Network Working Group                                          T. Narten
Request for Comments: 5226                                           IBM
BCP: 26                                                    H. Alvestrand
Obsoletes: 2434                                                   Google
Category: Best Current Practice                                 May 2008

     Guidelines for Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs

Status of This Memo

   This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the
   Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   Many protocols make use of identifiers consisting of constants and
   other well-known values.  Even after a protocol has been defined and
   deployment has begun, new values may need to be assigned (e.g., for a
   new option type in DHCP, or a new encryption or authentication
   transform for IPsec).  To ensure that such quantities have consistent
   values and interpretations across all implementations, their
   assignment must be administered by a central authority.  For IETF
   protocols, that role is provided by the Internet Assigned Numbers
   Authority (IANA).

   In order for IANA to manage a given namespace prudently, it needs
   guidelines describing the conditions under which new values can be
   assigned or when modifications to existing values can be made.  If
   IANA is expected to play a role in the management of a namespace,
   IANA must be given clear and concise instructions describing that
   role.  This document discusses issues that should be considered in
   formulating a policy for assigning values to a namespace and provides
   guidelines for authors on the specific text that must be included in
   documents that place demands on IANA.

   This document obsoletes RFC 2434.

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Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................2
   2. Why Management of a Namespace May Be Necessary ..................3
   3. Designated Experts ..............................................4
      3.1. The Motivation for Designated Experts ......................4
      3.2. The Role of the Designated Expert ..........................5
      3.3. Designated Expert Reviews ..................................7
   4. Creating a Registry .............................................8
      4.1. Well-Known IANA Policy Definitions .........................9
      4.2. What to Put in Documents That Create a Registry ...........12
      4.3. Updating IANA Guidelines for Existing Registries ..........15
   5. Registering New Values in an Existing Registry .................15
      5.1. What to Put in Documents When Registering Values ..........15
      5.2. Updating Registrations ....................................17
      5.3. Overriding Registration Procedures ........................17
   6. Miscellaneous Issues ...........................................18
      6.1. When There Are No IANA Actions ............................18
      6.2. Namespaces Lacking Documented Guidance ....................19
      6.3. After-the-Fact Registrations ..............................19
      6.4. Reclaiming Assigned Values ................................19
   7. Appeals ........................................................20
   8. Mailing Lists ..................................................20
   9. Security Considerations ........................................20
   10. Changes Relative to RFC 2434 ..................................21
   11. Acknowledgments ...............................................22
   12. References ....................................................22
      12.1. Normative References .....................................22
      12.2. Informative References ...................................22

1.  Introduction

   Many protocols make use of fields that contain constants and other
   well-known values (e.g., the Protocol field in the IP header [IP] or
   MIME media types [MIME-REG]).  Even after a protocol has been defined
   and deployment has begun, new values may need to be assigned (e.g., a
   new option type in DHCP [DHCP-OPTIONS] or a new encryption or
   authentication transform for IPsec [IPSEC]).  To ensure that such
   fields have consistent values and interpretations in different
   implementations, their assignment must be administered by a central
   authority.  For IETF protocols, that role is provided by the Internet
   Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) [IANA-MOU].

   In this document, we call the set of possible values for such a field
   a "namespace"; its actual value may be a text string, a number, or
   another kind of value.  The binding or association of a specific
   value with a particular purpose within a namespace is called an
   assigned number (or assigned value, or sometimes a "code point",

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   "protocol constant", or "protocol parameter").  Each assignment of a
   value in a namespace is called a registration.

   In order for IANA to manage a given namespace prudently, it needs
   guidelines describing the conditions under which new values should be
   assigned or when (and how) modifications to existing values can be
   made.  This document provides guidelines to authors on what sort of
   text should be added to their documents in order to provide IANA
   clear guidelines, and it reviews issues that should be considered in
   formulating an appropriate policy for assigning numbers to name

   Not all namespaces require centralized administration.  In some
   cases, it is possible to delegate a namespace in such a way that
   further assignments can be made independently and with no further
   (central) coordination.  In the Domain Name System, for example, IANA
   only deals with assignments at the higher levels, while subdomains
   are administered by the organization to which the space has been
   delegated.  As another example, Object Identifiers (OIDs) as defined
   by the ITU are also delegated [ASSIGNED]; IANA manages the subtree
   rooted at "" ( .  When a namespace is
   delegated, the scope of IANA is limited to the parts of the namespace
   where IANA has authority.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [KEYWORDS].
   For this document, "the specification" as used by RFC 2119 refers to
   the processing of protocol documents within the IETF standards

2.  Why Management of a Namespace May Be Necessary

   One issue to consider in managing a namespace is its size.  If the
   space is small and limited in size, assignments must be made
   carefully to prevent exhaustion of the space.  If the space is
   essentially unlimited, on the other hand, potential exhaustion will
   probably not be a practical concern at all.  Even when the space is
   essentially unlimited, however, it is usually desirable to have at
   least a minimal review prior to assignment in order to:

      - prevent the hoarding of or unnecessary wasting of values.  For
        example, if the space consists of text strings, it may be
        desirable to prevent entities from obtaining large sets of
        strings that correspond to desirable names (e.g., existing
        company names).

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      - provide a sanity check that the request actually makes sense and
        is necessary.  Experience has shown that some level of minimal
        review from a subject matter expert is useful to prevent
        assignments in cases where the request is malformed or not
        actually needed (i.e., an existing assignment for an essentially
        equivalent service already exists).

