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Expanded name

Internet Engineering Task Force

Date of establishment



http://www.ietf.org [external]


The Internet Engineering Task Force is the protocol engineering and development arm of the Internet. The IETF is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. It is open to any interested individual.

Areas of Activity

The technical work of the IETF is done in its working groups [external], which are organized by topic into the following areas:

Much of the work is handled via mailing lists. The IETF holds meetings [external]three times per year.

The operation of IETF is overseen by IESG [external](Internet Engineering Steering Group, consisting of the Area Directors) and IAB [external](Internet Architecture Board). The organizational "home" for all of the above is ISOC, the Internet Society, which holds copyright of all material published by IETF.

IETF publishes RFCs (originally standing for Request for Comments) that are either "standards track" documents or informational. The RFCs go through an elaborate approval process. For any standard, multiple independent implementations are required. The RFC process is initiated by Internet Drafts (I-D) that practically anybody can submit for publication by IETF: most I-Ds never lead to an RFC.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA [external]) is the central coordinator for the assignment of unique parameter values for Internet protocols. IANA was chartered by the Internet Society (ISOC) to act as the clearinghouse to assign and coordinate the use of numerous Internet protocol parameters. In 1998, the IANA functions were transferred to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN [external]).


IETF working groups can be joined by interested experts without payment of a membership fee.

IETF Matching of Language Tags
IETF RFC Internet Message Format
IETF RFC: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
IETF Tags for Identifying Languages