The Internet Registry System

The first Regional Internet Registry (RIR) was established in 1992 and there are now five RIRs in existence. The system has evolved into a stable, robust environment for Internet address management, maintained through self-regulatory practices. It maintains its legitimacy and relevance by firmly adhering to an open, transparent, multi-stakeholder decision-making processes.

PTI and the IANA Functions

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions are a set of administrative tasks critical to ensuring the global coordination of the DNS root zone, IP addressing and protocol parameters. The IANA functions are performed by Public Technical Identifiers (PTI) under contracts and sub-contracts with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). PTI allocates Internet address space to the five RIRs according to their established needs. The policies that govern how PTI allocates Internet number resources to the RIRs are developed by the global RIR community using the global Policy Development Process (GPDP).

Role of the RIRs

RIRs allocate and register blocks of Internet number resources (IPv4, IPv6 and ASNs) and provide related services to Internet service providers (ISPs) and other organizations in their geographical service regions. The policies that govern how each RIR allocates Internet number resources to its members are defined by each RIR’s community. The RIRs also maintain a whois database containing all allocated Internet number resources to ensure the efficient functioning of the global Internet.

AFRINIC Database | APNIC Database | ARIN Database | LACNIC Database | RIPE Database

The NRO itself does not register or allocate Internet number resources or develop policy.

Coordination for Technical Communities

Each RIR also acts as the secretariat for its regional Internet technical community, providing administration and coordination support and facilitating the Policy Development Process (PDP).

Getting Internet Number Resources

To receive blocks of Internet number resources, an organization must usually become a member of an RIR. The RIR allocates Internet number resources to its members, which are known as Local Internet Registries (LIRs) or, in some regions, National Internet Registries (NIRs), based on justified need. LIRs and NIRs then allocate the resources to their own customers or use them in their own networks. You can find out which RIR serves your country here. And you can find out more about each RIR’s membership requirements here:


Regional Internet Registry (RIR) Region
African Network Coordination Centre (AFRINIC) Africa
Asia-Pacific Network Coordination Centre (APNIC) Asia-Pacific
American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) United States, Canada, many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands
 Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC)  Latin America and the Caribbean
Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC)  Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia


More Information:


Last modified on 06/11/2018