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Network Working Group V. Cerf Request for Comments: 1120 NRI

                                                        September 1989
                   The Internet Activities Board

Status of this Memo

 This RFC provides a history and description of the Internet
 Activities Board (IAB) and its subsidiary organizations.  This memo
 is for informational use and does not constitute a standard.
 Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

1. Introduction

 In 1968, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
 initiated an effort to develop a technology which is now known as
 packet switching.  This technology had its roots in message switching
 methods, but was strongly influenced by the development of low-cost
 minicomputers and digital telecommunications techniques during the
 mid-1960's [BARAN 64, ROBERTS 70, HEART 70, ROBERTS 78].  A very
 useful survey of this technology can be found in [IEEE 78].
 During the early 1970's, DARPA initiated a number of programs to
 explore the use of packet switching methods in alternative media
 including mobile radio, satellite and cable [IEEE 78, IEEE 87].
 Concurrently, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) began an
 exploration of packet switching on coaxial cable which ultimately led
 to the development of Ethernet local area networks [METCALFE 76].
 The successful implementation of packet radio and packet satellite
 technology raised the question of interconnecting ARPANET with other
 types of packet nets.  A possible solution to this problem was
 proposed by Cerf and Kahn [CERF 74] in the form of an internetwork
 protocol and a set of gateways to connect the different networks.
 This solution was further developed as part of a research program in
 internetting sponsored by DARPA and resulted in a collection of
 computer communications protocols based on the original Transmission
 Control Protocol (TCP) and its lower level counterpart, Internet
 Protocol (IP).  Together, these protocols, along with many others
 developed during the course of the research, are referred to as the
 TCP/IP Protocol Suite [LEINER 85, POSTEL 85, CERF 82, CLARK 86, RFC
 In the early stages of the Internet research program, only a few
 researchers worked to develop and test versions of the internet
 protocols.  Over time, the size of this activity increased until, in

Cerf [Page 1] RFC 1120 The IAB September 1989

 1979, it was necessary to form an informal committee to guide the
 technical evolution of the protocol suite.  This group was called the
 Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB) and was established by
 Dr. Vinton Cerf who was then the DARPA program manager for the
 effort.  Dr. David C. Clark of the Lab for Computer Science at
 Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named the chairman of this
 In January, 1983, the Defense Communications Agency, then responsible
 for the operation of the ARPANET, declared the TCP/IP protocol suite
 to be standard for the ARPANET and all systems on the network
 converted from the earlier Network Control Program (NCP) to TCP/IP.
 Late that year, the ICCB was reorganized by Dr. Barry Leiner, Cerf's
 successor at DARPA, around a series of task forces considering
 different technical aspects of internetting.  The re-organized group
 was named the Internet Activities Board.
 As the Internet expanded, it drew support from U.S. Government
 organizations including DARPA, the National Science Foundation (NSF),
 the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Aeronautics and Space
 Administration (NASA).  Key managers in these organizations,
 responsible for computer networking research and development, formed
 an informal Federal Research Internet Coordinating Committee (FRICC)
 to coordinate U.S. Government support for and development and use of
 the Internet system.  The FRICC sponsors most of the U.S. research on
 internetting, including support for the Internet Activities Board and
 its subsidiary organizations.
 At the international level, a Coordinating Committee for
 Intercontinental Research Networks (CCIRN) has been formed which
 includes the U.S.  FRICC and its counterparts in North America and
 Europe.  The CCIRN provides a forum for cooperative planning among
 the principal North American and European research networking bodies.

2. Internet Activities Board

 The Internet Activities Board (IAB) is the coordinating committee for
 Internet design, engineering and management.  The Internet is a
 collection of over a thousand packet switched networks located
 principally in the U.S., but also includes systems in many other
 parts of the world, all interlinked and operating using the protocols
 of the TCP/IP protocol suite.  The IAB is an independent committee of
 researchers and professionals with a technical interest in the health
 and evolution of the Internet system.  Membership changes with time
 to adjust to the current realities of the research interests of the
 participants, the needs of the Internet system and the concerns of
 the U.S. Government, university and industrial sponsors of the
 elements of the Internet.

