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Characterising the IETF Through the Lens of RFC Deployment

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Proceedings of the ACM Internet Measurement Conference, November .

DOI:10.1145/3487552.3487821

Protocol standards, defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), are crucial to the successful operation of the Internet. This paper presents a large-scale empirical study of IETF activities, with a focus on understanding collaborative activities, and how these underpin the publication of standards documents (RFCs). Using a unique dataset of 2.4 million emails, 8,711 RFCs and 4,512 authors, we examine the shifts and trends within the standards development process, showing how protocol complexity and time to produce standards has increased. With these observations in mind, we develop statistical models to understand the factors that lead to successful uptake and deployment of protocols, deriving insights to improve the standardisation process.

Download: mcquistin2021characterising.pdf