Internet Architecture Board (IAB) D. McPherson, Ed.
Request for Comments: 8722
O. Kolkman, Ed.
Category: Informational ISOC
ISSN: 2070-1721 J. Klensin, Ed.
G. Huston, Ed.
Defining the Role and Function of IETF Protocol Parameter Registry
Many Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) protocols make use of
commonly defined values that are passed in messages or packets. To
ensure consistent interpretation of these values between independent
implementations, there is a need to ensure that the values and
associated semantic intent are uniquely defined. The IETF uses
registry functions to record assigned protocol parameter values and
their associated semantic intentions. For each IETF protocol
parameter, it is current practice for the IETF to delegate the role
of Protocol Parameter Registry Operator to a nominated entity. This
document provides a description of, and the requirements for, these
delegated functions. This document obsoletes RFC 6220
to replace all
references to the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) and
related structures with those defined by the IASA 2.0 Model.
Status of This Memo
This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
published for informational purposes.
This document is a product of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
and represents information that the IAB has deemed valuable to
provide for permanent record. It represents the consensus of the
Internet Architecture Board (IAB). Documents approved for
publication by the IAB are not candidates for any level of Internet
Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 7841
Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8722
Copyright (c) 2020 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
document authors. All rights reserved.
This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
) in effect on the date of
publication of this document. Please review these documents
carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
to this document.
Table of Contents 1.
Roles and Responsibilities Concerning IETF Protocol Parameter
Protocol Parameter Registry Operator Role 2.2.
IAB Role 2.3.
IESG Role 2.4.
Role of the IETF Trust 2.5.
Role of the IETF Administration Limited Liability Company 3.
Miscellaneous Considerations 4.
Security Considerations 5.
IANA Considerations 6.
IAB Members at the Time of Approval
Many IETF protocols make use of commonly defined values that are
passed within messages or packets. To ensure consistent
interpretation of these values between independent implementations,
there is a need to ensure that the values and associated semantic
intent are uniquely defined. The IETF uses registries to record each
of the possible values of a protocol parameter and their associated
semantic intent. These registries, their registration policy, and
the layout of their content are defined in the so-called "IANA
Considerations" sections of IETF documents.
The organizational separation between the IETF and its Protocol
Parameter Registry Operators parallels ones that are fairly common
among standards development organizations (SDOs) although less common
among technology consortia and similar bodies. These functions have
been separated into different organizations for several reasons.
They include dealing with administrative issues, addressing concerns
about maintaining an adequate distance between basic policy and
specific allocations, and avoiding any potential conflicts of
interest that might arise from commercial or organizational
relationships. For example, most ISO and ISO/IEC JTC1 standards that
require registration activities specify a Registration Authority (RA)
or Maintenance Agency (MA) that, in turn, control the actual
registration decisions. The databases of what is registered for each
standard may then be maintained by a secretariat or database function
associated with the RA or MA or, less frequently, by the secretariat
of the body that created and maintains the standard itself.
This structural separation of roles exists within several places in
the IETF framework (e.g., the RFC Editor function). The Internet
Architecture Board (IAB), on behalf of the IETF, has the
responsibility to define and manage the relationship with the
Protocol Parameter Registry Operator role. This responsibility
includes the selection and management of the Protocol Parameter
Registry Operator, as well as management of the parameter
registration process and the guidelines for parameter allocation.
As with other SDOs, although it may delegate authority for some
specific decisions, the IETF asserts authority and responsibility for
the management of all of its protocol parameters and their
registries, even while it generally remains isolated from the
selection of particular values once a registration is approved. This
document describes the function of these registries as they apply to
individual protocol parameters defined by the IETF Internet Standards
Process (see RFC 6410
[BCP9]) to allow for an orderly implementation
by the IETF Administration Limited Liability Company (IETF LLC), and
others as needed, under guidance from the IAB. This document
obsoletes RFC 6220
to replace all references to the IASA and related
structures with those defined by the IASA 2.0 Model [RFC8711
Below we provide a description of the requirements for these
delegated functions, which the IETF traditionally refers to as the
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function.