   A second consideration is whether it makes sense to delegate the
   namespace in some manner.  This route should be pursued when
   appropriate, as it lessens the burden on IANA for dealing with

   A third, and perhaps most important, consideration concerns potential
   impact on the interoperability of unreviewed extensions.  Proposed
   protocol extensions generally benefit from community review; indeed,
   review is often essential to avoid future interoperability problems

   When the namespace is essentially unlimited and there are no
   potential interoperability issues, assigned numbers can safely be
   given out to anyone without any subjective review.  In such cases,
   IANA can make assignments directly, provided that IANA is given
   specific instructions on what types of requests it should grant, and
   what information must be provided as part of a well-formed request
   for an assigned number.

3.  Designated Experts

3.1.  The Motivation for Designated Experts

   It should be noted that IANA does not create or define assignment
   policy itself; rather, it carries out policies that have been defined
   by others and published in RFCs.  IANA must be given a set of
   guidelines that allow it to make allocation decisions with minimal
   subjectivity and without requiring any technical expertise with
   respect to the protocols that make use of a registry.

   In many cases, some review of prospective allocations is appropriate,
   and the question becomes who should perform the review and what is
   the purpose of the review.  One might think that an IETF working
   group (WG) familiar with the namespace at hand should be consulted.
   In practice, however, WGs eventually disband, so they cannot be
   considered a permanent evaluator.  It is also possible for namespaces
   to be created through individual submission documents, for which no
   WG is ever formed.

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   One way to ensure community review of prospective assignments is to
   have the requester submit a document for publication as an RFC.  Such
   an action helps ensure that the specification is publicly and
   permanently available, and it allows some review of the specification
   prior to publication and assignment of the requested code points.
   This is the preferred way of ensuring review, and is particularly
   important if any potential interoperability issues can arise.  For
   example, some assignments are not just assignments, but also involve
   an element of protocol specification.  A new option may define fields
   that need to be parsed and acted on, which (if specified poorly) may
   not fit cleanly with the architecture of other options or the base
   protocols on which they are built.

   In some cases, however, the burden of publishing an RFC in order to
   get an assignment is excessive.  However, it is generally still
   useful (and sometimes necessary) to discuss proposed additions on a
   mailing list dedicated to the purpose (e.g., the
   for media types) or on a more general mailing list (e.g., that of a
   current or former IETF WG).  Such a mailing list provides a way for
   new registrations to be publicly reviewed prior to getting assigned,
   or gives advice to persons wanting help in understanding what a
   proper registration should contain.

   While discussion on a mailing list can provide valuable technical
   feedback, opinions may vary and discussions may continue for some
   time without clear resolution.  In addition, IANA cannot participate
   in all of these mailing lists and cannot determine if or when such
   discussions reach consensus.  Therefore, IANA relies on a "designated
   expert" for advice regarding the specific question of whether an
   assignment should be made.  The designated expert is an individual
   who is responsible for carrying out an appropriate evaluation and
   returning a recommendation to IANA.

   It should be noted that a key motivation for having designated
   experts is for the IETF to provide IANA with a subject matter expert
   to whom the evaluation process can be delegated.  IANA forwards
   requests for an assignment to the expert for evaluation, and the
   expert (after performing the evaluation) informs IANA as to whether
   or not to make the assignment or registration.

3.2.  The Role of the Designated Expert

   The designated expert is responsible for initiating and coordinating
   the appropriate review of an assignment request.  The review may be
   wide or narrow, depending on the situation and the judgment of the
   designated expert.  This may involve consultation with a set of
   technology experts, discussion on a public mailing list, consultation
   with a working group (or its mailing list if the working group has

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   disbanded), etc.  Ideally, the designated expert follows specific
   review criteria as documented with the protocol that creates or uses
   the namespace.  (See the IANA Considerations sections of [RFC3748]
   and [RFC3575] for examples that have been done for specific

   Designated experts are expected to be able to defend their decisions
   to the IETF community, and the evaluation process is not intended to
   be secretive or bestow unquestioned power on the expert.  Experts are
   expected to apply applicable documented review or vetting procedures,
   or in the absence of documented criteria, follow generally accepted
   norms, e.g., those in Section 3.3.

   Section 5.2 discusses disputes and appeals in more detail.

   Designated experts are appointed by the IESG (normally upon
   recommendation by the relevant Area Director).  They are typically
   named at the time a document creating or updating a namespace is
   approved by the IESG, but as experts originally appointed may later
   become unavailable, the IESG will appoint replacements if necessary.

   For some registries, it has proven useful to have multiple designated
   experts.  Sometimes those experts work together in evaluating a
   request, while in other cases additional experts serve as backups.
   In cases of disagreement among those experts, it is the
   responsibility of those experts to make a single clear recommendation
   to IANA.  It is not appropriate for IANA to resolve disputes among
   experts.  In extreme situations (e.g., deadlock), the IESG may need
   to step in to resolve the problem.

   In registries where a pool of experts evaluates requests, the pool
   should have a single chair responsible for defining how requests are
   to be assigned to and reviewed by experts.  In some cases, the expert
   pool may consist of a primary and backups, with the backups involved
   only when the primary expert is unavailable.  In other cases, IANA
   might assign requests to individual members in sequential or
   approximate random order.  In the event that IANA finds itself having
   received conflicting advice from its experts, it is the
   responsibility of the pool's chair to resolve the issue and provide
   IANA with clear instructions.

   Since the designated experts are appointed by the IESG, they may be
   removed by the IESG.

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3.3.  Designated Expert Reviews

   In the eight years since RFC 2434 was published and has been put to
   use, experience has led to the following observations:

      - A designated expert must respond in a timely fashion, normally
        within a week for simple requests to a few weeks for more
        complex ones.  Unreasonable delays can cause significant
        problems for those needing assignments, such as when products
        need code points to ship.  This is not to say that all reviews
        can be completed under a firm deadline, but they must be
        started, and the requester and IANA should have some
        transparency into the process if an answer cannot be given

      - If a designated expert does not respond to IANA's requests
        within a reasonable period of time, either with a response or
        with a reasonable explanation for the delay (e.g., some requests
        may be particularly complex), and if this is a recurring event,
        IANA must raise the issue with the IESG.  Because of the
        problems caused by delayed evaluations and assignments, the IESG
        should take appropriate actions to ensure that the expert
        understands and accepts his or her responsibilities, or appoint
        a new expert.

