Network Working Group
Request for Comments: 4965
Category: Informational
J-F. Mule
W. Townsley
Cisco Systems
September 2007

CableLabs - IETF Standardization Collaboration

Status of This Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


This document describes the collaboration and liaison relationship between the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs).

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
   2.  Basis of Collaboration  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   3.  Document Sharing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   4.  Participation in the IETF Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
   5.  Designated Liaison Managers and Responsibilities  . . . . . . . 4
   6.  Formal Liaison Statements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   7.  Contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   9.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   10. Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   11. Common Work Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   12. Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

1. Introduction

This document contains a set of principles and guidelines that serves as the basis for establishing a liaison relationship between the Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). This cooperation framework is intended to secure timely development of technical specifications that facilitate maximum interoperability with existing Internet systems, devices, and protocols.

CableLabs is a non-profit research and development consortium that is dedicated to pursuing new cable telecommunications technologies and to helping its cable operator members integrate those technical advancements into their business objectives. Within CableLabs, specification activities are organized into projects such as DOCSIS(r), PacketCable(tm), and OpenCable(tm), and technical work is conducted in focus teams. Product vendors, manufacturers, and cable operator members are invited to join the focus teams that create technical specifications. From time to time, individuals involved with CableLabs focus teams submit CableLabs technical requirements or requirement specifications to IETF in order to seek expert reviews and solicit comments to create solutions that foster product interoperability beyond cable. The submissions related to CableLabs specifications may, for example, include use cases, protocol requirements, draft MIB modules, and proposed solutions such as new DHCP options. CableLabs also references the work of IETF and Request For Comments in its specifications. The list of CableLabs projects and specifications available publicly can be found at the CableLabs Web site,

Within the IETF, activities are undertaken within a framework of Areas, with specific activities being undertaken by working groups that are chartered within each Area. Working group output is reviewed by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) and published by the RFC Editor. IETF activities are based on a principle of open contribution and participation by any interested party. Details on the Internet Standards Process followed by the IETF can be found in [RFC2026]. Information on IETF working groups, current work item drafts, meeting schedules, and mailing lists are published on the IETF Web site,

The IETF and CableLabs are forming a liaison relationship with a mutual desire to support the integrity of specifications developed by each body. CableLabs does not develop standards other than through its participation with Standards Defining Organizations (SDOs) like the IETF.

The preferred approach is that CableLabs uses the IETF specifications unchanged, if feasible, and communicates requirements for change to the IETF, as needed. The parties intend to work together in an effort to avoid duplication of work.

Within the framework of this liaison relationship, each organization will operate according to its own rules and procedures, including rules governing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), specification elaboration, approval, and maintenance.

2. Basis of Collaboration

In the further development of CableLabs specifications, the benefit of adopting IETF specifications has been identified. Although this document recognizes the importance of interoperability of the CableLabs specifications with the existing Internet and hence the use of IETF standards, CableLabs recognizes that additions or modifications might be needed in order to make the IETF specifications meet the needs of CableLabs. In such cases, a CableLabs individual or a vendor participant working on a CableLabs specification may take its concerns directly to the appropriate IETF working groups for resolution. When no appropriate working group can be found or it is not known where to direct the communication, or in the case of resolution of consequent matters, the issue will be raised through the CableLabs designated liaison manager to the IETF liaison manager.

The IETF may also need to ask questions of CableLabs in order to refine its understanding of CableLabs requirements or may wish to offer guidance to CableLabs on the effective use of IETF specifications. Where possible, these communications will occur in the context of a discussion between CableLabs and an IETF working group. In the event that a working-group-level discussion is deemed inappropriate for the desired communication, the matter will be raised through the IETF's designated liaison manager to CableLabs.

3. Document Sharing

Both CableLabs and the IETF encourage the sharing of specification documents and draft requirements that are of mutual interest.

All IETF documents are publicly available from the IETF Web site, and discussion of documents is hosted on open mailing lists.

