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Root Server System Root Scaling Study

Responding to a request from the ICANN Board, the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) and the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) have commissioned a study of the potential impact on the operation of the root server system of adding IPv6 address records, IDN top level names, other new TLDs, and new records to support DNS security to the root zone.

The Terms of Reference [PDF, 88K] for the study cover all aspects of root zone operation, including data production, compilation, and publication to the root servers (including anycast instances) and serving data from the root servers.

A study team of experts led by Lyman Chapin and including Patrik Fältström, Glenn Kowack, Jaap Akkerhuis, Bill Manning, and Lars-Johan Liman expects to complete its work by the end of August 2009.

Their goal is to construct a model of the root server system (including all of its provisioning and query components) that shows how the different parts are related, and how changing something in one part affects each of the other parts. The model will demonstrate the effect of changing the value of one or more variables (e.g., the rate at which new TLDs are added to the root, or the expected frequency of emergency key rollover events in a signed root) on each of the components of the root server system.

The study team intends to gather information from as many sources as possible in order to construct a complete and accurate model of the root server system. The public comment period will last from 28 May 2009 to 31 July 2009.


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."