      - The designated expert is not required to personally bear the
        burden of evaluating and deciding all requests, but acts as a
        shepherd for the request, enlisting the help of others as
        appropriate.  In the case that a request is denied, and
        rejecting the request is likely to be controversial, the expert
        should have the support of other subject matter experts.  That
        is, the expert must be able to defend a decision to the
        community as a whole.

   In the case where a designated expert is used, but there are no
   specific documented criteria for performing an evaluation, the
   presumption should be that a code point should be granted, unless
   there is a compelling reason to the contrary.  Possible reasons to
   deny a request include:

      - scarcity of code points, where the finite remaining code points
        should be prudently managed, or when a request for a large
        number of code points is made, when a single code point is the

      - documentation is not of sufficient clarity to evaluate or ensure

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      - the code point is needed for a protocol extension, but the
        extension is not consistent with the documented (or generally
        understood) architecture of the base protocol being extended,
        and would be harmful to the protocol if widely deployed.  It is
        not the intent that "inconsistencies" refer to minor differences
        "of a personal preference nature".  Instead, they refer to
        significant differences such as inconsistencies with the
        underlying security model, implying a change to the semantics of
        an existing message type or operation, requiring unwarranted
        changes in deployed systems (compared with alternate ways of
        achieving a similar result), etc.

      - the extension would cause problems with existing deployed

      - the extension would conflict with one under active development
        by the IETF, and having both would harm rather than foster

4.  Creating a Registry

   Creating a registry involves describing the namespaces to be created,
   an initial set of assignments (if appropriate), and guidelines on how
   future assignments are to be made.

   Once a registry has been created, IANA records assignments that have
   been made.  The following labels describe the status of an individual
   (or range) of assignments:

      Private Use: Private use only (not assigned), as described in
            Section 4.1.

      Experimental: Available for experimental use as described in
            [EXPERIMENTATION].  IANA does not record specific
            assignments for any particular use.

      Unassigned: Unused and available for assignment via documented

      Reserved:  Not to be assigned.  Reserved values are held for
            special uses, such as to extend the namespace when it become
            exhausted.  Reserved values are not available for general

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4.1.  Well-Known IANA Policy Definitions

   The following are some defined policies, some of which are in use
   today.  These cover a range of typical policies that have been used
   to date to describe the procedure for assigning new values in a
   namespace.  It is not required that documents use these terms; the
   actual requirement is that the instructions to IANA are clear and
   unambiguous.  However, use of these terms is RECOMMENDED where
   possible, since their meaning is widely understood.

      Private Use - For private or local use only, with the type and
            purpose defined by the local site.  No attempt is made to
            prevent multiple sites from using the same value in
            different (and incompatible) ways.  There is no need for
            IANA to review such assignments (since IANA does not record
            them) and assignments are not generally useful for broad
            interoperability.  It is the responsibility of the sites
            making use of the Private Use range to ensure that no
            conflicts occur (within the intended scope of use).

            Examples: Site-specific options in DHCP [DHCP-IANA], Fibre
            Channel Port Type Registry [RFC4044], Exchange Types in the
            IKEv2 header [RFC4306].

      Experimental Use - Similar to private or local use only, with the
            purpose being to facilitate experimentation.  See
            [EXPERIMENTATION] for details.

            Example: Experimental Values in IPv4, IPv6, ICMPv4, ICMPv6,
            UDP, and TCP Headers [RFC4727].

      Hierarchical Allocation - Delegated managers can assign values
            provided they have been given control over that part of the
            namespace.  IANA controls the higher levels of the namespace
            according to one of the other policies.

            Examples: DNS names, Object Identifiers, IP addresses.

      First Come First Served - Assignments are made to anyone on a
            first come, first served basis.  There is no substantive
            review of the request, other than to ensure that it is
            well-formed and doesn't duplicate an existing assignment.
            However, requests must include a minimal amount of clerical
            information, such as a point of contact (including an email
            address) and a brief description of how the value will be
            used.  Additional information specific to the type of value
            requested may also need to be provided, as defined by the
            namespace.  For numbers, the exact value is generally

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            assigned by IANA; with names, specific text strings can
            usually be requested.

            Examples: SASL mechanism names [RFC4422], LDAP Protocol
            Mechanisms, and LDAP Syntax [RFC4520].

      Expert Review (or Designated Expert) - approval by a Designated
            Expert is required.  The required documentation and review
            criteria for use by the Designated Expert should be provided
            when defining the registry.  For example, see Sections 6 and
            7.2 in [RFC3748].

            Examples: EAP Method Types [RFC3748], HTTP Digest AKA
            algorithm versions [RFC4169], URI schemes [RFC4395], GEOPRIV
            Location Types [RFC4589].

      Specification Required - Values and their meanings must be
            documented in a permanent and readily available public
            specification, in sufficient detail so that interoperability
            between independent implementations is possible.  When used,
            Specification Required also implies use of a Designated
            Expert, who will review the public specification and
            evaluate whether it is sufficiently clear to allow
            interoperable implementations.  The intention behind
            "permanent and readily available" is that a document can
            reasonably be expected to be findable and retrievable long
            after IANA assignment of the requested value.  Publication
            of an RFC is an ideal means of achieving this requirement,
            but Specification Required is intended to also cover the
            case of a document published outside of the RFC path.  For
            RFC publication, the normal RFC review process is expected
            to provide the necessary review for interoperability, though
            the Designated Expert may be a particularly well-qualified
            person to perform such a review.

