dns Engineer engineering ipv6

UKNOF29 live day 2

UKNOF29 live day 2 – as it happens straight to your connected device wherever you are.

Welcome back to a beautiful late summer’s day in Belfast. Or is it early autumn? Anyway it’s a nice one and we have another great day in prospect. UKNOF live day 2 action is again brought to you from inside the Presbyterian Assembly rooms in downtown Belfast.

Today we have UKNOF in the morning with DNS action followed by a feast of IPv6. After lunch the ION conference kicks in. Stay with us for all the action throughout the day.

Don’t forget you can also follow the action on Twitter at #UKNOF29 and watch the live webcast on the UKNOF website.

btw if you missed UKNOF29 day 1 you can catch up here.

broadband dns Engineer engineering internet ipv6 media Net peering

Experiences of Launching a Broadband IXP in North America #peeringweek @LINX_Network

LINX Head of Marketing and Business Development Ben Hedges shares his experiences launching a broadband IXP in a Peering Week guest post.

The opportunity to co-host the 24th Euro-IX forum in the UK has come along at what is a very exciting time for LINX. It’s our 20th year and this event comes shortly after us opening two brand new IXPs; IXScotland in Edinburgh and LINX NoVA in North Virginia, USA.

With LINX NoVA being our first overseas exchange there has been a lot of attention worldwide for what we’ve been building in the States. In this blog I will look to explain the background as to why we’re doing what we’re doing and why we believe this is an important development for LINX and its members plus the peering industry as a whole.

datacentre dns Engineer internet servers

Diagnosing very slow website loading problem

downtime_graph_smallBeen having intermittent problems with since moving the site to a new virtual platform at Christmas. It’s all sorted now. Thanks to the lads at the Timico Datacentre.

I asked Ian Christian to describe the issue and how it was resolved:

Well… explaining it is a little hard…. The key to figuring it out was this:

At the bottom of every page it shows when the page was generated, and how long it took. I suspect in wordpress somewhere it might have told you this too – but I’m not sure.

What we were seeing was

Business dns internet

Nominet Non-Exec elections & trouble at mill

cookies_thumbEmail from Nominet today concerning their forthcoming AGM & non-exec elections. Nice little earner if the £30k mentioned by one of the candidates in his Election Statement is right. You do have to put in 26 days a year though which is not an insignificant amount of time to be out of your own business.

I was prompted to look at the candidates because Nominet took the step of recommending two Non-Execs out of the four that have applied (for two slots). Guaranteed to make you dig deeper. I don’t bother voting at this type of election as I have no strong views on any of the candidates – let others have their say. The exception was for Seb Lahtinen who I seconded a year or two ago.

When you read the Election Statements you begin to realise why Nominet has specifically backed the two existing Non-Execs standing for re-election. One of the others is being sued by Nominet and CEO Lesley Cowley. Trouble at mill or what?

I’m not getting involved but read the statements here.

PS thumbnail pic is cookies – domain names/websites/cookies – geddit?

dns Engineer

Did you get your gTLD application in? Lots of duplicates and some aggression

The list of new generic Top Level domains applied for has been published. 1930 of them all together including Chinese, Arabic etc. It makes for interesting reading. There are quite a few duplicate submissions including 13 applications for .APP and 11 .ARTs. I didn’t get past the “A”s before giving up on listing them.

Having said that there are even 9 applications for .BLOG. Huh! Not sure if I like the idea of though I suppose it could be I did also note that there seem to be duplicates amongst the Chinese names.

Amazon has applied for 76 gTLDs. Wow. Google seems to have applied for 101 (via Charleston Road Registry Inc. which seems to have Google written all over it)!! These include all the obvious ones such as .YOUTUBE, GOOGLE, GMAIL. HANGOUT but also .MOV which will raise an eyebrow or two. .mov is an extension used by QuickTime the media player developed by Apple Inc. As far as I can see Apple seems to have only applied  for .APPLE. Are the digital wars about to move into gTLDs?

There are some interesting names in the list Bentley, Buggatti, Ferrari, Jeep (it’s in there – I’m not saying its in the same league as the first three but it’s my car :)). The BBC is also in there as is only right and proper.

This does make me wonder whether companies are going to continue registering their business domain with all the different extensions. It’s going to get expensive and out of control.