CableLabs documents intended for public consumption include CableLabs Technical Reports and CableLabs Specifications that are in an approved and published status. These documents have the CableLabs

   ISSUED status and are published for open access on CableLabs' Web
   site,, or

In order for the IETF to make any reference (informative or normative), the document must be in an approved and published state, and publicly available. It is expected that CableLabs will share relevant information with IETF participants via individual IETF Contributions, as described in [RFC3978], and without requiring a non-disclosure agreement.

CableLabs and the IETF will work to update and exchange, when appropriate and on a regular basis, a list of dependencies between each organization's specifications and work in progress.

4. Participation in the IETF Process

The Internet Standards Process is described in [RFC2026]. Participation in the IETF process is open to any individual willing to contribute. This naturally includes individuals who also represent or otherwise contribute to the development of CableLabs specifications. Such individuals may freely participate in IETF mailing list discussions, submit and review Internet Drafts, and attend IETF meetings in order to assist the IETF in refining its understanding of CableLabs requirements as well as offering CableLabs an opportunity to receive informal guidance on CableLabs' use of IETF specifications. The vast majority of technical discussions and decision making within the IETF is undertaken on open mailing lists. Interested individuals should subscribe to and participate on these lists.

5. Designated Liaison Managers and Responsibilities

When the informal working group level of interaction is insufficient, matters can be raised through a liaison channel. CableLabs and the IETF shall each establish liaison functions for communication with the other organization and each shall appoint one individual acting as a liaison manager as described in [RFC4052] and [RFC4053].

Formal communications from CableLabs will be initiated by the designated CableLabs liaison manager by sending a liaison statement to the IETF liaison manager; these must follow the procedures described in [RFC4053]. The role of the IETF liaison manager is defined in [RFC4052] and [RFC4691]. The IETF liaison manager is not responsible for notifying CableLabs of new work to be undertaken by the IETF. Instead, the designated CableLabs liaison manager or delegates should subscribe to IETF lists announcing the creation or rechartering of IETF working groups (ietf-announce) and the lists announcing new work (new-work).

5.1. IETF Liaison Manager to CableLabs

The preferred way for organizations to work with IETF is through the working groups. However, IETF has a limited number of liaison relationships and liaison managers with other organizations when conditions warrant the appointment of a specific person.

The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) shall appoint a specific person to serve as the IETF liaison manager to CableLabs. The role and responsibilities of the IETF liaison manager to CableLabs are described below. In particular, it is expected that the designated liaison manager will act as an initial contact point in IETF for administrative aspects of this collaboration that cannot easily be handled in other ways (e.g., at a technical level by interactions with IETF Working Groups or Area Directors). It is agreed that the role does not carry the expectation of attendance at CableLabs meetings or participation in CableLabs specification development processes, and it is anticipated that all liaison efforts assigned to this individual will be carried out by electronic mail. It is understood that the IETF liaison manager does not have the ability to make exceptions to, or special provisions for, IETF policies and procedures.

It is expected that the individual appointed to the liaison manager role would:

  • be informed by CableLabs, when appropriate, of CableLabs activities within the IETF, including new work proposals, and be able to report those using appropriate channels within the IETF,
  • convey liaison statements from the IETF to CableLabs as described in [RFC4053], and be responsible for shepherding CableLabs communication to the relevant parts of the IETF,
  • be able to raise issues with CableLabs technical leadership as well as the IAB members and IETF Area Directors, as required.

CableLabs meetings are normally only open to delegates from CableLabs members or those manufacturers who have signed the appropriate agreements to participate in CableLabs projects or meetings.

5.2. CableLabs Liaison Manager to IETF

CableLabs shall establish an IETF liaison function and name an individual to be the CableLabs liaison Manager to IETF for matters pertaining to the CableLabs-IETF cooperation. The CableLabs liaison manager to IETF is expected to work with the concerned IETF and CableLabs projects and focus teams and to support the interaction between CableLabs and the IETF.

6. Formal Liaison Statements

Whenever possible, and as the preferred primary method of communication and coordination of activity, communication at the working group level is strongly encouraged.

