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DNS Workshop and Registrar Outreach in India

23 April 2015
By Samiran GuptaSamiran Gupta

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India holds great promise to contribute to the next billion Internet users and also to Internet governance. Despite having more than 300 million Internet users, the country suffers from infrastructural and capacity constraints. However, there is growing interest to learn and improve and, therefore, any effort towards capacity building has a multiplier effect as well. Last week, Champika Wijayatunga, Howard Li and I had the opportunity to experience this multiplier effect first hand.

ICANN, in collaboration with Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers (IRINN), .IN ccTLD and National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) organised a DNS/DNSSEC workshop and a Registrar Outreach in Mumbai India from 16 -18 April. The three-day event was technically "over-booked", with participants signing up from across the country. Eventually, we had 34 registered participants while we asked others to join us later in the year when we visit their cities. The participants included members from Internet Service Providers, Government/Regulators, Registries, Registrars, and at least one Telco.

I kicked off the workshop with brief presentations on ICANN's multistakeholder model, the IANA Stewardship Transition and how policy-making at ICANN is impacted by stakeholder participation. Though this introduction to ICANN was meant to set the stage for the workshop, it piqued interests and I received enquiries through the course of the workshop. They included interest from several ISPs to host L-Root instances. We also received requests for DNS/DNSSEC workshops in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Champika led the workshop, covering content such as DNS Server configurations that included Root Servers, TLD Servers, Recursive Servers and Authoritative Servers; implementing DNS Security mechanisms such as Transaction Signatures (TSIG), DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC); various troubleshooting techniques and implementation of best current practices. Participants were able to work interactively during lab sessions and implement DNS infrastructure scenarios in a lab environment.

Meanwhile, Howard visited of one of the largest registrars/registries in Asia, Endurance International Group, as part of his registrar outreach. He was impressed with the registrar's emphasis on contractual compliance (CC) – there were three rooms full of CC staff to support over 100 ICANN registrar accreditations. They also have an International Internship Center, providing internships to participants from all over the world (we met interns from Brazil and Turkey) interested in learning about the domain name registration business. These best practices are worth sharing with other industry players.

The overwhelming response we received at the end of this three-day, hands-on DNS/DNSSEC workshop and the Registrar Outreach clearly indicated the need for more of such activities in other cities in India. There will also be opportunities to take the course to law enforcement agencies and to the armed forces as well.

Such trainings and workshops will help improve the understanding of how the DNS system works. This in turn will help build capacity and robustness of the local technical community. The need is clear and the results are bound to be satisfying.

And from my perspective, having colleagues visit India also helps to build up ICANN's profile. Just in the past two months, we've had our President and CEO, Fadi Chehadé, Kuek, Liana Teo, our APAC Communications head, Champika and Howard all visit India for the purpose of strengthening ICANN's engagement with stakeholders in India.

Champika Wijayatunga and Howard Li also contributed to this report. Samiran, Champika and Howard are all part of ICANN's APAC Hub team. Samiran is the Head of India, Champika Wijayatunga is the Regional SSR Engagement Manager and Howard Li is the Registrar Services Senior Manager.


Samiran Gupta

Head of India
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