May 20, 2023
IANA stands for Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. It is a department of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that manages the allocation of unique identifiers for Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, domain names, protocol port and parameter numbers, and other Internet-related resources.
IANA is responsible for managing the global coordination and allocation of various unique identifiers that are used on the Internet. These unique identifiers include IP addresses, domain names, and protocol port and parameter numbers. IANA plays a critical role in ensuring the stability and security of the Internet by maintaining the integrity of these identifiers.
The primary functions of IANA include:
- Managing the allocation of IP address space to Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), which are responsible for allocating IP address blocks to Internet service providers and other organizations within their regions.
- Managing the registration of top-level domain names (TLDs), which are the highest level of the domain name system (DNS).
- Assigning Internet protocol parameters such as protocol numbers, port numbers, and assignment of unique identifiers and parameters for Internet protocols.
- Serving as a repository for information on Internet standards and protocols, including the publication of Request for Comments (RFCs), which describe many of the Internet’s fundamental protocols and procedures.
IP Address Allocation
IANA manages the allocation of IP address space to Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). RIRs are responsible for allocating IP address blocks to Internet service providers (ISPs) and other organizations within their regions. There are currently five RIRs around the world: the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), the African Network Information Centre (AfriNIC), the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), and the Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC).
IANA allocates blocks of IP addresses to RIRs in accordance with the policies developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and approved by the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). IANA maintains the global registry of IP address allocations and tracks the status of each block of addresses.
Domain Name System (DNS) Management
The DNS is a hierarchical system for naming computers and other resources connected to the Internet. IANA plays a key role in the management of the DNS by overseeing the assignment and administration of top-level domain names (TLDs).
A TLD is the highest level of the domain name system and is the last part of a domain name, such as .com, .net, .org, or .edu. IANA is responsible for assigning and maintaining the root zone file, which is a database of all TLDs and their associated name servers.
IANA manages the assignment of new TLDs through a process that involves consultation with ICANN, the IETF, and other stakeholders in the Internet community. This process includes the evaluation of proposals for new TLDs, which must meet certain criteria for technical stability and operational integrity.
Protocol Parameter Management
IANA also manages the assignment of protocol parameters for various Internet protocols. These parameters include protocol numbers, port numbers, and other identifiers that are used to identify and distinguish different protocols and services on the Internet.
Protocol numbers are used to identify different network protocols that are used on the Internet, such as the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), and the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). Port numbers are used to identify different services that run on top of these protocols, such as email (SMTP), web browsing (HTTP), and file transfer (FTP).
IANA maintains a registry of all protocol parameters and assigns new values as needed. This registry is an important resource for developers and network administrators who need to ensure that their software and systems are compatible with the latest Internet standards and protocols.