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  • TOPICS

Birds of a Feather at IETF 109

  • Alissa Cooper
  • IETF Chair
  • 21 Oct 2020

Two proposals for early-stage discussion were made for IETF 109.

IETF 109 Birds of a Feather


Update as of 2020-11-04:

The MADINAS BoF is now scheduled for 0500 UTC on 18 Wednesday. (Check out the IETF 109 Agenda for details.)

Based on further discussion:, conversation about the APN topic will be continued at an upcoming virtual interim meeting of the DNSOP Working Group to be scheduled soon.


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, to generate discussion about a topic within the IETF community, and to determine whether there is interest in working on the topic within the IETF.

The IESG approved two BOFs for scheduling at IETF 109, pending further refinements to the BOF proposals: MADINAS and APN.

MAC Address Device Identification for Network and Application Services (MADINAS)

MADINAS aims to discuss issues related to service continuity in the presence of MAC address randomization. Many network functions rely on MAC addresses, including LAN forwarding policy, captive portals, sticky DHCP IP assignments, static NAT policy, and MAC address ACLs for blocking malicious or unwanted devices. With the advent of MAC address randomization in major operating systems and its unintended and likely unforeseen impacts to the network, questions have arisen about how to support continuity within these kinds of services. 

The BOF proposal is still under definition and will go forward if the current proposal is clarified. The BoF will explore how the network community (OS vendors, device manufacturers, application developers) can work together to solve the needs of end users (including their privacy). In some cases a greater awareness by Network and Application Services to current MAC address usage may be enough. For other cases, a new solution may need to be developed and standardized to reach the desired outcome.

Application-Aware Networking (APN)

APN is focused on developing mechanisms to convey user-, application-, and service-level requirements at the network layer. It is motivated by a desire to give operators fine-grained information they can use to optimize application performance on their networks.

The BOF proposal and supporting drafts list numerous use cases for network-layer application awareness, including network slicing, deterministic networking, service function chaining, SLA guarantees, and network measurement. Given this breadth of scope, it is difficult to analyze the implications of what is being proposed vis a vis security and threat modeling, user and application control, and consumption of APN information by network intermediaries. If the scope of the proposal can be sufficiently narrowed to allow for this kind of analysis, this BOF will go forward at IETF 109.

The responsible area directors and Internet Architecture Board BOF shepherds are working with the MADINAS and APN BOF proponents to refine their proposals along the lines described above.