            Examples: Diffserv-aware TE Bandwidth Constraints Model
            Identifiers [RFC4124], TLS ClientCertificateType Identifiers
            [RFC4346], ROHC Profile Identifiers [RFC4995].

      RFC Required - RFC publication (either as an IETF submission or as
            an RFC Editor Independent submission [RFC3932]) suffices.
            Unless otherwise specified, any type of RFC is sufficient
            (e.g., Informational, Experimental, Standards Track, etc.).

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      IETF Review - (Formerly called "IETF Consensus" in
            [IANA-CONSIDERATIONS]) New values are assigned only through
            RFCs that have been shepherded through the IESG as AD-
            Sponsored or IETF WG Documents [RFC3932] [RFC3978].  The
            intention is that the document and proposed assignment will
            be reviewed by the IESG and appropriate IETF WGs (or
            experts, if suitable working groups no longer exist) to
            ensure that the proposed assignment will not negatively
            impact interoperability or otherwise extend IETF protocols
            in an inappropriate or damaging manner.

            To ensure adequate community review, such documents are
            shepherded through the IESG as AD-sponsored (or WG)
            documents with an IETF Last Call.

            Examples: IPSECKEY Algorithm Types [RFC4025],
            Accounting-Auth-Method AVP values in DIAMETER [RFC4005], TLS
            Handshake Hello Extensions [RFC4366].

      Standards Action - Values are assigned only for Standards Track
            RFCs approved by the IESG.

            Examples: BGP message types [RFC4271], Mobile Node
            Identifier option types [RFC4283], DCCP Packet Types

      IESG Approval - New assignments may be approved by the IESG.
            Although there is no requirement that the request be
            documented in an RFC, the IESG has discretion to request
            documents or other supporting materials on a case-by-case

            IESG Approval is not intended to be used often or as a
            "common case"; indeed, it has seldom been used in practice
            during the period RFC 2434 was in effect.  Rather, it is
            intended to be available in conjunction with other policies
            as a fall-back mechanism in the case where one of the other
            allowable approval mechanisms cannot be employed in a timely
            fashion or for some other compelling reason.  IESG Approval
            is not intended to circumvent the public review processes
            implied by other policies that could have been employed for
            a particular assignment.  IESG Approval would be
            appropriate, however, in cases where expediency is desired
            and there is strong consensus for making the assignment
            (e.g., WG consensus).

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            The following guidelines are suggested for any evaluation
            under IESG Approval:

            - The IESG can (and should) reject a request if another path
              for registration is available that is more appropriate and
              there is no compelling reason to use that path.

            - Before approving a request, the community should be
              consulted, via a "call for comments" that provides as much
              information as is reasonably possible about the request.

            Examples: IPv4 Multicast address assignments [RFC3171], IPv4
            IGMP Type and Code values [RFC3228], Mobile IPv6 Mobility
            Header Type and Option values [RFC3775].

   It should be noted that it often makes sense to partition a namespace
   into multiple categories, with assignments within each category
   handled differently.  For example, many protocols now partition
   namespaces into two (or even more) parts, where one range is reserved
   for Private or Experimental Use, while other ranges are reserved for
   globally unique assignments assigned following some review process.
   Dividing a namespace into ranges makes it possible to have different
   policies in place for different ranges.

   Examples:  LDAP [RFC4520], Pseudowire Edge to Edge Emulation (PWE3)

4.2.  What to Put in Documents That Create a Registry

   The previous sections presented some issues that should be considered
   in formulating a policy for assigning values in namespaces.  It is
   the working group and/or document author's job to formulate an
   appropriate policy and specify it in the appropriate document.  In
   almost all cases, having an explicit "IANA Considerations" section is
   appropriate.  The following and later sections define what is needed
   for the different types of IANA actions.

   Documents that create a new namespace (or modify the definition of an
   existing space) and that expect IANA to play a role in maintaining
   that space (e.g., serving as a repository for registered values) MUST
   provide clear instructions on details of the namespace.  In
   particular, instructions MUST include:

      1) The name of the registry (or sub-registry) being created and/or
         maintained.  The name will appear on the IANA web page and will
         be referred to in future documents that need to allocate a
         value from the new space.  The full name (and abbreviation, if
         appropriate) should be provided.  It is highly desirable that

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         the chosen name not be easily confusable with the name of
         another registry.  When creating a sub-registry, the registry
         that it is a part of should be clearly identified.  When
         referring to an already existing registry, providing a URL to
         precisely identify the registry is helpful.  All such URLs,
         however, will be removed from the RFC prior to final
         publication.  For example, documents could contain: [TO BE
         REMOVED: This registration should take place at the following

      2) What information must be provided as part of a request in order
         to assign a new value.  This information may include the need
         to document relevant security considerations, if any.

      3) The review process that will apply to all future requests for a
         value from the namespace.

         Note: When a Designated Expert is used, documents MUST NOT name
         the Designated Expert in the document itself; instead, the name
         should be relayed to the appropriate Area Director at the time
         the document is sent to the IESG for approval.

         If the request should also be reviewed on a specific public
         mailing list (such as the for media types),
         that mailing address should be specified.  Note, however, that
         when mailing lists are specified, the requirement for a
         Designated Expert MUST also be specified (see Section 3).

         If IANA is expected to make assignments without requiring an
         outside review, sufficient guidance MUST be provided so that
         the requests can be evaluated with minimal subjectivity.

