What are 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.

Since 2000, the IANA functions have been performed by ICANN, under a contract awarded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency in the United States Department of Commerce.

On 11 August 2016, ICANN incorporated the Public Technical Identifiers (PTI) as a nonprofit public benefit corporation and controlled affiliate of ICANN. The PTI Incorporation Documents were drafted to reflect the recommendations of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) proposal, as provided to the ICANN Board and transmitted to NTIA on 10 March 2016. PTI was formed to perform the naming-related IANA functions under contract with ICANN.

The Number Community and the IANA Functions

IANA is responsible for the global coordination of the IP address systems, as well as the ASNs used for routing Internet traffic. IANA allocates IP addresses from the pool of unallocated addresses to the RIRs according to their needs and global policy. IANA also maintains a registry of all IP address blocks and ASNs that have been allocated to each RIR.

  • Each RIR makes its own requests for IP addresses and ASNs based on regional needs, and the allocations are made directly from IANA to the RIRs.
  • The RIRs then assign IP addresses to their members, such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), or to National Internet Registries (NIRs).
  • It is important to note there is no US Government authorization required for the allocation of IP addresses and ASNs by IANA.

IANA Policy

The IANA functions are managed according to a succinct set of policies, which are developed by the relevant communities with an interest in the specific subset of the IANA functions.

The RIR communities are responsible for developing global Internet number policy, including management of global pools of IP addresses and Autonomous System Numbers, as described in the ASO Memorandum of Understanding.

Further reading

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