Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are the unique identifying numbers that all computers and devices connected to the Internet depend on to communicate with each other. When the pool of available unallocated addresses for IPv4, the original IP addressing system, completely depleted this year, the Internet began a transition to IPv6, a newer Internet Protocol system. This highly readable guide, created in cooperation with ICANN's At-Large community, helps the individual user understand IP addresses and the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

Beginner's Guide to Domain NamesEdit

A domain name can become where other people find you on line, and adds to your online identity. Although domain names are a big part of the Internet, understanding how these names work (and the ins and outs of obtaining them) can be mystifying at first. This highly readable guide, created in cooperation with ICANN's At-Large community, helps the individual user understand and use domain names.

If your computer is assigned a private address, but you can still access services over the Internet, then your computer is probably behind a Network Address Translator (NAT), which lets lots of computers share a single unique IP address There are approximately 3.7 billion addresses available for ordinary Internet connections, and about 1.6 billion people used the Internet in 2009. So, very roughly, each user requires a little over two unique addresses IP addresses are actually just long strings of numbers, like 3221226037, but to make it easier for people to read them, we write them down in a special way. IPv4 addresses are written as a string of four numbers between 0 and 255, separated by dots. A typical IPv4 address looks like this:

WhAT I S I Pv4’S hI STORy?Edit

IPv4 has just over four billion unique IP addresses. It was developed in the early 1980s and served the global Internet community for more than three decades. But IPv4 is a finite space, and after years of rapid Internet expansion, its pool of available unallocated addresses has been fully allocated to Internet services providers (ISPs) and users.

Only 3.7 billion IPv4 addresses are usable by ordinary Internet access devices. The others are used for special protocols, like IP Multicasting. Almost three and a half billion addresses was enough for the experiment that the Internet started as in the 1980s, but it is not enough for a production network in today’s world, with its population of almost seven billion people

WhAT I S I Pv6’S hI STORy?Edit

Standardized in 1996, IPv6 was developed as the next-generation Internet Protocol. One of its main goals was to massively increase the number of IP addresses available. The first production allocations were made to ISPs and other network operators in 1999, and by June 2006, IPv6 was successful enough that important test networks shut down. They were no longer needed.

Over the past year, major content providers and access networks have started offering IPv6 services to ordinary Internet users. Because IPv6 is so much larger than IPv4, it should last us considerably longer than the 30 years IPv4 has given us so far. But just how large is IPv6?

IPv6 is significantly bigger than IPv4. Compared to IPv4’s 32-bit address space of four billion addresses, IPv6 has a 128-bit address space, which is 340 undecillion addresses. That’s not a number you hear every day! Using IPv6, ISPs generally assign many thousands of network segments, called a /64, to a single subscriber connection used in places such as a home, classroom, or business. Giving every person on Earth a connection with a /64 would barely dent the available IPv6 address space. In fact, while the Earth’s orbit around the Sun is only big enough to contain 3,262 Earths put side by side, it would take 21,587,961,064,546 Earths to use all the addresses in the part of the IPv6 space we now use.

New gTLD application period beginsEdit


The New gTLD application period opened as planned on January 12th. This step to allow organizations to apply for their own top level domain names comes after six years of policy development that involved multiple stakeholder input from the broad internet community.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington DC two days before the opening of the application period, ICANN president Rod Beckstrom referred to the new gTLD program as “the most significant opening in the history of the domain name system”. He also noted that during the six years leading up to the application period over 2,000 comments were received regarding the program and proposed guidelines which contributed to the current version of the Applicant Guidebook.

The gTLD program has drawn intense criticism from the corporate community over ongoing concerns of increasing costs to defend against trademark abuse. US corporations and organizations have been most outspoken in voicing these concerns, but not alone. A number of intergovernmental organizations have expressed concern about the cost of applying and perceptions about the increased opportunity for Internet fraud.

Following two US Government hearings in December ICANN was asked by the US Federal Trade Commission to “mitigate the risk of serious consumer injury and to improve the accuracy of Whois data” before approving any new gTLD applications. The written response from ICANN stated “ICANN’s multi-stakeholder community will continue to work on issues identified by the FTC and others to enhance the security and stability of the DNS.” and went on to describe the ongoing commitments to address the FTC’s concerns.

