The Internet Engineering Task Force celebrated a quarter century of being a standards organization that creates standards related to the technical operation of the Internet. Uniquely, IETF has no high thresholds for membership like traditional standards organizations such as ANSI, ISO, or the IEEE Standards Association. Reports Ars Technica, IETF grew out of a group for government contractors working on the ARPANET who got together a few times a year to discuss what needed to be done to improve the network.
“The IETF inherited IPv4 and many other core specifications from what came before it (mainly the ARPANET), but IPv6 was created entirely through the IETF process, which is often laborious. But if there is industry consensus, the IETF is capable of doing great things. Because there is no official membership, there’s not much point in voting, so IETF decisions are reached through ‘rough consensus.’ That means that a very large majority has to agree on the proposed way forward. This is a high bar to clear, but requiring close to a consensus does have the advantage that if something can pass through the IETF process, there is a very good chance that it will also be viable in the outside world. “