IETF-90 is over and I wanted to provide a summary of what I saw in the meeting. But first things first, a number of other people have also made very useful observations. Andrew Sullivan wrote a blog article earlier about his perception of the IANA discussions. And Benoit Claise talked about industry interest for YANG in his article. Dan York’s blog reported his perceptions from the meeting. And finally, in my blog series, Nik Tomkinson relayed some of his experiences on attending the IETF as a robot.
Overall, I think we had a great meeting, with a good turnout of 1231 people on site from 54 countries. My personal highlights for the week include improving the security and privacy, Internet of Things and dealing with the transition of IANA oversight.
I would like to thank all of our participants, remote or on site. I would also like to thank the our sponsors and in particular Ericsson for being the host of the meeting. Thank you!
The Internet of Things
This is a big topic for the IETF. And we seem to add more work in every meeting! The first new item last week was the low-power and lossy networking plugfest, an event where the participants were testing their implementations against each other. Such tests are a big part of the IETF mode of operation. While formally outside the meeting, implementors often gather at the IETF meeting to run such tests.
The second new item was the ACE working group, focusing on the question of how to bootstrap security and authorisation in a network of smart objects.
The third new item was the Bits-and-Bites event, which has been running for some years, but this time we had a new format and a focus topic. We had ten different organisations demonstrating Internet of Things solutions, and a lot of interested participants looking at the demos. We will be continuing the Bits-and-Bites event series in future IETFs in the same fashion – please propose focus topics that you would like to see.
Security and Privacy
Earlier this year we came to the conclusion that the IETF needs to do its part to ensure that Internet technology provides better tools against mass surveillance activities. Of course, improving the security of the Internet is no easy task, but we are working hard on several fronts, including updating the TLS and HTTP protocols (see TLS and HTTPBIS working group efforts).
One of the difficult tradeoffs that we have discussed this week is how increased use of encryption affects caching and other network functions. This continues to be a challenge, but at least it is clear after this week that HTTPS remains as an end-to-end security solution. Various caching and secure tunnelling solutions may arise for other traffic, however.
The newly formed TCPINC working group had it first meeting on developing a new layer of opportunistic security, mainly for applications that don’t use current transport layer security as used for example in the web.
The IETF has been discussing this actively since the announcement from the US government in March. I am happy about the transition, but I think we at the IETF see it as a part of longer term evolution that has already happened with regards to how we deal with the oversight of IANA. In the last 15 years, we have developed contracts, oversight mechanisms, and processes that our part of IANA is running on.
Our meeting this week confirmed that the IETF community believes these mechanisms are sufficient also going forward. We will be documenting how these mechanisms address the requirements for the oversight in the coming weeks and months. I feel very optimistic about the process.
IETF-91 is coming up in November, held in Honolulu. I would like to welcome everyone to the meeting!
But the IETF work runs all the time on mailing lists. What can we expect in the coming months? The major projects, such as WebRTC, HTTP 2.0, and so on will of course continue. Some of the key milestones ahead include the publication of the final HTTP 2.0 RFC (later this year), as well as concluding our part in the IANA transition work (also planned for completion within 2014).
Please visit our newcomers page if you would like to join us in this important work.
Jari Arkko, IETF Chair