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Working with the IEEE 802

16 Sep 2016

Standards organisations have their areas of work, but for many topics efforts affect multiple organisations, or even span across multiple organisations. Take the IETF and the IEEE for instance, as our efforts often interact.


From the IETF perspective, the most relevant IEEE standards group is the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee. It develops and maintains networking standards and recommended practices for local, metropolitan, and other area networks.

IETF and IEEE 802 leadership and liaison managers are in contact regularly, and every couple of years we also meet in person to better understand what work is happening on the other side, and make sure we stay coordinated. Last week, we held our fourth such meeting, continuing our tradition of meeting in outskirts of large airports in nondescript hotels this time outside Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris.

But the surroundings don’t matter as much as the substance. Also, both organisations are very clear that the best way to collaborate is to make sure that there are joint participants who work through topics that are important for them, in both organisations. This collaboration cannot be done through the management chain, people actually doing the standards and implementing them have to be the ones in the driver’s seat.

However, light coordination is useful to understand what things are coming down the pipeline, understand the official situation on some topic, and so on. For this purpose, we’ve defined ways of working together in RFC 7241, we’ve set up a team for the coordination, have a mailing list (, and hold monthly conference calls and meet at the IETFs. We also have official liaisons in place, as part of inter-organisation coordination being an official activity of the IAB. If you have any topic that needs the attention of the coordination team, please contact Dan and Pat for further information.

In our meeting last week, we talked about a number of interesting topics:

  • Internet of Things standardisation efforts. There are many joint or connected efforts here, for instance those relating to various 802.15.4 needs, such as the IETF 6TISCH WG. It was also interesting to learn that IOT Meeting IEEE 802 is working on a couple of projects that deal with the local administration of MAC addresses, and has developed new cabling and Ethernet standards for low-speed, low cost/energy consumption markets. One example of these projects is the 10Mbit/s specification for Ethernet over a single twisted pair cable. More information IOT-related projects at IEEE can be found here.
  • Both organisations are pursuing better privacy in the Internet and networks connected to it. For instance, IEEE has worked on MAC privacy, which was also tested in IETF meeting networks, and both organisations are keen on continuing with further improvements.
  • Ongoing efforts in both the IETF and IEEE 802 to develop “deterministic” networking standards. For more information, see the related activities in IEEE 802 and the IETF DETNET WG.
  • We also noted upcoming work on future technologies, such as 5G, and discussed the role of IEEE and IETF in these efforts. We agreed to collaborate when any joint work would be needed.

The minutes of the Paris meeting are available here.

Jari Arkko, Chair, IETF
Dan Romascanu, IETF liaison to IEEE SA
Pat Thaler, Vice Chair, IEEE 802
Suresh Krishnan, Internet Area Director, IETF

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