1.4 IETF Overview

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) provides a forum for working groups to coordinate technical development 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:

  1. Identifying and proposing solutions to pressing operational and technical problems in the Internet;
  2. Specifying the development or usage of protocols and the near-term architecture, to solve technical problems for the Internet;
  3. Facilitating technology transfer from the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) to the wider Internet community; and
  4. Providing a forum for the exchange of relevant information within the Internet community between vendors, users, researchers, agency contractors, and network managers.

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).




Brian Carpenter

IETF Chair


Bill Fenner



Ted Hardie



Sam Hartman



Scott Hollenbeck



Russ Housley



David Kessens

Operations and Management


Allison Mankin



Jon Peterson



Mark Townsley



Margaret Wasserman



Bert Wijnen

Operations and Management


Alex Zinin



Liaison and ex-officio members include:

Leslie Daigle

IAB Chair


Dave Meyer

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

Meeting Registrar and
Manager Finance/Administration

Dawn Thomas

IESG Support and Web Administrator

Amy Vezza

IETF Working Group Support and Internet-Drafts Administrator

Dinara Suleymanova

Lead Database Developer

Michael Lee

Database Developer

Sunny Lee

System/Network Engineer

Scott Blomquist

System Administrator

Gregory Cunningham

Administrative Support and
IETF Proceedings Administrator

Rebecca Bunch

To contact the Secretariat, please refer to the addresses and URL's provided on the IETF Secretariat Web page.

The IETF also has a general Administrative Support Activity headed by the IETF Administrative Director, Ray Pelletier <iad@ietf.org>

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.