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27/04/2017

IETF: IP Protocol Stacks in Extreme Environments

More than 1000 experts from around the world gathered for the IETF 98 event held in Chicago (USA), a global meeting of the group of engineers and professionals that agrees the technical aspects that allow the proper operation of the Internet.

Attended by a significant number of Latin Americans, the meeting was marked by the change of IETF leadership as it was chaired by Alissa Cooper, who took over as IETF chair from outgoing chair Jari Arkko (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhYWB5FFkg4)

“It was a special week,” noted LACNIC CTO and active IETF member and participant Carlos Martínez.

The Chicago meeting attracted many new faces: almost 17% of the 1000 participants were attending their first IETF meeting.

Martínez highlighted the two-day IETF Hackaton in which 18 independent teams participated. These teams worked on various IETF documents and proposed projects which they presented before a judging panel.

Likewise, the innovative documents on which IETF experts are working include several that deal with the Internet of Things (IoT). “This area requires a lot of new work, as many of the existing protocols are not appropriate for connecting everything,” Martínez added.

A new IETF project is concerned with low-power devices than have connectivity issues. “The challenge is how to adapt Internet protocols to be able to use them in low-power devices with connectivity constraints,” Martínez observed. In certain environments constraints are extreme, for example, sensor networks in sewers or in open fields, and this work focuses precisely on creating IP protocols that will help improve their use under these conditions.

Another highlight of the IETF plenary sessions were the presentations by Niels ten Oever and David Clark, who addressed the relationship between Internet protocols and human rights. “The way technology affects the ability to exercise certain human rights online,” Martínez commented.

After presenting a brief history of human rights and raising questions about how technology affects the ability to exercise these rights online, both speakers encouraged the audience to debate on whether the protocols we have today are useful, if there is an Internet equivalent to the right to assembly, and whether or not DNS queries respect individual privacy.