IETF114 Conference Report: Tuesday July 26, 2022

Day Two of the 114th IETF meeting in Philadelphia USA. For the rundown on Day One, see my daily report.

Lucas Pardue, of Cloudflare and co-chair of the QUIC Working Group, gave a not-so-tongue-in-cheek talk about the breakdown of the OSI layering model of the Internet. His focus was on the top of the stack, illustrating handsomely what QUIC and HTTP/3 have done (unknowingly to most) to our perception of layers. A key challenge: tools for HTTP/1 are widely available and the protocol and its impacts are widely understood. HTTP/2 and HTTP/3? Not so much (both are binary, not text-based, protocols). Yet, here in mid-2022, the world of the Internet is predominantly (91%!) HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 traffic. Similarly, TLS/1.3 and QUIC represent 87% of traffic. And many of the now-being-standardized protocols for privacy insert several layers of proxy into every transaction. From a sound knowledge perspective, we seem to have taken a rather quick, and rather deep, step backwards.

The OHAI Working Group has brought the core draft of Oblivious HTTP Application Intermediation nearly to Working Group Last Call (technical finalization). With multiple interoperable implementations said to exist, this bodes well for rapid completion and standardization. The twistingly-worded name engenders confusion (or distain) but the goal is laudable: make the requester’s IP address private in any transactional HTTP-based protocol. Transactional protocols include DNS and Online Certification Status Protocol. But the dominant imagined use case is telemetry - monitoring vendor-, application- or operating system-define usage parameters on centralized systems. A few holes remain, however, for services that do not want (or need) to be tightly-coupled (systems that are not, for example, an operating system’s fault reporting service).