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The Role of IANA & ICANN in Managing IP Addresses

Instructor: Ashutosh Juneja

Ashutosh has over 18 yrs of exp. in managing business & IT teams. He holds a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering and a Masters degree in Information Systems.

We'll talk about the roles of IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) and ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in managing domain names and IP addresses and also learn how they help in keeping the Internet stable and secure.

Role of IANA

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a non-profit organization responsible for coordinating the activities for the smooth functioning of the Internet. Since the internet is a global network, IANA undertakes the responsibility to allocate and maintain unique codes and numbering systems that are used in Internet protocols. IANA liaisons with Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Request for Comments (RFC) teams for working on Internet-connected systems. It is responsible for maintaining a collection of registries for coordination of IP addressing and Domain Name Service (DNS) root zones. IANA performs the three main functions:

Domain Name Services

DNS is a hierarchical database that links domain names with IP addresses. IANA administers the top-level hierarchy, the DNS root zone, for efficient transfer of data between computers. It operates '.int' top-level domain for international organizations and '.arpa' zone for Internal Protocols and root servers.

Number Resources

It coordinates the Internet Protocol addressing systems (IP), commonly known as IP Addresses, which are used for routing internet traffic. Another function is to allocate the Autonomous System (AS) numbers to Regional Internet Registries according to their needs and document the protocol assignments made by the IETF.

Protocol Assignments

The Protocol management function involves maintaining the codes and numbers used in Internet protocols. These services are done in collaboration with IETF.

Since 1997, this role has been performed by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Role of ICANN

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized non-profit corporation whose major role is to keep the Internet stable, secure and interoperable. It includes participants from different parts of the world who designs policies on the Internet's unique identifiers and its naming system. As a public-private partnership, ICANN now performs IANA functions under a contract from the United States' Department of Commerce.

Major activities performed by ICANN are:

  • To preserve the operational stability of the Internet.
  • To promote competition and develop policies for Internet's unique identifier and naming.
  • To achieve greater participation from global internet communities.
  • To develop policies and procedures and follow a consensus-driven approach.
  • To contract with registries and registrars (companies that sell domain names) for improving domain name system.

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