Internet Architecture Board





About Programs

The IAB is working towards implementing structured approaches by which it can more effectively execute its chartered responsibilities; in particular improving the long-term perspective on the Internet informed by technical and architectural considerations.

Below describes the general working method and the various programs that we have currently identified and have started to execute.

On Programs

Traditionally the IAB has taken an interest in a number of architectural areas. Among the architectural areas, in no particular order:

  • IPv6 and its adoption and transitional coexistence with IPv4 given the realities of an IPv4-dominated Internet;
  • DNS health and security;
  • Web security;
  • The realities of maintaining the end-to-end and layered architecture;
  • Prevention of unwanted traffic;
  • The security and stability of the routing system; and
  • Internationalization of the Internet and balance with localization and retention of a global network.

There are some areas that require long-term perspective and may involve various activities and deliverables. For instance, such complex area may require a separate activity for scoping the work (BOFs, presentations, position papers), progressing the work, or stimulating the charter development of new work in the IETF. Such effort may involve collaboration with other organisations.

Work in such areas is organized in the form of a program.

A program is a long term activity scoped and managed by the IAB, although for the actual work the IAB may form a team with specific expertise needed for the activity, which may not be within the IAB. Structuring work in this way has several objectives:

  • minimise dependency on the current IAB composition and specific expertise and competencies of its members;
  • minimise dependency on the tenure of IAB members;
  • increase bandwidth by shifting responsibilities of IAB members from doing the actual work to organising and delegating work, and providing guidance;
  • shift the IAB focus from the specifics of an activity to the development of the vision and maintenance of the big picture, to selecting priority areas and carrying out respective efforts.
  • improve visibility of the activities the IAB is busy with and provide an opportunity to the community to provide feedback on the content and priority of specific activities.

Programs can be thought of as IAB directorates, small task forces, or ad-hoc bodies of (independent) technical experts (see RFC2850 Section 2.1).

The program lead will usually be an IAB member. The objective of the program lead is to facilitate activities within the program, provide an oversight and ensure continuity . The lead doesn’t need to have specific expertise in the area, but must have good general understanding of the issues from technical, business, and or policy perspective. The lead is expected to bring the IAB perspective to the work. The IAB as a whole will periodically review the state of the program and the progress, and make necessary adjustments and prioritization.

The subject areas and related programs are periodically reviewed by the IAB. Selected programs and initiatives form an activity plan. This plan is communicated to the community and feedback is solicited.

Expectations about confidentiality in IAB programs

The IAB charters programs for a variety of topic areas. Each program acts as an arm of the IAB, assisting the IAB in discharging its responsibilities [RFC 2850]. Programs have at least one IAB member, and often have more, depending on the topic area for the program, but usually have non-IAB members as well.

It seems appropriate to set expectations about confidentiality for these programs.

What follows is descriptive for the way things happen in most cases. It is not prescriptive. The IAB and members of IAB programs will use good judgement in all cases.

Since programs act as extensions of the IAB, IAB members may share summaries of IAB discussions when these summaries are relevant to the program, and sharing will be helpful. These summaries should only contain an overview of the discussion and will not include information that the IAB considers private. IAB members should not share details of IAB discussions with non-IAB program members.

Program members should assume that any materials or discussions within the program may be shared with the IAB, although the IAB may request that specific materials NOT be shared (for example, the IAB chose not to see the materials that the RFC Series Oversight Committee gathered during its search for an RFC Editor).

Any information provided to the program, from any source, should be treated as if it were confidential to the IAB itself. This information should not be shared outside the program and the IAB, unless the program receives permission to share.

This also applies to presentations and similar written materials.

When it is helpful to do so, the program may approve sharing information informally with non-program members, in order to benefit from experience and/or expertise held by non-program members. The program must make the decision to share this information explicitly, and must set expectations about confidentiality when sharing this information.

Some programs may produce minutes and may make these minutes public, but programs are not required to produce minutes. What is more important, is that the program should share its results with the IAB. These results may be made public as part of IAB meeting minutes, depending upon the purpose of the program activities and the nature of the results.