Internet Architecture Board


IAB Job Description, 21 October 2004

IAB Job Description

1. IAB Role

The IAB functions as a group within the IETF to develop and document architectural insight for the Internet as scoped by IETF technical specifications. The IAB also has several procedural roles to support the operation of the IETF.

In terms of its architectural role, the IAB provides oversight of aspects of the architecture for the protocols and technical specifications as developed by the IETF. While the IAB does draw on specific expertise as required, it is expected that the sum of the expertise of IAB members encompasses a broad range of technologies under IETF study, and also encompasses a broad range of perspectives on these specifications, from research and academic study through development, deployment and operational experience.

A major role of the IAB is to take a broad and long range perspective to offer input into the planning and coordination between different areas of IETF activity. The IAB, both collectively and on an individual basis, is expected to pay attention to important long-term issues in the Internet, and to make sure that these issues are brought to the attention of the groups that are in a position to address them.

The IAB also has some roles within the functioning of the IETF, including being responsible for the RFC Editor function, providing direction for the administration of the IETF’s protocol parameters registries, and being responsible for the IETF’s interests in the area of liaison with other organizations that undertake activities that overlap or intersect with the IETF’s activities. The IAB selects a chair of the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) for a renewable two year term, and exercises an oversight role for the IRTF.

Procedurally, the IAB has a role in the IETF Nominations Committee process. The IAB confirms the IETF Chair and IESG Area Directors. The IAB serves as an appeal board for complaints of improper execution of the standards process through acting as an appeal body in respect of an IESG standards decision. IRTF Chair.

2. IAB Member Qualities

It is not the case that all IAB members have matching attributes, qualifications and perspectives. Indeed the IAB is perhaps most effective when the group is composed of a diverse set of individuals with a broad range of qualities and perspectives. It is an advantage for the IAB when some number of IAB members have had technical leadership experience, operational management backgrounds, research backgrounds and implementation experience. However, the IAB also works most effectively when the diversity of individual perspectives can be brought to bear on any one of a wide range of topics. IAB members are expected to be able to translate their particular technical skills, architectural perspectives and backgrounds into a group activity intended to enable others see the context of their work within a larger architectural framework. The IAB mostly needs people who can communicate frameworks of particular activity rather than solution specialists. It is also critical that IAB members are willing and able to work with each other to develop a shared viewpoint.

IAB members are normally highly regarded in one or more technical subject matter domains. They may be recognized in a particular area as being a domain expert, but must also exhibit advanced architectural and technical competence.

IAB members should be able and willing to apply those technical skills and analytic thinking to understand and usefully contribute to discussions in other areas.

IAB members are constructive in framing new approaches, technically or in terms of communication.

IAB members are willing and able to work well with others.

IAB members are also expected to be able to constructively contribute to consensus-based processes

IAB members are expected to have substantial experience within the IETF, and an understanding of its processes and workings.

IAB members are able to commit the time to follow the IAB and IETF discussions on a regular basis. This commitment should extend to regular attendance at IAB meetings and attendance in person to IETF meetings, as well as the commitment to review material and generate and edit documentation. It may also extend to leading open discussion forums and active participation in IETF WG activity.