Internet Architecture Board


IP Stack Evolution Program

Note: The IP Stack Evolution Program closed in August 2019.


The IP Stack Evolution program covers various topics in the evolution of IPv4 and IPv6, the transport protocols running over IP, and the overall protocol stack architecture. The program addresses challenges that affect the stack in some way and where the IETF community requires architectural guidance, responding to community requests as well as actively monitoring work within IETF WGs which touch on relevant topics. Where a working group relevant to a particular aspect of IP stack evolution exists, the program will facilitate cross-group and cross-area coordination. The program also produces documents on the IAB stream providing general guidance on and covering architectural aspects of stack evolution.

The diversity of “endpoints” in the Internet — applications, transport-layer ports, hosts, gateways and tunnel ends — is far greater than that the IP protocol stack was originally intended to serve. This has impacts on protocol design, because former assumptions about the properties of these endpoints may no longer hold. The program is currently focusing on the stress this places on the architecture.

The program has focused for the past few years on the problem of ossification in the IP protocol stack, specifically at the transport layer. There is now significant new work in the IETF’s transport area addressing this issue.  The program’s members participate in the work in the IETF and will provide a point of contact should architectural issues arise from interactions between these new transport protocols and the diversity of link layers deployed in the Internet.

The program will continue to follow up on the results of the Stack Evolution in a Middleboxed Internet (SEMI, Zurich, January 2015) and Managing Radio Networks in an Encrypted World (MaRNEW, Atlanta, September 2015) workshops, to negotiate the tussle between privacy through ubiquitous confidentiality and opportunistic encryption, and the manageability of networks of all kinds.

Past Workshops, BoFs, etc.

The Program has organized several workshops, Birds of a Feather sessions, and proposed Research Groups on topics related to its areas of work:

Documents Published

This program has itself evolved from the IP Evolution Program, which looked at general architectural issues in the evolution of IPv4 and IPv6 and the overall protocol stack architecture, and produced the following documents:


IAB Members

  • Brian Trammell (Lead)
  • Wes Hardaker
  • Ted Hardie
  • Zhenbin Li
  • Gabriel Montenegro
  • Erik Nordmark
  • Mark Nottingham
  • Robert Sparks
  • Jeff Tanstura
  • Martin Thomson

Non-IAB Members

  • Spencer Dawkins
  • Ralph Droms
  • Aaron Falk
  • Joe Hildebrand
  • Lee Howard
  • Suresh Krishnan
  • Mirja Kuehlewind
  • Eliot Lear
  • Tommy Pauly
  • Natasha Rooney
  • Dave Thaler

Mailing List

Meeting Minutes