You need to read the list yourselves to fully digest it. There is presumably a mechanism for deciding who gets the name where more than one organisation has applied for it. This is going to be an interesting one to watch.

More I’m sure in due course…

dns Engineer internet

Still time to apply for your generic Top-Level Domain – dot llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch

Many of us own a domain name. I have a few –, plus all the kids own name domains. Not many of us own a generic Top-Level domain though. In fact gTLDs (.com, .org, .uk etc) are typically managed by not for profit national infrastructure players such as Nominet although there are some in private hands.

In June 2011 ICANN announced that they would be looking to stimulate innovation on the internet by making it easier for you to own your own gTLD. You could have non latin script versions – for example Cyrillic, Chinese or Arabic. There was a rush of applicants, $185k payment in hand. Unfortunately the ICANN registration system had a bug in it and they were unable to complete the registration process on the originally planned date of 12th April. The system was therefore frozen whilst the engineers looked for their magic wands.

Looks like they fixed the bug on Monday and the system started working again. You have until midnight on 30th May (presumably Californ-eye-a time) to get registered. When the system went down they had 1,268 registrations. That’s a lot of new gTLDs. They won’t all end up as production entities but we are clearly going to see many new domains hit our screens.

We can’t see the actual domains applied for yet – they won’t release that info until the end of the registration process.  Most major cities will have one – London, Berlin, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch et al and I understand that Nominet has applied to have .cymru and .wales. I quite like the idea of having [email protected] but I expect there will be a few other Davies’ interested as well:)

I’ll write a post in Welsh when the .cymru domain comes out –  those of you not fortunate to have been brought up in God’s country can read it using Google translate.

More on the new gTLDs here.

PS don’t think it stops at $185k. You will need a few million to do it properly.

PPS They would have a lot of fun with .llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch – think of all the spelling mistakes/repeat attempts to get it right 🙂

Business dns internet peering

Nominet non-executive board elections – vote Seb Lahtinen

Seb Lahtinen is very active in the UK internet scene andSebastien Lahtinen is standing for re-election as a non-executive director of Nominet amongst other things runs the LONAP peering exchange used by many of the country’s ISPs and hosting companies.

Seb is also a pal and is standing for re-election as non-executive director of Nominet, the UK’s Tier 1 registry for .uk domain names and safe pair of hands for what is one of our critical strategic infrastructures.

He is a serious minded individual and I’m sure makes an impactful contribution to Nominet’s board. I have already voted for him and thought I’d help out but giving him some airtime. I asked him three questions:


Vint Cerf photocall #nominetpf

I am an unashamed fan of Vint Cerf, inventor of the internet and Chief Internet EvangelistVint Cerf with Trefor Davies at the Nominet Internet Policy Forum of Google.  Imagine my surprise when he came up to me at the Nominet Internet Policy Forum and asked if I minded being photographed with him!

Of course I was more than happy to oblige though the photographer was so excited he couldn’t stop shaking.:)

I am of course only joking. There are some times in life when you have to abandon any shyness, walk up to a man and ask him if you can have your photo taken with him. Vint must be used to this and we had a nice chat about SIP – Henry Sinnreich and Alan Jonston are friends of mine and used to work for Vint at MCI – look ’em up.

That’s all.

Business dns

Global domain name growth hit 9.5% in 2011 #Nominet

The global number of domain names under registration grew by 9.5% in 2011, up from 6.1% in 2010. The total now stands at 218 million domains registered. I have a few of them – perhaps 7 or 8 I’m not sure.  The growth trend might sound interesting but the rate peaked at over 30% in 2006 and for most of the ten years running up to 2011 was higher than the growth in that year. I got all this from the Nominet website.

It doesn’t take a great stretch of the imagination to envisage a situation where one day everyone on the planet has their own domain name. Every person in my family does. Your domain will be the basis of your own unique resource and identifier and used for many things. A bit like a “super” National Insurance number. The fact that John Smith is likely already taken is a bit of a shame if you are he but that is already something you have had to live with for most of your life. In the future we might even find couples searching for available domain names before choosing a name for their baby! 🙂

If we assume a steady rate of growth of 10% a year then it will take 28 years for the total number of domains to reach 8.14 billion. According to the United Nations the world population in 2011 was around 7 billion1. I don’t know what it will be by 2040 but probably higher than my 8.14 Billion (assuming we don’t all blow each other up in the meantime) and it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this chat.

