Internet Engineering Task Force

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Founded: 1986
Ownership: ISOC
Key People
Alissa Cooper, Chair

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open, international community made-up of operators, designers and researchers; their main concern is the development of the Internet's architecture as well as the development of Internet standards.[1] It is a part of ISOC.[2]


In order to develop Internet standards, the IETF cooperates with other communities and institutions like ISO/IEC and W3C for standards related to Internet protocol and TCP/IP. There are no membership requirements since IETF is an open organization. All participants work voluntarily even if some are sponsored.

IETF's mission is to further enhance the Internet by developing high quality, relevant technical documents that stimulate and influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet.[3]

Position within ISOC

The IETF has become part of The Internet Society, which is a non-profit organization created in 1992 to ensure leadership in Internet-related standards, education, and policy. The main objective of ISOC is to ensure an open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people.[4]

In 2018, the Internet Society formed a single-member LLC, IETF Administration LLC,[5] to provide a corporate home and administrative support for the IETF, the Internet Architecture Board, and the Internet Research Task Force.[6]

The ISOC has provided an institutional home for the IETF, but they have become increasingly independent and a clearer distribution of roles. While the IETF's remit has remained narrow, the Internet Society has greatly expanded its scope. This expansion is partially due to the creation of .org. When it was established, PIR became a subsidiary of the Internet Society, and now most of their revenue comes from .org sales.

IETF History

The first IETF meeting took place on January 16th, 1986; 21 US researchers participated. Since 1991 IETF has held 3 meetings per year; and eventually non-governmental entities were invited to participate. During the 1990's the IETF detached itself from the US government to form an independent and international forum; it eventually defined itself as a division of ISOC. [7]

IETF Relationship with ICANN

IETF has a non-voting liaison seat on the ICANN Board. The task force is not an ICANN body. However, it develops a good chunk of the protocols that ICANN and IANA rely on for DNS and IP Addressing matters.

IETF Working Groups

The work of IETF is divided between working groups, which are organized around specific topic areas. Each topic area is managed by an Area Director (AD), each of whom is a member of Internet Engineering Steering Group. The AD is responsible for appointing a chairperson to lead each working group, and in some cases, co-chairs.[8] Current working groups are listed on the IETF Datatracker.[9] Areas with currently active working groups are listed below.[10]

Area Area Director(s)
Applications and Real-Time Area (art) Murray Kucherawy, Barry Leiba
General Area (gen) Alissa Cooper
Internet Area (int) Erik Kline, Éric Vyncke
Operations and Management Area (ops) Warren Kumari, Robert Wilton
Routing Area (rtg) Deborah Brungard, Alvaro Retana, Martin Vigoureux
Security Area (sec) Roman Danyliw, Benjamin Kaduk
Transport Area (tsv) Martin Duke, Magnus Westerlund


See also