Internet Assigned Numbers Authority

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority

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The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is an organization that oversees the allocation of globally unique identifiers on the Internet, including Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, Autonomous System Numbers (for routing), Domain Name System (DNS) root zone management, media types, and other Internet Protocol-related symbols and numbers.

It performs these functions under a contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce, and these services were transitioned to the global multistakeholder community as of October 1, 2016.

Some key functions of IANA include:

  1. IP address allocation: IANA coordinates the pool of available IP addresses and assigns blocks of these addresses to regional internet registries, which then allocate them to network providers and organizations in their respective regions.
  2. DNS root zone management: IANA maintains the DNS Root, the highest level of the domain name system structure, and manages the core DNS databases that map domain names to IP addresses.
  3. Protocol parameter assignment: Internet protocols often require the use of common parameters (for example, port numbers for TCP and UDP protocols). IANA assigns these parameters to ensure consistent use across the internet.
  4. Top-Level Domain (TLD) management: IANA approves the creation of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), and it keeps a record of these TLDs in the DNS root zone.

It’s important to note that while IANA provides these critical services, it does not control how IP addresses and other resources are used after they’ve been allocated, and it doesn’t have a direct role in creating or enforcing policies related to the use of these resources — that’s typically the job of other organizations, like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), regional internet registries, and individual country authorities.

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, IANA continues to play a crucial role in the functioning of the internet by maintaining the central repository for protocol name and number registries used in many Internet protocols.

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