I guess what I am saying is that whether you agree with me or not re everyone having their own domain name there is still a long way to go with project internet. This is reinforced when  you consider the capacity for expansion of the physical infrastructure presented by IPv6. I am also sure that thus far we have only scratched the surface of what can be done with domain names. We also have to recognise that many people and organisations own multiple suffix variants of the same domain so for everyone to have one we need to have far more than the 8.14 Billion registered.

As well as the Nominet website it is also worth checking out for data on domain history and growth.

1 wouldn’t stay still long enough for anyone to count

dns internet

Domain disputes and cybersquatting

An invitation arrived yesterday to attend a Nominet briefing on dispute resolution for domain name registrars. It’s a breakfast job in London so I probably won’t go. With the invite came an interesting stat – one in every 3,000 .uk domains is subject to a dispute of some sort!

Considering that Nominet manages knocking on 10 million domains that’s a lorra (my wife’s from Liverpool) disputes. I imagine quite a number of these disputes relate to cybersquatters1 . I recently had occasion to look at some domains names to buy. There are a lot of domains out there that are owned but not used or simply point to sites that make money out of click through advertising.

These days the problem of finding a suitable domain is exacerbated by the fact that you also need to secure the corresponding Twitter name. I think it’s about time we started from scratch and changed the whole system. Bags I 🙂

1 if you don’t know look it up.

Business dns internet scams security surveillance & privacy

Nominet – judge and jury of the world wide web?

We, the world, are still finding our feet on the internet, or more accurately the world wide web. The www is a great place to be and at the same time full of pitfalls and nasties. Much like real, physical life really. I taught my kids not to take sweeties from strangers – that applies on or offline.  In recent years I’ve added “don’t click on links you aren’t sure of” and probably a few other words of advice specific to tinterweb.

That’s a piece of wisdom relating to the www that had he but known it shows Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in action. Survival of the fittest and all that.

It isn’t just the consumer that is still trying to understand the landscape of the www. Government is, business is, as I said we all are.

The good folks at .uk registry Nominet are also trying to understand where they fit into all this. Nominet has come under scrutiny in recent years over its corporate governance.

dns Engineer online safety security servers

Telegraph Register and UPS DNS servers hacked

The Register DNS hackedIf you have been trying to access the telegraph online or TheRegister tonight you might come in for a bit of a surprise as the sites look as if they have been hacked.  More specifically it looks like some  Domain Name Servers have been hacked, diverting traffic to other pages.  Many people will not notice.

Click on the header to see more of what the Register site currently looks like. At this point in time the hack is less than 30 minutes old so I don’t have any more info but if I get a chance I’ll update the post as news comes in. Or just Google it. I saw it first on Twitter.

Business dns internet Regs surveillance & privacy

Where is the evidence? Thoughts after the @Nominet .uk Policy Forum #DEAPPG #DEACT

David Lowe of Intellectual Property Office - regulations must be evidence based

I sometimes get the feeling that we are seeing a modern day version of continental drift in action. In our case the move is inexorably into a virtual world that is called the web. It is happening at light speed – not centimetres a year as we are used to the with rocks out houses are built on.

The new world order is bringing about changes, uncomfortable for some and worrying for others. It was to provide a platform to discuss these changes that .UK registrar  Nominet organised its first .UK Policy Forum in London yesterday. In a day where many subject were discussed it is difficult to pull out the key messages but some stick in my mind.

Internet minister Ed Vaizey who, due to commitments overseas,  appeared in a pre-recorded video in which he emphasized that the government’s approach was one of light touch and the encouragement of self regulation.

Self-regulation in such a fast moving world as ours is often the only way to work. Governments still base their schedules using the old centimetres model. The internet industry is largely self regulating. Competition and common sense morals do most of the work for us.

That isn’t to say this is always going to work but

Business Cloud dns internet

Amazed by the Queues for Social Media Talks at Internet World #iw_expo,Nominet

queues at Internet World yesterday

I went along to Internet World at Earl’s Court yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find out how useful an afternoon it was. I saw something that I had never seen before and that was people queuing around the block to hear the seminars.

These were largely internet marketing and social media related. The only seminar I saw that was practically empty related to “the cloud”. Nobody at this show was interested in the nuts and bolts clearly although there was a good spread of exhibitors across a wide range of internet technology areas.

