Network Working Group G. Fishman
Request for Comments: 3356 Bell Laboratories
Obsoletes: 2436 S. Bradner
Category: Informational Harvard University
August 2002 Internet Engineering Task Force and International
Telecommunication Union - Telecommunications
Standardization Sector Collaboration Guidelines
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does
not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this
memo is unlimited.
Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002). All Rights Reserved.
This document provides guidance to aid in the understanding of
collaboration on standards development between the International
Telecommunication Union -- Telecommunication Standardization Sector
(ITU-T) and the Internet Society (ISOC) / Internet Engineering Task
Force (IETF). It is an update of and obsoletes RFC 2436. The
updates reflect changes in the IETF and ITU-T since RFC 2436 was
written. The bulk of this document is common text with ITU-T
Supplement 3 to the ITU-T A-Series Recommendations.
Note: This was approved by ITU-T TSAG on 30 November 2001 as a
Supplement to the ITU-T A-Series of Recommendations (will be numbered
as A-Series Supplement 3).
Table of Contents
1. Scope...........................................................22. Introduction ...................................................23. Guidance on collaboration.......................................33.1 How to interact on ITU-T or IETF work items.....................33.2 Representation..................................................43.3 Document sharing................................................73.4 Simple cross referencing........................................83.5 Additional items................................................84. Security Considerations........................................105. Non-normative references.......................................106. Acknowledgements...............................................10
7. Changes since RFC 2436.........................................108. Author's addresses.............................................119. Full Copyright Statement.......................................121. Scope
This document provides guidance to aid in the understanding of
collaboration on standards development between the ITU-T and the
Internet Society (ISOC) / Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
In the IETF, work is done in Working Groups (WG), mostly through
open, public mailing lists rather than face-to-face meetings. WGs
are organized into Areas, each Area being managed by two co-Area
Directors. Collectively, the Area Directors comprise the Internet
Engineering Steering Group (IESG).
In the ITU-T, work is defined by study Questions which are worked on
mostly through meetings led by Rapporteurs. Questions are generally
grouped within Working Parties (WPs) led by a WP Chairman. Working
Parties report to a parent Study Group led by a SG Chairman.
The telecommunication industry is faced with an explosion in growth
of the Internet and other IP (Internet Protocol) based networks.
Operators, manufacturers and software/application providers alike are
reconsidering their business directions and Standards Development
Organizations and Forums and Consortia are facing an immense
challenge to address this situation.
These challenges were considered by TSAG in September 1998 and IETF
shortly thereafter, when it was initially recognized that the ITU-T
and ISOC/IETF were already collaborating in a number of areas, and
that this collaboration must be strengthened within the context of
changes in work emphasis and direction within the ITU-T on studies
related to IP based networks.
For example, many Study Groups already address aspects of IP based
networks. There are many topics of interest to ITU-T Study Groups in
the IP area that should be investigated (e.g., signaling, routing,
security, numbering & addressing, integrated management, performance,
IP - telecom interworking, access). Since many of these topics are
also being investigated by the IETF, there is a requirement for close
The current level of cooperation between the ITU-T and the IETF
should be built upon to ensure that the competence and experience of
each organization is brought to bear in the most effective manner and
in collaboration with the other. This document provides guidelines
for collaboration between the ITU-T and the IETF.
3. Guidance on Collaboration
This section builds on existing collaborative processes and details
some of the more important guidance points that each organization
should be aware of for effective collaboration.
3.1 How to Interact on ITU-T or IETF Work Items
Study Groups that have identified work topics that are IP-related
should evaluate the relationship with topics defined in the IETF.
Current IETF Working Groups and their charters (IETF definition of
the scope of work) are listed in the IETF archives (see section 3.5).
A Study Group may decide that development of a Recommendation on a
particular topic may benefit from collaboration with the IETF. The
Study Group should identify this collaboration in its work plan
(specifically in that of each Question involved), describing the goal
of the collaboration and its expected outcome.
An IETF Working Group should also evaluate and identify areas of
relationship with the ITU-T and document the collaboration with the
ITU-T Study Group in its charter. The following sections outline a
process that can be used to enable each group to learn about the
other's new work items.
