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Proposed Global Policy for Autonomous System Numbers

Open: 23 July 2010
Closed: 13 August 2010

Explanation/Background: On 22 July 2010, the Chair of the Address Supporting Organization Address Council (ASO AC) forwarded a Proposed Global Policy for Autonomous System Numbers, ASNs, for ratification by the ICANN Board. This policy proposal modifies the existing Global Policy for Autonomous System Numbers, ASNs, by extending the period during which the RIRs can operate two separate pools of numbers until 31 December 2010. An Autonomous System Number (ASN) is a number used to uniquely identify a network connected to more than one other network that also controls its own routing policy. The current policy supports the introduction of 32-bit ASNs with a timeline during which RIRs can operate distinct pools of 16-bit and 32-bit ASNs. That timeline ended on 31 December 2009 and requires ICANN to now treat all ASNs as coming from a single pool of numbers.

The reason for the proposal is that some equipment and software vendors have been slower to offer support for 32-bit ASNs than was originally anticipated by the addressing community. This may create a problem in case a new network needs a 16-bit ASN that the relevant RIR cannot assign as its pool of 16-bit ASNs is empty, nor can the RIR request more such ASNs from IANA as the RIR still has an ample supply of 32-bit ASNs. By extending the period during which RIRs can operate distinct pools of 16-bit and 32-bit ASNs, the RIRs will be able to make sure they have sufficient 16-bit ASNs to meet the needs within their regions while vendors complete their implementations of 32-bit ASN capabilities.

For the full text of the proposal, click here [PDF, 69 KB].

The development of Global Internet Number Resource Policies is the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding between the ASO/NRO and ICANN. There are also specific ICANN Board Review Procedures for handling global policy proposals in this context. In line with the procedures, ICANN is issuing a 21-day final call for public comments on the proposal, closing on 13 August 2010.

Staff member responsible: John Jeffrey, ICANN Secretary and Olof Nordling

Announcement | Comments | Summary/analysis of comments

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."