      4) The size, format, and syntax of registry entries.  When
         creating a new name/number space, authors must describe any
         technical requirements on registry (and sub-registry) values
         (e.g., valid ranges for integers, length limitations on
         strings, etc.) as well as the exact format in which registry
         values should be displayed.  For number assignments, one should
         specify whether values are to be recorded in decimal,
         hexadecimal, or some other format.  For strings, the encoding
         format should be specified (e.g., ASCII, UTF8, etc.).  Authors
         should also clearly specify what fields to record in the

      5) Initial assignments and reservations.  Clear instructions
         should be provided to identify any initial assignments or
         registrations.  In addition, any ranges that are to be reserved

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         for "Private Use", "Reserved", "Unassigned", etc. should be
         clearly indicated.

   When specifying the process for making future assignments, it is
   quite acceptable to pick one (or more) of the example policies listed
   in Section 4.1 and refer to it by name.  Indeed, this is the
   preferred mechanism in those cases where the sample policies provide
   the desired level of review.  It is also acceptable to cite one of
   the above policies and include additional guidelines for what kind of
   considerations should be taken into account by the review process.
   For example, RADIUS [RFC3575] specifies the use of a Designated
   Expert, but includes specific additional criteria the Designated
   Expert should follow.

   For example, a document could say something like:

      This document defines a new DHCP option, entitled "FooBar" (see
      Section y), assigned a value of TBD1 from the DHCP Option space
      [to be removed upon publication:]

            Tag     Name            Length      Meaning
            ----    ----            ------      -------
            TBD1    FooBar          N           FooBar server

      The FooBar option also defines an 8-bit FooType field, for which
      IANA is to create and maintain a new sub-registry entitled
      "FooType values" under the FooBar option.  Initial values for the
      DHCP FooBar FooType registry are given below; future assignments
      are to be made through Expert Review [IANA-CONSIDERATIONS].
      Assignments consist of a DHCP FooBar FooType name and its
      associated value.

            Value    DHCP FooBar FooType Name        Definition
            ----     ------------------------        ----------
            0        Reserved
            1        Frobnitz                        See Section y.1
            2        NitzFrob                        See Section y.2
            3-254    Unassigned
            255      Reserved

      For examples of documents that provide detailed guidance to IANA
      on the issue of assigning numbers, consult [RFC2929], [RFC3575],
      [RFC3968], and [RFC4520].

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4.3.  Updating IANA Guidelines for Existing Registries

   Updating the registration process for an already existing (i.e.,
   previously created) namespace (whether created explicitly or
   implicitly) follows a process similar to that used when creating a
   new namespace.  That is, a document is produced that makes reference
   to the existing namespace and then provides detailed guidelines for
   handling assignments in each individual namespace.  Such documents
   are normally processed as Best Current Practices (BCPs)

   Example documents that updated the guidelines for managing (then)
   pre-existing registries include: [RFC2929], [RFC3228], and [RFC3575].

5.  Registering New Values in an Existing Registry

5.1.  What to Put in Documents When Registering Values

   Often, documents request an assignment from an already existing
   namespace (i.e., one created by a previously published RFC).  In such

      - Documents should clearly identify the namespace in which each
        value is to be registered.  If the registration goes into a
        sub-registry, the author should clearly describe where the
        assignment or registration should go.  It is helpful to use the
        exact namespace name as listed on the IANA web page (and
        defining RFC), and cite the RFC where the namespace is defined.

        Note 1: There is no need to mention what the assignment policy
        for new assignments is, as that should be clear from the

        Note 2: When referring to an existing registry, providing a URL
        to precisely identify the registry is helpful.  Such URLs,
        however, should usually be removed from the RFC prior to final
        publication, since IANA URLs are not guaranteed to be stable in
        the future.  In cases where it is important to include a URL in
        the document, IANA should concur on its inclusion.

        As an example, documents could contain: [TO BE REMOVED: This
        registration should take place at the following location:]

      - Each value requested should be given a unique reference.  When
        the value is numeric, use the notation: TBD1, TBD2, etc.
        Throughout the document where an actual IANA-assigned value
        should be filled in, use the "TBDx" notation.  This helps ensure

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        that the final RFC has the correct assigned values inserted in
        all of the relevant places where the value is expected to appear
        in the final document.  For values that are text strings, a
        specific name can be suggested.  IANA will normally assign the
        name, unless it conflicts with a name already in use.

      - Normally, the values to be used are chosen by IANA and documents
        should specify values of "TBD".  However, in some cases, a value
        may have been used for testing or in early implementations.  In
        such cases, it is acceptable to include text suggesting what
        specific value should be used (together with the reason for the
        choice).  For example, one might include the text "the value XXX
        is suggested as it is used in implementations".  However, it
        should be noted that suggested values are just that; IANA will
        attempt to assign them, but may find that impossible, if the
        proposed number has already been assigned for some other use.

        For some registries, IANA has a long-standing policy prohibiting
        assignment of names or codes on a vanity or organization name
        basis, e.g., codes are always assigned sequentially unless there
        is a strong reason for making an exception.  Nothing in this
        document is intended to change those policies or prevent their
        future application.

      - The IANA Considerations section should summarize all of the IANA
        actions, with pointers to the relevant sections elsewhere in the
        document as appropriate.  When multiple values are requested, it
        is generally helpful to include a summary table.  It is also
        helpful for this table to be in the same format as it should
        appear on the IANA web site.  For example:

            Value     Description          Reference
            --------  -------------------  ---------
            TBD1      Foobar               [RFCXXXX]

      Note: In cases where authors feel that including the full table is
      too verbose or repetitive, authors should still include the table,
      but may include a note asking that the table be removed prior to
      publication of the final RFC.

   As an example, the following text could be used to request assignment
   of a DHCPv6 option number:

      IANA has assigned an option code value of TBD1 to the DNS
      Recursive Name Server option and an option code value of TBD2 to
      the Domain Search List option from the DHCP option code space
      defined in Section 24.3 of RFC 3315.