3.1.1 How the ITU-T Learns About Existing IETF Work Items
The responsibility is on individual Study Groups to review the
current IETF Working Groups to determine if there are any topics of
mutual interest. Should a Study Group believe that there is an
opportunity for collaboration on a topic of mutual interest, it
should contact both the IETF Working Group Chair and the Area
3.1.2 How the ITU-T learns about proposed new IETF work items
The IETF maintains a mailing list for the distribution of proposed
new work items among standards development organizations. The IETF
forwards draft charters for all new and revised Working Groups and
Birds Of a Feather session announcements to the IETF NewWork mailing
list. An ITU-T mail exploder is subscribed to this list. It is
recommended that each Study Group subscribe to this ITU-T exploder,
which is maintained by the TSB. Members of the SG-specific listname
may include the SG Chairman, SG Vice Chairmen, Working Party
Chairmen, concerned Rapporteurs, other experts designated by the SG
and the SG Counselor. This will enable the SGs to monitor the new
work items for possible overlap or interest to their Study Group. It
is expected that this mailing list will see a few messages per month.
Each SG Chairman, or designated representative, may provide comments
on these charters by responding to the IESG mailing list at
firstname.lastname@example.org clearly indicating their ITU-T position and the nature
of their concern. Plain-text email is preferred on the IESG mailing
It should be noted that the IETF turnaround time for new Working
Group charters is two weeks. As a result, the mailing list should be
3.1.3 How the IETF Learns About ITU-T Work Items
The ITU-T work programme is documented in the Questions of each Study
Group. These can be found on the ITU-T web site.
Study Groups should send updates to the IETF NewWork mailing list as
they occur. Area Directors or WG Chairs should provide comments to
the relevant SG Chairman in cases of possible overlap or interest.
ISOC, including its standards body IETF, is a Sector Member of the
ITU-T. As a result, ISOC delegates are therefore afforded the same
rights as other ITU-T Sector Members (see 3.2.1). Conversely, ITU-T
delegates may participate in the work of the IETF as representatives
of the ITU-T (see 3.2.2). To promote collaboration it is useful to
facilitate communication between the organizations as further
3.2.1 IETF Recognition at ITU-T
Participants from the IETF may participate in ITU-T meetings as ISOC
delegates if the appropriate IETF Working Group (or Area) has
approved their attendance. This approval will be communicated to the
TSB in the form of a registration for a particular ITU-T meeting by
the IAB Chair.
3.2.2 ITU-T Recognition at ISOC/IETF
ITU-T Study Group Chairmen can authorize one or more members to
attend an IETF meeting as an official ITU-T delegate speaking
authoritatively on behalf of the activities of the Study Group (or a
particular Rapporteur Group). The Study Group Chairman sends the
ITU-T list of delegates by email to the Working Group chair, with a
copy to the Area Directors, and also to the Study Group. Note that,
according to IETF process, opinions expressed by any such delegate
are given equal weight with opinions expressed by other working group
3.2.3 Communication Contacts
To foster ongoing communication between the ITU-T and IETF, it is
important to identify and establish contact points within each
organization. Contact points may include:
1) ITU-T Study Group Chairman and IETF Area Director
An IETF Area Director is the individual responsible for overseeing
a major focus of activity with a scope similar to that of an ITU-T
Study Group Chairman. These positions are both relatively long-
term (of several years) and offer the stability of contact points
between the two organizations for a given topic.
2) ITU-T Rapporteur and IETF Working Group Chair
An IETF Working Group Chair is an individual who is assigned to
lead the work on a specific task within one particular Area with a
scope similar to that of an ITU-T Rapporteur. These positions are
working positions (of a year or more) that typically end when the
work on a specific topic ends. Collaboration here is very
beneficial to ensure the actual work gets done.
3) Other Contact Points
It may be beneficial to establish additional contact points for
specific topics of mutual interest. These contact points should
be established early in the work effort, and in some cases the
contact point identified by each organization may be the same
Note that the current IETF Area Directors and Working Group Chairs
can be found in the IETF Working Group charters. The current ITU-T
Study Group Chairmen and Rapporteurs are listed on the ITU-T web
Informal communication between contact points and experts of both
organizations is encouraged. However, note that formal communication
from an ITU-T Study Group, Working Party or Rapporteur to an
associated IETF contact point must be explicitly approved and
identified as coming from the Study Group, Working Party or
Rapporteur Group, respectively. Formal communication from the ITU-T
to the IETF should be addressed to the appropriate Working Group
Chairs and Area Directors with a copy to the email address
"email@example.com." These communications are placed by the IETF
onto a liaison statements web page at
http://www.ietf.org/IESG/liaison.html. An individual at the IETF is
assigned responsibility for dealing with each communication that is
received. The name and contact information of the responsible person
is listed with the links to the communications on this web page.
