Network Configuration

Document Charter Network Configuration WG (netconf)
Title Network Configuration
Last updated 2014-09-04
State Approved
WG State Active
IESG Responsible AD Benoit Claise
Send notices to (None)


Configuration of networks of devices has become a critical requirement
for operators in today's highly interconnected networks. Large and small
operators alike have developed their own mechanisms or have used vendor
specific mechanisms to transfer configuration data to and from a device
and to examine device state information which may impact the
configuration. Each of these mechanisms may be different in various
aspects, such as session establishment, user authentication,
configuration data exchange, and error responses.
The NETCONF protocol (RFC 6241) provides mechanisms to install, manipulate, and
delete the configuration of network devices. NETCONF is based on the secure
transport (SSH is mandatory to implement while TLS is an optional transport) and
uses an XML-based data representation. The NETCONF protocol is data modeling
language independent, but YANG (RFC 6020) is the recommended NETCONF modeling
language, which introduces advanced
language features for configuration management.
Based on the implementation, deployment experience and interoperability
testing, the WG aims to produce a NETCONF status report in a later stage.
The result may be clarifications for RFC6241 and RFC6242 and addressing
any reported errata.
In the current phase of NETCONF's incremental development the workgroup
will focus on following items:
  1. Develop the call home mechanism for the mandatory SSH binding (Reverse SSH)
providing a server-initiated session establishment.

  2. Develop a zero touch configuration document (a technique to establish a
secure network management relationship between a newly delivered network device
configured with just its factory default settings, and the Network Management
System), specific to the NETCONF use case.
  3. Advance NETCONF over TLS to be in-line with NETCONF 1.1 (i.e., update RFC
5539) and add the call home mechanism to provide a server-initiated session
  4. Combine the server configuration data models from Reverse SSH and
RFC5539bis drafts in a separate call home YANG module.
  5. Develop RESTCONF, a protocol based on NETCONF in terms of capabilities, but
over HTTP and with some REST characteristics, for accessing YANG data using the
datastores defined in NETCONF. An "ordered edit list" approach is needed (the
YANG patch) to provide client developers with a simpler edit request format that
can be more efficient and also allow more precise client control of the
transaction procedure than existing mechanisms. The YANG patch operation, based
on the  HTTP PATCH method, will be prepared in a separate draft. RESTCONF should
not deviate from the NETCONF capabilities unless proper justification is
provided and documented. The RESTCONF work will consider requirements suggested
by the other working groups (for example I2RS).