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5.2.  Updating Registrations

   Registrations are a request to assign a new value, including the
   related information needed to evaluate and document the request.
   Even after a number has been assigned, some types of registrations
   contain additional information that may need to be updated over time.
   For example, MIME media types, character sets, and language tags,
   etc. typically include more information than just the registered
   value itself.  Example information can include point-of-contact
   information, security issues, pointers to updates, literature
   references, etc.  In such cases, the document defining the namespace
   must clearly state who is responsible for maintaining and updating a
   registration.  In different cases, it may be appropriate to specify
   one or more of the following:

      - Let the author update the registration, subject to the same
        constraints and review as with new registrations.

      - Allow some mechanism to attach comments to the registration, for
        cases where others have significant objections to claims in a
        registration, but the author does not agree to change the

      - Designate the IESG, a Designated Expert, or another entity as
        having the right to change the registrant associated with a
        registration and any requirements or conditions on doing so.
        This is mainly to get around the problem when a registrant
        cannot be reached in order to make necessary updates.

5.3.  Overriding Registration Procedures

   Since RFC 2434 was published, experience has shown that the
   documented IANA considerations for individual protocols do not always
   adequately cover the reality after the protocol is deployed.  For
   example, many older routing protocols do not have documented,
   detailed IANA considerations.  In addition, documented IANA
   considerations are sometimes found to be too stringent to allow even
   working group documents (for which there is strong consensus) to
   obtain code points from IANA in advance of actual RFC publication.
   In other cases, the documented procedures are unclear or neglected to
   cover all the cases.  In order to allow assignments in individual
   cases where there is strong IETF consensus that an allocation should
   go forward, but the documented procedures do not support such an
   assignment, the IESG is granted authority to approve assignments in
   such cases.  The intention is not to overrule properly documented
   procedures, or to obviate the need for protocols to properly document
   their IANA considerations.  Instead, the intention is to permit
   assignments in individual cases where it is obvious that the

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   assignment should just be made, but updating the IANA process just to
   assign a particular code point is viewed as too heavy a burden.

   In general, the IETF would like to see deficient IANA registration
   procedures for a namespace revised through the IETF standards
   process, but not at the cost of unreasonable delay for needed
   assignments.  If the IESG has had to take the action in this section,
   it is a strong indicator that the IANA registration procedures should
   be updated, possibly in parallel with ongoing protocol work.

6.  Miscellaneous Issues

6.1.  When There Are No IANA Actions

   Before an Internet-Draft can be published as an RFC, IANA needs to
   know what actions (if any) it needs to perform.  Experience has shown
   that it is not always immediately obvious whether a document has no
   IANA actions, without reviewing the document in some detail.  In
   order to make it clear to IANA that it has no actions to perform (and
   that the author has consciously made such a determination), such
   documents should include an IANA Considerations section that states:

      This document has no IANA actions.

   This statement, or an equivalent, must only be inserted after the WG
   or individual submitter has carefully verified it to be true.  Using
   such wording as a matter of "boilerplate" or without careful
   consideration can lead to incomplete or incorrect IANA actions being

   If a specification makes use of values from a namespace that is not
   managed by IANA, it may be useful to note this fact, e.g., with
   wording such as:

      The values of the Foobar parameter are assigned by the Barfoo
      registry on behalf of the Rabfoo Forum.  Therefore, this document
      has no IANA actions.

   In some cases, the absence of IANA-assigned values may be considered
   valuable information for future readers; in other cases, it may be
   considered of no value once the document has been approved, and may
   be removed before archival publication.  This choice should be made
   clear in the draft, for example, by including a sentence such as

      [RFC Editor: please remove this section prior to publication.]


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      [RFC Editor: please do not remove this section.]

6.2.  Namespaces Lacking Documented Guidance

   For all existing RFCs that either explicitly or implicitly rely on
   IANA to evaluate assignments without specifying a precise evaluation
   policy, IANA (in consultation with the IESG) will continue to decide
   what policy is appropriate.  Changes to existing policies can always
   be initiated through the normal IETF consensus process.

   All future RFCs that either explicitly or implicitly rely on IANA to
   register or otherwise manage namespace assignments MUST provide
   guidelines for managing the namespace.

6.3.  After-the-Fact Registrations

   Occasionally, IANA becomes aware that an unassigned value from a
   managed namespace is in use on the Internet or that an assigned value
   is being used for a different purpose than originally registered.
   IANA will not condone such misuse; i.e., procedures of the type
   described in this document MUST be applied to such cases.  In the
   absence of specifications to the contrary, values may only be
   reassigned for a different purpose with the consent of the original
   assignee (when possible) and with due consideration of the impact of
   such a reassignment.  In cases of likely controversy, consultation
   with the IESG is advised.

6.4.  Reclaiming Assigned Values

   Reclaiming previously assigned values for reuse is tricky, because
   doing so can lead to interoperability problems with deployed systems
   still using the assigned values.  Moreover, it can be extremely
   difficult to determine the extent of deployment of systems making use
   of a particular value.  However, in cases where the namespace is
   running out of unassigned values and additional ones are needed, it
   may be desirable to attempt to reclaim unused values.  When
   reclaiming unused values, the following (at a minimum) should be

      - Attempts should be made to contact the original party to which a
        value is assigned, to determine if the value was ever used, and
        if so, the extent of deployment.  (In some cases, products were
        never shipped or have long ceased being used.  In other cases,
        it may be known that a value was never actually used at all.)

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      - Reassignments should not normally be made without the
        concurrence of the original requester.  Reclamation under such
        conditions should only take place where there is strong evidence
        that a value is not widely used, and the need to reclaim the
        value outweighs the cost of a hostile reclamation.  In any case,
        IESG Approval is needed in this case.

