INTERNET DRAFT                                                   M. Ohta
draft-ohta-iana-registration-00.txt        Tokyo Institute of Technology
                                                          September 1999

             IANA Registration and the End to End Principle

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   This memo describes what IANA registration means and does not mean.

1. IANA registration

   Various protocols have fields values in which must be interpreted
   equally by all the parties of communications.

   To promote better interoperability, IANA is the place, recognized by
   those who developed the protocols, to register interpretations of
   various values of the protocol fields.

   IANA assigns unique values and make lists of the assigned values and
   their meaning with references to more detailed information.

   However, IANA registration does not mean that IANA provides collision
   management nor automatic identification of the registered values. The
   registration, either, does not assure the interoperability of the

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   IANA assignment of values, neither, overrides any intellectual
   property rights such as trademark or copyright.

   The Internet works based on the end to end principle [ARCH] that,
   parties, that is, end systems or hosts, of a communication are
   required to have an interpretation of values common only to them.
   The interpretation may be different from that registered to IANA.

   As such, when many or most hosts in the Internet share an
   interpretation of protocol values, some protocol fields have defact
   interpretations different from IANA registered ones.

   Because of the end to end principle, there, principally, can be no
   mechanism to enforce IANA registrations.

   It should be noted that the argument above is not applicable to
   values to identify end systems, namely, IP addresses and domain
   names. IP addresses are essential to routers while domain names offer
   a lot more human friendly identification.

2. IANA Assignments of IP Addresses

   Of course, some community can use IP addresses not authorized by

   However, end systems in the community can not be reached through the
   Internetworking layer from the Internet.

   The IP network of the community is isolated from the Internet, a
   loosely coupled collection of ISPs, which respect address assignments
   by IANA.

   Because of the global connectivity principle of the Internetworking
   layer, end systems must have globally unique IP addresses for global

   The whole routing system of the Internet is the enforcement mechanism
   of IANA IP address assignment.

3. IANA Assignments of Domain Names

   The enforcement mechanism of IANA domain name assignment is DNS [DNS]
   tree rooted by set of root name servers, IP addresses of which are
   recognized by IANA.

   The DNS maintains the IANA name space of tree shaped realtime
   database of domain names, relying on the name servers identified by
   IP addresses.

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   Most of the hosts in the Internet use the name space.

   Most of the hosts in the Internet does not use other name spaces.

   Of course, a host does not have to be registered in the name space.

   The host may be registered in some name space other than that of

   However, most of the hosts in the Internet can not refer the host
   using domain name, which means that the host is isolated from the
   Internet from human perspective.

   Thus, most of the hosts in the Internet are registered to the name
   space of IANA.

4. References

   [ARCH] RFC1958.

   [DNS] RFC 1034, RFC 1035.

5. Security Considerations

   It should be noted that security, in general, is an end to end issue
   that arguments in section 1 is applicable to security related values.

   Authentication of identification can be performed end to end after
   end systems are identified by possibly insecure IP addresses or
   domain names.

6. Author's Address

   Masataka Ohta
   Tokyo Institute of Technology
   2-12-1, O-okayama, Meguro-ku,
   Tokyo 152, JAPAN

   Phone: +81-3-5499-7084
   Fax: +81-3-3729-1940

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