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Internet Architecture Board (IAB)

Last Edit: 25/04/17

bullet Introduction

The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is a committee/advisory body that provides long term planning for the technical architecture of the Internet. The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) only has 13 members (who serve as individuals) and it's charter is outlined in RFC 1601 and (C. Huitema, 1994) and RFC 2850 (B. Carpenter, 2000). The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) has a charter which categorises it's function as the following:

  1. committee of the IETF
  2. advisory body of the Internet Society

The Internet Society (ISOC) provides leadership for Internet policies and technological standards. The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) was created by the Internet Society in 1992; the same year that the Internet Society was created. The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is a committee of the IEFT. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an organisation - comprised of volunteers who are organised into working groups - that is an Internet Standards body that engages in designing the technical architecture of the Internet.

The IAB's primary activities are as follows: helps to manage Request for Comments (RFC) document series; helps the IEFT liaise with other organisations; assigns IETF and IRTF chairs; assigns IESG Area Directors and IETF Area Directors; reviews appeals in relation to Internet Standards; and and gives advice to the Internet Society on architecture issues. Due to the influence the chairs and area directors have upon the activities of the IETF, IRTF and IESG, the IAB can in turn influence how these organisations operate through the individuals it assigns to these roles. Request for Comments document 1336 outlines how the IAB influences these organisations:

The role of the IAB in managing the resources of the Internet

bullet History

In the 1980's, the organisational infrastructure of the Internet was created by DARPA and supported by the NSF (who maintained one of the Internet's biggest networks). It was DARPA - originally named as ARPA - who funded the creation of ARPANET: the architecture and protocols of ARPANET evolved to become the Internet.

The origins of the Internet Architecture Board can be traced back to 1979. During the 1970's DARPA funded the development of TCP/IP. Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn were the individuals who invented TCP/IP. In 1980, TCP/IP was a defense standard and was named DoD TCP/IP. Due to the importance of TCP/IP, an organisation needed to be created to manage it's ongoing development.

In 1979, Vint Cerf (who coinvented TCP/IP) created the Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB) to continue the development of TCP/IP. In September 1983, at a ICCB meeting, D.Clark and B.Leinerthe - who controlled the DARPA Internet research program - spearheaded the dismantling of the Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB) and the creation of the Internet Advisory Board (IAB).

In 1986, Dennis Perry renamed the Internet Advisory Board (IAB) as the Internet Activities Board (IAB). In 1987, the IAB created the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) to conduct the short term and long term engineering of TCP/IP and Internet protocols.

During the NSFNET backnone era of the Internet - in the late 1980's - the Hitchhiker's guide to the Internet published a member list of the IAB and their roles within the organisation:

  1. Vinton Cerf: Chairman
  2. Jon Postel: RFC Editor
  3. David Clark: IRTF Chairman
  4. Phillip Gross: IETF Chairman
  5. Barry Leiner: CCIRN Liaison
  6. Robert Braden: Executive Director
  7. Hans-Werner Braun: NSFNET Liaison
  8. Daniel Lynch: Vendor Liaison
  9. Stephen Kent: Internet Security

In 1992, when the Internet Society was created, it was suggested that the activities of the Internet Activities Board (IAB) should be administered by the Internet Society. In 1992, the Internet Activities Board (IAB) was renamed and reorganised as the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).

Leadership of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is provided by a 'chair'; dating from 1981 to 2014, the following individuals have held the chair of the IAB: D.Clark, V.Cerf, L.Chapin, C.Huitema, B.Carpenter, J.Klensin, L.Daigle, O.Kolkman, B.Aboba and R.Housley.