No, the new .internal TLD does not replace 192.168.xx IPs

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), organization responsible for managing and coordinating unique identification systems on the Internet, including domain names and IP addresses, has proposed the creation of a new top level domain (TLD) which can be used to manage devices connected to the local network. The new TLD is called .internal and, obviously, it will never be connected to public DNS records and other infrastructures directly accessible via the Internet. The initiative put forward by ICANN is described in this summary document.

The .internal TLD does not replace private IP addresses used in LAN networks

Some newspapers are writing that the TLD .internal would go to replace the IPs 192.168.xx. This is absolutely not true, for various reasons.

First of all, it would not be physically possible to replace an IP address with a mnemonic address (such as those that can be used with the TLD .internal). Il address block Private IPs 192.168.x.x refers to a specific range of IP addresses reserved for internal use in private networks. These IP addresses are part of one of the private IP address spaces defined in the IPv4 specification and are commonly used in local networks (LAN) to enable communication between devices within a corporate or home network.

The set of addresses ranging from 192.168.0.0 a 192.168.255.255 are commonly known as blocking private IP addresses class C. This range of addresses is often represented as 192.168.0.0/16indicating that the first 16 bits of the IP address are used for network identification, while the remaining 16 bits are reserved for host addresses within that network.

As we saw in the article on what is an IP address, there are additional ones reserved blocks for local use: if 192.168.0.0/16 contains 65,536 possible addresses (16-bit block; 216), the intervals 172.16.0.0 – 172.31.255.255 e 10.0.0.0 – 10.255.255.255 contain more (2 respectively20 e 224). The subnet mask allows you to define the “width” of the subnet.

So far we have talked about IPv4 addresses, described with four numbers in decimal base. IPv6 addressing, however, also has its private addresses starting with prefixes fc o fd.

How .internal address resolution occurs

We said that addresses based on the top level domain (TLD) .internalFor example “miodominio.internal“, are designed for internal and private use within corporate or home networks. They are addresses not intended to be resolved on the Internet.

When a device within a network uses a domain name with the TLD .internalthe domain name resolution process must occur within the LAN itself, without involving the public DNS servers on the Internet. This means that domain name resolution with the .internal TLD occurs in an isolated and local manner within the private network.

A local DNS server within a corporate network can be configured to resolve domain names with the TLD .internal in locally assigned private IP addresses, such as those in the 192.168.xx block or the other ranges mentioned above.

It is clear, therefore, that TLD .internal he doesn’t want to and cannot replace reserved addresses used in IPv4 and IPv6 address spaces. Also because there must always be a direct correspondence between mnemonic addresses .internal and local private IPs. In other words, every device connected to the LAN behind the NAT (Network Address Translation) will always continue to use IPv4 or IPv6 addresses.

What is the idea behind the .internal TLD proposal

ICANN explains that the idea of ​​the TLD .internal was born after the analysis of the behavior of some manufacturers of hardware solutions for networking. Many of these make improvised use of TLDs not present in the so-called root zone for private purposes, i.e. to simplify access to their devices via the local network.

ICANN experts explain that this way of doing things can cause problems because the DNS it is designed to be a centralized and coordinated system. When unofficial or not present TLDs are used root zonethere may be situations in which the domain name resolution may result in errors or unpredictable behavior.

The root zone (root zone) is the highest part of the domain name resolution system (DNS) hierarchy. It represents the starting point in the hierarchical structure of the DNS and is the highest level in which TLDs such as .com, .org, .net, .gov, .edu, geographic TLDs and the various top-level domains created in follow the liberalization commissioned by ICANN. Each TLD listed in the root zone can, in turn, have its own subdomains.

In conclusion, the use of TLDs not present in the root zoneICANN continues, can cause confusion, slow domain name resolution and potential security risks, as devices may attempt to communicate with unofficial or untrusted resources. ICANN’s response consists precisely in the introduction of the TLD .internal in order to offer a coordinated and official solution for exclusive internal use.

Opening image credit: iStock.com – BeeBright

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