IAB Technical Comment on the Unique DNS Root (RFC2826)
Original Publication Date: 2000-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-13
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
This document discusses the existence of a globally unique public name space in the Internet called the DNS (Domain Name System). This name space is a hierarchical name space derived from a single, globally unique root. It is a technical constraint inherent in the design of the DNS. One root must be supported by a set of coordinated root servers administered by a unique naming authority. It is not technically feasible for there to be more than one root in the public DNS. This memo provides information for the Internet community.
Network Working Group Internet Architecture Board Request for Comments: 2826 May 2000 Category: Informational
IAB Technical Comment on the Unique DNS Root
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000). All Rights Reserved.
To remain a global network, the Internet requires the existence of a globally unique public name space. The DNS name space is a hierarchical name space derived from a single, globally unique root. This is a technical constraint inherent in the design of the DNS. Therefore it is not technically feasible for there to be more than one root in the public DNS. That one root must be supported by a set of coordinated root servers administered by a unique naming authority.
Put simply, deploying multiple public DNS roots would raise a very strong possibility that users of different ISPs who click on the same link on a web page could end up at different destinations, against the will of the web page designers.
This does not preclude private networks from operating their own private name spaces, but if they wish to make use of names uniquely defined for the global Internet, they have to fetch that information from the global DNS naming hierarchy, and in particular from the coordinated root servers of the global DNS naming hierarchy.
1. Detailed Explanation
There are several distinct reasons why the DNS requires a single root in order to operate properly.
1.1. Maintenance of a Common Symbol Set
Effective communications between two parties requires two essential preconditions:
IAB Informational [Page 1]
RFC 2826 IAB Technical Comment on the Unique DNS Root May 2000
- The existence of a common symbol set, and
- The existence of a common semantic interpretation of these symbols.
Failure to meet the first condition implies a failure to communicate at all, while failure to meet the second implies that the meaning of the communication is lost.
In the case of a public communications system this condition of a common symbol set with a common semantic interpretation must be further strengthened to that of a unique symbol set with a unique semantic interpretation. This condition of uniqueness allows any party to initiate a communication that can be received and understood by any other party. Such a condition rules out the ability to define a symbol within some bounded context. In such a case, once the communication moves out of the context of interpretation in which it was defined, the meaning of the symbol becomes lost.
Within public digital communications networks such as the Internet this requirement for a uniquely defined symbol set with a uniquely defined meaning exists at many levels, commencing with the binary encoding scheme, extending to packet headers and payload formats and the protocol that an application uses to interact. In each case a varia...