When deemed necessary, formal communication between CableLabs and IETF is also permitted. These communications are to be recorded in the form of Liaison Statements, and the IETF will use the CableLabs liaison manager to convey these statements between the IETF and CableLabs. The procedure for proper handling of incoming liaison statements defined in [RFC4053] must be followed by both the liaison manager named by IETF and the liaison manager designated by CableLabs. It is important to note that all liaison statements made by the IETF or directed to the IETF shall be published by the IETF as public documents. All liaison statements made by the IETF will comply with the IETF IPR policy as documented in [RFC3978], [RFC3979], [RFC4748], [RFC4371] and any updates.

7. Contributions

Individuals who are involved in CableLabs' projects and are willing to contribute to IETF may make contributions to the IETF in their capacity as IETF participants, under the IETF's IPR policy, as documented in [RFC3978] and [RFC3979].

IETF participants whose companies are CableLabs members or have signed the appropriate agreements with CableLabs may also make contributions to CableLabs' projects and specifications.

CableLabs mailing lists are not open to the general public. It is recommended that work of mutual interest be discussed on the relevant IETF mailing lists.

The IETF and CableLabs will not co-develop any documents or material.

8. Security Considerations

This document does not directly affect the security of the Internet.

9. IANA Considerations

This section provides some guidelines for IANA to consider when adding references to a CableLabs specification in its registries. CableLabs maintains a specification repository with a stable URL for each published document under A stable document URL is one following the format:, where 'CableLabs_docname' is the CableLabs document name.

IANA is requested to use the above document URL format when referencing CableLabs specifications in its registries.

10. Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the following individuals for their comments and contributions: Ralph Brown, Brian Carpenter, Leslie Daigle, Ralph Droms, Alain Durand, Simon Krauss, Thomas Narten, Dan Romascanu, and Dave Oran.

It is also acknowledged that this document is inspired from [RFC3113] and [RFC3131].

This document was produced using the xml2rfc tool (RFC2629).

11. Common Work Areas

This section may be removed from future versions of this document. It is provided here to give some background information on the areas that may be common to both CableLabs and the IETF.

At the time of this writing, IETF working groups that are of particular interest to CableLabs include:


12. Informative References

   [RFC2026]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
              3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.
   [RFC3113]  Rosenbrock, K., Sanmugam, R., Bradner, S., and J. Klensin,
              "3GPP-IETF Standardization Collaboration", RFC 3113,
              June 2001.
   [RFC3131]  Bradner, S., Calhoun, P., Cuschieri, H., Dennett, S.,
              Flynn, G., Lipford, M., and M. McPheters, "3GPP2-IETF
              Standardization Collaboration", RFC 3131, June 2001.
   [RFC3978]  Bradner, S., "IETF Rights in Contributions", BCP 78,
              RFC 3978, March 2005.
   [RFC3979]  Bradner, S., "Intellectual Property Rights in IETF
              Technology", BCP 79, RFC 3979, March 2005.
   [RFC4052]  Daigle, L. and Internet Architecture Board, "IAB Processes
              for Management of IETF Liaison Relationships", BCP 102,
              RFC 4052, April 2005.
   [RFC4053]  Trowbridge, S., Bradner, S., and F. Baker, "Procedures for
              Handling Liaison Statements to and from the IETF",
              BCP 103, RFC 4053, April 2005.
   [RFC4371]  Carpenter, B. and L. Lynch, "BCP 101 Update for IPR
              Trust", BCP 101, RFC 4371, January 2006.
   [RFC4691]  Andersson, L., "Guidelines for Acting as an IETF Liaison
              to Another Organization", RFC 4691, October 2006.
   [RFC4748]  Bradner, S., "RFC 3978 Update to Recognize the IETF
              Trust", BCP 78, RFC 4748, October 2006.

Authors' Addresses

   Jean-Francois Mule
   858 Coal Creek Circle
   Louisville, CO  80027
   W. Mark Townsley
   Cisco Systems
   7025 Kit Creek Road
   PO Box 14987
   Research Triangle Park, NC  27709


Full Copyright Statement

Copyright © The IETF Trust (2007).

This document is subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions contained in BCP 78, and except as set forth therein, the authors retain all their rights.


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