I find it difficult to get excited at all the trendy social media stuff that is going on.  For me it is more about the obvious and intuitive rather than the science.

For example I get very disappointed when I look at the list of my new followers on Twitter. 3 times out of 4 they are accounts trying to sell me something. They never seem to have interesting tweets and don’t get followed back. In a few days they have unfollowed me (in a  huff!) and moved on.

Now people claim to make a living out of imparting this kind of information but at the end of the day after a few short hours of playing with Twitter it is blindingly obvious.

There were a number of exhibitors selling Virtual Servers and Storage.  This is going to be a very interesting area of development. Vendors are going to have to be careful that they get their strategy/pitch right particularly in the wake of the Amazon EC2 outage. Demonstrable quality is going to be a big selling point.

Photos are: header – queues outside one of the social media seminars, me at the Nominet booth and an overhead shot of some of the exhibits (fwiw). Click on any of them for a bigger shot. Definately worth a visit I thought though they need to invent parking sensors for mobile phones – so many people wandering around immersed in their iPhone/Android/BlackBerry etc.

PS it was nice to meet with Twitter friend @markmapes in the flesh. His American accent took me completely by surprise though with hindsight it shouldn’t have done:)

Business dns Regs scams security

Nominet and the pseudo-judicial roles of ISPs

I met with the Police Central eCrime Unit last year as part on an ISPA group that wanted to understand the issues that police have in fighting internet related crime and to see whether there is anything that we could do to help.

The police’s biggest problem is the speed that things can happen at over the internet versus the amount of time it takes the judicial system to crank their mechanical organisational cogs. PCEU staff can, for example, be following a suspect criminal, either physically or electronically, and sometimes have very little time to pounce. A gang might be planning a fraud using online resources – facebook pages, gmail, skype etc. Access via a service provider to look at these resources takes a court order (RIPA) which takes time to organise and by the time it has been effected the crooks are often long gone.

If the police did not require judicial consent to access these data then the whole process could be speeded up and more criminals prevented from harming us. The problem is that even if it was clear to everyone concerned that providing the police with what they ask for was the right thing to do the act of doing so puts the ISP in breach of data protection laws. If the suspect criminal happens to be innocent (or otherwise) this potentially leaves the ISP open to legal action. We can’t have ISPs being asked to perform the role of the judiciary because they don’t have the same legal protection or training.

Now enter Nominet stage right. I have coincidentally just written about Nominet after attending the .uk registrar’s recent 25th birthday party. Nominet is proposing to change its

dns Engineer internet

the internet – think global act local – a brief Nominet history of uk domains

This is an extract from Nominet CEO Lesley Cowley’s speech at last week’s Nominet 25th Birthday party. She very graciously sent be a copy at my request because it contained some really interesting snippets worth sharing – so here goes:

25 years ago, the first .uk domain names were registered by a few individual internet pioneers. There are some interesting facts about the early days of the UK Internet:

  • the first domains were not in the format we currently recognise – they were in reverse order with the uk on the left, not the right.
  • Also, for a brief spell, some of the first domains were registered directly at the second level – such as, &
  • and, for another brief period, registrations could be made under .gb as well as .uk, before .gb was closed to new registrations. Threads about whether .uk should actually have been .gb continue to this day!

As things became consolidated uniformity crept in and the .uk domains as we now know them came into being.

dns Engineer

Nominet 25th birthday party

Baroness Rennie Fritchie and Nominet CEO Lesley Cowlie cut Nominet's 25th Birthday Cake

Nice party at Somerset House last night to celebrate Nominet’s 25th birthday. The header picture is of Nominet Chairperson Baroness Rennie Fritchie and CEO Lesley Cowley cutting the birthday Birthday Cake. Sorry it is a bit dark. It’s my phone’s fault.

The Nominet story is an interesting one as it maps the short history of the internet and I will cover this in more depth at a later date. What did stand out for me though, amid the good fun and champagne, was the absolute national importance of Nominet as part of the UKs critical infrastructure. It isn’t exaggerating to say that the .uk suffix is vital to the UK economy.

Nominet is a not for profit organisation but does generate lots of cash which it appears to be able to spend sensibly. The Nominet Trust is one beneficiary as are online educational initiatives such as The usefulness of the latter is going to depend on how ubiquitous the brand becomes and the willingness of other sites to promote it. The site includes a threat test that helps teach you about the dangers out there for internet users.

