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Birds of a Feather at IETF 104

  • Alissa CooperIETF Chair

20 Feb 2019

Six sessions focused on potential new work to be added to the IETF 104 agenda.


Before each IETF meeting, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) collects proposals for Birds of a Feather (BOF) sessions. These sessions are designed to help determine the path for new work in the IETF or to generate discussion about a topic within the IETF community. For IETF 104 we approved six BOF sessions:

Predictable and Available Wireless (PAW): Following up from a side meeting held at IETF 103, this BOF will explore how to extend deterministic networking concepts to a variety of wireless network technologies, including IEEE Std. 802.15.4 TSCH and 5G. This will be a non-working-group-forming BOF to discuss the problem and solution spaces and to identify how potential work in the IETF could relate to other existing work in IEEE, 3GPP, and elsewhere.

Collaborative Automated Course of Action Operations (CACAO): The goal of the CACAO work is to enable collaborative courses of action (known as playbooks) to be shared between security operations centers on timescales fast enough to help organizations mitigate ongoing attacks. Playbooks in use today are typically written as formal documents that spell out step-by-step instructions for how an organization can respond to a specific type of attack on its infrastructure. This will be a working-group-forming BOF.

Broadband Network Gateway Control-Plane And User-Plane Separation (BCAUSE): The rise of virtualization and disaggregation in broadband access networks has created interest among network operators in separating the subscriber management control plane from the traffic forwarding user plane. A series of Internet-Drafts have been developed in the Routing Area Working Group (RTGWG) to specify a separation architecture and solution. This BOF will seek to form a working group to advance these documents outside of the RTGWG. Participants have been in active correspondence with the Broadband Forum (BBF), which has been working on requirements in this area.

Key Signing Key Futures (KSKF): The key signing key (KSK) for the DNS root was changed for the first time on 11 October 2018. This non-working-group-forming BOF will host discussion about the future of the root zone KSK, including how often to change the KSK, requirements to be met before making the next change, adding additional standby KSKs to the root zone, and changing the signing algorithm.

Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI): The aim of the BIMI work is to permit owners of domain names to coordinate with providers of mail clients to display brand-specific indicators (such as logo images) next to properly authenticated messages when recipients view messages in their mail clients. Work on BIMI has been motivated by a desire to mitigate phishing attacks and to drive adoption of email authentication protocols. Mailing list discussion of concerns with this proposal as well as its potential benefits has been robust already. The IESG expects that to continue at this non-working-group-forming BOF.

Stopping Malware and Researching Threats (SMART): The SMART effort aims to research the effects of existing, proposed, and newly published protocols and Internet standards on attack defense. The SMART session will be hosted as an Internet Architecture Board (IAB) session, following up on the series of workshops focused on Coordinating Attack Response at Internet Scale (CARIS) in 2015 and this year, with the eventual goal of forming a proposed research group in the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF).

The IESG received three additional BOF proposals in this cycle: Canonical JSON, Do Online Gatherings Fit Our Organizational Demands? (DOGFOOD), and Next Steps and Variations on BRSKI (NSVB). In the first two cases we encouraged the proponents to develop more support for their proposals in the community, including by hosting side meetings at IETF 104. We expect the NSVB discussion to occupy time in an Autonomic Networking Integrated Model and Approach (ANIMA) working group meeting slot.

There will be a Technology Deep Dive on Modern Router Architecture (with the curious acronym WGTLGO) scheduled in an agenda slot that does not also contain working group meetings. This will be an opportunity to learn how a modern router is architected and how it differs from the mental model that many may have of how a router functions. The discussion will cover how IPv6 Extension Headers, fragments, and other sometimes-controversial protocol elements are processed. This will be a discussion, not a tutorial.

Close observers will note the fluctuations in rates of BOF proposals and approvals, with few proposals and no working-group-forming BOFs at IETF 103 compared to nine proposals and six approvals this time. I’m looking forward to the dynamic discussions these sessions will surely play host to in Prague!

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