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    * Internet Assigned Numbers Authority *


    (Wikipedia) - Internet Assigned Numbers Authority IANA Founded Founder Focus Location Owner Key people Website
    U.S. government
    Manage DNS root zones
    Elise Gerich

    The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a department of ICANN, a nonprofit private American corporation, which oversees global IP address allocation, autonomous system number allocation, root zone management in the Domain Name System (DNS), media types, and other Internet Protocol-related symbols and numbers.

    Prior to the establishment of ICANN primarily for this purpose in 1998, IANA was administered principally by Jon Postel at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) of the University of Southern California (USC) situated at Marina Del Rey (Los Angeles), under a contract USC/ISI had with the United States Department of Defense, until ICANN was created to assume the responsibility under a United States Department of Commerce contract.

    • 1 Responsibilities
      • 1.1 IP addresses
      • 1.2 Domain names
      • 1.3 Protocol parameters
      • 1.4 Time zone database
    • 2 Oversight
    • 3 History
    • 4 See also
    • 5 References
    • 6 External links


    IANA is broadly responsible for the allocation of globally unique names and numbers that are used in Internet protocols that are published as Request for Comments documents. These documents describe methods, behaviors, research, or innovations applicable to the working of the Internet and Internet-connected systems. IANA also maintains a close liaison with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and RFC Editorial team in fulfilling this function.

    In the case of the two major Internet namespaces, namely IP addresses and domain names, extra administrative policy and delegation to subordinate administrations is required because of the multi-layered distributed use of these resources.

    IP addresses

    IANA delegates allocations of IP address blocks to Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). Each RIR allocates addresses for a different area of the world. Collectively the RIRs have created the Number Resource Organization formed as a body to represent their collective interests and ensure that policy statements are coordinated globally.

    The RIRs divide their allocated address pools into smaller blocks and delegate them in their respective operating regions to Internet service providers and other organizations. Since the introduction of the CIDR system, IANA typically allocates address space in the size of /8 prefix blocks for IPv4 and /23 to /12 prefix blocks from the 2000::/3 IPv6 block to requesting regional registries as needed.

    Domain names

    IANA administers the data in the root nameservers, which form the top of the hierarchical DNS tree. This task involves liaising with top-level domain operators, the root nameserver operators, and ICANN''s policy making apparatus.

    ICANN also operates the .int registry for international treaty organizations, the .arpa zone for Internet infrastructure purposes, including reverse DNS service, and other critical zones such as root-servers.

    Protocol parameters

    IANA administers many parameters of IETF protocols. Examples include the names of Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) schemes and character encodings recommended for use on the Internet. This task is undertaken under the oversight of the Internet Architecture Board, and the agreement governing the work is published in RFC 2860.

    Time zone database

    The IANA time zone database holds the time zone differences and rules for the various regions of the world and allows this information to be mirrored and used by computers and other electronic devices to keep accurate track of time zones through the Internet.

    IANA took responsibility for the database on October 16, 2011, after the Astrolabe, Inc. v. Olson et al. lawsuit caused the shutdown of the ftp server which had previously been the primary home of the database.


    IANA is managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) under contract to the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) and pursuant to an agreement with the IETF. The Department of Commerce also provides an ongoing oversight function, whereby it verifies additions and changes made in the DNS root zone to ensure IANA complies with its policies. The IAB, on behalf of the IETF, has the ability to terminate its agreement for ICANN to perform IANA work with six months notice.

    On January 28, 2003 the Department of Commerce, via the Acquisition and Grants Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, issued a notice of intent to grant ICANN the IANA contract for three more years. It invited alternative offerors to submit in writing a detailed response on how they could meet the requirements themselves. Such responses were to be received no later than 10 days following publication of the invitation and the decision on whether to open the "tender" to competition was to remain solely within the discretion of the government.

    In August 2006, the U.S. Department of Commerce extended its IANA contract with ICANN by an additional five years, subject to annual renewals.

    Since ICANN is managing a worldwide resource, but being controlled by U.S. interests, a number of proposals have been brought forward to decouple the IANA function from ICANN.

    On March 14, 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community.


    IANA was established informally as a reference to various technical functions for the ARPANET, that Jon Postel and Joyce K. Reynolds performed at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and at the University of Southern California''s Information Sciences Institute.

    On March 26, 1972, Vint Cerf and Jon Postel at UCLA called for establishing a socket number catalog in RFC 322. Network administrators were asked to submit a note or place a phone call, "describing the function and socket numbers of network service programs at each HOST". This catalog was subsequently published as RFC 433 in December 1972. In it Postel first proposed a registry of assignments of port numbers to network services, calling himself the czar of socket numbers.

    The first reference to the name "IANA" in the RFC series is in RFC 1060, published in 1990 by Postel and Reynolds at USC-ISI, but the function, and the term, was well established long before that; RFC 1174 says that "Throughout its entire history, the Internet system has employed a central Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)...", and RFC 1060 lists a long series of earlier editions of itself, starting with RFC 349.

    In 1995, the National Science Foundation authorized Network Solutions to assess domain name registrants a $50 fee per year for the first two years, 30 percent of which was to be deposited in the Intellectual Infrastructure Fund (IIF), a fund to be used for the preservation and enhancement of the intellectual infrastructure of the Internet. There was widespread dissatisfaction with this concentration of power (and money) in one company, and people looked to IANA for a solution. Postel wrote up a draft on IANA and the creation of new top level domains. He was trying to institutionalize IANA. In retrospect, this would have been valuable, since he unexpectedly died about two years later.

    In January 1998, Postel was threatened by US Presidential science advisor Ira Magaziner with the statement "You''ll never work on the Internet again" after Postel collaborated with root server operators to test using a root server other than Network Solutions'' "A" root to act as the authority over the root zone. Demonstrating that control of the root was from the IANA rather than from Network Solutions would have clarified IANA''s authority to create new top-level domains as a step to resolving the DNS Wars, but he ended his effort after Magaziner''s threat, and died not long after.

    Jon Postel managed the IANA function from its inception on the ARPANET until his death in October 1998. By his almost 30 years of "selfless service", Postel created his de facto authority to manage key parts of the Internet infrastructure. After his death, Joyce K. Reynolds, who had worked with him for many years, managed the transition of the IANA function to ICANN.

    Starting in 1988, IANA was funded by the U.S. government under a contract between the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Information Sciences Institute. This contract expired in April 1997, but was extended to preserve IANA.

    • On December 24, 1998, USC entered into a transition agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ICANN, transferring the IANA project to ICANN, effective January 1, 1999, thus making IANA an operating unit of ICANN.
    • In June 1999, at its Oslo meeting, IETF signed an agreement with ICANN concerning the tasks that IANA would perform for the IETF; this is published as RFC 2860.
    • On February 8, 2000, the Department of Commerce entered into an agreement with ICANN for ICANN to perform the IANA functions.
    • In November 2003, Doug Barton was appointed IANA manager.
    • In 2005, David Conrad was appointed as IANA manager.
    • in 2010, Elise Gerich was appointed as IANA manager.

    Tags:ARPANET, American, Astrolabe, California, Department of Defense, Domain, ICANN, IPv4, Intellectual, Internet, Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, Internet Engineering Task Force, Los, Los Angeles, Oslo, Rey, Science, Southern California, UCLA, US, United States, University of California, Website, Wikipedia

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