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How it Works at ICANN54: A Tutorial Series on the Nuts and Bolts of the Internet for Non-Techies

Hiw tutorials blog 750x375 12oct15 en

Going to an ICANN meeting can be a daunting experience for even the most seasoned participant.  With so many topics that one can follow and engage in, it can be easy to forget (or not know!) about the underlying technology that makes the Internet work. At ICANN53 in Buenos Aires, ICANN piloted a series of tutorials that expose and fundamentally explain the technologies that impact many of the policy and business related discussions that take place during ICANN meetings. The results of the pilot were very positive and ICANN's Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) will continue this series of "How it Works" tutorials during ICANN54 in Dublin.

Geared for a non-technical audience, this series of tutorials will cover the following topics:

  • Internet Standards Setting
    An introduction to open standards development within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
  • Internet Networking
    A basic overview describing how Internet protocols allow for information to be passed across the Internet.
  • Domain Name Registry Protocols
    An introduction to the protocols commonly used when operating a top-level domain registry.
  • NEW! Root Server System
    An overview of the DNS Root Server System and its many components.

These 90-minute tutorials will be held both Sunday, 18 October and Monday, 19 October. Join us for these engaging discussions and find out how it works!


    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"""" is not an IDN."