Cerf [Page 2] RFC 1120 The IAB September 1989

 IAB members are deeply committed to making the Internet function
 effectively and evolve to meet a large scale, high speed future.  All
 IAB members are required to have at least one other major role in the
 Internet community in addition to their IAB membership.  New members
 are appointed by the chairman of the IAB, with the advice and consent
 of the remaining members.  The chairman serves a term of two years.
 The IAB focuses on the TCP/IP protocol suite, and extensions to the
 Internet system to support multiple protocol suites.
 The IAB has two principal subsidiary task forces:
    1) Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
    2) Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)
 Each of these Task Forces is led by a chairman and guided by a
 Steering Group which reports to the IAB through its chairman.  Each
 task force is organized by the chairman, as required, to carry out
 its charter.  For the most part, a collection of Working Groups
 carries out the work program of each Task Force.
 All decisions of the IAB are made public.  The principal vehicle by
 which IAB decisions are propagated to the parties interested in the
 Internet and its TCP/IP protocol suite is the Request for Comment
 (RFC) note series.  The archival RFC series was initiated in 1969 by
 Dr. Stephen D. Crocker as a means of documenting the development of
 the original ARPANET protocol suite [RFC 1000].  The editor-in-chief
 of this series, Dr. Jonathan B.  Postel, has maintained the quality
 of and managed the archiving of this series since its inception.  A
 small proportion of the RFCs document Internet standards.  Most of
 them are intended to stimulate comment and discussion.  The small
 number which document standards are especially marked in a "status"
 section to indicate the special status of the document.  An RFC
 summarizing the status of all standard RFCs is published regularly
 [RFC 1100].
 RFCs describing experimental protocols, along with other submissions
 whose intent is merely to inform, are typically submitted directly to
 the RFC Editor.  A Standard RFC starts out as a Proposed Standard and
 may be promoted to Draft Standard and finally Standard after suitable
 review, comment, implementation, and testing.
 Prior to publication of a Proposed Standard, Draft Standard or
 Standard RFC, it is made available for comment through an on-line
 Internet-Draft directory.  Typically, these Internet-Drafts are
 working documents of the IAB or of the working groups of the Internet
 Engineering and Research Task Forces.  Internet Drafts are either

Cerf [Page 3] RFC 1120 The IAB September 1989

 submitted to the RFC Editor for publication or discarded within three
 The IAB performs the following functions:
    1)   Sets Internet Standards,
    2)   Manages the RFC publication process,
    3)   Reviews the operation of the IETF and IRTF,
    4)   Performs strategic planning for the Internet, identifying
         long-range problems and opportunities,
    5)   Acts as a technical policy liaison and representative for the
         Internet community, and
    6)   Resolves technical issues which cannot be treated within the
         IETF or IRTF frameworks.
 To supplement its work via electronic mail, the IAB meets quarterly
 to review the condition of the Internet, to review and approve
 proposed changes or additions to the TCP/IP suite of protocols, to
 set technical development priorities, to discuss policy matters which
 may need the attention of the Internet sponsors, and to agree on the
 addition or retirement of IAB members and on the addition or
 retirement of task forces reporting to the IAB.  Typically, two of
 the quarterly meetings are by means of video teleconferencing
 (provided, when possible, through the experimental Internet packet
 video-conferencing system).
 The IAB membership is currently as follows:
          Vinton Cerf          - Chairman
          David Clark          - IRTF Chairman
          Phillip Gross        - IETF Chairman
          Jonathan Postel      - RFC Editor
          Robert Braden        - Executive Director
          Hans-Werner Braun    - Member
          Barry Leiner         - Member
          Daniel Lynch         - Member
          Stephen Kent         - Member

3. The Internet Engineering Task Force

 The Internet has grown to encompass a large number of widely geo-
 graphically dispersed networks in academic and research communities.
 It now provides an infrastructure for a broad community with various

