IAB Job Description
The IAB Role
The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is chartered both as a committee of the IETF and as an advisory body of the Internet Society (ISOC).
The IAB supports the operation of the IETF. It provides architectural input into IETF technical activities as well as sponsoring and organizing work in the IRTF.
The IAB acts as a source of advice and guidance concerning technical, architectural and procedural matters pertaining to the Internet and its enabling technologies.
The IAB has a number of roles within the organizational functioning of the IETF. While these roles require administrative rather than technical work, they form a significant part of the IAB's activities.
- The IAB has a role in the IETF Nominations Committee process: the IAB confirms the IETF Chair and the Area Directors (IESG). - The IAB serves as an appeal board for complaints of improper execution of the standards process, acting on appeals in respect of IESG standards decisions.
- The IAB appoints ISOC Board of Trustees (BoT) members, a member of the IETF LLC, and similar positions in other Internet governance bodies.
- The IAB hears appeals on matters related to the IETF LLC.
- The IAB is responsible for the selection of the RFC Series Oversight Committee (RSOC) and for approving any recommendations of the RSOC which affect the RSE as an individual.
- The IAB provides direction for the administration of the IETF's protocol parameters registries (the IANA function).
- The IAB selects the chair of the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) and oversees the IRTF's activities.
- The IAB is responsible for interfacing with other organizations on behalf of the IETF. It does this primarily through its liaison process. When necessary, IAB members will more directly engage with those other organizations. IAB members serve as "shepherds" to individually oversee particular relationships.
All IAB members need to be prepared to participate (to varying degrees) in these activities.
A principal role of the IAB is to take a broad and long range perspective to offer input into the planning and coordination among different areas of Internet activities, including those of the IETF and IRTF. The sum of the expertise of IAB members encompasses a broad range of technologies under IETF and IRTF. The IAB 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, and to make sure that the right people within these groups are in contact with each other.
The IAB maintains open communications channels with other bodies engaged in Internet governance, including ICANN, the Regional Internet Registries, and ISOC, and provides technical and architectural input as appropriate. As needed, the IAB works with ISOC to provide advice and guidance to the Internet community on technical, architectural, and policy matters pertaining to the Internet and its enabling technologies. That advice and guidance are provided to the public, to the Board of Trustees, and Officers of the Internet Society as circumstances dictate.
Organization of the IAB
In order to enhance institutional memory and enable the development of medium and long term activities, the IAB has organized its work in several areas in the form of programs (see https://www.iab.org/activities/programs/). A program is a long-term activity scoped and managed by the IAB comprised of a body of technical experts from the wider community (see [RFC 2850](https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2850) Section 2.1). Program outputs include IAB documents and statements. All IAB members are expected to review and comment on program outputs that represent the consensus of the IAB. In order to ensure that all IAB activities have IAB participation, members of the IAB are expected to actively participate in one or more programs.
The IAB schedules workshops on topics of interest from time to time, and IAB members are encouraged to attend these as well.
In addition, the IAB chooses a chair for a one year term at the March IETF meeting, after new members of the IAB are seated. There shall be at least two members of the IAB (among the nominated slate and the incumbents) who are willing and able to take the role of Chair.
IAB Member Qualities
IAB members are expected to act at the "Board" level.
The IAB is most effective when it is composed of a diverse set of individuals with a broad range of technical skills, architectural perspectives and backgrounds. For example, it is desirable for IAB members to have technical leadership experience, operational management backgrounds, research or academic backgrounds, implementation experience, and experience in other bodies involved in Internet governance. Likewise it is desirable for IAB members to have had experiences with differing technical challenges and requirements, including those that vary by geographic region. It is critical that IAB members be willing and able to work with each other to develop a shared viewpoint.
Some IAB activities are very specialized - for example, managing liaison relationships with other SDOs on behalf of the IETF. It is advantageous for the IAB when NomCom ensures that at least some IAB members have sufficient managerial skills to understand the issues that need to come to the IAB by managing and documenting inter-SDO liaison relationships on a strategic basis.
While it is advantageous for at least some IAB membership to have expertise in the IAB's current program topics, it is more important for the IAB to have membership who are experienced in managing volunteer teams, and who can build teams, motivate program work, and direct one or more programs even in the absence of in-depth knowledge about specific program topics. The IAB needs at least some members with program management skills that will facilitate interfacing between programs and the IAB.
While these characteristics are all important, individuals have different strengths. The IAB as a whole benefits most from a complementary and diverse set of skills that are balanced across all aspects of the role.
The time commitment for an IAB member averages about six to sixteen hours a week in normal weeks (with significant week-to-week variability), and full-time during IETF meetings, retreats, and IAB workshops. Some positions within the IAB require more time. It is expected that IAB members also actively participate in IETF activities. Simply tracking the various mailing list and documents can take up to a day a week. About a quarter to half of the time is spent on the organizational activities. Leading a program is an equivalent time commitment to chairing a working group; active participation in a program can take additional time. Each IAB member should be able to commit to leading a program during their IAB term.
The typical time commitment for the IAB Chair is three days a week, and this position may require more travel. The IAB Chair is an ex officio member of the IESG and must devote time to IESG meetings including a yearly retreat, which is often but not always adjacent to the IAB retreat.
IAB members may be called upon by ADs to do reviews of specialized documents and other tasks, potentially adding to those numbers.
IAB members should plan to arrive at IETF meetings at or before the start of the meeting week. Time commitment during the meeting includes time on Sunday, early mornings during the week, during meal times, and Friday after scheduled meetings conclude IAB members are expected to cover and report on BoFs during the meeting.
The IAB typically holds an annual retreat from one to three days, and teleconferences on a regular basis, currently 2-3 times a month.