2. Roles and Responsibilities Concerning IETF Protocol Parameter
The IETF's longstanding practice is to outsource the management and
implementation of some important functions (e.g., [RFC8728
protocol parameter registry function falls into this category of
outsourced functions, and what follows here is the description of the
roles and responsibilities with respect to the registration of IETF
Specifically, this document describes the operation and role of a
delegated IETF Protocol Parameter Registry Operator, to be selected
and administered by the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA)
]. While there is generally a single Protocol Parameter
Registry Operator, additional Operators may be selected to implement
specific registries, and that has been done occasionally. Having a
single Protocol Parameter Registry Operator facilitates coordination
among registries, even those that are not obviously related, and also
makes it easier to have consistency of formats and registry
structure, which aids users of the registries and assists with
Many protocols make use of identifiers consisting of constants and
other well-known values. Even after a protocol has been defined and
deployment has begun, new values may need to be assigned (e.g., for a
new option type in DHCP, or a new encryption or authentication
algorithm for IPsec). To ensure that such quantities have consistent
values and interpretations in different implementations, their
assignment must be administered by a central authority. For IETF
protocols, that role is provided by a delegated Protocol Parameter
Registry Operator. For any particular protocol parameter there is a
single delegated Registry Operator.
2.1. Protocol Parameter Registry Operator Role
The IETF Protocol Parameter Registry function is undertaken under the
auspices of the Internet Architecture Board.
The roles of the Protocol Parameter Registry Operator (Registry
Operator) are as follows:
* Review and Advise
- A Registry Operator may be requested to review Internet-Drafts
that are being considered by the Internet Engineering Steering
Group (IESG), with the objective of offering advice to the IESG
regarding the contents of the "IANA Considerations" section,
whether such a section, when required, is clear in terms of
direction to the Registry Operator, and whether the section is
consistent with the current published Registry Operator
- To operate a registry of protocol parameter assignments.
- The delegated Registry Operator registers values for Internet
protocol parameters only as directed by the criteria and
procedures specified in RFCs, including Standards Track
documents [BCP9], Best Current Practice documents, and other
RFCs that require protocol parameter assignment.
If values for Internet protocol parameters were not specified,
or in case of ambiguity, the Registry Operator will continue to
assign and register only those protocol parameters that have
already been delegated to the Registry Operator, following past
and current practice for such assignments, unless otherwise
directed in terms of operating practice by the IESG. In the
case of ambiguity, the Registry Operator is expected to
identify the ambiguity to the IAB or IESG as appropriate and
either suggest better text or ask the appropriate parties for
- For each protocol parameter, the associated registry includes:
o a reference to the RFC document that describes the parameter
and the associated "IANA Considerations" concerning the
o for each registration of a protocol parameter value, the
source of the registration and the date of the registration,
if the date of registration is known, and
o any other information specified as being included in the
registration data in the RFC document that describes the
o If in doubt or in case of a technical dispute, the Registry
Operator will seek and follow technical guidance exclusively
from the IESG. Where appropriate, the IESG will appoint an
expert to advise the Registry Operator.
- The Registry Operator will work with the IETF to develop any
missing criteria and procedures over time, which the Registry
Operator will adopt when so instructed by the IESG.
- Unless special circumstances apply to subsets of the data and
specific rules are established by IETF consensus, each protocol
parameter registry operates as a public registry, and the
contents of the registry are openly available to the public,
on-line and free of charge.
- The Registry Operator assigns protocol parameter values in
accordance with the policy associated with the protocol
parameter, such as "First Come First Served" or "Expert Review"
* Mailing Lists
- The Registry Operator maintains public mailing lists as
specified in IANA Considerations [RFC8126
]. Such lists are
designated for the purpose of review of assignment proposals in
conjunction with a designated expert review function. In
addition, each Registry Operator should maintain a mailing list
that enables the registry staff of the Registry Operator to be
contacted by email.
* Liaison Activity
- The Registry Operator will nominate a liaison point of contact.
The Registry Operator, through this liaison, may be requested
to provide advice to the IESG on IETF protocol parameters as
well as the "IANA Considerations" section of each Internet-
Draft that is being reviewed for publication as an RFC. Where
appropriate the IESG will appoint an expert to advise the
- The Registry Operator will submit periodic reports to the IAB
concerning the operational performance of the registry
function. As an example of the requirements for such reports,
the reader is referred to a supplement [MoU_SUPP2019] to the
"Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Technical Work of
the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority" [RFC2860
provides service level agreement (SLA) guidelines under which
ICANN, the current protocol parameter registry, must operate.
