Skip to main content

Nameservers for the Address and Routing Parameter Area ("arpa") Domain

The information below is for an old version of the document.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft whose latest revision state is "Replaced".
Authors Kim Davies , Jari Arkko
Last updated 2020-02-07
Replaced by draft-iab-arpa-authoritative-servers, RFC 9120
RFC stream (None)
Stream Stream state (No stream defined)
Consensus boilerplate Unknown
RFC Editor Note (None)
IESG IESG state I-D Exists
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD (None)
Send notices to (None)
Network Working Group                                          K. Davies
Internet-Draft                                                      IANA
Updates: RFC3172 (if approved)                                  J. Arkko
Intended status: Best Current Practice                          Ericsson
Expires: August 10, 2020                               February 07, 2020

 Nameservers for the Address and Routing Parameter Area ("arpa") Domain


   This document describes revisions to operational practices to
   separate function of the "arpa" top-level domain in the DNS from its
   historical operation alongside the DNS root zone.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on August 10, 2020.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2020 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Davies & Arkko           Expires August 10, 2020                [Page 1]
Internet-Draft      Nameservers for the .arpa Domain       February 2020

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Requirements for the "arpa" zone  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Transition Process  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.1.  Dedicated nameserver hostnames  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.2.  Separation of infrastructure  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.3.  Zone administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     3.4.  Conclusion of process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     5.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     5.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Appendix A.  Open Issues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6

1.  Introduction

   The "arpa" top-level domain [RFC3172] is designated as an
   "infrastructure domain" to support techniques defined by Internet
   standards.  Zones under the "arpa" domain provide various mappings,
   such as IP addresses to domain names, and E.164 numbers to URIs.  It
   also contains special use names, such as "home", which is a non-
   unique name used in residential home networks.

   Historically, the "arpa" zone has been hosted on almost all of the
   root name servers, and [RFC3172] envisages the "arpa" domain to be
   "sufficiently critical that the operational requirements for the root
   servers apply to the operational requirements of the "arpa" servers".
   To date, this has been implemented by serving the "arpa" domain
   directly on a subset of the root server infrastructure.

   This bundling of root server and "arpa" server operations has
   entwined management of the zones contents and their infrastructure.
   As a result, some proposals under consideration by the IETF involving
   the "arpa" zone have been discarded due to the risk of conflict with
   root operations.

   The separation described in this document resolves operational
   impacts of synchronizing edits to the root zone and the "arpa" zone,
   eliminating the current dependency and allowing more tailored
   operations based on the unique requirements of each zone.

Davies & Arkko           Expires August 10, 2020                [Page 2]
Internet-Draft      Nameservers for the .arpa Domain       February 2020

2.  Requirements for the "arpa" zone

   The "arpa" domain continues to play a role in critical Internet
   operations, and this change does not propose weakening operational
   requirements described in [RFC3172] for the domain.  Future
   operational requirements for the "arpa" domain shall consider strong
   baseline requirements, such as those documented in [RFC7720].

3.  Transition Process

   The process will dedicate new hostnames to the servers authoritative
   for the "arpa" zone, but will initially serve the "arpa" zone from
   the same hosts.

   Once completed, subsequent transitional phases would include using
   new hosts to replace or augment the existing root server hosts, and
   separation of the editing and distribution of the "arpa" zone from
   necessarily being connected to the root zone.  Any management
   considerations regarding how such changes may be performed are beyond
   the scope of this document.

3.1.  Dedicated nameserver hostnames

   Consistent with the use of the "arpa" namespace itself to host name
   servers for other delegations in the "arpa" zone ([RFC5855]), this
   document specifies a new namespace of "", with the nameserver
   set to be labelled as follows:

   This eliminates a logical dependency that requires the coordinated
   editing of the "arpa" zone and the root zone.  This component of this
   transition does not require the underlying hosts that provide "arpa"
   name service (that is, the root servers) be altered.  The "arpa" zone
   will initially map the new hostnames to to the same IP addresses that
   already provide service under the respective hostnames within root-

3.2.  Separation of infrastructure

   After initially migrating the "arpa" zone to use hostnames that are
   not shared with the root zone, the underlying name service is
   expected to evolve such that it no longer directly aligns to a subset
   of root server instances.  With no shared infrastructure between the

Davies & Arkko           Expires August 10, 2020                [Page 3]
Internet-Draft      Nameservers for the .arpa Domain       February 2020

   root servers and the "arpa" servers, future novel applications for
   the "arpa" zone may be possible.

