Tuesday, November 23, 2010

IETF79 - Beijing !

I haven’t had much time to blog of late, having to catch up on work since returning from Beijing.

Beijing ? I hear you ask. Yes, the 79th IETF meeting was held 7-12 November in the Chinese capital.

This was my 26’th IETF, and things have changed since my first meeting. Back in the “old days” the meetings were mostly in the US (e.g., Minneapolis in the winter) and occasionally in Europe. This was then changed to a 3:2:1 rule, where half of the six meetings of two years taking place in North America (with Canada preferred to the US due to visa requirements), two meetings in Europe, and one meeting in Asia (Japan or S. Korea). Even then the default hotel chain with which the IETF had an arrangement was comfortably unvarying. The venue was so predictable that when I found out that the next European meeting was to be held in the French capital, I googled “Paris Hilton” and was surprised to retrieve photos of a scantily dressed heiress.

However, the proportion of Asian participants in SDOs has increased to such an extent that in the space of a single month, three of the SDOs that I follow held meetings in China – ITU-T SG15/Q13 (timing) met in Shenzhen 18 - 22 October, the MEF met 24-27 October in Beijing, followed by the IETF.

While the IETF general attendance figures were up (and for the first time the largest contingent was not from the US – but from China), several of the working groups that I attend suffered from a noticeable lack of major participants. In TICTOC, other than the two chairs and the Area Director, only two of the regulars were able to appear in person. This made it difficult to make any progress on the crucial issues.

However, the PWE3 session was lively, with the topics of making the control word mandatory and deprecating some of the VCCV modes drawing people to the mike. Unfortunately PWE3’s slot coincided with IPPM’s, but apparently IPPM was plagued with a situation similar to TICTOC’s. In the CODEC WG (whose chair couldn't make it to Beijing), the IPR-free audio codec for Internet use that is being developed was demoed. In the technical plenary there were interesting talks and exchanges in IPv6 operations and transitional issues, with the local speakers painting a grim picture of the IPv4 address availability.

All-in-all it was an interesting meeting in an interesting venue; a venue that I am certain to be visiting again.