The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet.
The IETF is open to any interested individual. The IETF Mission Statement is documented in RFC 3935.
The technical work of the IETF is done in its working groups, which are organized by topic into several areas (e.g., routing, transport, security, etc.). The IETF working groups are grouped into areas, and managed by Area Directors, or ADs. The ADs are members of the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).
Much of the work in the IETF is handled via mailing lists. The IETF holds meetings three times per year. IETF Hackathons encourage collaboration on developing utilities, ideas, sample code, and solutions that show practical implementations of IETF standards.
The Internet Architecture Board, (IAB). The IAB also adjudicates appeals when someone complains that the IESG has failed. The IAB and IESG are chartered by the Internet Society (ISOC) for these purposes. The General Area Director also serves as the chair of the IESG and of the IETF, and is an ex-officio member of the IAB.
Harald T. Alvestrand