   Any subsequent changes to the parties providing name service for the
   zone is considered a normal management responsibility associated with
   zone management, and would be performed in accordance with [RFC3172].

3.3.  Zone administration

   Publication of the "arpa" zone file to the authoritative "arpa" name
   servers is currently undertaken alongside the root zone maintenance
   functions.  Upon the separation of the "arpa" infrastructure from the
   root server infrastructure, publication of the "arpa" zone no longer
   necessarily needs to be technically linked or inter-related to the
   root zone publication mechanisms.

3.4.  Conclusion of process

   Full technical separation of "arpa" operations from root operations
   minimally requires the following to be satisfied:

   o  The "arpa" zone no longer shares any hostnames in its NS-set with
      the root zone;

   o  The hosts that provide authoritative name service are not the same
      hosts as the root servers, do not share any IPv4 or IPv6 addresses
      with the root servers, and are sufficiently separately provisioned
      such that any unique "arpa" zone requirements can be deployed
      without affecting how root zone service is provided;

   o  The editorial and publication process for the "arpa" zone has any
      common dependencies with the root zone process removed, so that
      the "arpa" zone can be managed, edited and provisioned wholly
      independently of the root zone.

   Such separation is ultimately sought to allow for novel uses of the
   "arpa" zone without the risk of inadvertantly impacting root zone and
   root server operations.  It is recognized that achieving this state
   requires a deliberative process involving significant coordination to
   ensure impacts are minimized.

4.  IANA Considerations

   The IANA shall coordinate the creation of a new "" zone and
   populate it with address records that reflect the IP addresses of the
   contemporary root servers documented within "" as its
   initial state.

Davies & Arkko           Expires August 10, 2020                [Page 4]
Internet-Draft      Nameservers for the .arpa Domain       February 2020

   The IANA will initially migrate the 12 NS records for the "arpa" zone
   to point to their respective new entries in the "" zone.

   Subsequently, the IAB and IANA will consult and coordinate with all
   relevant parties on activity to reduce or eliminate reliance upon
   root zone and root server infrastructure for serving the "arpa" zone.
   Such changes will be performed in compliance with [RFC3172] and shall
   be conducted with all due care and deliberation to mitigate potential
   impacts on critical infrastructure.

5.  References

5.1.  Normative References

   [RFC3172]  Huston, G., Ed., "Management Guidelines & Operational
              Requirements for the Address and Routing Parameter Area
              Domain ("arpa")", BCP 52, RFC 3172, DOI 10.17487/RFC3172,
              September 2001, <>.

5.2.  Informative References

   [RFC5855]  Abley, J. and T. Manderson, "Nameservers for IPv4 and IPv6
              Reverse Zones", BCP 155, RFC 5855, DOI 10.17487/RFC5855,
              May 2010, <>.

   [RFC7720]  Blanchet, M. and L-J. Liman, "DNS Root Name Service
              Protocol and Deployment Requirements", BCP 40, RFC 7720,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7720, December 2015,

Appendix A.  Open Issues

   o  A preference has been expressed for hostnames.  Is it
      better that the nameserver hostnames are in-bailiwick in .arpa or
      does that provide no benefit?

   o  Should the name servers stick to the same letter-based
      nomenclature as the root zone?  Some operators have expressed a
      strong desire to move away from the letters for the root zone.

   o  Should the hostname change be staggered or can it be done in one


   Thank you Michelle Cotton, Ted Hardie, Paul Hoffman, Russ Housley,
   Duane Wessels and Suzanne Woolf for initial feedback.

Davies & Arkko           Expires August 10, 2020                [Page 5]
Internet-Draft      Nameservers for the .arpa Domain       February 2020

Authors' Addresses

   Kim Davies
   Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
   12025 Waterfront Drive
   Los Angeles  90094
   United States of America


   Jari Arkko
   Ericsson Research
   02700 Kauniainen


Davies & Arkko           Expires August 10, 2020                [Page 6]