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ICANN Research and Analytics (Office of the CTO)

Led by V.P. Matt Larson, the overall goal of Research [and Analytics] is to provide trusted and verifiable information to the Internet community regarding the Internet's system of unique identifiers.

  • Engage actively with the DNS technology communities to identify issues that fall within ICANN's remit and will benefit from the focused attention our researchers can bring to bear on the issue
  • Facilitate or participate with these same communities in preparedness activities to protect against or mitigate threats to DNS ecosystem.
  • Perform studies or analyze data to better understand the health and well-being of the DNS ecosystem.

Matt Larson
Vice President of Research
OCTO Research

Root Zone KSK Rollover

ICANN is planning to perform a Root Zone Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) KSK rollover as required in the Root Zone KSK Operator DNSSEC Practice Statement [TXT, 99 KB].

Maintaining an up-to-date KSK is essential to ensuring DNSSEC-signed domain names continue to validate following the rollover. Failure to have the current root zone KSK will mean that DNSSEC-enabled validators will be unable to verify that DNS responses have not been tampered with and thus will return an error response to all DNSSEC-signed queries.

Up to date scheduling and informational resources are available at the Root Zone KSK Rollover web pages

Identifier Technology Health Indicators (ITHI)

Alain Durand is heading the ITHI project in the Office of the CTO. The scope of this ITHI initiative is all the Internet unique identifiers that ICANN helps coordinate, as outlined in the framework of the ICANN 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, Section 2.1 to "foster and coordinate a healthy, secure, stable, and resilient identifier ecosystem."

The goal of ITHI is to develop metrics to measure the health of the Internet's unique identifier system that ICANN helps coordinate. As soon as those metrics will be defined, ICANN will measure and track them over a substantive period of time to see the evolution of the "State of the Identifier Technology".

More information about the ITHI and current activities can be found on the ITHI web page.

Open Data Initiative (ODI)

Ed Lewis is conducting the initial ODI testing and data production.

ICANN has many data sets consisting of reported activity (per contractual agreements) and data generated by directly measured activity (such as meeting attendance). Much of this data can be useful to the community and even the general public, if it were known to exist, if it were in accessible formats, and if it were available in a timely manner. Some data is already publicly available but only in bulk format, some is published only in reports of activity, and some is not readily accessible today. The Open Data Initiative seeks to make as much data as possible available to the public so all can benefit.

Additional information about the Open Data Initiative and the Pilot to determine a vendor for the data management can be found at ODI Pilot.

Current Research Projects

The Research team is involved in several ongoing projects. These include:

  • Root server system traffic analysis
  • IPv6 compliance measurement tools
  • DNS software analysis around specific issues

Research Documents and Statistics

ICANN Research - IP6.ARPA DNSSEC Report


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."