1.4 IETF Overview

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) provides a forum for working groups to coordinate technical developments of new protocols. Its most important function is the development and selection of standards within the Internet protocol suite.

The IETF began in January 1986 as a forum for technical coordination by contractors for the then US Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA), working on the ARPANET, US Defense Data Network (DDN), and the Internet core gateway system. Since that time, the IETF has grown into a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet.

The IETF mission includes:

Technical activity on any specific topic in the IETF is addressed within working groups. All working groups are organized roughly by function into seven areas. Each is led by one or more area directors who have primary responsibility for that one area of IETF activity. Together with the Chair of the IETF/IESG, these technical directors compose the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).





Harald Alvestrand

IETF Chair


Abha Ahuja



Scott Bradner

Transport, Sub-IP


Randy Bush

Operations & Mgmt


Rob Coltun



Patrik Faltstrom



Ned Freed



Marcus Leech



Allison Mankin



April Marine

User Services


Thomas Narten



Erik Nordmark



Jeff Schiller



Bert Wijnen

Operations & Mgmt, Sub-IP


The IETF has a Secretariat, headquartered at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives in Reston, Virginia, with the following staff:

IETF Executive Director

Steve Coya


IETF Senior Meeting Coordinator

Marcia Beaulieu


IETF Proceedings Coordinator

Jacob Muñoz


IETF Meeting Registrar

Julie Kirchhoff


IETF Internet-Drafts Administrator

Natalia Syracuse


IETF Junior Meeting Coordinator

Dinara Suleymanova


The working groups conduct business during plenary meetings of the IETF, during meetings outside of the IETF, and via electronic mail on mailing lists established for each group. The IETF holds 4.5 day meetings three times a year. These meetings are composed of working group sessions, technical presentations, network status reports, working group reporting, and an open IESG meeting. A Proceedings of each IETF plenary is published, which includes reports from each area, each working group, and each technical presentation. The Proceedings include a summary of all current standardization activities.

Meeting minutes, working group charters (which include the working group mailing lists), and general information on current IETF activities are available on-line for anonymous FTP from several IETF shadow sites hosts, including ftp.ietf.org.