Taking a Step towards IANA Transition

Protocol parameters such as port numbers are an integral part of technical specifications that the IETF produces and developers implement. Along with naming and numbering functions, protocol parameters are maintained through IANA. As many of you are aware, in March of 2014, the US government announced their intent to move their role in overseeing the IANA system to the Internet community. For the IETF, this change is largely a recognition of the evolution that has already happened, and our community believes the processes we have built are strong enough to work with or without USG oversight. Over the years, the IANA system has evolved, as we have worked together with IANA and ICANN to specify agreements, processes, tools, and oversight mechanisms.

Last month the IESG approved the IETF response, and after small editorial changes, draft-ietf-ianaplan-icg-response-09.txt was formally approved on January 6. The IAB has signified their support of this document as well. This represents a major milestone, the results are due to hard work of many people, as evidenced by the lengthy Acknowledgments section of that document.

We used our normal processes to develop our response, by having a Birds of a Feather session, forming a working group, adopting a draft, discussing, debating, forming rough consensus within the working group, holding a last call, and then seeing that all issues raised were addressed. All of this was done over a period of nine months, with a total of ten drafts having been produced, a fast pace by any standard; owing to the the widely held community opinion that the existing arrangements between IETF and ICANN have served us well, and should be continued. It also helps that from the IETF perspective, long ago we took full responsibility for our part of IANA, including the oversight. We have evolved solid principles over time. This made preparing a transition document much easier than it perhaps otherwise would have been.

Our work is not yet complete. There are a number of steps still in front of us. They include the following:

  • Both the numbers and names communities need to complete their proposals. We at the IETF will continue engage with them with their work, just as they assisted us with ours.
  • Later, the IANA Transition Coordination Group (ICG) will assemble a complete proposal and gather community feedback on the result. When ready, they will submit the final proposal to the NTIA.
  • The NTIA must then consider and approve the proposal.
  • Finally it must be implemented.

While there will assuredly be some bumps along the road to success, the IETF leadership are committed to ensuring a good outcome for the Internet.

Jari Arkko, IETF Chair and Eliot Lear, IAB