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Registries on the Internet

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

IP addresses on the Internet are distributed in a hierarchical way. At the top of the hierarchy is ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN is a nonprofit, international corporation that was formed in 1998 to take over global responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, Domain Name System (DNS) management, and root server system management functions. These services were previously performed under U.S. Government contract by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) and other entities. IANA is now a part of ICANN.

ICANN allocates blocks of IP addresses to regional Internet registries. The regional registries then further allocate blocks of IP addresses to local Internet registries within their geographic region. Finally, the local Internet registries assign addresses to end users.

There are currently three regional Internet registries that cover the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The Web sites are listed on the related entries page. These nonprofit organizations provide the following:

  • Registration services    Approves organizations to receive allocations of IP address space.

  • Routing registry    A registration service where network operators submit and retrieve router configuration information. The registry serves as a repository for routing policy system information and provides information about IP numbers database.

Refer to Internet RFC 2050 (Internet Registry IP Allocation Guidelines, November 1996) for a more complete description of the Internet registries. Also see RFC 2832 (NSI Registry Registrar Protocol, May 2000) and RFC 2870 (Root Name Server Operational Requirements, June 2000).

RFC 2901 (Guide to Administrative Procedures of the Internet Infrastructure, August 2000) describes the administrative procedures for networks seeking to connect to the global Internet. This includes the steps and operations necessary for address space allocation and registration, routing database registration, and domain name registration.

The IETF Provisioning Registry Protocol (provreg) Working Group is developing protocols related to Internet registries. The provreg Web site is

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
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