IETF and OMA Architectures for Mobile Email

We attended the November joint meeting of the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) and the OMA (Open Mobile Alliance) on mobile messaging. While these two groups have rather different cultures, both are working to build an open standards approach to mobile messaging. The IETF people primarily focus on getting things right technically. The OMA has strong business concerns and a desire for timely and stable specification.

Both groups have (different) architectures for mobile email. The IETF applies its standard client/server architecture, and then works to fine-tune protocols. The OMA introduces a “Mobile Email Enabler” (MEE) that sits between the mobile device and the email server, and then seeks to select protocols for use between the mobile device and MEE.

Aligning models is important for the open standards world. Here's our take on what should be done:

  • The OMA should recognize that in some situations the IETF model is valid, and that mobile devices can talk directly to email servers.
  • The IETF should recognize the MEE as a useful approach and include it as an option in the architecture.

For more details, see Isode's white paper.

... Steve Kille

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