A cautious look at using Internet standards-to-be in research work


Standardization of Internet protocols is usually a somewhat slow process. The reasons for this are manifold. Besides working out the protocol details, things like opposing stakeholder interests can prolong the consensus building process, new requirements might be introduced that require technical changes to the protocol, coordination across standards developing organizations (SDOs) might add delays just to name a few. For potential users of a standard-to-be, the time to specify and implement it often stalls progress on projects which could have been finished far earlier using proprietary—but ultimately non- interoperable—implementations. For research work, interoper- ability is however not always an important concern. The overhead and delay of an SDO in these cases is typically a hard to calculate risk for a research project. It represents an external dependency for the work but there is only a finite amount of funding and time to finish the project. On the other hand, using standardized technology increases the likelihood that the output of the project is being used by external parties and the implementation experience can be valuable input to the standardization process. In this paper, we analyze the life cycle of recent Internet standards to provide researchers an insight into the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standardization process dura- tion. We evaluate different areas, document phases, working groups and other aspects of the standardization process. This allows researchers to better judge whether they want to employ standards-to-be in research work or engage with the IETF to specify protocols based on research prototypes.

2015 IEEE Conference on Standards for Communications and Networking (CSCN)