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Supporting Standards that Ensure an Open and Interoperable Internet

The Internet as we know it today owes its development and scalability to the meticulous work of thousands of volunteers who develop technical standards and specifications that ensure global interoperability. This work is mostly done by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), both online and three times a year during face-to-face meetings around the world.

This year, ICANN is cohost with Google of the 101st meeting of the IETF in London from 18–23 March. IETF meetings gather about a thousand volunteer technologists. For a week, they discuss to advance their work on new standards or specifications candidates, and ways to improve or evolve existing ones. Over the past few meetings, a pre-event Hackathon has gained significant momentum. During the Hackathons dozens of coders and engineers from around the world work for two days to develop and debug applications that implement specific Internet standards or specifications which often includes work on both current and future Domain Name System (DNS) standards. This pre-event showcases practical implementations of the IETF standards and specifications through actual "running code."

For ICANN, supporting the IETF through sponsoring or cohosting allow us to express our continuous trust in the process and the thousands of volunteers who make it work. They contribute in the IETF to help build a robust set of standards and specifications that support the secure, stable, and resilient Internet that we all work for. ICANN's mission to help coordinate the smooth management of current unique Internet identifiers is a function that resulted from Internet Protocol (IP) specifications that the IETF defined. Supporting the IETF's work is also a way for ICANN to ensure that through our technical engagement we fulfill part of our own mission to support "One World, One Internet."

Several members of the ICANN organization participate in and contribute to the IETF's work. Our team members are currently working as authors or coauthors of more than 15 Internet drafts, many of which are under discussion in different working groups. Many of them will be presented in London.

IETF 101 in London will be another opportunity to engage with the IETF community and bring some emerging technical issues and solutions home for further review or implementation. Recent meetings have showcased topics related to encryption in protocol specifications, deliverability of the DNS, and IP version 6 (IPv6).

Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO, will give a short address during the plenary on Wednesday. We also expect the attendance of Cherine Chalabi, Chair, ICANN Board of Directors, who lives in London, and other members of the ICANN Board and community. If you are attending IETF 101 and want to learn more about ICANN, feel free to visit our team at the ICANN booth.

ICANN also hosted the IETF 89 meeting in London in 2014 (at the same hotel!) and has sponsored a few recent meetings, including IETF 100, held in Singapore in November 2017.

Read more about the IETF 101 meeting at


    Domain Name System
    Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."