[discuss] rootservers

Suzanne Woolf suzworldwide at gmail.com
Mon Feb 24 15:55:54 UTC 2014


On Feb 24, 2014, at 8:05 AM, Seun Ojedeji <seun.ojedeji at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello Elisabeth,
> Looking at my country NG(and Africa as a whole) with an eye on the number in US. I wonder whether to be jealous or concerned, i think the later is more like it. 
> It is my hope that the recent ICANN Africa strategy and its implementation will boost representation from Africa.
> On a lighter note, isn't this obvious proof that more effort and attention needs to be focused on Africa (developing nation)  ;)

No surprise but there are (at least) two dimensions here, technical (or operational) and political.

On the operational dimension…Several of the root nameserver operators I know, including ICANN (L-root), Netnod (I-root), and ISC (f-root) have worked extensively with a wide variety of partners to bring new root server instances to new locations. The key, as with so much infrastructure, often turns out to involve "leverage"-- there's no demand for a root server where there's no traffic and no users, but as the most basic activity starts to ramp up, demand begins to grow, and in turn improvements to the infrastructure like IXPs and root server instances can promote more internet activity and more demand. As the internet "works better," people use it more and rely on it more.

Many ccTLD operations organizations, the RIRs in Africa and Latin America, and groups like the Internet Society have encouraged deployment of such infrastructure as part of the cycle of promoting access by leveraging whatever access is in place to support demand for more. I'm a casual observer and not familiar with the specifics, but the cycle seems to be accelerating in Africa with growth in availability of fiber and other facilities. 

But it's also worth noting that root nameservers do not stand alone and are not, by themselves, particularly useful. Users have to be able to reach them, and there has to be content they want to get to. 

On the political dimension…As we've discussed here before, there's a belief in many places that having a root server in a particular geographical territory equates to some control over the contents of the root zone available within that territory, or some other measure of geographically-based autonomy and control over the use of the internet. By itself, a root server instance does no such thing; in specific ways it may increase the operational reliability of DNS resolution as part of internet infrastructure, but otherwise it makes very little sense to talk about root name servers separately from several other infrastructure components like availability of fiber and the business environment for access providers.


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