Cerf [Page 4] RFC 1120 The IAB September 1989

 interests.  Moreover, the family of Internet protocols and system
 components has moved from experimental to commercial development.  To
 help coordinate the operation, management and evolution of the
 Internet, the IAB established the Internet Engineering Task Force
 The IETF is chaired by Mr. Phillip Gross and managed by its Internet
 Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  The IAB has delegated to the IESG
 the general responsibility for making the Internet work and for the
 resolution of all short- and mid-range protocol and architectural
 issues required to make the Internet function effectively.
 The charter of the IETF includes:
    1) Responsibility for specifying the short and mid-term
       Internet protocols and architecture and recommending
       standards for IAB approval.
    2) Provision of a forum for the exchange of information within the
       Internet community.
    3) Identification of pressing and relevant short- to mid-range
       operational and technical problem areas and convening of
       Working Groups to explore solutions.
 The Internet Engineering Task Force is a large open community of
 network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with
 the Internet and the Internet protocol suite.  It is organized around
 a set of eight technical areas, each managed by a technical area
 director.  In addition to the IETF Chairman, the area directors make
 up the IESG membership.  Each area director has primary
 responsibility for one area of Internet engineering activity, and
 hence for a subset of the IETF Working Groups.  The area directors
 have jobs of critical importance and difficulty and are selected not
 only for their technical expertise but also for their managerial
 skills and judgment.  At present, the eight technical areas and
 chairs are:
          1) Applications          - TBD
          2) Host Services         - Craig Partridge
          3) Internet Services     - Noel Chiappa
          4) Routing               - Robert Hinden
          5) Network Management    - David Crocker
          6) OSI Coexistence       - Ross Callon and Robert Hagens
          7) Operations            - TBD
          8) Security              - TBD
 The work of the IETF is performed by subcommittees known as Working

Cerf [Page 5] RFC 1120 The IAB September 1989

 Groups.  There are currently more than 20 of these.  Working Groups
 tend to have a narrow focus and a lifetime bounded by completion of a
 specific task, although there are exceptions.  The IETF is a major
 source of proposed protocol standards, for final approval by the IAB.
 The IETF meets quarterly and extensive minutes of the plenary
 proceedings as well as reports from each of the working groups are
 issued by the IAB Secretariat, at the Corporation for National
 Research Initiatives.

4. The Internet Research Task Force

 To promote research in networking and the development of new
 technology, the IAB established the Internet Research Task Force
 In the area of network protocols, the distinction between research
 and engineering is not always clear, so there will sometimes be
 overlap between activities of the IETF and the IRTF.  There is, in
 fact, considerable overlap in membership between the two groups. This
 overlap is regarded as vital for cross-fertilization and technology
 transfer.  In general, the distinction between research and
 engineering is one of viewpoint and sometimes (but not always) time-
 frame.  The IRTF is generally more concerned with understanding than
 with products or standard protocols, although specific experimental
 protocols may have to be developed, implemented and tested in order
 to gain understanding.
 The IRTF is a community of network researchers, generally with an
 Internet focus.  The work of the IRTF is governed by its Internet
 Research Steering Group (IRSG).  The chairman of the IRTF and IRSG is
 David Clark. The IRTF is organized into a number of Research Groups
 (RGs) whose chairs are appointed by the chairman of the IRSG.  The RG
 chairs and others selected by the IRSG chairman serve on the IRSG.
 These groups typically have 10 to 20 members, and each covers a broad
 area of research, pursuing specific topics, determined at least in
 part by the interests of the members and by recommendations of the
 The current members of the IRSG are as follows:
          David Clark         - Chairman
          Robert Braden       - End-to-End Services
          Douglas Comer       - Member at Large
          Deborah Estrin      - Autonomous Networks

Cerf [Page 6] RFC 1120 The IAB September 1989

          Stephen Kent        - Privacy and Security
          Keith Lantz         - User Interfaces
          David Mills         - Member at Large

