"End-to-end communication is both an opportunity and a concern as it enables new applications but also exposes nodes in the internal networks to receipt of unwanted traffic from the Internet," read the proposal to the IESG (Internet Engineering Steering Group), which oversees the IETF.
IPv6 will bring other issues and opportunities as well, which the group would address. Most home networks typically have only a single subnet. But the ability to easily set up multiple subnets may be handy in that it would allow users to allow their guests a dedicated conduit for Internet access while keeping sensitive material on another, private, subnet.
Also, most network connections today are done through Ethernet at the data link layer of the seven-layer OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) stack. But as more low-powered sensor devices are commercialized, home networking equipment will have to work with non-Ethernet communication protocols these devices will use.
Ultimately, if the group is approved it plans to specify a set of existing protocols that vendors will use to ensure their equipment works together seamlessly in a home environment. The working group plans to establish common procedures for using IPv6, such as prefix configuration for routers, executing domain name resolutions, managing routing, service discovery and enabling network security.
Existing protocols should be sufficient to handle these cases, though they need some minor enhancements, such as additional options or default settings, Droms said.
One particular challenge to this work is the fact that the user base will not want to do a lot of manual configuration, so much of the interactions among routers and between the routers and end devices must take place automatically.
"All of this has to operate with as little administrative input as possible," Droms said. "It has to run itself."
The IESG will accept comments on the proposed working group through July 12.