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Internet Architecture Board (IAB)

Last Edit: 10/04/17


The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is a committee of the IEFT, and it's charter is provided by the Internet Society (ISOC). The Internet Society provides leadership for Internet policies and technological standards. The Internet Architecture Board was created by the Internet Society in 1992; the same year that the Internet Society was created. In 1992, the Internet transitioned from being funded and developed by the US government to being managed by nonprofit public organisations (Internet Society et al).

The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is a committee of the IEFT. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an organisation that maintains and develops the protocols of the Internet. The Internet is a system of computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite, and it is the 'role' of the IEFT to ensure that the protocols in the Internet protocol suite function as intended by the Internet Society. The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) provides oversight for the activities of the IEFT, and, on occasion, provides commentary on the architecture of the Internet's protocols. The IAB also helps to edit the Request for Comments (RFC) document series; helps the IEFT liaise with other organisations; and gives advice to the Internet Society on architecture issues.

Request for Comments document 1336 outlines how organisations like the IEFT/IAB manage the resources and protocols of the Internet:

The role of the IAB in managing the resources of the Internet


In the 1980's, the organisational infrastructure of the Internet was created by DARPA and supported by the NSF (who maintained one of the Internet's biggest networks). It was DARPA - originally named as ARPA - who funded the creation of ARPANET: the architecture and protocols of ARPANET evolved to become the Internet.

The origins of the Internet Architecture Board can be traced back to 1979. During the 1970's DARPA funded the development of TCP/IP. Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn were the individuals who invented TCP/IP. In 1980, TCP/IP was a defense standard and was named DoD TCP/IP. Due to the importance of TCP/IP, an organisation needed to be created to manage it's ongoing development.

In 1979, Vint Cerf (who coinvented TCP/IP) created the Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB) to continue the development of TCP/IP. In September 1983, at a ICCB meeting, D.Clark and B.Leinerthe - who controlled the DARPA Internet research program - spearheaded the dismantling of the Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB) and the creation of the Internet Advisory Board (IAB).

In 1986, Dennis Perry renamed the Internet Advisory Board (IAB) as the Internet Activities Board (IAB). In 1987, the IAB created the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) to conduct the short term and long term engineering of TCP/IP and Internet protocols.

During the NSFNET backnone era of the Internet - in the late 1980's - the Hitchhiker's guide to the Internet published a member list of the IAB and their roles within the organisation:

  1. Vinton Cerf: Chairman
  2. Jon Postel: RFC Editor
  3. David Clark: IRTF Chairman
  4. Phillip Gross: IETF Chairman
  5. Barry Leiner: CCIRN Liaison
  6. Robert Braden: Executive Director
  7. Hans-Werner Braun: NSFNET Liaison
  8. Daniel Lynch: Vendor Liaison
  9. Stephen Kent: Internet Security

In 1992, when the Internet Society was created, it was suggested that the activities of the Internet Activities Board (IAB) should be administered by the Internet Society. In 1992, the Internet Activities Board (IAB) was renamed and reorganised as the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).

Leadership of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is provided by a 'chair'; dating from 1981 to 2014, the following individuals have held the chair of the IAB: D.Clark, V.Cerf, L.Chapin, C.Huitema, B.Carpenter, J.Klensin, L.Daigle, O.Kolkman, B.Aboba and R.Housley.