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Australia Gets Own Root Dns

by Kate Mackenzie

Australia will have its own top-level internet name server from next week, bringing it in line with New Zealand.

Sunday's launch is expected to improve the resilience of the internet address system, and could increase speed and reduce "lag" for Australian net users.

Each time an internet user views a web page, sends or receives an email, or does anything requiring an address such as australianit.com.au, the task can only be completed after checking information gleaned from one of the key computers known as root DNS (domain name) servers.

Each of the 13 servers is assigned a letter from A to M, and while some root servers are based in only one location, others such as the F-root server, are hosted simultaneously in several places around the world.

There are already 18 F-root servers around the world - including several in Asia and Europe and one in Auckland - but until now, each packet of internet data from Australia has found its destination with information gleaned from an offshore server.

One source said it was "embarrassing" that Australia did not have its own root server.

The Australian F-root server will be in Brisbane and could provide an increase in the speed with which Australian users obtain internet data.

But internet experts said it would mostly improve resiliency here of the DNS system.

A 2002 attack on several of the 13 root DNS servers raised worldwide fears about the vulnerability of the internet addressing system, a vulnerability expected to be reduced by distributing the DNS data over more locations. It is understood the local F-root server will be a joint project between internet exchange company PIPE Networks, web-hosting company WebCentral and the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre, which administers address space for the region.

APNIC would act as the agent for the Internet Systems Consortium, which runs the F-root.

PIPE Networks would provide a separate internet exchange to house the server and WebCentral its high-grade data centre facilities, both of which are prerequisites for an F-root server.

Until recently, most of the root DNS servers, which direct the world's internet traffic, were in the US, but last week, the number of non-US servers overtook the number based in the US, according to APNIC's European counterpart, RIPE CC.



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