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IETF 108 Highlights

  • Alissa Cooper
  • IETF Chair
  • 14 Aug 2020

IETF 108 was the first-ever online IETF meeting with a full agenda.

IETF 108 Online

The 108th IETF meeting featured more than 100 working sessions, the Advanced Networking Research Workshop (ANRW), the IETF Hackathon, the latest Technology Deep Dive, and numerous other online events. While we miss gathering in person, it was humbling to see more than 1000 participants set aside focused time to progress the work of the IETF in the midst of the pandemic.

Here are a few highlights of the week that stood out for me:

  • The Grant Negotiation and Authorization Protocol (GNAP) working group had a constructive first meeting. The group discussed two different proposed protocols for delegating resource authorization to a server, XAuth and XYZ. Sometimes it can be difficult for a working group to start out this way with competing proposals, but in this case the group had a productive discussion about how features from XAuth could be merged with XYZ, and they settled on creating a design team to continue hashing this out. I’m looking forward to the results.

  • The Drone Remote ID Protocol (DRIP) working group is another relatively new group that has been making steady progress through interim meetings and mailing list discussions. Although original contributions were more focused on meeting requirements of the US Federal Aviation Administration, interest has broadened and the group is now seeing input from drone systems and technology designers in Europe and Asia as well. The requirements and architecture are maturing while solution discussions evaluate the extent to which existing IETF protocols including HIP and RDAP may be leveraged for drone identification.

  • The Transport Area (TSVAREA) session saw a lively discussion about a proposal known as Network Tokens, a method for endpoints to explicitly coordinate with networks about how their traffic is treated. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s not just pandemic déjà vu: this is a problem space that has been explored at the IETF (and elsewhere) over many years, including in the SPUD and PLUS BOFs, the Internet Architecture Board, the Path-Aware Networking Research Group, and discussions of the APN6 proposals. Given the inherent challenges related to security, privacy, and performance as well as the wide spectrum of views about zero-rating and net neutrality, it will be interesting to see if this iteration can achieve more success than prior attempts. Discussion continues on the network-tokens list.

  • A number of proposals for new working groups were discussed in the Applications and Real-Time Area, all of which are likely to be chartered. Of particular note were: SFrame, which is aiming to provide more efficient end-to-end encryption and authentication of media in multi-party conferencing than previous packet-based efforts; and A Semantic Definition Format (ASDF), which is aiming to harmonize data models across many Internet of Things (IoT) devices, with strong support from device vendors and other SDOs including Bluetooth, OCF, OMA, and Zigbee.

Transitioning to an online meeting experience is not easy, and thanks to the hard work of the Secretariat, NOC, LLC, Tools Team, MeetEcho, and Gather developers, our community had a lot of new technology to support both professional and social interactions for participants. Further feedback about the meeting technology is always welcome on the tools-discuss mailing list. Results of the meeting survey will be published soon.

Huge thanks again to our meeting host Ericsson for their support, and for the support of all of our sponsors. The decision about whether IETF 109 will be held in person will be announced on August 31. In the meantime, see you on the mailing lists!