Interview: New IAB chair fears Internet ‘balkanization'

Web services expert Leslie Daigle made network industry history Wednesday night when she became the first woman selected to lead the Internet Architecture Board, a technical advisory group that helps oversee the protocols and procedures used by the Internet. Senior Editor Carolyn Duffy Marsan chatted with Daigle after her installation as IAB chair.

How will the IAB change under your leadership?I really don't know that it will change that much. What is changing is the IAB itself. We have five new members out of 12. That's going to be interesting. It's going to be fun to get some new perspectives.

What do you see as the key issues requiring the IAB's attention in the year ahead?I think you'll see more of the same. We're going to continue with what John [Klensin, the previous IAB chair] started, which was for the IAB to be more involved with the working groups about architectural issues. The IAB is going to continue to be interested in internationalization. What I'm going to be doing is making sure we have a reasonable naming infrastructure so that when we build new applications, we're not always starting from scratch.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the Internet?The biggest challenges are things that tear the Internet into islands: internationalization, middle boxes, the advent of small devices that do not meet our definition of hosts. We need to move beyond getting into fights about these things. As I said in the meeting: It's not about dogma. It's about stripping down and getting back to the basics.

What IAB work will most affect enterprise network managers?We're hosting a network management seminar this summer. It will be a small workshop, just 20 or 30 people. We're going to survey what work we have going on in this area and sort out what needs to be done.

What fears about the Internet keep you up at night?It's the architectural balkanization that could happen if we're not careful. Another key challenge is straddling what we do technically and having to interface with the political problems. We have to be clear about what we do, and what [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers] does.

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