IETF Open Internet Standards

IETF 89 Briefing Panel – The Evolution of End-to-End: Why The Internet Is Not Like Any Other Network

Does the idea of “smart endpoints, dumb network” still make sense? Much of the reaction to pervasive surveillance by national security agencies has focused on cryptography, authentication, and preventing unwanted access to private resources. In our Briefing Panel on “The Evolution of End-to-End: Why the Internet Is Not Like Any Other Network,” taking place on Tuesday, 4 March at IETF 89 in London, we decided it’s time to think about what does work.

The Internet is a network of networks, thriving on diversity – of technologies, operators, services, and users. Resilience and reliability come from the network’s ability to “route around damage” because of redundant routes, etc. Maybe we should also be looking at how to ensure the Internet itself continues to grow and thrive through diversity?

So, we thought we’d take our traditional IETF briefing panel back to first principles. In Internet technology, the granddaddy of all technology principles is the so-called “end-to-end principle.”

In 2004, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) published RFC 3724, “The Rise of the Middle and the Future of End-to-End”. The document reviewed the important aspects of “smart endpoints, dumb network,” and articulated some perspectives on how Internet engineering was evolving to address those key aspects. From its introduction:

One of the key architectural guidelines of the Internet is the end-to-end principle in the papers by Saltzer, Reed, and Clark [citations]. The end-to-end principle was originally articulated as a question of where best not to put functions in a communication system. Yet, in the ensuing years, it has evolved to address concerns of maintaining openness, increasing reliability and robustness, and preserving the properties of user choice and ease of new service development as discussed by Blumenthal and Clark in [citation]; concerns that were not part of the original articulation of the end-to-end principle.”

Ten years later, we’re assembling a panel of three experts to discuss:

Does the “end-to-end principle” still matter in today’s Internet?

The panelists – and the perspectives they’ll bring – are:

  • Fred Baker (Cisco) – Smart network
  • Harald Alvestrand (Google) – Smart endpoints
  • Andrew Sullivan (Dyn) – Infrastructure in the middle

Join us (in person or virtually!) for the briefing panel. Watch for webcast information and the online registration link. Pre-registration is required and begins on Monday, 24 February 2014. Registration opens in two phases for global fairness: 09:00 UTC and 21:00 UTC. We hope you can join us!


A Close Encounter of the Standards Kind — Internet Society Rough Guide to IETF 88

In ten or so days, more than a thousand Internet engineers will descend on Vancouver to spend a week discussing the latest issues in Internet protocol engineering at IETF 88. It’s no secret that we are fans of open Internet standards, and we are enthusiastic about this, the 88th meeting of the group responsible for the Internet’s core protocols.

As some will have seen before, we traditionally post a “rough guide” to the IETF meeting, outlining the Working Group and Birds of a Feather sessions that have agenda items related to topics we’re working in our own key programmes. This time, we’re taking that concept to the blogosphere and (hopefully!) giving it a broader reach. So, I’ll kick off our blog post series here, and there will be follow on posts on particular topics of interest (as perceived by Internet Society technical staff — global addressing, security and resiliency of the routing system, DNSSEC, etc.) appearing shortly and added as links to this post once they’re up.

Naturally, since the last IETF meeting (Berlin, August 2013), there has been even more stir about Internet security protocols and ways to fend off destructive implications of government spying. In the first morning plenary in more than a decade, the IAB technical plenary will feature Bruce Schneier on Wednesday morning, to talk about what we do (and do not) know in terms of what has been compromised by the apparent US National Security Administration (NSA) activities. That session will be rounded out by IESG Security Area Director, Stephen Farrell, who will outline proposed directions for constructive IETF activities to address what we do know as issues. It will also be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.

The IGOVUPDAT BoF, scheduled for Monday afternoon, will provide an opportunity for updates on “Internet governance” as it relates to IETF areas of interest. The first topic is an update of “Next Generation WHOIS at ICANN”, which is valuable input to the IETF’s ongoing WEIRDS (WHOIS service update) work, but speaks more generally to the question of requirements outside the IETF’s own protocols. The agenda will also feature an update from the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting that took place recently in Bali.

The IETF agenda also features some Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) research group meetings. Of particular note, Applied Networking Research Prize winner Idilio Drago will present his work “Inside Dropbox: Understanding Personal Cloud Storage Services” at the Internet Research Task Force open meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

We will also be holding the ISOC@IETF briefing panel to discuss the work of the IETF in the context of the Internet and the world at large. This time, during “IPv6 – What Does Success Look Like?” we’ll be taking another look at IPv6, and this time what success with IPv6 looks like and what future key milestones for IPv6 lay ahead. The panel will be livestreamed as well, so plan to tune in.

If you want a quick overview of what happened at IETF 87 in Berlin before you go to Vancouver, check out the latest edition of the IETF Journal (I also encourage you to subscribe here to receive future issues). We’re always interested in articles for upcoming issues, so if you’re following work at the Vancouver meeting and would be willing to provide an update, drop a line to

There’s lots going on at the upcoming IETF meeting, and whether you plan to be there or join remotely, there’s much to follow. Stay tuned for more topical updates from the Internet Society technical staff about pertinent technical sessions that are scheduled for IETF 88.

IETF 88 sessions referenced (all times UTC -8):

  • Internet Research Task Force Open Meeting
    (5 November 2013, 1420-1550)
    (Agenda not yet available)

IEFT 88 Rough guide: