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ICANN Root Server Cluster in Singapore Now Live

Increasing Asia Pacific root server capacity and bolstering the resiliency of the root server system

SINGAPORE – 8 October 2020 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced the successful activation of the ICANN Managed Root Server (IMRS) cluster in Singapore. This cluster, composed of dozens of servers with substantial Internet connectivity, will help to increase the root server capacity for the Asia Pacific region and bolster the resiliency of the entire Root Server System.

Adding an IMRS Cluster in Singapore

"The Singapore IMRS cluster will be our fourth cluster, in addition to two in North America and one in Europe," said David Conrad, ICANN SVP and Chief Technology Officer. "Our existing, smaller IMRS sites in the Asia Pacific region already receive twice as many queries as Europe, the next-busiest region. Adding an IMRS cluster in Singapore is both strategic and a good use of ICANN org resources."

As documented in the OCTO-008 paper, global Domain Name System (DNS) traffic increased by nearly 30 percent during the current COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The IMRS cluster in Singapore will enable more of the queries originating in Asia Pacific to be answered regardless of the behaviour of networks or servers in other regions. In the event of an attack resulting in significant additional traffic globally, the extra capacity provided by the Singapore cluster will absorb the traffic and help to mitigate the attack. Queries in the region can then continue to be answered, thus reducing the risk of downtime caused by an inability to query the top of the DNS name hierarchy.

Domain Name System queries and root servers

Root servers respond to initial DNS lookup requests made by DNS resolvers generally operated by Internet service providers. For all other queries, the root server will respond with either a referral to the appropriate top-level domain (TLD) name server or an error response (e.g. to indicate a non-existent TLD). For example, a query sent to a root server by a DNS resolver for "company.example" will elicit a response that directs the DNS resolver to query one of the name servers for the ".example" TLD.

The root name server system is comprised of over 1,000 instances operated by 12 independent organizations, including ICANN. Each root server is made up of a number of independent machines at multiple locations. The IMRS is made up of nearly 170 large and small sites across the world. The machines at the large sites are known as clusters, while the ones at small sites are known as instances.

ICANN's Asia Pacific regional office is located in Singapore, where the Internet infrastructure is highly developed and robust, making it well-suited to support an IMRS cluster. "We are very grateful to the Singapore government for its support in establishing the IMRS cluster," said Conrad.

For more information about the IMRS cluster in Singapore, please refer to David Conrad's blog.

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique, so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation and a community with participants from all over the world.


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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."