IGF 2018 WS #40 Internet Mega-Trends' Impact on the Internet’s Architecture


Other - 90 Min
Format description: Interactive, informative session


Organizer 1: Wout de Natris, De Natris Consult
Organizer 2: Alissa Cooper, IETF
Organizer 3: Maria Ines Robles, Aalto University

Speaker 1: Alissa Cooper, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Jari Arkko, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Maria Ines Robles, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is the premier Internet standards body, developing open standards through open processes, and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) provides long-range technical direction for Internet development, ensuring the Internet continues to grow and evolve as a platform for global communication and innovation. The work of the IETF and IAB is often seen as too difficult to understand for policymakers, civil society and industry representatives. Yet, it directly impacts all stakeholder groups at the IGF, e.g. from a policy, technical, financial, investment or enforcement point of view. This session provides the opportunity for work of the IAB and IETF related to major trends in the Internet’s evolution to be more accessible to other stakeholder communities. At the IGF in Geneva 2017 the IETF was invited by representatives from government, business and NGOs to interact more pro-actively with other stakeholders on its work on Internet protocols. This interactive informative workshop invites all stakeholders, especially those from the non-technical communities, to learn how mega-trends are impacting the Internet's architecture and about the work underway within the IETF to deal with the impact of these trends. This session allows other stakeholders not only to reflect on the IETF’s work as such, but also allows them to assess how these new Internet standards impact their respective work, decisions and priorities. By facilitating this session, the IGF assumes a coordinative role between stakeholders, contributes to a better understanding of IETF work, and aids potential cooperation between stakeholders and the IETF. This is in line with a recommendation from the report ''Strengthening cooperation within the context of the IGF” presented to the MAG in the winter of 2018.

Session Content: 

This session will explore some of the most significant trends in the Internet’s technology and architecture, including: * The shift from device-centric to service-centric networking. When the Internet was originally designed, the paradigm that drove network engineering centred on getting devices (or “hosts”) connected and ensuring the existence of paths between those hosts. These days, network engineering has become service-oriented, focusing on giving people access to the services they need regardless of which device they are using or where they are located in the network. The engineering and governance implications of this shift are important for everyone to understand; * The rising use of encryption in the Internet’s core protocols. Over the last several years the impetus to “harden” the Internet’s core protocols by improving their cryptographic properties, expanding the use of encrypted modes, or removing unencrypted modes altogether has greatly accelerated. We can discuss the design strategy that has allowed secure communications to flourish as well as some of the impacts this shift continues to have on the way that people experience the Internet and the overall Internet security landscape; * The increasing consolidation across various providers and platforms. Observers of Internet traffic patterns have noted increasing traffic consolidation, that is, a larger fraction of traffic involving a smaller number of content providers, social networks, and hosting companies. There are likely numerous technical and non-technical drivers of this trend; these include, for example, the ability of larger providers to better defend against large-scale denial of service attacks that have been on the rise in recent years. We will discuss both how the design of Internet technology may have contributed to this trend and its implications for future technology development. To make this session a success, proper preparation is key. This proposal comes with active outreach to all relevant stakeholders. They will be directly approached, informed and prepared for this session. This allows for the content to be understood and for the preparation of questions and interventions. Finally, participants are invited to assess the impact on their own line of work and share this assessment in the workshop. Furthermore, options for future interaction and the early incorporation in policies, business decisions and/or the adoption of developed Internet standards can be taken into consideration. The results of the workshop will lead to a report that also allows the MAG to assess the effectiveness of interactive informative sessions at the IGF.


1) Through active outreach community leaders in the different stakeholder groups are not only invited to participate, but also to reflect on the presentations by the IETF. The preparation provides active knowledge before the session starts. This leads to an interactive discussion on impact, scope and adoption of new standards. 2) The workshop is prepared by providing a limited number of questions, to be developed with the IETF leadership and Internet Society, allowing to prepare and participate actively. 3) Short introductions by IETF leaders (i.e. chair and former chair) set the stage for a discussion. 4) The moderator makes sure the session is interactive and result driven. Interventions are foreseen from the business community, government (policy and political) and civil society. (The technical community is the driving force.) Expressions of interest in active participation have been collected already from different stakeholder communities. 5) The session concludes with recommendations on how to follow up (on future topics).


The session organisers, Internet Society and IETF in collaboration with De Natris Consult, will work actively with the different stakeholder communities, including the NRIs, to ensure a balanced participation from the respective stakeholder groups, by region and gender. However, as the respective communities decide who actively participates in this workshop, the organisers do not have a final influence over who actively participates nor who makes the interventions.

Online Participation: 

Online participation is ensured when an assigned participant is not able to attend in situ. All online participants are actively invited to join in order of flagging. Where possible audibly, if necessary by way of the online moderator. The onsite moderator will be in constant contact with the online moderator to determine the moment and number of interventions. The online moderator is experienced in handling this task and is briefed actively beforehand.

