Internet Architecture Board


Correspondence between Bradner and Dyson on Protocol Parameter Parameters

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Correspondence Between IETF and ICANN
on Assignment of Protocol Parameters Developed or Maintained by the IETF


From Thu Feb 25 12:39:32 1999
Subject: ICANN and the IETF

Dear Esther,

We noticed the following notice in the Commerce Business Daily. Would you please clarify ICANN’s understanding of these relationships? What is the relationship between the IETF and ICANN in general? What is the relationship between the IETF and the specific functions which the IANA has been providing in conjunction with the assignment of protocol parameters for IETF developed or maintained protocols?

"Functions Performed: The
contractor will perform the following IANA functions:

"1) Coordination of the
assignment of technical protocol parameters. This currently involves the
review and assignment of unique values to numerous parameters (e.g., operation
codes, port numbers, object identifiers, protocol numbers) used in various
Internet protocols. This function also currently includes the dissemination
of the listings of assigned parameters through various means (including
on-line publication) and the review of technical documents for consistency
with assigned values."

Thank you,

Scott Bradner (ISOC VP for Standards)
Brian Carpenter (IAB Chair)
Fred Baker (IETF Chair)

Thu Feb 25 16:16:44 1999
To: Scott Bradner
From: (Esther Dyson)
Subject: Re: ICANN and the IETF

Dear Scott, Brian and Fred,

Thank you for your letter inquiring as to ICANN’s understanding of the relationships between the IETF, ICANN and the IANA’s protocol parameter support activities.

We are navigating uncharted waters and are proceeding carefully to try to do the right thing for the Internet community while following the principles and policies set out in the government’s White Paper. One of the several responsibilities that the White Paper charges ICANN to carry out is “to coordinate the assignment of other Internet technical parameters as needed to maintain universal connectivity on the Internet.” We do not understand this to mean the actual assignment of protocol parameters (which we would do only if some standards organization requests us to do so), but rather the development of policies and procedures to be used by organizations developing standards for the Internet to resolve disputes that may arise over specific protocol assignments. In particular we would expect that these policies and procedures will be designed to be used where a dispute is one in which the activity of one standards organization blocks the deployment of a technology from a second standards organization. It seems to us that, in the ordinary course of things, the initial development of such policies and procedures would logically fall within the scope of a Protocol Supporting Organization, which would then forward recommendations to the ICANN Board for its review.

During the Postel era and currently, protocol parameter assignments have been routinely performed by IANA staff in coordination with the IETF. As you know, many of the people who were the IANA staff are now working for ICANN, and the IANA functions are in the process of being formally transferred to ICANN by the United States Government. We assume that the IETF will continue to have the discretion to decide where it would like this particular function performed in the future, and the IANA/ICANN staff are prepared to continue to perform these services if the IETF so requests. I hope this clarifies our view as to the respective roles of ICANN, IANA and the IETF in this area. We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure the operational stability of the Internet.


Esther Dyson
Interim Chairman, ICANN