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 Research 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 six 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


Bill Fenner



Ted Hardie



Sam Hartman



Scott Hollenbeck



Russ Housley



David Kessens

Operations and Management


Allison Mankin



Thomas Narten



Jon Peterson



Margaret Wasserman



Bert Wijnen

Operations and Management


Alex Zinin



Liaison and ex-officio members include:

Leslie Daigle

IAB Chair

Rob Austein

IAB Liaison

Michelle Cotton

IANA Liaison

Joyce Reynolds

RFC Editor Liaison

Barbara Fuller

IETF Secretariat Liaison

The IETF has a Secretariat, headquartered at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives in Reston, Virginia. The IETF Executive Director is Barbara Fuller (Exec-Director@ietf.org).

Other personnel that support the Secretariat or provide services on an as needed basis include:

Senior Meeting Planner

Marcia Beaulieu

IETF Internet-Drafts Administrator

Dinara Suleymanova

Meeting Registrar and
Manager Finance/Administration

Dawn Thomas

Database Developer

Michael Lee

System Administrator

Gregory Cunningham

System/Network Engineer

Stanley Weilnau

Web Administrator

Amy Vezza

Administrative Support and
IETF Proceedings Administrator

Rebecca Bunch

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 via HTTP or anonymous FTP from several IETF shadow sites hosts, including ftp.ietf.org.