5. The Near-term Agenda of the IAB

 There are seven principal foci of IAB attention for the period 1989 -
    1) Operational Stability
    2) User Services
    3) OSI Coexistence
    4) Testbed Facilities
    5) Security
    6) Getting Big
    7) Getting Fast
 Operational stability of the Internet is a critical concern for all
 of its users.  Better tools are needed for gathering operational
 data, to assist in fault isolation at all levels and to analyze the
 performance of the system.  Opportunities abound for increased
 cooperation among the operators of the various Internet components
 [RFC 1109].  Specific, known problems should be dealt with, such as
 implementation deficiencies in some version of the BIND domain name
 service resolver software.  To the extent that the existing Exterior
 Gateway Protocol (EGP) is only able to support limited topologies,
 constraints on topological linkages and allowed transit paths should
 be enforced until a more general Inter-Autonomous System routing
 protocol can be specified.  Flexibility for Internet implementation
 would be enhanced by the adoption of a common internal gateway
 routing protocol by all vendors of internet routers.  A major effort
 is recommended to achieve conformance to the Host Requirements RFCs
 which are to be published early in the fourth quarter of calendar
 Among the most needed user services, the White Pages (an electronic
 mailbox directory service) seems the most pressing.  Efforts should
 be focused on widespread deployment of these capabilities in the
 Internet by mid-1990.  The IAB recommends that existing white pages
 facilities and newer ones, such as X.500, be populated with up-to-
 date user information and made accessible to Internet users and users
 of other systems (e.g., commercial email carriers) linked to the
 Internet.  Connectivity with commercial electronic mail carriers
 should be vigorously pursued, as well as links to other network
 research communities in Europe and the rest of the world.
 Development and deployment of privacy-enhanced electronic mail
 software should be accelerated in 1990 after release of public domain

Cerf [Page 7] RFC 1120 The IAB September 1989

 software implementing the private electronic mail standards [RFC
 1113, RFC 1114, and RFC 1115].  Finally, support for new or enhanced
 applications such as computer-based conferencing, multi-media
 messaging and collaboration support systems should be developed.
 The National Network Testbed (NNT) resources planned by the FRICC
 should be applied to support conferencing and collaboration protocol
 development and application experiments and to support multi-vendor
 router interoperability testing (e.g., interior and exterior routing,
 network management, multi-protocol routing and forwarding).
 With respect to growth in the Internet, architectural attention
 should be focused on scaling the system to hundreds of millions of
 users and hundreds of thousands of networks.  The naming, addressing,
 routing and navigation problems occasioned by such growth should be
 analyzed.  Similarly, research should be carried out on analyzing the
 limits to the existing Internet architecture, including the ability
 of the present protocol suite to cope with speeds in the gigabit
 range and latencies varying from microseconds to seconds in duration.
 The Internet should be positioned to support the use of OSI protocols
 by the end of 1990 or sooner, if possible.  Provision for multi-
 protocol routing and forwarding among diverse vendor routes is one
 important goal.  Introduction of X.400 electronic mail services and
 interoperation with RFC 822/SMTP [RFC 822, RFC 821, RFC 987, RFC
 1026] should be targeted for 1990 as well.  These efforts will need
 to work in conjunction with the White Pages services mentioned above.
 The IETF, in particular, should establish liaison with various OSI
 working groups (e.g., at NIST, RARE, Network Management Forum) to
 coordinate planning for OSI introduction into the Internet and to
 facilitate registration of information pertinent to the Internet with
 the various authorities responsible for OSI standards in the United

Security Considerations

 Finally, with respect to security, a concerted effort should be made
 to develop guidance and documentation for Internet host managers
 concerning configuration management, known security problems (and
 their solutions) and software and technologies available to provide
 enhanced security and privacy to the users of the Internet.


     [BARAN 64]  Baran, P., et al, "On Distributed Communications",
     Volumes I-XI, RAND Corporation Research Documents, August 1964.
     [CERF 74]  Cerf V., and R. Kahn, "A Protocol for Packet Network