- At the request of the chair of the IETF or IAB, or the IETF
Executive Director [RFC8711
], the Registry Operator will
undertake periodic reports to IETF Plenary meetings or
elsewhere as directed, concerning the status of the registry
- The Registry Operator will publish an annual report describing
the status of the function and a summary of performance
* Intellectual Property Rights and the Registry Operator
Unless special circumstances apply (see above):
- All assigned values are to be published and made available free
of any charges.
- The assignment values may be redistributed without
In any case,
- any intellectual property rights of the IETF protocol parameter
assignment information, including the IETF protocol parameter
registry and its contents, are to be held by the IETF Trust
2.2. IAB Role
An Operator of an IETF protocol parameter registry undertakes the
role as a delegated function under the authority of the IAB.
The IAB has the responsibility to review the current description of
the registry function from time to time and direct the Registry
Operator to adopt amendments relating to its role and mode of
operation according to the best interests of the IETF and the
Internet community in general.
The IAB has the responsibility to appoint an organization to
undertake the delegated functions of the Registry Operator for each
IETF protocol parameter. Specifically, the IAB defines the role and
requirements for the desired functions. The IETF LLC is responsible
for identifying a potential vendor, and once under agreement,
managing the various aspects of the relationships with that vendor.
To be clear, the IAB is in the deciding role (e.g., for appointment
and termination), but must work in close consultation with the IETF
The IAB has the responsibility to determine the terms and conditions
of this delegated role. Such terms and conditions should ensure that
the registry operates in a manner that is fully conformant to the
functions described in this document. In addition, such terms and
conditions must not restrict the rights and interests of the IETF
with respect to the registry contents and maintenance.
2.3. IESG Role
The IESG is responsible for the technical direction regarding entries
into IETF protocol parameter registries and maintaining the policies
by which such technical directions are given. Technical direction
itself is provided through the adoption of directives within the
"IANA Considerations" section of IETF Stream RFCs or through stand-
alone "IANA Considerations" RFCs.
The IESG shall verify that Internet-Drafts that are offered for
publication as IETF Stream RFCs [RFC8729
] include "IANA
Considerations" sections when needed, and that "IANA Considerations"
sections conform to the current published guidelines.
Since technical assessment is not generally a responsibility of the
Registry Operator, as part of providing the technical direction the
IESG is responsible for identifying the technical experts that are
required to, where appropriate, review registration requests or
resolve open technical questions that relate to the registration of
At its discretion, the IESG will organize the liaison activities with
the Registry Operator's liaison point of contact so as to facilitate
clear communications and effective operation of the registry
2.4. Role of the IETF Trust
The IETF Trust [RFC4371
] was formed to act as the administrative
custodian of all copyrights and other intellectual property rights
relating to the IETF Standards Process, a function that had
previously been performed by the Internet Society (ISOC) and the
Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI).
Any intellectual property rights of IETF protocol parameter
assignment information, including the registry and its contents, and
all registry publications, are to be held by the IETF Trust on behalf
of the IETF.
The IETF Trust may make such regulations as appropriate for the
redistribution of assignment values and registry publications.
2.5. Role of the IETF Administration Limited Liability Company
The IETF Administration Limited Liability Company (IETF LLC)
] is responsible for identifying a potential vendor in a
manner of its choosing, based on IAB consultation, and for managing
the various aspects of the relationships with that vendor.
In addition, the IETF LLC has the responsibility to ensure long-term
access, stability, and uniqueness across all such registries. This
responsibility is of particular significance in the event that a
relation with a Protocol Parameter Registry Operator is terminated.