      - It may be appropriate to write up the proposed action and
        solicit comments from relevant user communities.  In some cases,
        it may be appropriate to write an RFC that goes through a formal
        IETF process (including IETF Last Call) as was done when DHCP
        reclaimed some of its "Private Use" options [RFC3942].

7.  Appeals

   Appeals of registration decisions made by IANA can be made using the
   normal IETF appeals process as described in Section 6.5 of
   [IETF-PROCESS].  Specifically, appeals should be directed to the
   IESG, followed (if necessary) by an appeal to the IAB, etc.

8.  Mailing Lists

   All IETF mailing lists associated with evaluating or discussing
   assignment requests as described in this document are subject to
   whatever rules of conduct and methods of list management are
   currently defined by Best Current Practices or by IESG decision.

9.  Security Considerations

   Information that creates or updates a registration needs to be
   authenticated and authorized.  IANA updates registries according to
   instructions in published RFCs and from the IESG.  It also may accept
   clarifications from document authors, relevant WG chairs, Designated
   Experts, and mail list participants, too.

   Information concerning possible security vulnerabilities of a
   protocol may change over time.  Likewise, security vulnerabilities
   related to how an assigned number is used (e.g., if it identifies a
   protocol) may change as well.  As new vulnerabilities are discovered,
   information about such vulnerabilities may need to be attached to
   existing registrations, so that users are not misled as to the true
   security issues surrounding the use of a registered number.

   An analysis of security issues is generally required for all
   protocols that make use of parameters (data types, operation codes,
   keywords, etc.) used in IETF protocols or registered by IANA.  Such
   security considerations are usually included in the protocol document
   [RFC3552].  It is the responsibility of the IANA considerations

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   associated with a particular registry to specify what (if any)
   security considerations must be provided when assigning new values,
   and the process for reviewing such claims.

10.  Changes Relative to RFC 2434

   Changes include:

      - Major reordering of text to expand descriptions and to better
        group topics such as "updating registries" vs. "creating new
        registries", in order to make it easier for authors to find the
        text most applicable to their needs.

      - Numerous editorial changes to improve readability.

      - Changed the term "IETF Consensus" to "IETF Review" and added
        more clarifications.  History has shown that people see the
        words "IETF Consensus" (without consulting the actual
        definition) and are quick to make incorrect assumptions about
        what the term means in the context of IANA Considerations.

      - Added "RFC Required" to list of defined policies.

      - Much more explicit directions and examples of "what to put in

      - "Specification Required" now implies use of a Designated Expert
        to evaluate specs for sufficient clarity.

      - Significantly changed the wording in Section 3.  Main purpose is
        to make clear that Expert Reviewers are accountable to the
        community, and to provide some guidance for review criteria in
        the default case.

      - Changed wording to remove any special appeals path.  The normal
        RFC 2026 appeals path is used.

      - Added a section about reclaiming unused value.

      - Added a section on after-the-fact registrations.

      - Added a section indicating that mailing lists used to evaluate
        possible assignments (e.g., by a Designated Expert) are subject
        to normal IETF rules.

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11.  Acknowledgments

   This document has benefited from specific feedback from Jari Arkko,
   Marcelo Bagnulo Braun, Brian Carpenter, Michelle Cotton, Spencer
   Dawkins, Barbara Denny, Miguel Garcia, Paul Hoffman, Russ Housley,
   John Klensin, Allison Mankin, Blake Ramsdell, Mark Townsley, Magnus
   Westerlund, and Bert Wijnen.

   The original acknowledgments section in RFC 2434 was:

   Jon Postel and Joyce Reynolds provided a detailed explanation on what
   IANA needs in order to manage assignments efficiently, and patiently
   provided comments on multiple versions of this document.  Brian
   Carpenter provided helpful comments on earlier versions of the
   document.  One paragraph in the Security Considerations section was
   borrowed from [MIME-REG].

12.  References

12.1.  Normative References

   [KEYWORDS]            Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to
                         Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
                         March 1997.

12.2.  Informative References

   [ASSIGNED]            Reynolds, J., Ed., "Assigned Numbers: RFC 1700
                         is Replaced by an On-line Database", RFC 3232,
                         January 2002.

   [DHCP-OPTIONS]        Alexander, S. and R. Droms, "DHCP Options and
                         BOOTP Vendor Extensions", RFC 2132, March 1997.

   [DHCP-IANA]           Droms, R., "Procedures and IANA Guidelines for
                         Definition of New DHCP Options and Message
                         Types", BCP 43, RFC 2939, September 2000.

   [EXPERIMENTATION]     Narten, T., "Assigning Experimental and Testing
                         Numbers Considered Useful", BCP 82, RFC 3692,
                         January 2004.

   [IANA-CONSIDERATIONS] Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, "Guidelines for
                         Writing an IANA Considerations Section in
                         RFCs", BCP 26, RFC 2434, October 1998.

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RFC 5226          IANA Considerations Section in RFCs           May 2008

   [IANA-MOU]            Carpenter, B., Baker, F., and M. Roberts,
                         "Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the
                         Technical Work of the Internet Assigned Numbers
                         Authority", RFC 2860, June 2000.

   [IETF-PROCESS]        Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process --
                         Revision 3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   [IP]                  Postel, J., "Internet Protocol", STD 5, RFC
                         791, September 1981.

   [IPSEC]               Kent, S. and K. Seo, "Security Architecture for
                         the Internet Protocol", RFC 4301, December

   [MIME-REG]            Freed, N. and J. Klensin, "Media Type
                         Specifications and Registration Procedures",
                         BCP 13, RFC 4288, December 2005.

   [PROTOCOL-EXT]        Carpenter, B. and B. Aboba, "Design
                         Considerations for Protocol Extensions", Work
                         in Progress, December 2007.

