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 2021-08-27
State Start Chartering/Rechartering (Internal Steering Group/IAB Review) Rechartering
WG State Proposed
IESG Responsible AD Éric Vyncke
Charter Edit AD Éric Vyncke
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. These concerns have recently
started to be mitigated by SDOs specifying the use of Randomized and Changing
MAC addresses (RCM) and end-device vendors implementing 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 document the current RCM state of affairs by
(i) identifying relevant network and application services scenarios and
examining the effect of RCM schemes on them; (ii) evaluating various existing
identifiers (i.e., beyond the MAC address) that can be used by the network to
provide seamless services, and (iii) identifying scenarios where device
identity is not required.

The group will generate a best common practices (BCP) document recommending
means to ensure that the privacy achieved with RCM is not compromised. For
scenarios where device identity stability is desirable, the BCP document will
recommend existing protocols that can be used to protect the request and
exchange of identifiers between the client and the service provider. The
MADINAS Working Group will examine other IETF work and other standards (e.g.,
IEEE) that may be applicable for the aforementioned exchange and use of

The Working Group will work together with other IETF WGs (e.g., DHC, IntArea),
and will liaise with other relevant organizations 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
  An Informational MAC Address Randomization current state-of-affairs document

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