[AFRI-Discuss] ICANN Successfully Conducts Laboratory Tests of Internationalised Domain Names

Nick Ashton-Hart nick.ashton-hart at icann.org
Thu Mar 8 00:36:11 EST 2007

In October, 2006, ICANN engaged Autonomica AB of Stockholm, Sweden,  
to develop, conduct, and report on the results of laboratory testing  
of internationalized top-level domains in a setting corresponding to  
the public root. Quoting from their report,

Just Posted this morning:

Autonomica AB has, under a contract with ICANN, investigated whether  
the addition of top level domains containing encoded  
internationalized characters (so called IDNs) would have any impact  
on the operations of the root name servers providing delegations, or  
the iterative mode resolvers used to look up the information. No  
impact at all could be detected. All involved systems behaved exactly  
as expected.

Internationalized domain names (IDNs) are domain names containing  
characters other than those based on the ASCII character sets. Such  
non-ASCII characters include those available in right-to-left scripts  
(e.g., Arabic) and non-alphabetic scripts (e.g., Mandarin Chinese).  
ICANN is actively involved in the efforts to make these available at  
the top level—that is, so that an entire domain name can be rendered  
in local characters. The global deployment of IDNs will enhance the  
local Internet experience in large regions of the world by enabling  
people to share and access information or use services offered in  
their own languages.

The laboratory technical test is one of the prerequisites to eventual  
insert internationalized top level labels in the root zone. This test  
is intended to determine the viability of internationalized top-level  
names and the effect they may have on the DNS. The work was done by  
replicating the root server environment. The test intentionally did  
not incorporate the end-user perspective or a live root test.

Autonomica reported successful insertion using two major server  
implementations used by most root server operators: BIND and NSD.

The test design was finalized in December of 2006 following a public  
comment period. The test procedure was published so that others can  
replicate the test.

Details of the test setup and design can be found here.

Details of the test result can be found here. [PDF, 73K]

For any questions or request for additional details of the test  
design and result please contact Tina Dam at tina.dam at icann.org

For further information around ICANN’s IDN Program please visit  


Nick Ashton-Hart
Director, At-Large
PO Box 32160
London N4 2XY
United Kingdom
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Skype: nashtonhart
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