The 42nd meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force was held in Chicago, Illinois from August 24-28, 1998. No one anticipated it, but this proved to be THE meeting: the first meeting with over 2000 registered attendees. Yes, the rumors are true. In fact, there were over 2100 registered attendees at the Chicago IETF Meeting.
The level of attendance was something of a surprise. Three weeks prior to the meeting, just over 1300 people were registered to attend, and it looked like just another well-attended meeting. The arrival of over 450 registrations the very next week changed that perspective (or is illusion a more accurate term?). As we left for Chicago, 1884 people had registered.
Even with spikes in meeting attendance, the percentage of non-US attendees has been consistently between 12 and 15 percent. That ratio rose to 22% for this meeting. I have not had the courage to determine the percentage of first time attendees at this meeting.
I would like to thank Motorola for hosting the 42nd meeting of the IETF, for providing the terminal room facilities, and arranging what may be the best social event in IETF history... it was certainly the most attended. Michael Mach of Motorola did a superb job arranging and coordinating all of Motorola's efforts. I would especially like to recognize the efforts of Jeff Moore and his team who set up and supported the terminal room.
The configuration of the terminal room facilities depends a great deal on the generosity of equipment vendors and service providers, and I want to thank the following organizations for their contributions and assistance:
Continental Electrical Construction
Xnet Information Systems
Trends - and what might come next
Dennis Roberson, Chief Technology Officer of Motorola, addressed the IETF at the opening plenary session Monday morning. He spoke of Internet related trends and historical timelines, and shared his thoughts on the impact emerging technologies and capabilities will have on the Internet. Dennis asked the IETF to step back and look at these statistics from a global perspective, noting that the Internet user community was a small minority when compared to the world population. This not-yet user community should be considered when planning for the future. His presentation was both informative and thought provoking, and I encourage everyone to view his slides.
Dennis closed by thanking the IETF for all their efforts and contributions, encouraging them to continue supporting and enhancing the Internet, and to prepare it for the rest of the world.
What's Hot and coming up?
Attendees at IETF meetings are often given a first look (or hint) at what the future holds by sitting in on BOF meetings. BOFs are informal get-togethers, primarily to ascertain interest in new ideas or preview proposals. Many are precursors to new working groups, while others are forums for sharing ideas and concerns.
With the rising interest and use of Virtual Private Networks (regardless of the VPN definition du jours) and the use of Quality of Service tags to prioritize traffic, a Policy Framework BOF (policy) session was held. The focus of discussion was a scalable framework for policy administration and distribution that will allow interoperability among the multiple devices and device types that must work together to achieve a consistent implementation of the network administrator's policy.
This was just one of the many BOFs held during the week. Want a peek as to what's on the technical horizon? Access the minutes and presentation slides.
In Memory of Jon Postel (1943-1998)
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush.
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there; I did not die.
The IETF will next meet in Orlando, Florida from December 8-12, 1998. Microsoft has graciously offered to host this meeting.
The first meeting of 1999 is scheduled for March 15-19. The location is not listed as we are still negotiating with a list of sites. The summer meeting is scheduled for July 12-16 in Oslo, Norway. For the final meeting of 1999, the IETF returns to the Omni Hotel in Washington, DC.
Don't forget: the first meeting of 2000 will be in Adelaide, Australia. Future meetings are in the planning stages. For information about future meetings, visit the IETF Web Page. Our URL is