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Internet Assigned Numbers Authority

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority

(also IANA)

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority definition

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a department within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). It coordinates and oversees the global allocation of unique identifiers, like IP addresses, domain names, and protocol parameters. These functions are essential for the smooth operation of the internet’s underlying infrastructure.

IANA manages the root zone of the Domain Name System. It ensures that top-level domain names and IP addresses are assigned individually and don’t repeat. It also maintains a registry of protocol parameters (like port numbers and internet standards) ensuring consistent implementation across the internet.

IANA ensures consistent and standardized allocation of internet resources. It provides a centralized authority for critical internet functions, making it stable and reliable. Since it operates under a multi-stakeholder model, it’s open, inclusive, and trustworthy.

However, while it ensures consistency, having a centralized system could lead to potential vulnerabilities or control takeover. And the multi-stakeholder model, while inclusive, can sometimes result in slower decision-making processes and bureaucracy.

See also: IPv4, domain

Further reading

Ultimate digital security