Cerf [Page 8] RFC 1120 The IAB September 1989

     Interconnection", IEEE Trans. on Communications, Vol. COM-22,
     No. 5, pp. 637-648, May 1974.
     [CERF 82]  Cerf V., and E. Cain, "The DoD Internet Protocol
     Architecture", Proceedings of the SHAPE Technology Center
     Symposium on Interoperability of Automated Data Systems,
     November 1982.  Also in Computer Networks and ISDN,
     Vol. 17, No. 5, October 1983.
     [CLARK 86]  Clark, D., "The Design Philosophy of the DARPA
     Internet protocols", Proceedings of the SIGCOMM '88 Symposium,
     Computer Communications Review, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 106-114,
     August 1988.
     [HEART 70]  Heart, F., R. Kahn, S. Ornstein, W. Crowther, and D.
     Walden, "The Interface Message Processor for the ARPA Computer
     Network", AFIPS Conf. Proc. 36, pp. 551-567, June 1970.
     [IEEE 78]  Kahn, R. (Guest Editor), K. Uncapher, and
     H. Van Trees (Associate Guest Editors), Proceedings of the
     IEEE, Special Issue on Packet Communication Networks,
     Volume 66, No. 11, pp. 1303-1576, November 1978.
     [IEEE 87]  Leiner, B. (Guest Editor), D. Nielson, and
     F. Tobagi (Associate Guest Editors), Proceedings of the
     IEEE, Special Issue on Packet Radio Networks, Volume 75,
     No. 1, pp. 1-272, January 1987.
     [LEINER 85]  Leiner, B., R. Cole, J.  Postel, and D. Mills,
     "The DARPA Protocol Suite", IEEE INFOCOM 85, Washington, D.C.,
     March 1985.  Also in IEEE Communications Magazine, March 1985.
     [METCALFE 76]  Metcalfe, R., and D. Boggs, "Ethernet:
     Distributed Packet for Local Computer Networks", Communications
     of the ACM, Vol. 19, No. 7, pp. 395-404, July 1976.
     [POSTEL 85]  Postel, J., "Internetwork Applications Using the
     DARPA Protocol Suite", IEEE INFOCOM 85, Washington, D.C.,
     March 1985.
     [RFC 821]  Postel, J., "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", RFC 821,
     USC/Information Sciences Institute, August 1982.
     [RFC 822]  Crocker, D., "Standard for the Format of ARPA Internet
     Text Messages", RFC 822, University of Delaware, August 1982.
     [RFC 987]  Kille, S., "Mapping between X.400 and RFC 822",
     University College London, June 1986.

Cerf [Page 9] RFC 1120 The IAB September 1989

     [RFC 1000]  Reynolds, J., and J. Postel, "The Request for
     Comments References Guide", USC/Information Sciences Institute,
     RFC 1000, August 1987.
     [RFC 1026]  Kille, S., "Addendum to RFC 987: (Mapping between
     X.400 and RFC 822)", RFC 1026, University College London,
     September 1987.
     [RFC 1100]  Postel, J. (Editor), "IAB Official Protocol
     Standards", RFC 1100, April 1989.
     [RFC 1109]  Cerf, V., "Report of the Second Ad Hoc Network
     Management Review Group", RFC 1109, NRI, August 1989.
     [RFC 1113]  Linn, J., "Privacy Enhancement for Internet
     Electronic Mail: Part I -- Message Encipherment and
     Authentication Procedures", RFC 1113, IAB Privacy Task
     Force, August 1989.
     [RFC 1114]  Kent, S.,  and J. Linn, "Privacy Enhancement for
     Internet Electronic Mail: Part II -- Certificate-based Key
     Management", RFC 1114, IAB Privacy Task Force, August 1989.
     [RFC 1115]  Linn, J., "Privacy Enhancement for Internet
     Electronic Mail: Part III -- Algorithms, Modes and Identifiers",
     RFC 1115, IAB Privacy Task Force, August 1989.
     [ROBERTS 70]  Roberts, L., and B. Wessler, "Computer Network
     Development to Achieve Resource Sharing", pp. 543-549,
     Proc. SJCC 1970.
     [ROBERTS 78]  Roberts, L., "Evolution of Packet Switching",
     Proc.  IEEE, Vol. 66, No. 11, pp. 1307-1313, November 1978.
     Note:  RFCs are available from the Network Information Center at
     SRI International, 333 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025,
     (1-800-235-3155), or on-line via anonymous file transfer from

Cerf [Page 10] RFC 1120 The IAB September 1989

Author's Address

     Vinton G. Cerf
     Corporation for National Research Initiatives
     1895 Preston White Drive, Suite 100
     Reston, VA 22091
     Phone: (703) 620-8990

Cerf [Page 11]

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