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The Internet Ecosystem and Domain Name System (DNS)

(Internet Ecosystem - CENTR)

 - The Natural Evolution of the Internet Ecosystem

The Internet is the world's largest computer network. It is a global information infrastructure comprised of millions of computers organized into hundreds of thousands of smaller, local networks. The term "information superhighway" is sometimes used to describe the function that the Internet provides: an international, high-speed telecommunications network that offers open access to the general public.

The Internet Ecosystem is a network of organizations and communities, one that helps the Internet work and evolve. The Internet is successful and thriving because of shared values. The model relies on processes and products that are local, bottom-up, and accessible to users around the world.

The Internet ecosystem continues to grow dramatically in a fertile environment of user demand. Most of the growth stems from quality sensitive applications. The dominant Internet ecosystem species are content providers, access providers and transit providers. As in all ecosystems, the species of the Internet ecosystem are engaged in intense competition. In the midst of growth and change, the competition for resources is intensifying as well. 

Today, the Internet is still only in its infancy. Specialization rather than diversification will characterize its further development. As in other ecosystems, competition will bring about specialization because a highly specialized entity is more effective at competing with others. Natural evolution will force the various Internet species to stop doing things that others do better and concentrate on their core skills. Content providers on developing quality content. Access providers on providing easy access for users. Transit providers on carrying traffic effectively with flawless quality. This will benefit both Internet users and the entire Internet business


- The Internet Ecosystem and the DNS

The domain name system (DNS) is mostly known for associating names with IP addresses, as humans can more easily remember names than numbers. Also software and hardware on the Internet name things, including web browsers, e-mail applications, gaming consoles, or video streaming devices. The DNS is flexible and not linked to a device or location, i.e. a domain name stays the same even though the underlying IP address might change. The DNS has a lot of built-in redundancy to ensure reliability: if a server is not reachable, it can rely on multiple others that store the same data. 

For applications to work and/or communicate with each other via Internet protocols, domain names need to be translated into IP addresses. This process is set off by a query, i.e. when you want to send an e-mail or wish to access a website.


- The Operations of the DNS

There are many different parties involved in the operation of the DNS. The companies that run the top level domains are called registries. They maintain the database that contains all the information about their zone. That database is called the zone file. 

The companies that sell the domain names to website owners are the registrars. Typically they do not only sell domain names but provide a wide range of additional services such as hosting, internet access or website building. The organisation that is in charge of coordinating the global policies for the domain name system is called ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). 

The DNS is part of the technical layer of the Internet. Packets travel between connected devices over the infrastructure built by Internet Service Providers and according to protocols agreed upon by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Bureau (IAB). All of these packets receive an IP address managed by their Regional Internet Registry (RIR). The DNS adds a level of usability and security.



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