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IANA Protocol Parameters Explained

  • Jari ArkkoIETF Chair

20 Apr 2015

You may have heard about the IANA transition, or to be more precise, about the transition of US government oversight relating to IANA. In March 2014, the US government announced their intent to relinquish their role to the multistakeholder Internet community.

The communities served by IANA – such as the IETF – have been busy ensuring their systems are ready for this. In the case of the IETF, our community worked through a plan, and this plan was approved in January 2015. This plan calls for continuing the existing arrangements with regards to IANA as far as protocol parameters are concerned. Internet engineers have worked with the evolving IANA arrangements for more than 35 years, and more than 15 in the current setup. The system is mature today. It has handled and can handle IANA oversight adequately.

But we do get many questions around the IANA functions, particularly when meeting people who have not been involved in the IETF work. To begin with, what are protocol parameters? What is the role of IAB? What is oversight? Who draws contracts at the IETF? What role does the IAOC play? How can you ensure that the IETF leadership works according to the community’s wishes?

I wanted to share a few documents designed to answer these questions:

  • An introductory presentation describes how IETF deals with IANA functions and protocol parameters. You can find the presentation here.
  • An short document that describes the role of protocol parameters in the Internet, and what is the role various organisations. You can find the document here.
  • An earlier blog article discussed the importance of continuity in handling IANA functions. You can find the article here.
  • The official IETF plan for the transition is of course our primary document, and the document is here.

Hopefully you find these documents helpful. Do not hesitate to ask me or others at the IETF leadership if you have any questions on this matter.


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