While the process has been contentious, estimates regarding the number of gTLDs has expanded significantly over the past year. With a few exceptions, potential applicants have been keeping their intentions private, but the range of 1,000 – 1,500 applications appears to be the range most often quoted. Melbourne IT has spoken with many organizations to assist them in the decision making process of whether to apply or not apply, and is assisting over 100 organizations with their applications.

“The new address structures will test which companies see the Internet as the main way to reach customers” is how Theo Hnarakis, Melbourne IT’s chief executive sees new gTLDs. Cybersquatting isn’t an issue for top level domains so the decision is all about the brand and improving customer interaction. Many of the possibilities that apply from a brand utilization standpoint aren’t possible within the current naming structure and will have to be developed. This will impact SEO and potentially even website architecture. A gTLD isn’t for everyone. Each company has to look at their brand and marketing efforts and decide what’s in their best strategic interest.

For organizations that haven’t finalized a decision whether to apply or not, there’s not a lot of time left. Applicants will need to register in ICANN’s top level domain application system (TAS) by March 29th to reserve their application slot. The gTLD application itself will need to be filed prior to April 12, 2012

Making IPv6 the NewEdit

A year ago today ICANN allocated the last five IPv4 address blocks to the five Regional Internet Registries in a ceremony with leaders from the Internet Architecture Board and the Internet Society. The use of the next generation of Internet addressing – IPv6 – has been steadily growing in that year and that's a good thing, because IPv6 is how the Internet will continue to serve as a platform for innovation and economic development.

IPv6 vastly increases the number of available Internet addresses. The architecture of IPv4 allowed for four billion Internet addresses. That's no longer sufficient on a planet of 7 billion humans, where many of those humans have multiple devices attached to the Internet. Every device connected to the Internet needs an IP address, whether it is a smartphone, mail server, laptop or web server. Almost 6,700 IPv6 networks were publicly routed on the Internet in January 2012, and more are expected in the months leading up to World IPv6 Launchon 6 June 2012. On that day, Internet service providers, web companies and home networking equipment manufacturers around the world are asked to permanently enable IPv6. ICANN Seeks Evaluators for the Support Applicant Review Panel (SARP) - Request for Expressions of Interest (EOI)

3 February 2012Edit

ICANN is seeking individuals to serve on the Support Applicant Review Panel (SARP), an important component of the New gTLD Applicant Support Program that seeks to serve the global public interest by ensuring worldwide accessibility to, and competition within, the New gTLD Program. Panelists will be responsible for evaluating and scoring applications for financial assistance.

As new gTLDs are ushering in the biggest change to the Internet in years, SARP volunteers will be on the front line of the effort to lessen the digital divide by expanding the Internet to less-developed parts of the world. They will be part of an exclusive group of individuals chosen for their background and experience in areas such as running a small business, operating in developing economies, analyzing business plans, serving in the public interest, managing a domain name registry service, or awarding grants. SARP volunteers will make a real and lasting contribution to ensuring that the opportunities for innovation and economic development created by the Internet are open to all.

The financial assistance component of the Applicant Support Program offers a limited number of qualifying applicants the opportunity to pay a reduced evaluation fee of USD 47,000 instead of the full evaluation fee of USD 185,000. SARP members will evaluate support applications against the established public interest, financial capabilities and financial need criteria outlined in the Financial Assistance Handbook [PDF, 710 KB] and as a group they will score each applicant. It is important to note that panelists will not weigh the relative merits of overall gTLD applications.

If you are interested in applying to be a SARP member, please review the criteria, time commitment and other expectations as detailed in the posted EOI [PDF, 172 KB].

Useful ReferencesEdit

• Applicant Support Program: • New gTLD Financial Assistance Handbook: [PDF, 710 KB] • Basic informational materials about the New gTLD program: • New gTLD Applicant Guidebook: [PDF, 3.79 MB] • About ICANN: prologue

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