The Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) was once a critical institution responsible for domain name registration and network information services. Created as a collaborative effort between Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) and the U.S. government, InterNIC paved the way for the standardized registration of domain names. However, its role has since been overtaken by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This article explores the history, functions, and transition from InterNIC to ICANN in the management of domain names.
Table of Contents
- What Was the Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC)?
- The Creation and Objectives of InterNIC
- How InterNIC Worked
- Transition to ICANN
- InterNIC vs. ICANN: A Comparative Analysis
- The Legacy of InterNIC
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Was the Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC)?
InterNIC was an initiative set up as a partnership between Network Solutions, Inc. and the U.S. government. Its primary role was to handle the registration of top-level domains (TLDs) like
.net, as well as to provide internet network information services.
Network Solutions was the agency responsible for coordinating the registration of domain names within the Domain Name System (DNS). Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) was responsible for registering and maintaining the top-level domains .com, .edu, .net, .gov, and .org. InterNIC itself is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
InterNIC acted as both a registry that maintains a database of top-level domain information and a registrar that provides name registration services and other value-added services.
2. The Creation and Objectives of InterNIC
InterNIC was established to create a centralized system for domain name registration. Before its formation, domain registrations were haphazard, and there was no standardized approach. InterNIC aimed to streamline this process, provide comprehensive network information services, and create a directory of registered domains.
3. How InterNIC Worked
InterNIC had a fairly straightforward operational model. Organizations or individuals interested in registering a domain would submit an application, along with the necessary fees. InterNIC would then process these applications, allocate the domain names, and maintain a database of all registered domains.
4. Transition to ICANN
In 1998, the U.S. government transitioned the responsibilities of domain name system (DNS) management from InterNIC to ICANN. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is an international non-profit organization that assumes many of the roles initially performed by InterNIC but with a broader, more international scope and a multi-stakeholder governance model.
5. InterNIC vs. ICANN: A Comparative Analysis
While both InterNIC and ICANN were formed with the purpose of domain name registration and management, their models and scope differ. InterNIC was a U.S.-based initiative in partnership with a private company, whereas ICANN is an international organization with a multi-stakeholder governance model. ICANN not only oversees domain name registration but also addresses broader internet governance issues, making it a more comprehensive body in comparison to InterNIC.
6. The Legacy of InterNIC
InterNIC played a crucial role in establishing the initial structures for domain name registration and DNS management. While its functions have been absorbed by ICANN, its impact in laying the groundwork for standardized domain registration cannot be understated.
7. Frequently Asked Questions
- Is InterNIC still operational?
No, its roles and responsibilities have been transitioned to ICANN.
- How did InterNIC differ from ICANN?
InterNIC was a U.S.-based initiative focused solely on domain registration, while ICANN has a broader, international scope and handles various internet governance issues.
- Why was the transition from InterNIC to ICANN necessary?
The transition aimed to internationalize and democratize the management of the internet’s infrastructure.