   [RFC2929]             Eastlake 3rd, D., Brunner-Williams, E., and B.
                         Manning, "Domain Name System (DNS) IANA
                         Considerations", BCP 42, RFC 2929, September

   [RFC3171]             Albanna, Z., Almeroth, K., Meyer, D., and M.
                         Schipper, "IANA Guidelines for IPv4 Multicast
                         Address Assignments", BCP 51, RFC 3171, August

   [RFC3228]             Fenner, B., "IANA Considerations for IPv4
                         Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP)", BCP
                         57, RFC 3228, February 2002.

   [RFC3552]             Rescorla, E. and B. Korver, "Guidelines for
                         Writing RFC Text on Security Considerations",
                         BCP 72, RFC 3552, July 2003.

   [RFC3575]             Aboba, B., "IANA Considerations for RADIUS
                         (Remote Authentication Dial In User Service)",
                         RFC 3575, July 2003.

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RFC 5226          IANA Considerations Section in RFCs           May 2008

   [RFC3748]             Aboba, B., Blunk, L., Vollbrecht, J., Carlson,
                         J., and H. Levkowetz, Ed., "Extensible
                         Authentication Protocol (EAP)", RFC 3748, June

   [RFC3775]             Johnson, D., Perkins, C., and J. Arkko,
                         "Mobility Support in IPv6", RFC 3775, June

   [RFC3932]             Alvestrand, H., "The IESG and RFC Editor
                         Documents: Procedures", BCP 92, RFC 3932,
                         October 2004.

   [RFC3942]             Volz, B., "Reclassifying Dynamic Host
                         Configuration Protocol version 4 (DHCPv4)
                         Options", RFC 3942, November 2004.

   [RFC3968]             Camarillo, G., "The Internet Assigned Number
                         Authority (IANA) Header Field Parameter
                         Registry for the Session Initiation Protocol
                         (SIP)", BCP 98, RFC 3968, December 2004.

   [RFC3978]             Bradner, S., Ed., "IETF Rights in
                         Contributions", BCP 78, RFC 3978, March 2005.

   [RFC4005]             Calhoun, P., Zorn, G., Spence, D., and D.
                         Mitton, "Diameter Network Access Server
                         Application", RFC 4005, August 2005.

   [RFC4025]             Richardson, M., "A Method for Storing IPsec
                         Keying Material in DNS", RFC 4025, March 2005.

   [RFC4044]             McCloghrie, K., "Fibre Channel Management MIB",
                         RFC 4044, May 2005.

   [RFC4124]             Le Faucheur, F., Ed., "Protocol Extensions for
                         Support of Diffserv-aware MPLS Traffic
                         Engineering", RFC 4124, June 2005.

   [RFC4169]             Torvinen, V., Arkko, J., and M. Naslund,
                         "Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Digest
                         Authentication Using Authentication and Key
                         Agreement (AKA) Version-2", RFC 4169, November

   [RFC4271]             Rekhter, Y., Ed., Li, T., Ed., and S. Hares,
                         Ed., "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)", RFC
                         4271, January 2006.

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RFC 5226          IANA Considerations Section in RFCs           May 2008

   [RFC4283]             Patel, A., Leung, K., Khalil, M., Akhtar, H.,
                         and K. Chowdhury, "Mobile Node Identifier
                         Option for Mobile IPv6 (MIPv6)", RFC 4283,
                         November 2005.

   [RFC4306]             Kaufman, C., Ed., "Internet Key Exchange
                         (IKEv2) Protocol", RFC 4306, December 2005.

   [RFC4340]             Kohler, E., Handley, M., and S. Floyd,
                         "Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP)",
                         RFC 4340, March 2006.

   [RFC4346]             Dierks, T. and E. Rescorla, "The Transport
                         Layer Security (TLS) Protocol Version 1.1", RFC
                         4346, April 2006.

   [RFC4366]             Blake-Wilson, S., Nystrom, M., Hopwood, D.,
                         Mikkelsen, J., and T. Wright, "Transport Layer
                         Security (TLS) Extensions", RFC 4366, April

   [RFC4395]             Hansen, T., Hardie, T., and L. Masinter,
                         "Guidelines and Registration Procedures for New
                         URI Schemes", BCP 115, RFC 4395, February 2006.

   [RFC4422]             Melnikov, A., Ed., and K. Zeilenga, Ed.,
                         "Simple Authentication and Security Layer
                         (SASL)", RFC 4422, June 2006.

   [RFC4446]             Martini, L., "IANA Allocations for Pseudowire
                         Edge to Edge Emulation (PWE3)", BCP 116, RFC
                         4446, April 2006.

   [RFC4520]             Zeilenga, K., "Internet Assigned Numbers
                         Authority (IANA) Considerations for the
                         Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)",
                         BCP 64, RFC 4520, June 2006.

   [RFC4589]             Schulzrinne, H. and H. Tschofenig, "Location
                         Types Registry", RFC 4589, July 2006.

   [RFC4727]             Fenner, B., "Experimental Values In IPv4, IPv6,
                         ICMPv4, ICMPv6, UDP, and TCP Headers", RFC
                         4727, November 2006.

   [RFC4995]             Jonsson, L-E., Pelletier, G., and K. Sandlund,
                         "The RObust Header Compression (ROHC)
                         Framework", RFC 4995, July 2007.

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Authors' Addresses

   Thomas Narten
   IBM Corporation
   3039 Cornwallis Ave.
   PO Box 12195 - BRQA/502
   Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2195

   Phone: 919-254-7798

   Harald Tveit Alvestrand
   Beddingen 10
   Trondheim,   7014


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Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2008).

   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.

   This document and the information contained herein are provided on an

Intellectual Property

   The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any
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   this document or the extent to which any license under such rights
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   Copies of IPR disclosures made to the IETF Secretariat and any
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   The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any
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   this standard.  Please address the information to the IETF at

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