Words from the IAB Chairs

By: Andrew Sullivan, Russ Housley

Date: July 6, 2015

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Marching with a New Group

March represents the IETF’s time for change as the new NomCom appointments take effect at each March IETF meeting. This year, three members of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) ended their terms: Joel Halpern, Eliot Lear, and Xing Li; and the NomCom selected three new members to appoint to the IAB: Ralph Droms, Robert Sparks, and Suzanne Woolf. We thank Joel, Eliot, and Xing for their service; and welcome Ralph, Robert, and Suzanne.

This year also saw internal change at the IAB. Russ Housley chose not to stand for another term as IAB chair. The IAB selects its chair each year and this year it selected Andrew Sullivan, which is why there are two authors on this report.

For Russ, the outgoing IAB chair, the theme of the meeting was transition. “It has been a real pleasure to serve this community, and it has been easy to pass the baton to such a credible and qualified individual.”

For Andrew, the new IAB chair, the theme of the meeting was, “Wow, there are a lot of side meetings to go to.”

Immediately after IETF 92, the IAB selected Gonzalo Camarillo and John Levine to sit on the Internet Society Board of Trustees, each for a term of three years. The Internet Society announced this selection in April.


The IAB operates programs for two primary reasons. First, IAB programs facilitate the identification of topics that require focus over a period that could extend beyond member terms. Note that individuals need not remain members of the IAB in order to continue their work within programs. Second, they enable the IAB to recruit outside expertise—the IAB can’t know everything.

In Dallas, the work of two programs was highlighted during the technical plenary. First, Brian Trammel gave a presentation on the IAB Stack Evolution program, with a focus on the Stack Evolution in a Middlebox Internet (SEMI) workshop. The ossification of the Internet protocol stack is a critical issue for the overall architecture. If the Internet architecture is not flexible, it will become obsolete. We have witnessed this with previous communications technologies. The IAB is committed to seeking improvements in this area, which is why it held the workshop and enthusiastically promoted the Session Protocol for User Datagrams (SPUD) Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) meeting. For more details about the SEMI workshop, look for the workshop report coming soon to an Internet-Draft repository near you.

Second, Andrew Sullivan gave a presentation on the IAB Internationalization program, in which he outlined some history and reasoning behind a recent IAB statement and promoted the Locale-free UniCode Identifiers (LUCID) BoF. Also in Dallas, program participants gave a presentation to WG chairs about the PRECIS approach to internationalization, with a goal of helping chairs know what their working groups need to do. In 2014, the IAB believed that internationalization would be quiescent. It lowered the priority of its Internationalization program on the theory that the issues there were less pressing than other IAB topics. But events conspired to make this a bad bet. The result was a statement ( about identifiers and recent versions of Unicode. The IAB has now identified the topic of internationalization as a serious gap for the Internet community. There are simply too many issues for the tiny number of interested people to tackle—the result is festering problems, like the one that the LUCID BoF tried to address in Dallas.

Naturally, the change in IAB personnel also meant changes to program oversight and membership. Learn more about IAB programs and membership at

Highlights since IETF 91

The IAB published RFC 7452, “Architectural Considerations in Smart Object Networking.” The issues around smart objects were again highlighted during the Technical Plenary, where they were the central topic of the technical presentation.

The IAB published RFC 7500, “Principles for Operation of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Registries.” With the transition of the IANA away from the stewardship of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), it is important to outline the principles by which any IANA operation must function. That’s what this RFC does.

The IAB continued the liaison relationship with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC). See the joint statement at

Finally, the IAB issued a statement that individuals appointed by the IAB to liaison positions should serve without expectation of direct compensation. See the statement at