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Middle box Taxonomy

Document Charter Middle box Taxonomy WG (midtax)
Title Middle box Taxonomy
Last updated 2003-12-10
State Approved
WG State Concluded
IESG Responsible AD Russ Housley
Charter edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)


Goal: "middle boxes" are defined for this BOF as any intermediary box
performing functions apart from normal, standard functions of an IP
router on the data path between a source host and destination host.
This includes both boxes that attempt to be transparent to
application protocols, and those that participate in application
protocols. Work is in progress in the IETF on some aspects of middle
boxes. The BOF is intended to prepare for a structured discussion of
some wider issues, from an architectural viewpoint, in order to:

  • Analyze issues raised by the growth of middle boxes in the
  • Identify harmful and harmless practices.
  • Suggest architectural guidelines.
  • Identify additional work that should be done in the IETF and IRTF.

An implied goal is to identify any necessary updates to the
Architectural Principles of the Internet [RFC 1958].

The BOF will concentrate on the taxonomy presented in
draft-carpenter-midtax-00.txt, as a first step in the analysis.
This document establishes a taxonomy of middle boxes, cites previous
or current IETF work concerning middle boxes, and attempts to
identify issues and areas where further work is necessary.