3. Miscellaneous Considerations
While this document has focused on the creation of protocols by the
IETF, the requirements provided are generically applicable to the
extended IETF community as well (e.g., Internet Research Task Force
The IESG is responsible for the technical direction of the IETF
protocol parameter registries and maintaining the policies by which
such technical directions are given. The IESG is responsible, as
part of the document approval process associated with the IETF Stream
], for "IANA Considerations" verification. For the
other RFC streams, the approval bodies are responsible for verifying
that the documents include "IANA Considerations" sections when
needed, and that "IANA Considerations" sections conform to the
current published guidelines. In the case that IANA considerations
in non-IETF document streams lead to a dispute, the IAB makes the
This document talks about "Registry Operator" (singular), and while
there are stability and economy-of-scale advantages for one single
Registry Operator, this document does not exclude having different
Registry Operators for different protocol registries when justified
by the circumstances.
4. Security Considerations
This document does not propose any new protocols and does not
introduce any new security considerations.
5. IANA Considerations
This document requires no direct IANA actions in terms of the
creation or operation of a protocol parameter registry. However,
this document does define the roles and responsibilities of various
bodies who are responsible for, and associated with, the operation of
protocol parameter registration functions for the IETF.
6. Informative References
[BCP9] Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
3", BCP 9, RFC 2026
, October 1996.
Dusseault, L. and R. Sparks, "Guidance on Interoperation
and Implementation Reports for Advancement to Draft
Standard", BCP 9, RFC 5657
, September 2009.
Housley, R., Crocker, D., and E. Burger, "Reducing the
Standards Track to Two Maturity Levels", BCP 9, RFC 6410
Resnick, P., "Retirement of the "Internet Official
Protocol Standards" Summary Document", BCP 9, RFC 7100
Kolkman, O., Bradner, S., and S. Turner, "Characterization
of Proposed Standards", BCP 9, RFC 7127
, January 2014.
Dawkins, S., "Increasing the Number of Area Directors in
an IETF Area", BCP 9, RFC 7475
, March 2015.
IETF Administration LLC, "2019 ICANN-IETF MoU Supplemental
Agreement", 31 July 2019,
] Carpenter, B., Baker, F., and M. Roberts, "Memorandum of
Understanding Concerning the Technical Work of the
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority", RFC 2860
, June 2000,
] Carpenter, B., Ed. and L. Lynch, Ed., "BCP 101 Update for
IPR Trust", BCP 101, RFC 4371
, DOI 10.17487/RFC4371
January 2006, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4371
] Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, "Guidelines for Writing an
IANA Considerations Section in RFCs", RFC 5226
, May 2008,
] Cotton, M., Leiba, B., and T. Narten, "Guidelines for
Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs", BCP 26, RFC 8126
, DOI 10.17487/RFC8126
, June 2017,
] Haberman, B., Hall, J., and J. Livingood, "Structure of
the IETF Administrative Support Activity, Version 2.0",
BCP 101, RFC 8711
, DOI 10.17487/RFC8711
, February 2020,
] Arkko, J. and T. Hardie, "Update to the Process for
Selection of Trustees for the IETF Trust", BCP 101, RFC 8714
, DOI 10.17487/RFC8714
, February 2020,
] Kolkman, O., Ed., Halpern, J., Ed., and R. Hinden, Ed.,
"RFC Editor Model (Version 2)", RFC 8728
, February 2020,
] Housley, R., Ed. and L. Daigle, Ed., "The RFC Series and
RFC Editor", RFC 8729
, DOI 10.17487/RFC8729
IAB Members at the Time of Approval
Internet Architecture Board Members at the time this document was
approved for publication were:
This document was originally adapted from "Guidelines for Writing an
IANA Considerations Section in RFCs" [RFC5226
], and has been modified
to include explicit reference to Intellectual Property Rights and the
roles of the IAB and IESG in relation to the IETF Protocol Parameter
The document was updated under auspices of the IASA2 working group to
reflect the reorganization of IETF Administrative Support Activity.
The Internet Architecture Board acknowledges the assistance provided
by reviewers of drafts of this document, including Scott Bradner,
Brian Carpenter, Leslie Daigle, Adrian Farrel, Bob Hinden, Alfred
Hoenes, Paul Hoffman, Benjamin Kaduk, Alexey Melnikov, Thomas Narten,
and Ray Pelletier.
Danny McPherson (editor)
Olaf Kolkman (editor)
John C Klensin (editor)
Geoff Huston (editor)