Conversely, formal communication from an IETF Working Group or Area
Director must also be explicitly approved and identified before
forwarding to any ITU-T contact. This approval is indicated in IETF
communication by copying the appropriate Working Group Chairs and
Area Directors. Formal communication is intended to allow the
sharing of positions between the IETF and the ITU-T outside of actual
documents (as described in 3.3). This would cover such things as
comments on documents and requests for input. The approved
communication is simply emailed from one body contact to another (the
appropriate mailing lists, as described in 3.2.5 may be copied).
3.2.5 Mailing Lists
All IETF Working Groups and all ITU-T Study Group Questions have
associated mailing lists.
In the IETF, the mailing list is the primary vehicle for discussion
and decision-making. It is recommended that the ITU-T experts
interested in particular IETF Working Group topics subscribe to and
participate in these lists. IETF WG mailing lists are open to all
subscribers. The IETF Working Group mailing list subscription and
archive information are noted in each Working Group's charter. In
the ITU-T, the TSB has set up formal mailing lists for Questions,
Working Parties and other topics within Study Groups (more detail can
be found on the ITU website). These mailing lists are typically used
for discussion of ITU-T contributions. Note that individual
subscribers to this list must be affiliated with an ITU-T member (at
this time, there is no blanket inclusion of all IETF participants as
members, however, as a member, ISOC may designate representatives to
subscribe). Alternatively, ITU-T members operate personal mailing
lists on various topics with no restrictions on membership (e.g.,
IETF participants are welcome).
3.3 Document Sharing
During the course of ITU-T and IETF collaboration it is important to
share working drafts and documents among the technical working
groups. Initially proposed concepts and specifications typically can
be circulated by email (often just repeating the concept and not
including the details of the specification) on both the IETF and
ITU-T mailing lists. In addition, working texts (or URLs) of draft
Recommendations, Internet Drafts or RFCs may also be sent between the
organizations as described below.
Internet Drafts are available on the IETF web site. The ITU-T can
make selected ITU-T documents available in a common FTP area on the
ITU-T web site. Although a communication can point to a URL where a
non-ASCII document (e.g., Word) can be downloaded, Word attachments
to an IETF mailing list are discouraged. It should also be
recognized that the official version of all IETF documents are in
3.3.1 IETF to ITU-T
IETF documents (e.g., Internet Drafts) can be submitted to a Study
Group as a Contribution from ISOC. In order to ensure that the IETF
has properly authorized this, the IETF Working Group must agree that
the specific drafts are of mutual interest, that there is a benefit
in forwarding them to the ITU-T for review, comment and potential use
and that the document status is accurately represented in the cover
letter. Once agreed, the appropriate Area Directors would review the
Working Group request and give approval. The contributions would
then be forwarded (with the noted approval) to the TSB for
circulation as a Study Group Contribution (see 3.2.4).
3.3.2 ITU-T to IETF
A Study Group or Working Party may send texts of draft new or revised
Recommendations, clearly indicating their status, to the IETF as
contributions in the form of Internet Drafts. Internet Drafts are
IETF temporary documents that expire six months after being
published. The Study Group or Working Party must decide that there
is a benefit in forwarding them to the IETF for review, comment and
potential use. Terms of reference for Rapporteur Group meetings may
authorize Rapporteur Groups to send working documents, in the form of
Internet Drafts, to the IETF.
In these cases, the document editor would be instructed to prepare
the contribution in Internet Draft format (in ASCII and optionally
postscript format as per [RFC2223]) and submit it to the Internet
Draft editor (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Alternatively, the
Study Group, Working Party or Rapporteur Group could agree to post
the document on a web site and merely document its existence with a
short Internet Draft that contains a summary and the document URL.
The URL can point to a Word document as long as it is publicly
available and with the understanding that it will not be eligible for
publication as an RFC in that format.
Both the Rapporteur and the Document Editor should be identified as
contacts in the contribution. The contribution must also clearly
indicate that the Internet Draft is a working document of a
particular ITU-T Study Group.
3.3.3 ITU-T & IETF
It is envisaged that the processes of 3.3.1 & 3.3.2 will often be
used simultaneously by both an IETF Working Group and an ITU-T Study
Group to collaborate on a topic of mutual interest.
