MAC Address Device Identification for Network and Application Services

The information below is for an older proposed charter
Document Proposed charter MAC Address Device Identification for Network and Application Services WG (madinas) Snapshot
Title MAC Address Device Identification for Network and Application Services
Last updated 2021-08-02
State Not currently under review
WG State BOF Concluded
IESG Responsible AD √Čric Vyncke
Charter Edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)


The Medium Access Control (MAC) address is the Link Layer address used in
IEEE 802 technologies. It was originally assigned statically for each physical
network card by the Network Interface Card manufacturer, out of the space
reserved by the IEEE Registration Authority Committee (RAC) for globally unique
MAC addresses. The MAC address is used as source or destination target when
sending and receiving frames. The default static assignment of the MAC address
raises privacy concerns for personal devices, which have recently started to be
mitigated by end-device vendors implementing and SDOs specifying the use of
Randomized and Changing MAC addresses (RCM).

Device identity is important in scenarios where the network needs to know the
device or user identity in order to offer, operate and maintain certain
services. Currently, many use cases and applications make an implicit
assumption about the unique association between the device identity and its MAC
address. This assumption is being used in both control plane and data plane
functions and protocols. RCM breaks this assumption. This requires updating
applications to function across MAC address changes.

The MADINAS Working Group will examine the effect of RCM schemes on network and
application services in several scenarios identified as relevant. The group
will also evaluate various identifiers (i.e., beyond the MAC address) that can
be used by the network to provide services, as well as scenarios where personal
device identity is not required.

For scenarios where personal device identity stability is desirable, the
Working Group will recommend protocols that can be used to protect the request
and exchange of identifiers between the client and the service provider. For
scenarios where privacy is paramount, the group will recommend best practices
to ensure that the privacy achieved with RCM is not compromised by the
communication of other identifiers. The MADINAS Working Group will examine
other IETF work that may be applicable.

The Working Group will work together with other IETF WGs (e.g., DHC, IntArea),
and will liaise with other relevant SDOs such as IEEE 802 and the Wireless
Broadband Alliance (WBA). The Working Group will coordinate on the different
recommendations, as well as potential follow-up activities within or outside
the IETF.

MADINAS is expected to be a short timeframe (12-18 months) Working Group to
quickly assess these needs. Additional solution space documents would only be
published if identified as necessary, requiring a rechartering process in
coordination with other relevant SDOs.

The group will produce the following deliverables:

1. Document Current State of Affairs:
  An Informational Use Cases and Requirements document (e.g.
  draft-henry-madinas-framework) An Informational MAC Address Randomization
  current state-of-affairs document (e.g.

2. Document Best Practices handling RCM
  A Best Common Practices document