Where Are All the Operators in the IETF Standards Process?
Network operators – service providers, enterprises, engineers, architects, data-centers, campuses, etc. – are responsible for keeping the packets flowing across their network(s). The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) designs, develops, and documents the standard protocols network operators use in and on their networks.
In a perfect world, operators would be part of the IETF process and these protocols would always work great. After all, who better to influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet than the folks who run the networks? Wouldn’t it be great if operators always knew when their input was needed and were always able to provide it in a timely manner?
Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. Many operators are simply not engaged in the standards-making process, meaning academics, vendors, and folks who haven’t operated a network in years (or ever) help create standards with little insight into how real-world networks run. Often operators don’t even know a new standard is under development until the final RFC is published and the protocol is baked into a vendor’s code.
In other words, critical new technologies are being developed with little to no direct operator input. The result is that standards may be, and often are, broken.
I don’t think that’s good enough. I’ve spoken to hundreds of operators who dream, as I do, of a slightly better world – one much closer to the perfect world described above.
So my colleagues from the Internet Society Deploy360 Programme and I are putting forth a plan to increase operator input into the IETF.
First, we’re gathering information, opinions, and ideas from operators and operator communities all over the world. This is where you come in, by taking our survey and sharing your thoughts.
Next, we’ll collect everything we hear, analyze it, summarize it, and present it. We’ll present it back to the operators to ensure we got the message right. We’ll also present it to the IETF, to share our findings and amplify the voice of the operators. Then, we’ll come back to the operators with some proposed solutions.
Finally, toward the end of this year, we’ll start implementing the solutions that work for you, the operators!
This is your opportunity to tell us what you think about the current process.
If you participate in the IETF today, we’d love to know why. If you don’t currently participate in the IETF, we really want to know why! No matter what you think you know or don’t know about the IETF, if you operate a network – we want to hear from you!