well underway
  • the IETF now has a written mission statement
  • Tools Team has been established
  • the Edu Team is in place and providing tutorials at each IETF
  • improvements in the IESG document processing

The IESG and the IAB continue to take transparency very seriously: all meeting minutes are published on the web site.

IESG teleconference minutes are available here.

IAB meeting minutes are available here.

The IAB recently published a series of governing RFCs regarding liaisons with other organisations (RFC 4052 and RFC 4053).

There is ongoing work in the General Area of the IETF:

  • IPR WG (virtually done, no consensus for changes of the underlying policy)
  • NEWTRK WG (to discuss a possible new standards track)

At the next IETF in Vancouver there will be a BoF session to discuss IETF requirements for the publication of technical specifications (watch for the Techspec BoF).

More work will be done on procedural and process documents. Also the quality and timeliness of WG output and cross-area review needs to be improved. We all need to think more about engineering practices in WGs. Tools can help to manage the status of documents.

Some IETF processes will have to change as the world is changing and becoming more complex. Nevertheless it is very important to ensure stability and continuity. At the same time it’s hard to predict the effect and cost of changes in a non-linear system. The aircraft is in flight, so the engines need to be changed with care (and probably one at a time!).

IETF Facts and Figures

Document actions and RFCs since IETF62

  • 4 new WGs
  • 22 WGs closed
  • 548 new I-Ds (56% in 4 weeks prior to IETF63)
  • 1043 updated I-Ds (55% in 4 weeks prior to IETF63)
  • 103 IETF Last Calls
  • 148 approvals (83 standard/BCP)
  • Around 125 RFCs published (71 standard/BCP)
  • 1 appeal


  • 1454 registered attendees (65% from outside US)
  • 36 countries (26 countries at IETF62)