Discussion Facilitation: 

Discussion in the room is facilitated in several ways: 1) Participants are well prepared, upfront, to provide focus to the discussion and their interventions; 2) The experts are prepared to not only present, but actively solicit feedback form the audience; 3) There is no panel, only introductory presentations aimed at explaining and clarification to start the discussion; 4) Introductions by IETF are concise and aimed at interaction; 5) The onsite moderator is not seated but moves through the room, soliciting responses; 6) The online moderator actively engages participants; 7) The intended aim and outcome of the session is familiar to all at the start; 8) The session ends with feedback and recommendations for all concerned, including the MAG through the report.

Onsite Moderator: 

Wout de Natris

Online Moderator: 

Vanessa Berning


Ines Robles

Reference Document: https://www.ietf.org/


1. Opening/introduction

2. Presentation Alissa Cooper: "Rising use of encryption in the Internet’s core protocols" (10 minutes)

3. Presentation Jari Arkko: "Consolidation" (10 minutes)

4. Presentation Maria Ines Robles: "Shift from device-centric to service-centric networking" (10 minutes)

5. Discussion (50 minutes)

6. Conclusions (10 minutes)

7. Closing


IGF 2018 Pre-Session Synthesis

- Session Type (Workshop, Open Forum, etc.): interactive, informative workshop

- Title: Internet Mega-Trends’ impact on the Internet’s Architecture

- Date & Time: Monday 12 November 2018, 11.50 - Organizer(s): Internet Engineering Task Force, Internet Society, De Natris Consult

- Chair/Moderator: Wout de Natris

- Rapporteur/Notetaker: Paula Real

- List of speakers and their institutional affiliations:

Alissa Cooper, IETF (F)

Jari Arkko, IETF (M)

Maria Ines Robles, IETF (F)

- Theme (as listed here): Technical and Operational topics

- Subtheme (as listed here): Evolution of Internet governance

- Key messages of the discussion:

The work of the IETF is seen as exclusively technical, resulting in its work and outcomes, let alone the potential results, being unknown to many in other stakeholder communities. This workshop allows other stakeholders not only to reflect on the IETF’s work as such, but also allows them to assess how (new) Internet standards and protocols impact their respective work, decisions and priorities. The main themes are:

  1. Can interaction between stakeholders lead to swifter adoption of Internet Protocols?;
  2. Can the IGF contribute to a better understanding of IETF’s work?;
  3. How to draw other stakeholders’ attention to this work?

This session is a pilot on active interaction and information sharing at the IGF. The results of this workshop will lead to a report that also allows the MAG to assess the use of interactive informative sessions at the IGF.  

IGF 2018 Pre-Session Synthesis & Short Report Template

- Please state no more than three (3) key messages of the discussion.

                1) The work at the IETF on Internet protocols affect everyone’s daily lives, something many other stakeholders were less aware of;

                2) There is a need for more reach out to other communities to make them understand not only the importance of the work on Internet protocols but assist them in understanding the implications of this work (and the trends) for their own decisions, whether commercial, political, in policy drafting, human rights, etc.;

                3) The three presentations given by the IETF on consolidation, encryption and Internet of Things show how profound these megatrends are and deserve a more holistic view to understand the impact on society better.


- Please elaborate on the discussion held, specifically on areas of agreement and divergence.

This session focused on reach out to make stakeholders understand the work of the IETF better. No one contested the presentations. The questions asked either assisted in clarifying the content for other stakeholders or opened the debate to a specific view. Those present agreed with the need for this outreach. Some offered to actively assist in options for IETF to reach out beyond the IGF.


- Please describe any policy recommendations or suggestions regarding the way forward/potential next steps.

It was suggested to repeat this work: Using the IGF to make other stakeholders more aware of the IETF’s work is seen as important by all participants. The IETF realises that active reach out to other stakeholder groups, e.g. consumer organisations, is useful. A full session in 2019 on ‘consolidation’ and its effects to Internet governance came highly recommended.


- What ideas surfaced in the discussion with respect to how the IGF ecosystem might make progress on this issue? [75 words]

Use the IGF ecosystem to: 1) spread updates on developments within the IETF and use it to attract more and especially new stakeholder groups to join this discussion; 2) work on the impact of megatrends more holistically.


- Please estimate the total number of participants.

It is hard to say. All chairs were filled (57), all four walls were filled and people refused outside. My estimation is between 90 and 100. The room was far too small.


- Please estimate the total number of women and gender-variant individuals present.

75 % (m) - 25% (f)


- To what extent did the session discuss gender issues, and if to any extent, what was the discussion?

None, as this topic was gender neutral. It affects all at the exact same level.

Session Time: 
Monday, 12 November, 2018 - 11:50 to 13:20
Salle VI

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678