It is also envisaged that the outcome of the collaboration will be
the documentation in full by one body and its referencing by the
other (see section 3.4 for details). That is, common or joint text
is discouraged because of the current differences in procedures for
document approval and revision. Where complementary work is being
undertaken in both organizations that will result in Recommendations
or RFCs, due allowance should be given to the differing perspectives,
working methods, and procedures of the two organizations. That is,
each organization should understand the other organization's
procedures and strive to respect them in the collaboration.
3.4 Simple Cross Referencing
ITU-T Recommendation A.5 describes the process for including
references to documents of other organizations in ITU-T
Recommendations. Information specific to referencing IETF RFCs is
found at http://www.itu.int/itudoc/itu-t/sdo/ref-a.5/isocietf.html.
IETF RFC2026, specifically section 7.1.1, describes the process for
referencing other open standards (like ITU-T Recommendations) in IETF
3.5 Additional Items
3.5.1 Several URLs to IETF procedures are provided here for information:
RFC2223 - Instructions to RFC Authors, October 1997
RFC2026 - The Internet Standards Process Revision 3, October 1996
RFC2418 - IETF Working Group Guidelines and Procedures, September
Current list and status of all IETF RFCs:
Current list and description of all IETF Internet Drafts:
Current list of IETF Working Groups and their Charters: (includes
Area Directors and Chair contacts, Mailing list information, etc.)
RFC Editor pages about publishing RFCs:
Current list of liaison statements:
IETF Intellectual Property Rights Notices:
3.5.2 Current ITU-T information can be found on the ITU website:
(includes contacts, organization, Recommendations for purchase,
mailing list info, etc.)
ITU-T Main page: http://www.itu.int/ITU-T
List of all ITU-T Recommendations:
ITU-T Study Group main page for Study Group NN (where NN is the
2-digit SG number):
ITU-T Special Study Group on IMT-2000 and beyond:
Intellectual Property policies, forms and databases:
ITU-T operational matters including:
Recommendation A.1 - Study Group work methods
Recommendation A.2 - Preparation of written contributions
Recommendation A.4 - Communication process between ITU-T and
forums and consortia
Recommendation A.5 - Include reference to documents of other
organizations in ITU-T Recs
Recommendation A.8 - Alternative Approval Process for
ITU T Procedures including:
Resolution 1 - Rules of Procedure for ITU-T
Resolution 2 - Study Group responsibility and mandates
Authors Guide for drafting ITU-T Recommendations:
Templates for contributions:
4. Security Considerations
Documents that describe cooperation procedures, like this one does,
have no direct Internet security implications.
5. Non-normative references
[RFC2026] Bradner. S, " The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.
[RFC2223] Postel, J. and J. Reynolds, "Instructions to RFC Authors",
RFC 2223, October 1997.
[RFC2436] Brett, R., Bradner, S. and G. Parsons, "Collaboration
between ISOC/IETF and ITU-T", RFC 2436, October 1998.
This document is based on the text from RFC 2436 and benefited
greatly from discussions during the November 2001 ITU-T TSAG meeting.
7. Changes since RFC 2436
The wording has been cleaned up in a number of places, a few
additional references have been provided, and the details of the
cooperation process have been modified slightly.
Sec 3.2.1 - Registration for IETF representatives to ITU-T meetings
is now done by IAB Chair instead of the ISOC VP for Standards.
Sec 3.2.2 - Notice of ITU-T delegates to IETF Working Group meetings
is now sent to the Working Group chairs and appropriate Area
Directors instead of the ISOC VP for Standards.
Sec 3.2.4 - Official communications from the ITU-T to the IETF now
are sent to the appropriate Working Group Chairs and Area
Directors with a copy to the email address "email@example.com"
instead of to the ISOC VP for Standards. A description of the new
IETF liaison statements web page was added. Official approval of
messages from the IETF to the ITU-T is now indicated by having the
appropriate Working Group Chairs and Area Directors copied on the
Sec 3.3 - A description of the new ITU-T common FTP area was added.
Sec 3.3.1 - The appropriate Area Directors now review documents to be
sent to the ITU-T instead of the ISOC VP for Standards.
Annex A was removed as unneeded.
8. Author's addresses
101 Crawfords Corner Road
Holmdel, NJ 07733-3030
+1 732 949 3401
29 Oxford St.
Cambridge MA 02138
+1 617 495 3864
9. Full Copyright Statement
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