The Nominet Trust is UK registered charity founded to provide support to organisations and projects working to increase access to the internet, online safety and education and is funded by the registrar.

The birthday cake, by the way was delicious:)

Business dns

25 years of

This year is the 25th anniversary of the domain suffix. It was announced when I was away on my summer holidays and I missed it. I presume that many of you will also have not seen the announcement.

This old news was given to me by Lesley Cowley, CEO of .uk registry Nominet. The really really disappointing thing is that nobody seems to know the name of the first ever domain name. It would be just nice to know.

Apparently everything was done on bits of paper in those days and each application put in front of a committee. Also you were only allowed to own one domain name! Lesley tells me that here are still a couple of people around from those days so hopefully she will be able to dig into their collected memories. It seems only right that we should know this bit of our national internet history.

dns Engineer internet

Nominet non-exec election results out @sebtweet

Congratulations to Seb Lahtinen and Thomas Vollrath on their election as non-executive directors to the board of .uk registrar Nominet.

I did an interview with Seb nobbut two days ago and I’m sure that his return to the board will provide value for Nominet.

Nominet has been much in the news this year as the previous government gave itself powers to intervene in the running of the not-for profit org if it felt that the existing Directors were not doing their job.

It is important that we have a steady hand at the helm of the registrar looking after our .uk domain names as businesses become more dependant on the internet.

You can see the Nominet election results here. The system is quite brutal in that your progress as a candidate is highly visible.

Business dns internet

Challenges for Nominet – An Interview with Sebastien Lahtinen

Sebastien Lahtinen is probably most well known for being behind the independent broadband advice website which helps broadband users to get the most out of their broadband connection. He has also been involved in the policy development and governance processes of Nominet, and is a candidate in the current elections for a seat on the Nominet board.

What are the key challenges for Nominet in the next four years?
The next few years will be a critical time for Nominet as it looks to respond to the need for change. Nominet will face challenges both internally within its own organisation as well as externally.

dns Engineer internet ipv6

IPv6 DNS progress

IPv6 is on my mind and we have been busy in the background getting ready for the big day. You will have noticed the countdown timer on the bottom right of this blog. Time is marching on.

This last week we have been working on our IPv6 DNS capability. DNS is one of the first steps on the road to IPv6 deployment. It’s all very well having all your routers enabled but if noone can surf to a website, or send emails (to that fridge) then it’s no good is it?

For those of you that know these things:


;; ANSWER SECTION: 86400 IN AAAA 2001:40a0:5:53::10

PS if you really need to ask about the fridge then leave a comment or email me at tref at trefor dot net :-). Don’t be embarassed now.  I could just have easily have said light bulb 🙂

Business dns voip

Nominet ENUM launch

It isn’t often you go to a meeting which launches a new industry. This is essentially what happened at the Radisson SAS Hotel in London today as Nominet launched their ENUM registration service.

The presentations gave a basic training in ENUM for those who needed it and then offered an open forum for discussion as to how the market would be developed.

For those that don’t know, ENUM is a means for VoIP users to connect with other VoIP users without having to pay for calls, assuming that you have the IP bandwidth. It assumes that calls are going to become free and that service providers will have to find other ways to make money. The more registered ENUM subscribers the morecalls will be free.

The reality is that it will still take a long time to happen. VoIP to VoIP interoperability is a long way from being straightforward and the service will rely on using the internet for connectivity with all the quality issues that that entails. VoIP providers such as Timico typically use high quality private IP network connections as opposed to the internet for their call traffic. This is important for businesses.

The near term pitch is the ability to connect multiple islands of VoIP such as multi site businesses (retail, police, NHS etc). VoIP providers can however do this today. Nominet rightly responds to this saying that this is not currently being done with standard scalable solutions such as ENUM. They are right but the solutions in use today exist and work and come from reputable market leaders such as Nortel and Cisco.

Timico has been involved as a pioneer in UK ENUM from its basic beginnings when it was down to volunteer efforts. With a DTI sponsored commercial activity it may well be that ENUM will eventually start gaining ground although all the building blocks are not yet quite there. Nominet has a good team but it is still going to be a long haul. Nominet recognises this and has assumed that it will take at least five years to break even.

Its going to be interesting to see what happens. Timico will participate when it believes the market, that does not yet exist, is ready.