IETF group may head back to drawing board

A proposed Internet standards group for network access issues may be doomed before it even gets started. The Internet Engineering Task Force group set out to build a standard framework that would let servers answer three questions: How do I know that you are who you say you are? What can you do once you have access? What did you do so that I can bill you for it? It ended up arguing over what the transport mechanism for the new protocol should be.

A proposed Internet standards group for network access issues may be doomed before it even gets started.

The Internet Engineering Task Force, which decides on standards for the Internet, met yesterday at its triennial gathering to discuss the viability of a group to study approaches to authentication, authorization and accounting.

The group, co-chaired by IETF head Fred Baker, set out to build a standard framework that would let servers answer three questions: How do I know that you are who you say you are? What can you do once you have access? What did you do so that I can bill you for it?

But rather than discussing in detail how the group would develop the architecture that could answerthese questions, the session derailed into a talk about choosing the transport mechanism for the new protocol: TCP, UDP or a new transport protocol.

One attendee said contemplating the transport protocol was duplicating efforts being done in other session this week.

Another participant criticised co-chairs Sue Hares of Merit Network and Baker for not developing a clear charter. This participant said that the proposed group is a solution in search of a problem.

Hares said the group would work on developing a clear charter and submit it to the group's mailing list for approval.

According to IETF bylaws, if the charter does not meet approval, then the proposed working group would be scratched.

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