DNS security will top the agenda at the forthcoming meeting of standards body, the Internet Engineering Taskforce (IETF). The body, which meets twice a year will also discuss IPv6 adoption and net neutrality.

A panel discussion about securing the DNS will be held Tuesday, including speakers from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Architecture Board, the Internet Society, and VeriSign, which operates.

DNS security extensions known as DNSSEC will be discussed at this panel as well as at various IETF working groups' meetings. DNSSEC is an emerging standard that prevents spoofing attacks by letting websites verify their domain names and corresponding IP addresses using digital signatures and public-key encryption. So far, organisations have been slow to adopt DNSEC.

DNSSEC is being deployed across the Internet's root servers and large domains such as .org operated by Public Interest Registry and .gov operated by the U.S. federal government.

One of the hottest topics at the meeting will be "signing the DNSSEC root because it's going to happen in less than six months, and we need to do a lot of operational work (not protocol work) before then," said Paul Hoffman, founder of the VPN Consortium and a long-time IETF participant.

Another key issue is the anticipated depletion of IPv4 addresses in 2012 and the need to migrate Internet backbones and applications to the next-generation Internet Protocol known as IPv6.

The IETF's IPv6-related working groups are discussing such controversial topics as the need for carrier-grade network address translation (NAT) devices during the transition between IPv4 and IPv6 and threats caused by tunneling IPv6 traffic over IPv4.

One topic up for discussion is an IPv4-to-IPv6 transition mechanism called Dual Stack Lite that Comcast proposed to gradually migrate its customers to IPv6 without requiring them to upgrade their home computers, printers, gaming and other devices.

Also generating interest is the so-called 6lowpan working group, which is developing techniques for using IPv6 to connect low-powered, limited bandwidth devices such as sensors.

A lively discussion also is expected at the Internet Architecture Board's (IAB) plenary session about network neutrality on Thursday evening. Rather than debating the regulatory or policy implications of network neutrality, the IAB's discussion will surround the implications of network neutrality on Internet protocol design.

"The IAB has been putting a lot of work into preparing the network neutrality topic for the Thursday night technical plenary. It's such a hot topic. I'm sure it'll be an interesting session," says Leslie Daigle, chief Internet technology officer at the Internet Society.