There is no real competition for the IETF's e-mail, routing, Web transport, network monitoring and security standards. So even though not all the 600-odd standards RFCs that I've reviewed and commented on during my tenure were earth-shattering, many of them concretely changed the way we all designed and built networks. And that tells me that regardless of anything else, the IETF has done some pretty good work.Don't try to say no to fellow Network World columnist\u00a0Johna Till Johnson. I ran into her at a party the other day and got to talking about the state of the world (the technical world, that is; the real world is too much of a downer for parties). I mentioned that, after 10 years, I was leaving the Internet Engineering Task Force's\u00a0Internet Engineering Steering Group.She said, in effect "So write about the IETF," while hinting that the IETF just might not be the place where future Internet standards would be coming from. I replied that I wanted to wait a while because I was still too close to be able to have a reasoned view. She would have none of that, and the result is this column.In early 1993 I was asked to join the IESG. Every two years since then I've been asked to continue until this year. The IESG is what passes for management in the IETF. The IESG tries to ensure that IETF documents are clear, problem-free and timely. How effective the IESG is at these tasks, and what tasks the IESG should be doing, is under review.Obviously, quite a bit has changed in the Internet world in the past 10 years. Most of what people think of when they think of the Internet - particularly the Web, ubiquitous e-mail (accompanied by ubiquitous spam) and search engines - were, at best, in their infancy in 1993. The number of people on the 'Net has grown from a handful of millions to more than a half billion. Since 1993, the IETF has published more than 2,000 requests for comments (RFC ), including more than 600 standards track documents. Being on the IESG, I read, or at least skimmed, most of these documents - which is a lot of technology that, at this point, blurs together all too well.Maybe to goad me, and maybe seriously, Johna hinted that she thought that time and technology were beginning to pass the IETF by. She could be right. Or she could just be yanking my chain. But one thing that's not open to debate is the fact that recently, at least, the IETF has had some very big wins. Here are some concrete examples:IP telephony.\u00a0SIP , the IETF's specification for IP telephony, has become universally accepted by vendors and users.MPLS. While deployment is far from universally accepted, there's no debate that MPLS represents a workable scheme for integrating traffic engineering and\u00a0QoS\u00a0capabilities as well as\u00a0VPN \u00a0support into the IP infrastructure that carriers require.A plethora of applications beginning to be widely deployed, including\u00a0iCal\u00a0(distributed calendaring), IPP (printing), Webdev (Web development) and\u00a0LDAP \u00a0(database access).To sum it up, there is no real competition for the IETF's e-mail, routing, Web transport, network monitoring and security standards. So even though not all the 600-odd standards RFCs that I've reviewed and commented on during my tenure were earth-shattering, many of them concretely changed the way we all designed and built networks. And that tells me that regardless of anything else, the IETF has done some pretty good work.Meanwhile, I will continue to be actively involved in the IETF, but now I will be able to pay attention to the things I want to rather than what I need to.Disclaimer: And I'll be more involved at Harvard, but that does not mean the university shares this evaluation.